skip to content

Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics is no longer accepting new applications.

This course is a three to four year programme culminating in the submission and examination of a single research thesis.  Students joining the course will often have completed prior study at a level comparable to our Part III (MMath/MASt) course and many have postgraduate experience. Our students, therefore, begin their PhD research with a good understanding of advanced material, which they build on in various ways throughout the course of their PhD studies.

Structure of the PhD

Students are required to undertake a minimum of nine full-time terms of research (ie three years). Students are not registered for the PhD in the first instance but are instead admitted on a probationary basis. All students are assessed for registration towards the end of their first year of full-time study (usually June). This assessment is based on a short written report which is reviewed by two assessors. In the fifth term, there may also be a further assessment of progress, for which students submit a longer piece of written work and receive an oral assessment.

Research areas

Research in DPMMS can be divided into the following broad areas: Algebra, Algebraic Geometry, Analysis and Partial Differential Equations, Combinatorics, Differential Geometry and Topology, Number Theory, Information and Finance, Probability, and Statistics. The boundaries between such areas are not rigid, however, and staff may contribute to more than one area.

Additional training and opportunities

Whilst there are no mandatory taught components to the PhD degree, students may wish to undertake specific courses or further training to expand their knowledge, either for personal interest or to directly assist with their PhD research. All students are encouraged to participate in and attend the wide range of lectures, seminars and events on offer within DPMMS and the Centre for Mathematical Sciences.

Many students submit a prize essay at the beginning of their fifth term. The best essays each year are of a scale and quality already adequate for a PhD thesis, incorporating work already, or about to be, published. We intend that our students publish their work in leading journals. Our PhD students might have written several papers before they submit their thesis, and can go on to win academic positions at leading institutions around the world.

DPMMS also promotes and encourages researcher development and transferable skills training. This can take the form of assisting with Part III preparatory workshops, attendance at skills-based training sessions, or presenting work at seminars and conferences. The University also offers training via the Researcher Development Programme.

There is no requirement for PhD students to teach but there are plenty of opportunities to do so, such as offering supervisions for third-year undergraduates (this involves the supervisor sitting with a pair of students for an hour, discussing their work). PhD students might help with running examples classes for Part III students, too.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

4-7 years part-time

Study Mode : Research

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

Similar Courses