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MSc in Mathematical Biology: What is it?

The MSc is a year long course for people interested in applying mathematical techniques to problems arising in the biological and life sciences. Taught components, provided by the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, offer opportunities to learn a range of advanced mathematical methods, fundamental biological concepts and training in research methods. The project components provide the opportunities to integrate these skills through model development and interpretation in a highly inter-disciplinary environment. The course provides a thorough introduction to modern approaches in mathematical biology. In addition to the MSc qualification, the programme can form the first year of an Integrated PhD or be a component of the Graduate School provision for PhD students in mathematical biology.

Students will be members of the Centre for Mathematical Biology, taught and supervised jointly by staff in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. Both departments have strong research portfolios and have demonstrated excellence in teaching over many years.


MSc in Mathematical Biology: What does it involve?

Taught units: biology
There are three biology units. One provides an overview of classical concepts and theoretical approaches in biology. The second explores recent developments and current research. The third is a field course, enhancing the theory with real data.

Taught units: mathematical biology
There are three mathematical biology units. Two provide introductions to advanced mechanistic modelling and statistical modelling in mathematical biology. The third provdes an opportunity to explore recent applications of mathematics to a diverse range of biological problems.

Taught units: mathematics
There are four maths units. These provide the essential analytic, numerical and computational skills to analyse models used to describe biological processes.

The final three months of the course are given over to a research project, often jointly supervised by staff in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. The subject of the project is very open, and can expore almost any topic in mathematical biology. Some recent projects can be found here.

Assessment Procedure
A combination of written and oral exams, report writing and presentations ensures that the assessment accurately reflects the balance of knowledge acquisition and communication skills that are central to the philosophy of the MSc programme.

MSc in Mathematical Biology: Where can it take you?

Mathematical biology is a rapidly growing research area. There are many opporunties to undertake PhD and postdoctoral research within the university sector in the UK, and internationally. Beyond academia, research mathematical biologists are employed by a number of government agencies including, in the UK, the Health Protection Agency, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Rothamstead Research and the NHS. In the commerical sector, mathematical biologists may be employed by companies involved in the analysis of population dynamic systems, for instance healthcare economics or fisheries management.

The specific skills fostered throughout the MSc can lead toward the specialised positions in mathematical biology outlined above. Furthermore, the study of advanced analytic methods, experience of the application of mathematics to real world problems, and the development of practical transferable skills may enhance an undergraduate degree to offer a little extra in the general graduate job market.


MSc in Mathematical Biology: how

to apply

Prospective students will typically either have a good degree (at least 2.1, or equivalent from a overseas institution) in mathematics or a subject with a significant mathematical content. In some cases, depending on mathematical background, students may be asked to undertake pre-sessional self study units to cover core concepts, models and analysis techniques in mathematical biology. Admissions procedures will follow university policy on Equal Opportunities.

Applications need to be made through the online application form(, where you can select the MSc in Mathematical Biology from the drop down menu next to the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Please direct email enquiries to

If you have informal enquiries about the course content, structure or suitability, please feel free to contact the Programme Director, Dr Jane White.

or Centre for Mathematical Biology, Department of Mathematics, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY Tel: +44 (0) 1225 386242· E-mail:

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