- Schools & departments
Depending on the field of study you are interested in, you may be able to apply for a pre-defined PhD project, or you may need to develop your own research idea.
Research in the fields of medicine, science and engineering tend to require you to:
- apply for a project that already has specific, pre-defined aims
- compete for a place on a partially or fully funded programme (often with competitive application processes).
Research in the fields of arts, humanities and social sciences tend to require you to:
- develop your own research idea (be prepared to adapt your original idea)
- source your own funding, although some funded projects may be available.
PhD research projects
Doctoral training centres and partnerships, developing your own research idea, professional doctorates.
Research proposal guidelines
Your research proposal is an essential part of your application that will be used to assess your suitability for the PhD programme, and link you to an appropriate academic colleague who can support you throughout your studies.
When submitting your proposal please make sure it meets the following requirements so we can properly assess your suitability for the programme. It should:
- Have a title
- Explain your particular topic or question you wish to study
- Briefly summarise existing research on the topic, making reference to publications as appropriate
- Give a clear outline of the research you intend to do, with a timeframe where possible
Please ensure your proposal meets our word limit requirements. These are different depending on which PhD programme you are applying for, so please ensure you check this carefully.
For those applying to PhD with Integrated Study in Accounting/Finance/Management or to the MSc by Research in Management, the research proposal must be between 1,000 and 1,500 words (excluding references and appendices).
For those applying to PhD Business Economics/Financial Technology/Management Science and Analytics the research proposal must be between 3,000 and 5,000 words (excluding references and appendices).
If you have any questions about the proposal word limit please contact the PGR Admissions Team at [email protected]
- If accepted, you are not committed to following your research proposal exactly, although any major changes must be agreed with your supervisory team
- Applications received without a research proposal will not be considered
- A personal statement does not meet the requirements of a research proposal
- Your research proposal may be submitted to the Turnitin plagiarism detection system
Writing an effective proposal
A weak proposal can lead to an application being unsuccessful. To help you stand out from the crowd we have created a detailed guide on how to get started.
How to write a good research proposal
Schools & departments
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- Manage and publish your research
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- The University of Edinburgh
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This guide brings together information about Open Access Resources and Open Educational Resources. It aims to make Open Access resources easier to find and use for study, teaching and research.
Finding open Theses and Dissertations
University of edinburgh and uk theses.
Edinburgh Research Archive - Full text electronic copies of most University of Edinburgh PhD theses can be found online in the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA). The collection comprises 23,500 items and includes MD theses from the 1700s through to PhDs recently awarded in 2020.
EThoS: e-theses online service - This service from the British Library aims to provide a national aggregated record of all doctoral theses awarded by UK Higher Education institutions, and free access to the full text of as many theses as possible for use by researchers.
Google Scholar Search
If you know the details of the thesis you wish to consult then an effective way to find the full text is via Google Scholar. Search for the full title in quotes, followed by the author last name, and/or date if known.
DART-Europe is a searchable database of electronic research theses held in European repositories. It covers around 586 Universities in 29 European countries.
EBSCO Open Dissertations is a free database with records for more than 1.4 million electronic theses and dissertations from more than 320 universities around the world.
Global ETD Search from the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) contains around 6 million records, the majority of which are open, but some may not be publicly available.
Open Access Theses & Dissertations currently indexes around 5 million open access theses and dissertations from 1100 institutions worldwide.
Making your thesis open access
Theses and dissertations from the University of Edinburgh are published online in the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA). In 2020, UoE theses were downloaded 829,804 times from ERA (source IRUS-UK download report). The University has an expectation that a PhD thesis is a document available for public consultation. As such, unless a legitimate reason for restricting access to the thesis exists, all PhD theses will be made publicly available on the internet. Masters dissertations are not routinely made available online, but exceptional dissertations can be made open access.
