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Degree type


Course length

1 year full-time


Durham City

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Course details

When you choose the 12-month MSc in Mathematical Sciences you will benefit from a research-led education where you learn the latest techniques from internationally recognised specialists in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and probability.

The MSc is a fully flexible course. It offers the freedom to select up to six modules from a choice of 30+ options based around the innovative research taking place in the Department. You can explore the statistical modelling techniques involved in data analysis or delve into cryptology which is widely used in banking and internet browsing. You can also choose modules in the machine learning techniques that underpin scientific and technological applications, or the application of quantum computing which is a valuable tool in improving supply chains and production. Whatever your interests you will have access to the latest development in the sector.

The final months of the course are spent researching and producing a dissertation on a current research topic. The flexibility around module choice and the dissertation topic allows you to take a broad-based approach or tailor the course around your specific interests and career path.

The Department of Mathematical Sciences is an excellent learning environment for postgraduate studies. Housed in a new building, shared with the Department of Computer Science, you will benefit from dedicated student project space, open plan networking and workspace, and a dedicated area for enterprise and entrepreneurial activities.

By the end of the 12 months, we aim to bring you to a level where you can confidently progress into a variety of careers in both the public and private sectors, or continue your academic career with a PhD in Mathematics or related disciplines.

Course structure

Core module:

The MSc Dissertation is a supervised extended report into a topic of current mathematical research interest chosen from a wide range of subjects. It will develop your skills in creative and critical thinking, your ability to tackle material critically and to communicate your findings effectively and clearly in a 40-60 page report.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Advanced Quantum Theory
  • Algebraic Topology
  • Analysis
  • Ergodic Theory
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Functional Analysis and Applications
  • General Relativity
  • Geometry
  • Mathematical Finance
  • Number Theory
  • Partial Differential Equations
  • Probability
  • Representation Theory
  • Riemannian Geometry
  • Solitons
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Stochastic Analysis
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Superstrings
  • Topics in Algebra and Geometry
  • Topics in Applied Mathematics
  • Topics in Combinatorics
  • Topics in Statistics

If you chose five modules from the previous list, the remaining option can be chosen from the following:

  • Advanced Statistical Modelling
  • Bayesian Computation and Modelling
  • Codes and Cryptography
  • Decision Theory
  • Differential Geometry
  • Dynamical Systems
  • Galois Theory
  • Geometry of Mathematical Physics
  • Machine Learning and Neural Networks
  • Mathematical Biology
  • Operations Research
  • Quantum Computing
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Topology

Students will be able to choose an overall stream, linking together their modules with a coherent theme. Choosing modules outside the stream isn't discouraged, however, allowing you to put together a truly bespoke combination of modules if you desire (and the timetable permits!).


The MSc in Mathematical Sciences is a 12-month degree course, starting in early October and finishing the following September.

The course comprises six optional modules, each amounting to around 200 hours of work. Each module includes 50 hours of contact time made up of lectures supported by problem classes where you have the opportunity to work to solve example problems in an ideal way, and discuss the thought processes behind such solutions. The remainder of the time is made up of independent preparation, reading and working on independent assignments to reinforce your understanding of the material.

The component of the course is a dissertation on a topic of current research, prepared under the guidance of a supervisor with expertise in the area. We offer a wide variety of possible dissertation topics.

Assessment methods vary by module with the majority involving written examinations, written assignments and practical assessments. A number of the statistical based modules also include computer-based examinations.

The taught modules amount to two thirds of the course with the final third of your marks gained through the completion of the dissertation, an independently researched extended report into a body of current mathematical work which is presented in an interesting, innovative and well-organised manner. The dissertation is supported by 10 hours of one-to-one meetings with a supervisor in which you have the opportunity to discuss sources, draft work, sample calculations and references.

Entry requirements

2:1 degree or equivalent in Mathematics or a related degree subject.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £12,250 per year
EU students £27,900 per year
Island students £12,250 per year
International students £27,900 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Mathematical Sciences

As a postgraduate in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, you are empowered to develop your abilities in critical thinking, problem-solving and independent learning and improve skills and attributes that contribute hugely to professional career aspirations.

There are very real opportunities to develop an understanding of mathematics as a professional practice and to prepare for working life in a range of roles including research scientists, teachers, statisticians, operational researchers, investment analysts, actuaries, insurance analysts and accountants.

Postgraduates have secured rewarding and stimulating roles with the Civil Service, Deloitte, the Ministry of Defence, CERN, Royal London and Morgan Stanley.

You will also be well-placed to continue research activities at a higher level at Durham or another academic institution.

Department information

Mathematical Sciences

The Department of Mathematical Sciences offers a world class research-led education, combining a passionate commitment to teaching with expertise in a range of subject options including pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and probability.

Key areas of research are Computational and Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, Statistics and Probability and Theoretical Particle Physics.

We regularly review our course structures and update them where necessary to ensure they continue to offer world class learning and development opportunities to help students succeed in a rapidly changing professional arena.

The Department is part of MAGIC, a consortium of 21 universities offering distance learning for postgraduate students via interactive access-grid technology. We are also a member of the Academy for PhD Training in Statistics (APTS), giving access to high-quality training courses, covering key areas of statistics and probability.

In addition, we are a member of several scientific networks that work to address issues ranging from the mathematics of climate change to geometric group theory and to build constructive partnerships beyond the University.

For more information visit our department pages.


For a current list of staff, please see the Mathematical Sciences department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 96% of our research outputs are world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2021)


In the Department, you are part of a postgraduate community that is vibrant and engaged and enjoys a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities in which to study and carry out research.

We are housed in a contemporary building along with the Department of Computer Science. It features a student project space, open plan networking and work space, the Hazan Venture Lab as well as a café and teaching spaces.

Our Department is situated on the Science Site on the Upper Mountjoy campus to the south of the City centre, within easy reach of all Durham Colleges and close to the University Library.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Find out more

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