Information for Prospective Postgraduate Research Students
Application for Postgraduate Study
Postgraduate research study is highly individual. You will work personally with an experienced researcher, your supervisor, and you should feel able to speak to your supervisor freely and openly, whether you are pleased with or worried about the progress of your research. Already at the application stage, everything depends on your individual interests and academic background.
The formal application for postgraduate research studies at Cardiff University is an on-line process starting from the Online Application Service webpage. Alternatively, you can print off the form and send it to Cardiff University by mail.
To be eligible for postgraduate research study, aiming for an MPhil or PhD, you need to be sufficiently qualified e.g. having a BSc in Mathematics or a closely related discipline such as Mathematical Physics with a first class or upper second class degree, and you will need to supply two academic references to support your application.
There are also English language requirements to ensure you have a sufficient command of the the language to deal successfully with the reading, writing, discussion and oral presentation aspects of research work. Most importantly, you need to bring with you sufficient interest and enthusiasm to undertake the demanding research and training programme; a PhD requires 3-4 years of self-motivated full-time study.
Things to consider before you apply
Of course you are free to fill in the University application form straight away. However, your chances of success will be greatly enhanced, and the processing of your application considerably speeded up, if you first consider the following points.
Before you apply, you should have some fairly clear idea of which area of Mathematics you would like to do your research in. It is not necessary that you have a particular and very detailed research project in mind, but the general direction, e.g. Computational Fluid Dynamics or Operational Research, should be clear.
Next try to make sure that research in your area of choice is in fact done in the Cardiff School of Mathematics, so it will be possible to find a suitable supervisor for you. A good starting point will be the research pages of the School. Note, however, that even if you cannot find your dream research project mentioned there, there is some chance that a researcher in a related field may be happy to supervise you. In case of doubt, please contact the Director of Postgraduate Research Studies. You are also encouraged to contact members of staff in your area of interest directly, which will help to identify a potential supervisor for your study and provide vital information for your outline of research.
Another important aspect to be considered is how you will fund your postgraduate study. In addition to living costs, tuition fees will need to be paid.
The School of Mathematics offers a very limited number of postgraduate studentships, usually for 1 October entry and subject to certain eligibility criteria. In addition, individual supervisors may have funding available through research grants, and you may be able to find other sources of funding depending on your personal background, e.g. state scholarships.
When to apply
Postgraduate research study in Mathematics offers great flexibility in terms of starting dates. There are four entry points per year, 1 October, 1 January, 1 April and 1 July. If you have a choice, 1 October is the preferred date to start your studies, as this fits best with academic term dates, training course dates etc. You can apply at any time during the year, but should allow at least 3 months for the processing of your application. If you wish to be considered for a School studentship, an early application (by about Easter for 1 October entry) is advisable. Note that you not need have finished your undergraduate degree at the time of your application. You should be close enough to completion, however, so that reasonably predictive academic references can be supplied and you are sure enough of your decision to undertake postgraduate study yourself.
After you applied
When your application has been received by the University Registry, it will be processed to verify your eligibility and to find a supervisor if possible. If your application is successful, you will receive an offer of a place as a Postgraduate Student. This offer may be conditional, e.g. requesting you to complete your undergraduate education with a certain minimum level degree or to provide evidence of English language proficiency.
Note that this offer is also subject to a satisfactory solution of the funding issue. For example, if you applied for funding through a School of Mathematics studentship, receiving an offer does not imply that you have been awarded a funded studentship. You will be notified of the award of a studentship separately, and if you should not be successful here, you can still take up the offer provided the tuition fees can be paid from another source.
Once you have decided to take the offer, it is essential that you notify the University Registry by replying to the offer letter. You will then be entred as a prospective student and contacted with details for your enrolment in due course.