MSc in Mathematical Sciences | University of Oxford
The exterior of the Bodleian library
The exterior of the Bodleian library
(Image credit: Liam Peck / Graduate Photography Competition)

MSc in Mathematical Sciences

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; 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. 

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.

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.

This course runs from the beginning of October through to the end of June. 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 of approximately 25 to 35 pages and constitutes two of the minimum eight units you are required to take to complete the course.

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 Mathematical Institute is proud to have received an Athena SWAN silver award in 2017, reflecting its commitment to promoting diversity and to creating a working environment in which students and staff alike can achieve their full potential. The Department of Statistics is currently applying for a silver award. 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.

Supervision

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.

Graduate destinations

It is expected that graduates will pursue a rich diversity of careers across academia and a wide range of industries.

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. 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 sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Other courses you may wish to consider

If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.

All graduate courses offered by the Department of Statistics

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:

  • 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 requirement

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.

Detailed requirements - higher level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:

IELTS Academic7.5Minimum 7.0 per component
TOEFL iBT110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced191Minimum 185 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency191Minimum 185 per component

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide

Supporting documents 

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Technical interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.

Supervision

Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

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.

After an offer is made

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements: 

Financial Declaration

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 Tier 4 visa. Further information can be found on our Tier 4 (General) Student visa page. For some courses, the requirement to apply for an ATAS certificate may depend on your research area.

Resources

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 wifi available throughout the building and offers IT support for students.

For those students taking courses or dissertation topics in the relevant subject area, you 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 will have also have access to the IT and library resources at the department.

Funding

There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2020-21

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£10,145
Overseas£26,405

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 likely increases 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.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Additional information

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.

Living costs

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 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 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. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

How to apply

You are welcome to contact the Course Director, Dr Kathryn Gillow; however, this is not a necessary prerequisite to the application process.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

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.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose/personal statement:
Up to one page

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.

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.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, all 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. Academic references are required.

When completing your application, you will be asked for your ‘Proposed field and title of research project’. Please choose one preferred subject area from the following list, in order to give a broad indication of your academic area(s) of interest:

  • 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.

This choice will allow the departments to identify for you a supervisor/academic advisor who will be best placed to advise you on potential pathways in those areas. Please note that this choice will in no way limit your options. After arriving, you will be completely free to pursue other directions.

Start or continue an application

Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.

Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.

Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and plan your time to submit your application well in advance.

Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.

Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).

Application GuideApply

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