The School of Mathematics offers an exceptionally wide range of opportunities for postgraduate studies in mathematics.

The programme aims to offer knowledge and expertise for a career in the academic world, or to pursue a variety of other opportunities in which a strong mathematical background is important. Past students are on the staff of universities in the UK and abroad, and senior statisticians and managers in industry and business.

Available research areas

  • number theory
  • functional analysis and spectral theory of ordinary and partial differential operators
  • calculus of variations and partial differential equations
  • numerical analysis
  • theoretical and computational fluid dynamics
  • operator algebras and non commutative geometry
  • algebraic topology
  • algebraic geometry
  • combinatorics
  • quantum field theory and statistical mechanics
  • conformal field theory and vertex operator algebras
  • image processing
  • operational research
  • time series analysis
  • probability theory and statistics.

Distinctive features

  • Lively research environment, extensive seminar programme.
  • Conference and workshop support, including annual Welsh Mathematics Colloquium.
  • Optional participation in undergraduate teaching, including HEA accreditation.
  • Colloquia are held regularly and each research group has a weekly research seminar.
  • The School hosts and participates in frequent workshops organised by WIMSC research clusters, with which the research groups are associated.
  • The many collaborative projects with groups in other institutions in the UK and abroad, bring a steady stream of distinguished visitors to the School.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD, MPhil
Full-time duration PhD 3 years; MPhil 1 year
Part-time duration PhD 5 years; MPhil 2 years
Start dates January, April, July, October

As a research student, in the first and second year you will follow an agreed programme of lectures and reading courses agreed with your supervisor to introduce you to research skills and methods, and to advance your knowledge in your chosen field. These include formal assessment.

This includes a broad choice of postgraduate courses provided through the national collaborative networks:

  • MAGIC (for pure/applied mathematics)
  • NATCOR (for operational research)
  • APTS (for statistics).

Regular seminars in all subject areas, as well as the Cardiff Mathematics Colloquia and the yearly Welsh Mathematics Colloquium, provide insight into cutting-edge research.

Moreover, research students benefit from a carefully developed graduate program including computational, presentational and subject-specific skills.

Students will also write a substantial end-of-year report and give a seminar in the department.

The PhD programme leads the student, through taught courses and individual project supervision, to the frontier of an area of mathematics, with the aim of creating a piece of original research, written up in the doctoral thesis. In the process, the student acquires essential research, problem-solving and communication skills. The MPhil programme is similar, but less ambitious due to its more limited scope; work on an MPhil can lead on to completing a PhD.

Skills developed

In addition to in-depth knowledge of a mathematical research area, PhD students gain general research and presentation skills, and (optionally) undergraduate teaching skills, HEA accreditation possible.

The School of Mathematics offers an exceptionally wide range of opportunities for postgraduate studies in mathematics. The academic staff are engaged in research projects in fields that are as varied as number theory, functional analysis and spectral theory in pure mathematics, image processing, operational research, statistics and quantum field theory.

Many research projects undertaken by members of staff in the School are being generously funded by the public and private sectors. The leader of the Operator Algebras and Non-Commutative Geometry group is the co-ordinator of the European Network on Non-Commutative Geometry funded by the EU TMR programme. Other sources of funding include EPSRC, Leverhulme Trust, NATO, INTAS, Ministry of Defence, Wellcome Trust, GlaxoSmithKline, Proctor and Gamble.

We have close links with several universities and institutions abroad. These include the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, the Australian National University and the Australian Road Research Board in Melbourne, Ecole Superieure d'Electricite in Gif-Sur Yvette, ETH in Zurich and universities in Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Malaysia and USA.

Research environment

The individual research groups run weekly seminars with guest speakers, and postgraduate research students regularly attend the seminar in their research area, and are encouraged to profit from talks in other areas, too. We organise about three mathematics colloquia with distinguished guest speakers per term.

Moreover, Cardiff is the venue for a number of international workshops and conferences organised by members of the School , thus giving postgraduate students a welcome opportunity to learn about world-leading current research. They are also encouraged to take part and present their results at major conferences in the UK and abroad.

At the annual Welsh Mathematics Colloquium at Gregynog, postgraduate students can showcase their work in the group of Welsh Mathematics departments.


Informal contact with potential supervisors in the School of Mathematics is recommended before applying.

Research areas

Applied Mathematics

Research in this area spans: Wave propagation in inhomogeneous media; Homogenisation; Fluid mechanics; Structural and solid mechanics; Numerical analysis and scientific computing; Applied mathematical modelling; Memory effects; Inverse problems; Integral transforms.

