PhD and MPhil

Applications for funded places to start in October 2020 will open on 30 September 2019 and close on 24 January 2020.

The Department of Mathematics at York offers the opportunity to study for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), as well as the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Mathematics, in a thriving research environment. You should first have a look at our research, where you will find for each area a list of staff members and their research supervision interests, from which you can click through to individual staff pages. You may like to make email contact to discuss a possible project, but many students come to us with no definite project or supervisor - feel free to apply anyway.

Prospective students

In order to apply for a place on one of our research degrees (PhD, PhD (with Foundation Phase), MPhil or MSc by Research), we ask that you first submit an online application. We cannot accept a CV or any other documentation in place of a formal application. When you apply for a place on one of our research degrees, you should include an explanation (in your own words) of why you wish to undertake a research degree in your chosen field or of the area(s) in which you wish to carry out research. This document should be at least 250 words in length. It would be helpful if you could also complete the personal statement section of the application form with an explanation of any relevant experience or any other information which you feel might be helpful to the selectors.

Prospective students should be aware that they may be invited to participate in an interview (either face-to-face or by Skype) as part of the selection process. Applicants whose first language is not English should therefore be sufficiently fluent in English to speak confidently about their intended area of research and engage in an academic conversation about their mathematical background and interests, even if they have not already met the English language entry requirement (see below) by the time they submit their application.

The Department of Mathematics supports the principles laid out in the London Mathematical Society Good Practice Scheme. We value diversity and aim to create an inclusive community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect regardless of individual characteristics such as age, gender, disability, religion or ethnicity. 

The Department is firmly committed to women's progression in mathematics and holds the Bronze Award of the Athena SWAN programme for women in science. Seven of our lecturers and professors are women, along with about 40% of our students. Our female graduates work in fields as diverse as medical statistics, defence and the financial industry, and for employers such as BAE Systems and Microsoft. York is a great place for a woman to study and graduate in mathematics.


A general overview of funding possibilities for postgraduate study, including Studentships offered by the Department of Mathematics, is available here. Additionally, the University of York offers a number of scholarships for research students to which specific deadlines apply.

Applying for a place

You can apply for these courses using our online application system.  If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process. Then click the "Apply Now" button below for the course for which you wish to apply.

Research courses may be commenced at the start of any calendar month, though it is preferable for students to start their courses at the beginning of October (and be in York for the start of the Autumn term). Applicants who have their own funding should submit their applications approximately six months before their intended start date wherever possible.

If you wish to be considered for EPSRC or departmental funding, you should note that:

  • funding is generally only available for students starting their courses in October
  • Further information is on the funding page

Prospective students who may be able to fund their studies from their own (or family) funds or scholarships external to the University of York are welcome to apply at any time.


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The PhD is a research degree by thesis, the minimum period of study being three years. The thesis must be submitted before the end of the fourth year of study. Extensions beyond this may only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

The first two terms of study normally include the equivalent of six 10 hour graduate level courses taken from the programme of study provided by the EPSRC-funded MAGIC consortium graduate school (lectures by video link between 20 UK mathematics departments).

Students' progress is monitored and supported by a Thesis Advisory Panel, usually consisting of a minimum of three academic members of staff, including supervisor(s). Thesis Advisory Panels for full-time students usually meet twice a year (usually once a year for part-time students). Further information on the role of Thesis Advisory Panels and on formal reviews of progress can be found in the Policy on Research Degrees.

PhD (with Foundation Phase)

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The PhD (with Foundation Phase) runs over four years and may be an appropriate course for applicants who require more extensive masters-level initial training before they embark on a PhD research project.

The first two terms comprise an integrated portfolio of lecture and reading courses (equivalent to 80 hours of MAGIC courses) and a project report. The taught component serves the double purpose of broadening and deepening the student's general mathematical knowledge in an appropriate range of specialist areas, which must be seen as integral steps towards acquiring the ability to carry out research in mathematics. Approximately half of the taught courses will be chosen to be relevant to the student's broad prospective research area and will normally include a directed learning module or reading course, worth the equivalent of two 10 hour MAGIC courses. The reading course will be chosen to provide a foundation for the student's study project. The study project report will be around 30-40 pages in length. In order to progress to the research phase of the PhD, students will have to pass all components.  Students who continue to the PhD will submit their thesis by the end of their fourth year of registration.


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The MPhil is also a research degree by thesis, the minimum period of study being two years.  The thesis must be submitted before the end of the third year of study.  Extensions beyond this may only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

Applications for part-time study will be considered from UK/EU applicants. 

Students who may be interested in studying for a research degree over one year should refer to the course page for the MSc (by Research) in Mathematics.

Continued registration on any course is conditional upon satisfactory academic progress and attendance.


Throughout the course of study every research each student will have a supervisor (alternatively, two members of staff may jointly supervise a student) who will guide their work. In addition, progress is monitored by the student's Thesis Advisory Panel in two meetings each year.

The MPhil and PhD may be taken part-time over a period longer than the corresponding full-time period. Please indicate this on your application form if you are interested in this option. However, students from outside the European Union should note that only full-time students are eligible to apply for a Tier 4 student visa.

Admissions criteria

General academic requirements

Applicants for admission to graduate research degrees in Mathematics should have or expect to have a good honours degree (equivalent of 2.i or higher) in Mathematics, or a good honours degree in which Mathematics has formed a substantial part of the course.

English language requirements

Further information on the University's English language requirements can be found here. Please note that the English language qualification should have been obtained within two years of the date on which you are due to start your course (this also applies to degree courses undertaken in countries listed on the UKVI website - nationals of these countries are also normally exempt from the requirements).

The University of York seeks formal confirmation of all test results.

Contact details

Graduate Administrator

Tel: +44 1904 323097

University of York term dates

Tuition fees