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Research Degrees

Research degrees are awarded upon successful completion of a thesis and an oral defence based on original research carried out under the guidance of your supervisors. We offer two types of research degrees.

The MSc by research lasts one year full-time (or two years part-time). It provides the ideal experience for a career where independent research skills will set you apart, and provides an excellent platform for subsequent PhD research.

The PhD degree lasts between three and four years full-time (or six years part-time). The first year is usually spent deepening your knowledge, attending courses and seminars, and reading books and papers. You will then start to explore open mathematical problems, developing the skills to carry out high-level independent research and communicate your results with a wide range of audiences.

The Department has 8 active research groups:

You can find more information about these different areas of the mathematical sciences on our Research Areas page.

You are encouraged to apply early. For more details on the application procedure, see the Apply for a Research Degree page.

We also welcome students studying elsewhere for higher degrees to spend a term or two in Durham. If you are interested in visiting Durham please contact us at to discuss this.


Discover more

Find out more about taught courses and scholarships, and how to apply for research degrees as well as Durham Doctoral Teaching Fellowships (DDTF).

Taught Courses

Find out more about our three taught Masters degrees.
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Find out more about available scholarships.
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Apply for a Research Degree

Find out when and how to apply for research degrees.
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Durham Doctoral Teaching Fellowships

Find out more about the Durham Doctoral Teaching Fellowships (DDTF).