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Durham University

Department of Mathematical Sciences

G1K509 Mathematical Sciences MSc Postgraduate Taught  2019



Degree MSc
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 1 year
Start Date 02/10/2019
Location Durham City
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Course Summary

Course Summary


This course aims to bring you, in 12 months, to a position where you can embark with confidence on a wide range of careers, including taking a PhD in Mathematics or related disciplines. There is a wide range of taught modules on offer, and you will also produce a dissertation on a topic of current research interest taken from your choice of a wide range of subjects offered.

Course structure and overview

  • Six taught modules in October-May
  • A dissertation in June-September.

Modules: Six of available options

In previous years, optional modules available included:

Modules in Pure Mathematics:
  •  Algebraic Topology IV
  •  Analysis III/IV
  •  Codes and Cryptography III
  •  Differential Geometry III
  •  Galois Theory III
  •  Representation Theory III/IV
  •  Riemannian Geometry IV
  •  Topology III
  •  Topics in Algebra and Geometry IV
Modules in Probability and Statistics:
  •  Bayesian Statistics III/IV 
  •  Mathematical Finance III/IV
  •  Decision Theory III
  •  Operations Research III
  •  Statistical Methods III
  • Stochastic Processes III/IV
Modules in Applications of Mathematics:
  •  Advanced Quantum Theory IV
  •  Continuum Mechanics III/IV
  •  Dynamical Systems III
  •  General Relativity IV
  •  Mathematical Biology III 
  •  Partial Differential Equations III/IV
  •  Quantum Information III
  •  Quantum Mechanics III
  •  Solitons III and IV

Course Detail

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Learning and Teaching

Course Learning and Teaching

This is a full-year degree course, starting early October and finishing in the middle of the subsequent September. The aim of the course is to give the students a wide mathematical background allowing them to either proceed to PhD or to apply the gained knowledge in industry.

The course consists of three modules: the first two are the Michaelmas and Epiphany lecture courses covering a variety of topics in pure and applied mathematics and statistics. The third module 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.

The main group of lectures is given in the first two terms of the academic year (Michaelmas and Epiphany), there are also two revision lectures in the third term (Easter). This part of the course is assessed by examinations. Students choose 6 modules, each module has 2 lectures per week and one fortnightly problems class. There are 10 teaching weeks in the Michaelmas term and 9 teaching weeks in Epiphany term. In addition, lecturers also set a number of homework assignments which give the student a chance to test their understanding of the material.

The dissertation must be submitted by mid-September, the end of the twelve month course period.


Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

2:1 degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. 


English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £8,000.00 per year
Home Student £8,000.00 per year
Island Student £8,000.00 per year
International non-EU Student £19,000.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Open Days and Visits

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Key facts

  • MSc course director in Mathematical Sciences is Dr Pavel Tumarkin, please contact by email pavel.tumarkin(at) in case of any questions.
  • How long? One full year: 12 months from October to September. First 8 months: choose 6 (of about 20) taught modules for two terms. Remaining time: written exams and MSc dissertation.
  • Written exams (anonymously marked) in May on 6 modules of your choice contribute about 67% to the MSc grade.
  • MSc dissertation in June-September contributes 33% to the MSc grade. See Projects IV 2015-2016 for potential topics of your dissertation supervised by a professor of your choice and also marked by a 2nd marker.
  • Many successful alumni have progressed to PhD programmes. Our MSc alumnus Benjamin Lambert has completed PhD in differential geometry at Durham in March 2012 and is currently a postdoc in Germany.
  • Tuition fees in 2019-2020: £8000 for students from the EU (European Union), £19000 for others. The living costs in North East are lower than the UK average.
  • Explore scholarships for outstanding MSc applicants to Durham University (one applicant gained a Santander scholarship in 2016). You may also consult the University Funding Database.
  • International reputation: Durham University is ranked in the World Top 40 for graduate employability. Overall 74th position in the last QS World University Rankings (2019).
  • Position in the UK: 5th in the Guardian University Guide (2019). Durham University has joined the prestigious Russell Group in August 2012.

Success story of Dr Ben Lambert

"I came to Durham originally to do the MSc course, and as a result of this was encouraged to continue to postdoctoral studies. The mathematics department at Durham is extremely friendly, both in terms of staff and other students.

