About the course
The MSc in Mathematical Sciences, known as the Oxford Master's in Mathematical Sciences (OMMS), provides a broad and flexible training in mathematical sciences and gives students with a keen interest in the mathematical sciences the chance to study a selection of interesting and varied master's-level courses.
Oxford has a world-class reputation in the mathematical sciences, and this master's offers students the opportunity to join Oxford's current fourth-year undergraduates and to work with an international group of peers, including other mathematical leaders of the future.
This course draws on subjects in mathematics, statistics and computer science: from number theory, geometry and algebra to genetics and mathematical physiology; from probability and mathematical geoscience to data mining and machine learning. You have the opportunity to choose from many options, tailoring the programme to your individual interests and requirements. This course runs from the beginning of October through to the end of June.
Students on the course can expect to learn a range of mathematics and/or statistics and to use this knowledge in the solution of complex problems in the mathematical sciences. The dissertation provides an opportunity to develop research techniques as well as presentation and scientific communication skills.
Teaching and learning
You will attend at least six units' worth of courses (with one unit corresponding to a 16-hour lecture course supported by classes) in addition to writing a dissertation (worth two units). You will be encouraged to work collaboratively in classes, to develop your understanding of the material. Those wishing to extend themselves further might take one or two additional courses.
Depending on how many courses you take in total and how they split between terms, you can expect to attend two, three or four (or, in exceptional cases, five) lecture courses per term. Each lecture course has two one hour lectures per week supplemented by four 90 minute classes per term.
The remainder of your study time in the first two terms should be spent on self-study, consolidating the material covered in lectures, working through the problem sheets set for each class and working independently on your dissertation. In the third term you will mostly work independently on your revision for exams, although guidance will also be available to help structure your studies.
The MSc offers a substantial opportunity for independent study and research in the form of a dissertation. The dissertation is undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor and will typically involve investigating and writing in a particular area of mathematical sciences, without the requirement (while not excluding the possibility) of obtaining original results. A dissertation gives students the opportunity to develop broader transferable skills in the processes of organising, communicating, and presenting their work, and will equip students well for further research or for a wide variety of other careers.
You can expect to meet your dissertation supervisor several times over the first two terms. This may be a mix of group and individual supervision. You will be expected to give a short presentation on your dissertation when your project is completed.
Please note that this course is not suitable for students whose primary focus is mathematical finance. These students should apply to the MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Mathematical Institute and the Department of Statistics and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Mathematical Institute and the Department of Statistics.
The majority of lecture courses on the master’s are assessed by invigilated written examinations, although a minority of courses are assessed by a take-home exam known as a mini-project. The dissertation work culminates in a written report that constitutes two of the minimum eight units you are required to take to complete the course.
Recent graduates of the MSc have taken on roles in a variety of industries including finance, software engineering, education and scientific research. The MSc also provides good preparation for doctoral studies and some of our graduates have taken this route.
Changes to this course and your supervision
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic, epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in mathematics, statistics, data science and machine learning or a related discipline.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.
If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
GRE General Test scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
- Research or work experience in the proposed area of specialisation may be an advantage.
- Publications are not expected.
English language proficiency
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.5||7.0|
TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'
(Institution code: 0490)
*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
†Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.
Declaring extenuating circumstances
If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.
You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including an official transcript and a CV/résumé. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Technical interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements published under that heading.
References and supporting documents submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about how applications are assessed.
Shortlisting and selection
Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:
- socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot selection procedure and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
- country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
- protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.
Initiatives to improve access to graduate study
This course is taking part in a continuing pilot programme to improve the selection procedure for graduate applications, in order to ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly.
For this course, socio-economic data (where it has been provided in the application form) will be used to contextualise applications at the different stages of the selection process. Further information about how we use your socio-economic data can be found in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.
If you wish, you may submit an additional contextual statement (using the instructions in the How to apply section of this page) to provide further information on your socio-economic background or personal circumstances in support of your application. Further information about how your contextual statement will be used can be found in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.
Processing your data for shortlisting and selection
Admissions panels and assessors
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
Other factors governing whether places can be offered
The following factors will also govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the About section of this page;
- the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
- minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.
Offer conditions for successful applications
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about offers and conditions.
In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also be required to meet the following requirements:
If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.
Disclosure of criminal convictions
In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.
Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
Some postgraduate research students in science, engineering and technology subjects will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate prior to applying for a Student visa (under the Student Route). For some courses, the requirement to apply for an ATAS certificate may depend on your research area.
The Mathematical Institute’s home is the purpose-built Andrew Wiles Building, opened in 2013. The building provides ample teaching facilities for lectures and classes. The mezzanine level is home to six lecture theatres and six classrooms, as well as a café and study spaces. There is also a student workroom located on this level which contains a number of computers and desks to facilitate quiet study. The Mathematical Institute has Wi-Fi available throughout the building and offers IT support for students.
Students taking courses or dissertation topics in the relevant subject area will have access to the various facilities at the Department of Statistics. The building is newly refurbished and contains spaces for study and collaborative learning, including a large interaction and social area on the ground floor. The Department of Statistics has two lecture rooms and two classrooms, as well as an IT teaching lab. Students also have access to the IT and library resources at the Department of Statistics.