Operational Research

Research in this area spans: Modelling of traffic flow; Healthcare modelling; Modelling of the spread of infectious diseases; Queueing theory; Scheduling and timetabling problems; Metaheuristics; Discrete optimisation.

Probability and Statistics

Research in this area spans: Multivariate statistical analysis; Time series analysis; Statistical modelling in market research; Optimal experimental design; Stochastic global optimisation; Change point detection; Probabilistic methods in search and number theory; Fisheries; Medical statistics; Random fields; Mathematical finance.

Pure Mathematics

Research in this area spans: Ordinary and partial differential equations; Functional analysis; Analytical and computational spectral theory; Quantum mechanics; Number theory and its applications; Mathematical physics; Operator algebras; Algebraic geometry.


This project will develop knowledge and skills in several general areas of algebraic, geometric and enumerative combinatorics, including polytope theory, poset theory and symmetric function theory.

Machine Learning; Data Mining

This project will focus on the interaction between mathematics and neuroscience and applications of deep learning to medical data.

Combinatorial optimisation

This project will focus combinatorial optimisation.

Interger Optimisation

This project will develop novel algebraic and geometric methods that can be successfully applied to study integer optimisation problems.

Spectral element mimetic least squares PGD method

The project will develop new numerical discretisations for solving PDEs that can subsequently be applied to problems in fluid mechanics and will build on current expertise in the School.

Machine learning and data mining

On this project, you'll learn several areas of IT and mathematics, including data mining, machine learning and analysis on graphs.

Stochastic Runoff Models

This project will develop stochastic runoff models, which use randomisation of flow direction to capture the effects of micro-topography.

Game Theory

This project will aim to build on this research by exploring novel reinforcement learning algorithms and/or other techniques from machine learning.

Vertex algebras and lie theory

This is a pure mathematics project related to Lie theory and vertex algebras as well as their connection to the mathematics of conformal field theory.

Hawkes processes and financial applications

This project aims to answer novel but cutting edge questions in multivariate Hawkes processes.

Spectral theory of differential operators

Research on this theme is characterised by a combination of functional and harmonic analysis with classical real and complex analysis, special functions and the asymptotic analysis of differential equations.

The Mathematics of Conformal Field Theory

The core of this project will explore the mathematical structure of conformal field theory.

Modelling of sporting events using artificial intelligence and statistical methods for big data

This project aims at systematizing and comparing different models and applying them for predicting outcomes of different sporting events

Nonlinear acoustic-gravity wave theory

This project focuses on the recent finding that acoustic and gravity wave motion could exchange energy via resonant triad nonlinear interactions.

Early detection of tsunami by acoustic-gravity waves

This project will develop various mathematical techniques and methods, with a focus on perturbation methods, asymptotic analysis, and separation of variables, to solve the general wave equation for a three-dimensional space.

Metaheuristic methods for probabilistic graphical models

This project will aim to develop approaches for learning probabilistic graphical models that can be used for classification problems and to explore causal relationships between attributes.

Spectral approximation on metric graphs, on manifolds, and for systems of differential equations

This project will focus on the spectral approximation on metric graphs, on manifolds, and for systems of differential equations.

Radiation of acoustic-gravity waves by an impacting object

This PhD project will focus on developing the computational mathematical model into a three-dimensional space.

Holomorphic Representations of the Braid Group

The project will deal with certain ‘holomorphic’ representations of braid groups and study the dependence on an underlying ‘R-matrix’.

Low rank approximations of matrices with a focus on statistical applications

This project will investigate the structured low-rank approximation (SLRA) problem.

A broad variety of careers in academia or industry.


A small number of EPSRC-funded doctoral training grants are available for UK/EU applicants, awarded on a competitive basis, subject to research council residence requirements.

Name Deadline
EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership PhD in Mathematics 30 March 2018
EPSRC DTP PhD in Mathematics: Anomaly Detection for Large Complex Data 31 July 2018
KESS2 PhD in Mathematics: Improving usability and acceptability of mobile health applications for congestive heart failure patients 20 April 2018

Tuition fees

UK and EU students

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Suitable for graduates in Mathematics (or a suitable related field). A 1st or upper 2nd class UK Honours degree, or equivalent is required.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS). Please see our English Language Requirements guidance for more details.


Apply now
Tuition fee discount of £3,400 for eligible Welsh and EU students starting a master’s degree in September 2018.

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