The MSc allowed me to get to know the department and further topics in mathematics, ultimately leading to me obtaining a place on the PhD program here. The environment in Durham was an ideal place to study as a PhD student.

There are many interesting talks, and in my time here we started a further postgraduate pure maths seminar. Additionally coffee time every morning gives an oppertunity to talk to students and academics alike, gaining perspectives on mathematical problems, imbibing caffine but most importantly having a chat with like minded individuals.

Similarly the regular Pure maths Wednesday lunch gives a sense of community perhaps unique to Durham. The academic subjects I have looked in to have been challenging but interesting allowing many possible avenues for original research.

I have now completed my PhD in Durham, and as a result of the excellent supervision I have recieved here have now got funding as a PostDoctoral student at another University."

Entry requirements

  • BSc or BA 2.1 (grade point average 60%) in mathematics or similar. For graduates of Chinese universities, the minimum grade is 3.2 of 4. If you are completing your studies, we can make a conditional offer.
  • Successful MSc candidates are expected to have a good understanding of 1st and 2nd year modules, e.g. Probability, Linear Algebra, Multivariable Calculus, Complex Analysis. We may ask MSc candidates to solve several problems on these topics within a week to make our admissions process as objective as possible.
  • English certificate (required for non-native English speakers for a visa) see details of English requirements. A test should be passed within 2 years of our MSc programme start date.
  • English courses available for students who gained a lower grade in IELTS , please contact the English Language Centre at Durham University.
  • no English certificate is needed if you graduated from a British university or if you have graduated from (or if you are a citizen of) one of these countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, the Channel Islands, Dominica, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the USA.
  • If you wish to check whether your English certificate is valid, please directly email our postgraduate secretary
  • No formal deadline for applications: if you do not need a visa, you may apply before September to start in October, otherwise please apply before July.

Taught modules (6 to be chosen for MSc)

Pure Mathematics
  • Algebraic Topology IV (all years)
  • Analysis III/IV (2019-20)
  • Codes and Cryptography III (all years)
  • Differential Geometry III (all years)
  • Galois Theory III (all years)
  • Geometry III/IV (2020-21)
  • Number Theory III (all years)
  • Representation Theory III/IV (2019-20)
  • Riemannian Geometry IV (all years)
  • Topics in Algebra and Geometry IV (all years)
  • Topology III (all years)
Probability and Statistics
  • Bayesian Statistics III/IV (2019-20)
  • Decision Theory III (all years)
  • Mathematical Finance III/IV (all years)
  • Operations Research III (all years)
  • Probability III/IV (2020-21)
  • Statistical Methods III (all years)
  • Topics in Statistics III/IV (2020-21)
  • Stochastic Processes III/IV (2019-20)
Applications of Mathematics
  • Advanced Quantum Theory IV (all years)
  • Continuum Mechanics III/IV (2019-20)
  • Dynamical Systems III (all years)
  • General Relativity IV (all years)
  • Mathematical Biology III (all years)
  • Numerical Differential Equations III/IV (2020-21)
  • Partial Differential Equations III/IV (all years)
  • Quantum Information III (all years)
  • Quantum Mechanics III (all years)
  • Solitons III/IV (2019-20)
  • Statistical Mechanics III/IV (2020-21)
Explore the module descriptions at our teaching web pages for current students (the approximate content of alternating modules that are not taught this year can be found here). More details of our MSc programme are in the MSc booklet for 2018-2019. If you have any questions, please email the MSc course director Dr Pavel Tumarkin.

What to do if you are ready to apply

  1. You have to find two referees who could comment on your academic ability, e.g. your mentors or lecturers. Then ask your referees to email references to our postgraduate secretary to support your application for taught MSc in Mathematical Sciences at Durham.
  2. Complete the on-line application form for taught MSc in Mathematical Sciences.
  3. As a part of the admission process you may be asked to solve some admissions problems on probability, linear algebra, multivariable calculus, complex analysis. After receving the problems you will have about a week to return rigorous solutions that you have individually completed without any help: type your arguments or scan your script and email pdf or use a photo camera and email jpg. If you make progress at first attempt, we may give you a chance to submit amended solutions.