MSc in Mathematical Sciences | University of Oxford
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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, essential for research and innovation in the 21st century.

The MSc in Mathematical Sciences spans interdisciplinary applications of mathematics as well as recognizing fundamental questions and themes. Oxford has a world-class reputation in the mathematical sciences, and this master's offers students the opportunity 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 cryptography; from probability and mathematical geoscience to data mining and machine learning. You have the opportunity to choose from many different pathways, tailoring the programme to your individual interests and requirements. Examples of pathways include:

  • research in fundamental mathematics
  • data science
  • interdisciplinary research in fluid and solid mechanics
  • mathematical biology
  • industrially focused mathematical modelling
  • (stochastic) partial differential equations.

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 master's 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 organizing, communicating, and presenting their work, and will equip students well for further research or for a wide variety of other careers.

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.

This course runs from the beginning of October through to the end of June. Performance on the master's is assessed by invigilated written examinations and mini projects, and by the dissertation.

Please note that this course is not suitable for students whose primary focus is on mathematical finance. These students should apply to the MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance.

Graduate destinations

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

Related courses

Changes to the course

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

Entry requirements for entry in 2018-19

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, 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 you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

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.

Please note that as part of the your statement of purpose/personal statement you will be asked to choose a preferred subject area in order to give a broad indication of your academic area(s) of interest. Full details including the list of subject areas are provided under 'How to apply'. This 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.  Note that this will in no way limit your options: after arrival you will be completely free to pursue other directions.

Performance at interview(s)

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

Publications

Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

Research or working experience in the proposed research may be an advantage.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the the Mathematical Institute and Department of Statistics  to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the the Mathematical Institute and 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 the Mathematical Institute and Department of Statistics.

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, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

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.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

The Mathematical Institute provides the following facilities:

  • the mezzanine level of the Andrew Wiles Building houses a cafe and teaching and studying spaces. There are six lecture theatres and six class rooms. The largest lecture theatre can hold up to 363 people and all class rooms can hold 24 people;
  • IT Support.


The Department of Statistics provides the following facilities:

  • a newly-refurbished building which has spaces for study and collaborative learning, including a large interaction and social area on the ground floor. The building also has two lecture rooms, an IT teaching lab, and two seminar/teaching rooms;
  • IT facilities for statistics dissertations.

Funding

There are over 1,100 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

For students applying to programmes within the MPLS Division at Oxford, Research Council and other funding opportunities available, subject to eligibility. These opportunities are included in the Fees, funding and scholarship search.

You may also be interested in departmental funding opportunities. Further details can be found on the Mathematical Institute website and the Department of Statistics website.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2018-19

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£6,270£3,112£9,382
Overseas£19,915£3,112£23,027

The fees shown above are the annual tuition and college fees for this course for entry in the stated academic year; 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.

Tuition and college 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 tuition and college fees).

Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.

For more information about tuition fees, college 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 tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2018-19 academic year, the range of likely living costs is between c. £1,015 and £1,555 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.

How to apply

You are welcome to contact academics involved, however this is not a necessary prerequisite to the application process. If you are unsure of who to contact you should send an e-mail to the Academic Assistant.

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.

As part of your personal statement you should choose one preferred subject area from the following list of four subject areas, in order to give a broad indication of your academic area(s) of interest:

  • Algebra, Geometry, Number Theory, Topology and Logic
  • Analysis, Stochastics, Discrete Mathematics and Information
  • Applied Mathematics, Numerical Analysis and Computing
  • Statistics, Data Science and Machine Learning

This 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. Note that this will in no way limit your options: after arrival you will be completely free to pursue other directions.

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.

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