PhD and other doctoral theses
Only Masters Dissertations from the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences and the School of Geosciences are routinely deposited in the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA). If you are from a different School you can make your master dissertation open access by depositing in ERA. You can do this by logging in with your EASE credentials, then selecting your Schools Thesis & Dissertation Collection and follow the prompts for submitting a new item to the collection.
- Schools & departments
- What happens next?
- Life as a PhD Student
- School of Mathematics
- Studying Here
- Postgraduate Research Studies
How to apply for a PhD
PhD Student Applications
The postgraduate research degree offered at the School of Mathematics is the PhD. The PhD programme is three years in length with an additional year to write up and submit your thesis should it be needed. However, please note if you are offered a fully funded place, you will receive four years of funding (stipend and all fees). The students admitted typically have an MSc degree, or 1 st class honours degree (or its international equivalent). From the start of their studies, they are assigned a main supervisor with whom they work closely throughout their degree programme and a second supervisor who provides additional help and pastoral support. Applications are invited for PhD studies for September each year. Occasionally students are admitted at other times of the year by special arrangement. To request the possibility of admission at another time of the year, please email the Graduate School with further details of your request.
Applications must be received by Monday 22 January 2024 in order to be considered for School and ESPSRC funding opportunities. Late applications may also be considered if there are still places. There is no need to submit a separate application for these.
If you are applying for EDCS or the China Scholarship, please ensure you check the relevant application deadline. These scholarships do require a separate application.
We accept applications from students who have secured external funding at all times of the year - Please make this clear on your application, and if you are in contact with a potential supervisor.
How to Apply
Step 1: meet our entry requirements.
Our minimum entry requirements are a 1 st class Honours degree (or its international equivalent) OR a 2:1 Honours degree (or its international equivalent) plus a Masters degree (or its international equivalent) in a relevant subject. Typically, candidates have a good understanding of the field they propose to study, and some research experience.
Students applying for a research degree should identify their research interests and determine in which research group they wish to carry out their work. They are encouraged to contact staff members prior to their application in order to identify possible research projects and supervisors. However, it is not essential for you to have secured a supervisor before submitting your application. You can note proposed supervisor(s) on your appliction form.
Non-UK candidates may be required to provide a evidence of proficiency in the English language. For full details on English language requirements, please see this page . Applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:
an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration ( UKVI list of majority English speaking countries )
- IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
- TOEFL-iBT : total 92 with at least 20 in each section
- PTE(A) : total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
- CAE and CPE : total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
- Trinity ISE : ISE II with distinctions in all four components
Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than 3.5 years old at the date of the beginning of your degree programme. English language test certificates must be no more than 2 years old at the beginning of your degree programme, or 3.5 years for CAE & CPE.
Step 2: Apply online
Make an online application to the appropriate PhD programme(s) (see below) . You will be asked to upload documents at the start of the application process.
The documentation that we require you to upload to your application is:
- Interim or final transcript(s) - (depending on what stage you are at in your studies) of your Undergraduate Degree, and Masters Degree, if applicable.
- Final degree certificate(s) - for your Undergraduate Degree, and Masters Degree, if applicable.
- Two academic references to be provided directly by referees. Enter their names and email addresses in the required areas, and an automated email will be forwarded to them requesting a reference upload. We will not accept references uploaded by applicants.
- A CV - You can upload this in the place of a research proposal, which is not required for your application.
- English Language Test Certificate (where applicable) - please see here .
Where you are asked for your project proposal, you may ignore that request, the School of Mathematics does not require a research proposal . Although the EUCLID application system will request that you upload one, you can just ignore this request. The reason that you will be asked for one is that the system applies to all Schools throughout the University and some Schools do require a research proposal. In the place of a research proposal, please upload an up to date CV. There is no need to upload any certificates for the degree you are currently studying (if you have not been issued one) - instead, official interim transcripts will be required.
Official translations of any documents not in written English are required.
