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Postgraduate Study in Mathematics

If you cannot find the answer to your question, please try the Postgraduate Admissions FAQs.

Applying

How much will the course cost?

For the PhD, the Postgraduate Admissions Office gives information on estimated fees and costs.

What funding should I apply for?

The Faculty has funding available, but we recommend you apply to as many funding sources as possible to maximise your chances. This includes the University funding competition. Search for funding opportunities.

How will Brexit affect my studies?

Please consult the University's dedicated pages for the most up-to-date information.

Am I eligible to apply to the PhD? Is my background suitable?

We are often asked by potential applicants whether or not they are eligible for consideration for the PhD degree. Applications are considered carefully on a case-by-case basis, with consideration being given to the application form, transcripts and references. Applications are considered in the context of the field of applications for the particular year. Due to the high volume of applications received and the careful scrutiny that is required before a decision can be taken, we are unable to provide individual advice to applicants on their suitability prior to receiving a full application.

Our expectations for PhD applicants are detailed on the individual course page.

Occasionally PhD applicants are transferred to the Part III (MASt), if approporiate. You will be contacted first.

What academic condition will I be set?

The usual minimum entry requirement is a first-class honours degree, awarded after a four-year course, or a three-year degree together with a one-year postgraduate course. It may however be the case that students are set more specific requirements, such as a certain grade, or equivalent to a distinction. This decision is taken on a case-by-case basis dependant on the applicant's academic background. It is not possible for us to provide specific guidance on what condition you might be set in advance. The Admissions Officers will only take this decision when reviewing the full application.

Do I need to make contact with a potential supervisor before applying?

We recommend you think about who you want to work with and reach out to them before applying. Contact information can be found on our website. CMI have a list of potential supervisors listed here. Please state the names of potential supervisors in your application.

Do I need to write a research proposal?

While we do not require a separate research proposal, we do ask that you put some thought into your proposed area of research and this be outlined in the application research summary field. This is by no means final, and can be refined after discussion with your potential supervisor.

Can I make more than one PhD application and apply to DPMMS, DAMTP and CMI?

You can apply to as many courses as you want. Please state which other courses you have applied to in the application. If you submit one application and it is deemed more suitable for another course, your application will be referred on for further consideration prior to a decision being made.

Does it matter which PhD course I apply to?

Every application is reviewed by two Admissions Officers who are specialists in a particular area of mathematics. If you apply, for example, to DPMMS your application will be reviewed by specialists in pure mathematics or mathematical statistics and will not be reviewed by those from applied mathematics unless referred on as more suitable (see above). You are therefore advised to apply via the route that best fits your current academic background.

What careers do PhD students end up in?

Unfortunately we don't currently have careers statistics available. CCA tracks the destinations of their outgoing students and the Faculty has a dedicated page on Careers for Mathematicians. You may also find the University Careers Service webpages a useful source of information.

Will I need to undertake an interview?

Following the January deadline, Admissions Officers will shortlist applicants and they will be contacted with an interview invite. Not everyone will be interviewed.

Can I rearrange the date/ time for my interview?

Due to staff availability and the tight admissions timetable, we can only rearrange the time and date of your interview under exceptional circumstances.

What should I expect from the interview?

Interview time varies depending on the subject area, but they generally last 30 - 45 minutes. The interview will consist of discussion on your background and motivation for applying to the course, as well as some mathematical questions.

How long will I have to wait for a decision on my application?

In most cases a first wave of offers is made in January/February, but the decision timeline varies depending on which research area you are interested in. Please consult the relevant course page for more specific information. If you have another offer with an imminent deadline, please ask them for an extension in the first instance. If this is not possible, let us know. You should continue to check your applicant portal for updates.

My application was unsuccessful. Can you provide feedback on why?

Due to the high volume of applications and enquiries we receive we are unable to provide personalised feedback to unsuccessful applicants. Each application is considered by at least two admissions officers who review applications on a case-by-case basis, with consideration being given to the whole application and supporting documentation. We take very seriously the importance of only making offers to students we believe have a suitable academic background to cope with the nature of the course. It is not therefore unusual for applicants who meet the academic requirement to be unsuccessful.

Post-Offer

How will Covid-19 affect my studies?

Please consult the University's dedicated pages for the most up-to-date information.

Will the University uphold the Department decision?

The University issues the formal offer following the Department recommendation. It is highly unlikely our recommendation will be overturned.

Can I have an extension to my offer response deadline?

If you are made an offer with funding, you will have a response deadline. This enables us to manage our funding and offer it to someone else if you do not intend to take your place. Please let us know if you need an extension to this deadline due to other offers. We would rather extend the decision deadline than an applicant later decline the offer after accepting it.

When will I hear the outcome of my funding application?

If we are unable to offer Department funding, we might enter you into the University funding competition. Decisions are made at any point between the offer date and July.

I have received an offer. Can I change my College preferences?

You are expected to research College membership at the application stage, and state your top two preferences on the application. You can change them up to 14 days after applying, as long as a formal offer has not been issued. If you have been assigned a College and you think you have compelling grounds to request a transfer, you should discuss this with your existing College tutor. Further information is here.

I haven’t met the academic condition of my offer. What should I do?

You should still submit your results via your CamSiS self-service account (unless you are a current Cambridge student). Details of how to do this are given in the University’s booklet: ‘Understanding the conditions of your offer’ which is available from the Postgraduate Admissions website. Please do not submit documents directly to the Department unless explicitly asked to do so. Once you have uploaded your documents into your self-service the Postgraduate Admissions Office will send your application to the Department for reconsideration. The Admissions Officers will review your case based on the results that you have obtained.

Can you waive my language requirement?

The University is responsible for determining the requirements for language assessments, and whether or not this requirement is met. If you have narrowly missed the language requirement it may be that the Postgraduate Admissions Office, on behalf of the University, will refer you for an assessment to the University Language Centre. Following these two stages, the Postgraduate Admissions Office might consult the Department for further information. However, this is a decision that will only be made once an offer of admission has been made. Applicants should read the advice on language requirements available on the Postgraduate Admissions website which is comprehensive.

Can I defer my offer?

DAMTP offer holders might be able to defer to Lent or Easter term under exceptional circumstances. Please contact us outlining your reasons in the first instance. For DPMMS and CMI, we only admit in Michaelmas term. The University does not permit the deferral of places to the following Michaelmas term. If you are unable to take up your place you must withdraw your application via your CamSiS self-service account and reapply for admission the following year. Please note that in such circumstances your application will be reviewed as if new and it cannot be guaranteed that you will automatically receive another offer of a place. You are advised to note in your application the reasons why you did not take up your place.

When will I be contacted about commencing my studies?

We will contact incoming students in August about the arrangements for the start of term. In the meantime, please concentrate on meeting your conditions by the 31 July deadline. Further information can be found in the Offer and Conditions guide.

I might be late arriving in Cambridge, what should I do?

Students must be in Cambridge for the first day of full term (see Term Dates) in order to attend the induction and commence lectures. If you are unable to arrive by the start of term you must contact the Faculty’s Postgraduate Office for further advice.

Contact

If you require further information please contact the Faculty of Mathematics Postgraduate Office.