Frequently asked questions
How do I apply?
In order for your application to be considered you need to submit an online application. Two references and a transcript of marks from your degree should accompany the application. You are welcome to make informal enquiries, but for us to start considering your application we need to have a submitted application. Please note that submitting an application form is in no way a commitment to accepting a place.
When should I submit my application?
We accept applications year-round. If you would like to be considered for a funded place, please bear in mind the funding deadlines, details can be found on our postgraduate funding page.
Note that the closing date for the taught course MRes Statistics is 1st August every year.
What funding is needed and what sources of funding are there?
Please see our postgraduate funding page.
What are your English language requirements?
Students whose first language is not English need to provide a language test result, usually IELTS. Please see our language pages for details of other approved tests. Note that mathematics has been granted an exception to the usual University requirement of IELTS 6.5 (with 6.0 in each band):
- PhD : IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each band
- MRes Statistics or MSc Mathematical Sciences: IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each band.
The TOEFL equivalent of IELTS 6.0 overall is:
- paper-based: 577 overall
- computer-based: 233 overall
- internet-based: 90 overall
The TOEFL equivalent of 6.5 overall:
- paper-based: 600 overall. All offers should include a score of 5 in the Test in Written English (TWE).
- computer-based: 250 overall. All offers should include a score of 5 in the Test in Written English (TWE).
- internet-based: 100 overall. All offers should include a score of 25 in the Test in Written English (TWE).
Do I have to outline a research project?
As part of your application you are asked to provide an 'Outline of proposed research project/research interests.' In mathematics we do not expect a research plan, so you should use this space to tell us what your research interests are. If there is a specific member of staff you wish to be your supervisor then there is a place in the Research Details section to put this. We try to meet such requests where possible, but some supervisors may be unable to take on students for various reasons. If you do have a strong idea of a potential research project then you can write it here however it would be advisable to check with potential supervisors first.
Do I have to provide a Research Training Statement?
No, a research training statement is not required.
What if my current qualification is not in mathematics?
A number of our research projects are interdisciplinary, and a degree outside of mathematics could well be appropriate. We consider each application individually, and if you are unsure whether your current qualification is relevant to postgraduate study in mathematics you are welcome to enquire before making an application, giving details of the content of the modules of your course and grades achieved. This is particularly relevant to the M.Res. in Statistics, which is more based in theoretical work than other, more applied, Masters courses, and does require a strong numerical background. In this instance details of modules you have studied with statistical content would be particularly useful.
How is a supervisor chosen?
If there is someone specific in the school that you would like to act as your supervisor then you should put this on the application. Alternatively, we will use your research interests to find a potential supervisor. The potential supervisor and you then have the final say. It is also possible to have two supervisors or to be initially assigned to a research group and then have the supervisor determined early in the first year.
What happens to my application?
We are able to review your application only when it is complete and has been submitted; this includes references, your CV, information about your interests, funding and language. It will then be assessed and you will receive an email from us advising you to log into the application system to obtain your application outcome. Please be aware that whilst we deal with all applications as quickly as we can, the review process can take up to 6-8 weeks. The decision returned to you will be one of the following:
- We are unable to offer a place.
- A conditional offer of a place. This means you are offered a place to study, but have yet to fulfil our requirements, for example: gaining an academic qualification, completing a language test, or providing a financial guarantee. These conditions must be met before you can register for study and term begins.
- An unconditional offer of a place. This means you have already fulfilled our requirements and are being offered a place to study.
If you have a conditional offer, we will ask you to provide the original copies of any relevant documents needed to satisfy these conditions as soon as you have them.
How long will it be before I receive a decision?
Whilst we aim to process and review applications as quickly as we can, this can take up to six weeks. We try to respond within 21 days for applications to the taught course MRes Statistics, but it can often take a little longer.
Is it possible to visit Bristol?
We strongly encourage students to visit us before committing to doing a PhD here. For UK based students we usually invite applicants to visit for interviews and are able to fund UK travel and necessary accommodation for such visits. For overseas applicants we often conduct interviews by telephone. To arrange a visit please contact the Postgraduate and Research Coordinator (see sidebar).
We also run an Open day once a year - usually in November or December. Visitors are able to meet with potential supervisors, tour the School of Mathematics, and speak with current postgraduate students.
Are there suitable taught courses to attend?
The PhD courses in applied mathematics, pure mathematics and statistics all have taught courses aimed at students in the first year. For Pure and Applied these involve courses from the Taught Course Centre. For Statistics this involves courses from APTS. It is also possible to take fourth year undergraduate courses.
Are postgraduate level masters degrees offered?
We offer a taught MSc programme and MSc degrees by research in Pure and Applied Mathematics and Probability and Statistics. However you will need your own funding for these degrees. There is also an MRes degree in Statistics and Complexity Sciences. Funding is available for these degrees, but it is for those students who are taking a masters as part of a 4 year degree (that is, first year master and final three years PhD). The school is also involved in a specific masters course by research in natural hazards.
Do postgraduates get involved in teaching?
PhD students have the opportunity to participate in our teaching by giving tutorials or computer labs and marking problem sheets. These activities are voluntary. They can be used to supplement your income, and acquiring teaching and communication skills can be an important ingredient in your professional development.
Are there travel funds available to postgraduate students?
We encourage all of our postgraduate students to attend international workshops and conferences at some point during their studies and fund these trips accordingly.
What facilities will be provided for my study?
All postgraduate students are provided with office space within the school and a desktop computer. Additionally they have access to school and university facilities, including high performance computing and laboratories for experimentation.
In my application, what is the 'post-submission upload' section for?
Once you have submitted your application, it is not possible to make any alterations. However, it is possible to upload additional documents by using the post-submission upload section. You only need to upload your transcript in one place. For example, if you have already uploaded your transcript as part of your application, there is no need to upload this again as a post-submission upload.
Do I need to apply separately for funding from the School of Mathematics?
There is no need to apply separately for the EPSRC DTA, University of Bristol Scholarships, or SuSTaIn awards. In the Funding section of your application, please indicate which award you are interested in. Note that applying for an EPSRC DTA award comes under the heading of 'I would like to be considered for a funding award from the school (if one is available)' - and select the option 'not yet applied for a scholarship'.
If you are applying for an external scholarship then give the name of the award under the 'Other' section and choose 'secured / in progress / not yet applied for scholarship' as applies to you.