The Mathematical Institute is proud to have received an Athena SWAN silver renewal award in 2021, reflecting its commitment to promoting diversity and to creating a working environment in which students and staff alike can achieve their full potential. In addition, the Department of Statistics was awarded an Athena SWAN bronze award in 2017. The departments offer extensive support to students, from regular skills training and career development sessions to a variety of social events in a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.
Departments offering this course
This course is offered jointly by the following departments:
Mathematics has been studied in Oxford since the University was first established in the 12th century. The Mathematical Institute aims to preserve and expand mathematical culture through excellence in teaching and research.
The Mathematical Institute offers a wide range of graduate courses, including both taught master’s courses and research degrees. Research and teaching covers the spectrum of pure and applied mathematics with researchers working in fields including:
- number theory
- mathematical physics
- mathematical finance
- mathematical modelling
- mathematical biology
- numerical analysis.
Graduate students are an integral part of the department, interacting with each other and with academic staff as part of a vibrant community that strives to further mathematical study. As a graduate student at Oxford you will benefit from excellent resources, extensive training opportunities and supportive guidance from your supervisor or course director.
The Mathematical Institute has strong ties with other University departments including Computer Science, Statistics and Physics, teaching several courses jointly. Strong links with industrial and other partners are also central to the department.
Department of Statistics
The University's Department of Statistics is a world leader in research in probability, bioinformatics, mathematical genetics and statistical methodology, including computational statistics, machine learning and data science.
The department offers an MSc by Research in Statistics, a DPhil in Statistics and a DPhil programme in statistical science, the latter delivered by the department's EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistical Science in Statistics and Machine Learning (known as StatML CDT). The department also admits graduates from the Mathematics of Random Systems CDT, Health Data Science CDT, and the Sustainable Approaches to Biomedical Science CDT, as well as other CDTs and Doctoral Training Programmes (DTPs).
As a research student you will be actively involved in a vibrant academic community by means of seminars, lectures, journal clubs, and social events. Research students are offered training in modern probability, stochastic processes, statistical methodology, computational methods and transferable skills, in addition to specialised topics relevant to specific application areas.
The department also offers a taught twelve-month MSc in Statistical Science, with a particular focus on modern computationally-intensive methods and their use in data analysis, which includes a dissertation component.
Much of the research in the Department of Statistics is either explicitly interdisciplinary or draws motivation from application areas, ranging from genetics, immunoinformatics, bioinformatics and cheminformatics, to finance and the social sciences.
In 2016 the department moved to a newly-renovated building in St Giles, providing excellent teaching facilities and creating a highly visible centre for statistics in Oxford. Oxford’s Mathematical Sciences submission came first in the UK on all criteria in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF).
The University expects to be able to offer over 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2024-25. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant December or January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential.
For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources.
Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of any college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages or below:
Please note that not all the colleges listed above may accept students on this course. For details of those which do, please refer to the College preference section of this page.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the Mathematical Institute website.
Annual fees for entry in 2024-25
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
Information about course fees
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on changes to fees and charges.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.
There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs. However, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Please note that, depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel or research expenses. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. The current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.
Students enrolled on this course will belong to both a department/faculty and a college. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 43 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as societies and permanent private halls (PPHs).
If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. Before deciding, we suggest that you read our brief introduction to the college system at Oxford and our advice about expressing a college preference. For some courses, the department may have provided some additional advice below to help you decide.
The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Mathematical Sciences:
Before you apply
Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide. If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance.
Application fee waivers
An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:
- applicants from low-income countries;
- refugees and displaced persons;
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and
- applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.
You are encouraged to check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver before you apply.
Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?
You do not need to make contact with the department before you apply but you are encouraged to visit the relevant departmental webpages to read any further information about your chosen course.
If you have any questions about the course, you are welcome to contact the Course Director, Dr Kathryn Gillow.
Completing your application
You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents.
For this course, the application form will include questions that collect information that would usually be included in a CV/résumé. You should not upload a separate document. If a separate CV/résumé is uploaded, it will be removed from your application.
If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.
Proposed field and title of research project
- Algebra, Geometry, Number Theory, Topology and Logic
- Analysis, Stochastic Analysis and Discrete Mathematics
- Applied Mathematics, Numerical Analysis and Computing
- Statistics, Probability, Data Science and Machine Learning
It is not necessary for you to identify a potential supervisor in your application.
Three overall, at least two of which must be academic
Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.
Your references will support your intellectual ability, academic achievement, academic potential, and motivation, particularly with regard to the mathematical sciences.
Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.
More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.
If you wish to provide a contextual statement with your application, you may also submit an additional statement to provide contextual information on your socio-economic background or personal circumstances in support of your application.
It is not necessary to anonymise this document, as we recognise that it may be necessary for you to disclose certain information in your statement. This statement will not be used as part of the initial academic assessment of applications at shortlisting, but may be used in combination with socio-economic data to provide contextual information during decision-making processes.
Please note, this statement is in addition to completing the 'Extenuating circumstances’ section of the standard application form.
You can find more information about the contextual statement on our page that provides details of the continuing pilot programme to improve the assessment procedure for graduate applications.
Statement of purpose/personal statement:
A maximum of 1,000 words
Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for your reasons for applying, evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study, commitment to the subject beyond the requirements of the degree course, capacity for sustained and intense work, reasoning ability, the ability to absorb abstract ideas and at a rapid pace and an indication of your intended pathway through the programme.