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Graduate Studies

The Centre for Particle Theory is a combined research group in the Mathematics and Physics Departments forming one of the largest particle theory groups in the UK. Both departments accept students for the Ph.D. or M.Sc. degrees.

Currently over 50 postgraduate students from around the world are enrolled in the postgraduate programme. Students receive a thorough training in Particle Physics through a mixture of formal lectures and personal supervision.
Postgraduate Information
Old books with graduation cap on top



The CPT runs an MSc in Particles, Strings and Cosmology. This is a uniquely broad and comprehensive introduction to particle theory, covering the full spectrum from phenomenology to formal theory and the interface with mathematics. The aim of the course is to provide an opportunity to explore the subject in depth; it is an excellent preparation for PhD studies in theoretical physics, and also develops skills which are valuable for a range of careers. The course runs over twelve months, and involves two terms of intensive lecture courses from October to March, and a dissertation prepared under the personal guidance of a member of our extensive staff.  For an extensive description consult our programme.


In the first year, students for the PhD usually attend the graduate lecture courses, and take the examinations in January and April, which form part of the first year assessment. Each student will be assigned a supervisory team, who will be responsible for the research programme followed by the student in the remainder of their period of study.

The degree is awarded on successful completion of a thesis based on original research. Non UK students may be required to register for the MSc in the first instance and subsequently convert to the PhD, subject to satisfactory progress during the first year.

Maths Postgraduate information

The Department of Mathematical Sciences is one of the leading research units in the country
Equations on blackboard

Physics Postgraduate information

Working alongside world class academics who are leading cutting-edge research will give you first-hand experience of top quality projects in physics and astronomy


Applications should be submitted via the graduate school's online application system. Up to date information about applying for a PhD in the Maths Department can be found here.


We strongly encourage all applications by December 15. Research Council studentships will be decided in February/March, so we should have all your materials by February 1 at the very latest if you want to be considered for RCUK awards. Note that other funding sources, particularly for international students, may have much earlier deadlines.

Research proposal

The application form requests a research proposal. We are not expecting a detailed proposal, but it is useful to give us an idea here of what interests you, and why you want to do a PhD in particle theory.

Open days

We will invite applicants to come to one of two or three open days held throughout February and March. We feel it is useful for you to get an idea of what study at Durham is like, and to talk to staff and current students. Students who would like to visit at other times are welcome to do so and please contact us.

English language requirements

For students whose first language is not English or whose first degree was awarded by a University not delivering the courses in English, postgraduate students must demonstrate proficiency in English Language. The University's minimal language requirements for postgraduate studies may be found here.

In all cases the relevant certificate should have been issued within two years of the programme start date.


Contact Us

Department of Mathematical Sciences and Department of Physics.

Durham University

Science Laboratories

South Rd



United Kingdom


0191 374 2349 (Maths)

0191 374 2167 (Physics)