On the application form, where it asks for funding information - please enter 'School of Mathematics'. Each application will automatically be considered for one of our scholarships. Please indicate any other potential source of funding you have, have applied for or are intending to apply for (see Step 3). If you have secured external funding, please provide evidence of the funding along with your application.
Step 3: Funding
Please review and apply for all applicable sources of funding noted on the What funding is available for your PhD page.
Please apply via the research pages below:
- Algebra PhD
- Analysis PhD
- Applied and Computational Mathematics PhD
- Geometry and Topology PhD
- Mathematical Physics PhD
- Optimization and Operational Research PhD
- Probability & Stochastic Analysis PhD
- Statistics PhD
- Mathematics Education
- Schools & departments
PhD in Data Science
Information about the PhD in Data Science.
Progression to the PhD in Data Science
Progression from the first year MSc by Research to your PhD is contingent on making satisfactory academic progress during the first year. In general, if you have a mark of 65% or above on both your coursework and dissertation, we will consider this evidence of satisfactory progress. If your marks are below this, you may still be allowed to progress, but only if we can be otherwise satisfied that you have the ability to successfully complete a PhD. These decisions will be taken by the CDT in Data Science Executive Committee, most likely towards the end of August.
Data Science Executive Committee
In addition to the successful completion of the MSc by Research programme (Year 1), progression to the PhD in Data Science is contingent on the approval of an outline PhD project proposal proposal within the first few months of Year 2. Guidelines and deadline dates can be found here:
Preparing & submitting your outline PhD project proposal
Actions to take once your outline PhD project proposal has been approved
PhD Guidelines & Milestones
After the approval of their PhD projects, CDT in Data Science students are governed by the same procedures as any other PhD student, as described in the Informatics Graduate School (IGS) webpages, and should ensure they meet the guidelines as outlined in the Monitoring links below:
- Information for Informatics PhD students
- PhD yearly timelines
- Formal student monitoring
- Researcher's handbook
- Archived PhD theses
- Submitting your thesis
- Finally, when you leave...
It is your responsibility to ensure you meet the requirements and milestones for PhD students and should discuss any questions you have with your supervisor(s).
Pastoral Care: Your supervisors, and/or your 3rd panel member, can also provide you with pastoral support should you need it at any point during your research. In addition the deputy director of the CDT has the primary role of representing student interests and providing a one-to-one point of contact for any CDT student who has any issue they wish to talk about. You also have access to any member of staff in the Graduate School, in particular the Head of Student Services, the Deputy Head of Graduate School and CDT Administrator.
Student Counselling: https://www.ed.ac.uk/student-counselling
Resolving Problems: http://web.inf.ed.ac.uk/infweb/student-services/igs/phd/student-support/resolving-problems
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Philosophy PhD thesis collection
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The PhD theses in this collection must be cited in line with the usual academic conventions. These articles are protected under full copyright law. You may download it for your own personal use only.
Humean constitutivism: a desire-based account of rational agency and the foundations of morality , predictive embodied concepts: an exploration of higher cognition within the predictive processing paradigm , impacts of childhood psychological maltreatment on adult mental health , epistemic fictionalism , thinking for the bound and dead: beyond man3 towards a new (truly) universal theory of human victory , function-first approach to doubt , abilities, freedom, and inputs: a time traveller's tale , concept is a container , analysing time-consciousness: a new account of the experienced present , emotion, perception, and relativism in vision , justice as a point of equipoise: an aristotelian approach to contemporary corporate ethics , asymmetric welfarism about meaning in life , mindreading in context , economic attitudes and individual difference: replication and extension , mindful love: the role of mindfulness in willingness to sacrifice in romantic relationships , embodied metacognition: how we feel our hearts to know our minds , temporal structure of the world , every body’s gotta eat: why autonomous systems can’t live on prediction-error minimization alone , radical pluralist theory of well-being: towards a new pluralist conception of welfare , shape of subjectivity: an active inference approach to consciousness and altered self-experience .
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