Postgraduate study

Statistics

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

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 and biomathematics.

The School of Mathematics is a vibrant community of more than 60 academic and related staff supervising 60 students.

Our work is balanced between classical and Bayesian statistics. Our particular areas of interest include hierarchical multivariate random effects models, wavelets, nonparametric regression and resampling.

While the group has a strong theoretical base, we’re also heavily involved in specific application areas, particularly forensic science, law, agriculture, 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 University’s School of Informatics, for instance, is the largest and most prestigious in the UK, and features a Machine Learning research group whose work is linked to some forms of statistical research. 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 mathematics attracts highly respected staff. Many of our 50 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'll 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’ll find opportunities for networking that could have far-reaching effects on your career in mathematics

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'll 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.

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.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section
  • PTE(A): total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

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
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD

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. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Mathematics
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD