MSc by Research Mathematics

Duration Full time 1-2 years
Part time 2-3 years
Split Site available
  • Mathematics
LocationCornwall (Penryn), Exeter (Streatham)
Start date September, January or April


As a Masters by Research student in Mathematics or Statistics you will join the Mathematics Research Institute within the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. The Institute brings together our internationally leading research in various areas of applied mathematics and statistics; in particular, in climate and environmental modelling, geophysical and astrophysical fluid dynamics, dynamical systems and control, and our high quality activity in pure mathematics.

Research areas

A summary of our main areas of research focus is provided here. The College research webpages provide more comprehensive details about current research projects. Please see our Postgraduate Research Opportunities page for the latest PhD studentships available. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the College staff profiles list.

Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics

This centre provides a focus for a wide range of research activity in applied mathematics, theoretical geophysics and astrophysics, and numerical modelling relevant to weather, climate and magnetic field generation, all of which are determined by fluid flow from local to planetary scales. These are important for understanding and predicting a wide range of physical processes, from the flows within the sun that generate its magnetic field to global weather systems on the Earth and other planets.

Centre for Systems, Dynamic and Control

The Centre for Systems, Dynamics and Control at the University of Exeter is a focus for interdisciplinary research on the modelling of complex systems, dynamical systems, control theory and their applications.

Climate Change and Sustainable Futures

Climate change is likely to be the most significant environmental phenomenon of the 21st century. There is increasing recognition of the need for interdisciplinary work to tackle the issues it raises. Exeter has developed a strong position in this field both in understanding how climate change is developing and its effects upon the natural world.

Exeter Climate Systems

We are a rapidly growing centre of excellence in the application of mathematics and statistics to key challenges facing weather and climate science. Our unique mathematical approach uses concepts from various branches of mathematics such as fluid dynamics, dynamical systems theory, control theory, extreme value theory, etc. to help improve fundamental understanding and prediction of weather and climate and their interaction with society.

Extrasolar Planets

Exeter has established a centre for interdisciplinary research into the physics of planets outside our solar system, unique in the UK. Bringing together mathematicians and astrophysicists, our activities are based on expertise in theory, numerical simulations, and observations. We are establishing strong links with the Met Office in order to apply their sophisticated climate prediction models to extrasolar planets.

Pure Mathematics

Pure Mathematics research at Exeter is mostly concerned with Number Theory, Arithmetic and Algebraic Geometry and related areas. Particular areas of interest at Exeter include p-adic cohomology and the classification of p-divisible formal groups, fundamental groups of curves, lattices and codes, combinatorics and additive number theory, Galois module structure of rings of integers, and Hopf-Galois structures on field extensions.

Systems Biology

At the University of Exeter we view systems biology as encompassing diverse approaches with the aim of using systems thinking to answer key biological questions. The questions we address include all levels of biological organisation from molecular networks to organisms to ecosystems.


The College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences has excellent teaching and research resources and has recently invested £2.8 million to provide new academic and social facilities. You will have access to our fully-equipped research centres, comprehensive laboratories and workshops and computer facilities including wireless networking in most areas.

The excellent computing facilities are based around a Unix/Linux system networked to the University computer system. We have our own supercomputing facility built around a Beowulf cluster which is used, for example, by students modelling astrophysical and geophysical fluid flows. The college has a brand new study area with core texts for courses, individual rooms for study groups to meet, and wireless connection for laptops and LCD TVs to display presentations.

The working environment for postgraduate students is friendly and welcoming: each research student has a desk in a shared or open plan office equipped with a networked computer terminal. We provide training in research methodology and in relevant computer software, bibliographical resourcing and mathematical word-processing. You will have access to state-of-the art facilities for remote collaboration and advanced PhD training via the APTS and MAGIC consortia.


Our graduates enter a wide variety of fields where their analytical skills are valued both in business and in the public sector. Our postgraduates benefit from strong links and active collaboration with external organisations such as the Met Office in Exeter; one of the UK’s major users of advanced mathematics and statistics.

We have an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students compete very successfully in the employment market. In addition to the College’s Employability Officer, Career Zone gives access to a wealth of business contacts, support and training as well as the opportunity to meet potential employers at our regular Careers Fairs.

Postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you complete a successful research degree and acts as a springboard for your research career.

Entry requirements 2017

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.0. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 87 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

55 overall with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

Contact us

Postgraduate research admissions

Phone: +44 (0) 1392 722730