Department of Mathematical Sciences

EPSRC logoOur programme

How to apply

  • Requirements: First or upper second class honours degree
  • Enquiries from independently funded applicants welcome
  • For a 3-year PhD within a specific research group, please see our PhD pages
  • For more information contact us

Students of SAMBa are expected to cultivate a strong sense of independence in preparing themselves as mathematicians and, more broadly, as scientists. The SAMBa programme provides a strong grounding in high-level mathematical methods and world-class research. Students develop the subjects of their own theses, through working with academics, industrialists and each other, understanding not only the problems that need solving but how to formulate a project to solve those problems.

The first year of SAMBa consists primarily of taught material and short research projects that will lead to the development of a three-year research programme, possibly in collaboration with industry, leading to a PhD qualification.

We welcome applications from UK and EU graduates in mathematical sciences who share our vision of the breadth of mathematics and its applications. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to find funding for excellent students from outside of the EU.

Programme structure

SAMBa programme structure

First year

Taught units

The first year of SAMBa consists of a series of compulsory and optional taught units. More information can be found in the programme catalogue.

"SAMBa brings a completely new mindset into the training of the next generation of mathematicians."
Professor Paul Milewski, Co-Director, SAMBa


The student-led symposium runs continuously through the students’ first year and involves students, with guidance from SAMBa leaders and the SAMBa cohort, deciding on topics and reading group activities, as well as inviting speakers to give seminars or short courses from a self-managed budget. Topics will relate to upcoming ITTs. A goal of these symposia is to foster research independence.

Integrative Think Tanks (ITTs)

programmeITTs are ‘big events’, focal points in the calendar of SAMBa activity, and central to its goals. ITTs are facilitated workshops in which academic, industrial, and other external partners present problems requiring research solutions, with lectures on relevant background given by experts. Students are expected to define routes to the solution of these problems, identifying the new research that will be necessary to make this possible.

Thesis formulation

The three-month summer period consists of a structured and mentored process in which students determine the subject of their PhD thesis research, and work with their chosen supervisor to prepare a Thesis Formulation Report, outlining motivation, objectives and methodology for the proposed PhD.

Students use the experience they have gained through symposia, peer-group and ITTs to do this.

Second year

Students start work on their PhD thesis whilst also undertaking a number of taught units. They attend at least one ITT and act as cofactors and mentors to the new SAMBa students.

"Our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistical Applied Mathematics will create a new culture within the UK, combining big data with complex mathematical modelling, and motivated by real industrial problems"
Professor Andreas Kyprianou, Co-Director, SAMBa

Third and fourth year

Students have research, and the preparation of a thesis, as their main focus. A PhD thesis must be submitted within four years of joining SAMBa. Students continue to be involved in student-led symposia throughout their four years at SAMBa and present developing research to first-year students, including open research problems for discussion. They also participate in at least one more ITT.

Other programme elements


Students are strongly encouraged to undertake an academic or industrial placement (usually of three months) during the PhD research phase. These placements build cross-disciplinary links and train students in other disciplines’ research language.

More information about your student experience can be found on the joining SAMBa page.