Study modes: Full-time, Part-time
Programme website: Statistics
Our society revolves around variation, uncertainty and risk. By gaining a greater understanding of these variables through the study of statistics, we’re able to create systems and techniques that benefit areas as diverse as science, law and finance.
Our Statistics research group explores a wide range of statistical theory and practice, often applying its findings in collaboration with researchers in related fields, such as informatics, geosciences, medicine and biomathematics. The group leads the interdisciplinary Centre for Statistics that spans across the whole breadth of the university, providing opportunities for collaborations with researchers in many different applied fields.
The School of Mathematics is a vibrant community with researchers in many different, but related, fields - including Data Science.
Our research is balanced between classical and Bayesian statistics. Particular areas of interest include, but not limited to, high-dimensional data, computationally intensive techniques, wavelets, nonparametric regression, extreme value theory, sampling and hidden process models.
While the group has a strong theoretical base, a key component in the research relates to the interdisciplinary aspects of statistics with specific application areas including for example, ecology, geosciences, medicine, forensic science, law, and functional genomics data, such as gene expression microarrays.
As a research student, you’ll find a wealth of expertise available to you via our links with theorists and practitioners in related fields.
The School interacts with numerous other groups across the university, including for example, Informatics, Geosciences, Business, Clinical Trials Unit. The interdisciplinary Centre for Statistics connects individuals across the breadth of the university interested in cross-fertilisation and collaborative research. The recently opened Bayes Centre, which also hosts the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences is the College of Science and Engineering Data Science initiative providing an exciting interdisciplinary environment for interacting within and across Schools.
In addition, the Scottish Government-backed research provider Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland is an associated research institute of the University. With its main base in our building, it provides access to other researchers with an interest in statistical genomics and bioinformatics, process and systems modelling and statistical methodology.
If your research is in the expanding area of forensic statistics, you'll benefit from our link with the Joseph Bell Centre for Forensic Statistics and Legal Reasoning. The Centre applies and teaches statistical techniques for interpreting evidence, such as binomial probabilities, conditional probability and Bayes’ Theorem.
Mathematics is a discipline of high intellect with connections stretching across all the scientific disciplines and beyond, and in Edinburgh you can be certain of thriving in a rich academic setting. Our School is one of the country’s largest mathematics research communities in its own right, but you will also benefit from Edinburgh’s high-level collaborations, both regional and international.
Research students will have a primary and secondary supervisor and the opportunity to network with a large and varied peer group. You will be carrying out your research in the company of eminent figures and be exposed to a steady stream of distinguished researchers from all over the world.
Our status as one of the most prestigious schools in the UK for mathematical sciences attracts highly respected staff. Many of our 70 current academics are leaders in their fields and have been recognised with international awards.
Researchers are encouraged to travel and participate in conferences and seminars. You will also be in the right place in Edinburgh to meet distinguished researchers from all over the world who are attracted to conferences held at the School and the various collaborative centres based here. You will find opportunities for networking that could have far-reaching effects on your career in statistics.
You will enjoy excellent facilities, ranging from one of the world’s major supercomputing hubs to generous library provision for research at the leading level, including the new Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library at King’s Buildings.
Students have access to more than 1,400 computers in suites distributed across the University’s sites, many of which are open 24 hours a day. In addition, if you are a research student, you will have your own desk with desktop computer.
We provide all our mathematics postgraduates with access to software packages such as Maple, Matlab and Mathematica. Research students are allocated parallel computing time on ‘Eddie’ – the Edinburgh Compute and Data Facility. It is also possible to arrange use of the BlueGene/Q supercomputer facility if your research requires it.
You will gain a qualification that is highly regarded in both academia and industry. Future career options are diverse, with past students finding positions in academic institutions, forensics, finance, law and biological and agricultural organisations.
These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.
A UK first class honours degree, or its international equivalent, in an appropriate subject; or a UK 2:1 honours degree plus a UK masters degree, or their international equivalents; or relevant qualifications and experience.
Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:
English language requirements
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.
Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:
We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Find out more about our language requirements:
Academic Technology Approval Scheme
If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.
- School of Mathematics funding opportunities - you must have submitted your admission application by 31 January 2020 in order to be considered for School of Maths funding.
- Research scholarships for international students
- Principal's Career Development PhD Scholarships
UK government postgraduate loans
If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK's governments.
The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:
- your programme
- the duration of your studies
- your tuition fee status
Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.
Other funding opportunities
Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:
Select your programme and preferred start date to begin your application.
PhD Statistics - 3 Years (Full-time)
PhD Statistics - 6 Years (Part-time)
We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.
- School of Mathematics
- James Clerk Maxwell Building
- Peter Guthrie Tait Road
- The King's Buildings Campus
- EH9 3FD