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PhD Programmes – University of Reading

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PhD Programmes

As a postgraduate research student in the department of Mathematics and Statistics at Reading, you will be part of a large and vibrant community. You will work alongside a thriving group of postdoctoral researchers who recently completed their PhDs.

An introduction to the department

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has a long and established track record of research, working with a wide variety of industrial and academic partners to achieve significant social and economic benefits.

We are part of the larger School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences, which includes our world leading Department of Meteorology and several national research centres. We have an active community of 40-50 PhD students.

World-leading research

The latest Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014) recognised 86% of our research as World Leading or Internationally Excellent. Find out more on our research pages. Research activity within the Department is broad and extensive and covers the areas of Pure and Applied Mathematics and Statistics with regular seminar programmes taking place in all research areas.

We have active collaborations with other departments within the University, for example Pharmacy and the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN), and with external institutions.

We also incorporate Europe's largest academic group in data assimilation. Its research not only ties together the main themes in meteorology (weather, climate and earth observation), but reaches across into mathematics, statistics and beyond.

What we offer

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over 3-4 years and part-time over 5-6 years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading or at a distance.


Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers, present a seminar, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere. We hold our own SIAM student chapter allowing for participation at various national and international SIAM student conferences.


In the first two years of your degree course, you will benefit from a programme of relevant postgraduate courses which will be agreed between you and your supervisor/s as well as a programme of transferable skills organised by the Graduate School.

The Graduate School

All postgraduate research students automatically become members of the University-wide Graduate School. The Graduate School provides training, professional development, study space, advice and administrative support in a dedicated building for the postgraduate research community at Reading.


Our PhD students go on to work in academia as postdoctoral researchers, but also quickly find employment in industries such as IT, defence, fraud detection, finance and banking.

Mathematics of Planet Earth

We are a partner in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in 'Mathematics of Planet Earth'. This joint initiative with Imperial College London provides PhD training in the mathematical and computational techniques needed to understand, predict and quantify risk and uncertainty for extreme weather and climate change.

‘Doing a PhD at Reading, you always have staff and other PhDs to ask questions, learn from and importantly have a bit of a laugh with now and again. I really have felt that no question is a stupid question. My supervisors have been absolutely great throughout my PhD, with regular meetings, useful advice, lots of encouragement, and help with keeping calm when life gets stressful!’

Nicola Thorn

Current PhD student

Research groups

Research in the department is organised into several research groups, which overlap and interact significantly:

‘I was worried about fitting family and research life together, but this has been easier since going part-time. I am not naturally very well organised, so that was also a worry. It helps to break things down into small chunks and get those chunks fully sorted, rather than tackling lots at once. Frequent meetings with my supervisor have helped keep me more focussed and definitely stop me drifting aimlessly!’

Julia Abery

Mature PhD student with children

Further Information


Useful links

Application forms

Please apply online at or complete the application form and return it by email or by post.

Note that the general University requirement for a lengthy research proposal is not a requirement for applicants to Mathematics or Statistics.

Postgraduate enquiries

Peta-Ann King, Postgraduate Administrator

+44 (0) 118 378 8991

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