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Start your research career in mathematics with our Pathway to Research scheme

Gain advanced skills and experience needed to apply for competitive PhD programmes in the UK and overseas, and apply for a £10,000 bursary to support yourself.

This scheme is generously funded by the Institute for Mathematical Innovation

Are you in interested in a career in mathematics research but haven't had the opportunity to gain enough experience to secure a place on a funded PhD programme? If so, this scheme could be for you.

Mathematicians are highly sought after, and gaining research experience through a PhD can lead to a successful career in industry, academia or government. In order to get onto the right PhD programme for you, it is a big advantage to have some prior research experience and a master's level degree.

The SAMBa Pathway to Research scheme consists of an 8-week summer research placement followed by the MSc Mathematics with Data Science for Industry course, with mentoring and support throughout your time in Bath from current PhD students.

It is designed for students with a first degree in maths or a mathematical discipline, but who do not yet feel they have the skills and experience to apply directly to a competitive PhD programme.

The programme is primarily intended for those who have been through the UK education system, although we will consider applications from internationally educated students if they clearly meet the aims of the scheme.

We have up to three £10,000 bursaries available for which you can apply to help support your living costs and/or go towards master's fees.

Flexible studying options can be discussed if successful

Why join the SAMBa Pathway to Research scheme?

Gain the advanced skills and experience needed to apply for competitive PhD programmes.

The 8-week placement will give you first-hand research experience to ‘top-up’ your undergraduate degree, before you progress on to our MSc Mathematics with Data Science for Industry course. You'll work in a research environment with academics from SAMBa and our Department of Mathematical Sciences, and may have opportunities to work with our industry contacts on research or to develop mathematical ideas.

During your master’s you’ll be guaranteed an interview for our PhD programme and you can also choose to apply for PhDs at other universities. If you change your mind about studying for a PhD, you could use the skills and experience you've gained during your master's to apply for jobs in industry instead.

The scheme is a great way to get started in mathematics research. The summer placement will give you a taster of the research done at Bath, then you can further build your skills and experience through the MSc programme. — Professor Tim Rogers, SAMBa academic

I am thoroughly enjoying my PhD research as part of SAMBa, and really appreciate the inclusive environment. Completing the MSc beforehand, getting some direct experience of research, and getting to know people in the department, really helped me understand what a PhD would be like and gave me the confidence and opportunity to pursue high-level mathematics research. — Shaunagh Downing, PhD student and MSc graduate

July - September

You’ll undertake an 8-week research placement, within this period where you will work with an academic from the Department of Mathematical Sciences and current PhD researchers. Mathematics researchers work on topics from the design of nuclear reactors to predicting the weather, and from random networks to partial differential equations.

Staff from our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistical Applied Mathematics at Bath (SAMBa) will help you to find a suitable supervisor. You can find a short summary of ideas for research projects here but there are many other projects available.

Students working on a project

October - September

You’ll study our MSc Mathematics with Data Science for Industry course, giving you high-level master’s training plus the opportunity to carry out a three-month research project, potentially in collaboration with an industry partner.

You’ll have priority access to SAMBa’s infrastructure throughout the year. This includes the opportunity to take part in our flagship activity, Integrative Think Tanks (ITTs), which provide training in working with industrial partners on collaborative research ideas. You’ll also be assigned a SAMBa student mentor and will receive personal guidance and support from a faculty of academic experts.

Students at an Integrative Think Tank

September onwards

After completing the Pathway to Research scheme, you should be well placed to move into a research career in the mathematical sciences.

During your master’s you’ll be guaranteed an interview for a PhD in Bath Maths and, if offered a place, could join us for PhD research.

Alternatively, you could use the skills and experience you’ve gained to apply for a PhD at another university or take a different route altogether and apply for jobs outside academia.

Students talking in a group

Entry requirements

The MSc application will assess your academic qualifications. The application for the additional Pathway to Research scheme explores your personal mathematical journey, with bursaries being awarded to those who provide the most compelling responses.

To apply for the MSc, you should have a first or strong second-class undergraduate degree in mathematics. See full details of the entry requirements.

The entry requirements for the MSc are the same regardless of whether or not you apply through this scheme. Please note, the MSc does incur fees but there are Government loans to help cover costs.

The broader Pathway to Research scheme aims to support those whose circumstances mean that they have not been able to reach a level of mathematical expertise to enable them to access PhD research. The application form will ask you to describe your mathematical journey so far and we expect each individual's story to be different. Examples of situations that may have affected progress include significant caring responsibilities, the need to work during your degree, a lack of access to fundamental mathematics courses (e.g. Further Maths A level), or having had a restricted choice of location for your undergraduate degree, but there could be many other things that may have affected you.

Bursaries will be offered to the three applicants who demonstrate both challenges faced in accessing mathematical training, and a commitment to engaging with the scheme.

Application and selection process

You will need to register for the MSc before applying for the Pathway to Research scheme and associated bursary.

Application process

First of all, apply to MSc in Mathematics with Data Science for Industry.

Download and complete the application form for the Pathway to Research scheme and bursary and email to

Invitation to discuss programme

Promising applicants will be invited to the University of Bath to discuss how they would engage with the scheme. You'll meet potential research supervisors, current SAMBa postgraduates and the SAMBa team, as well as other applicants. Reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed.

Bursaries will be recommended on the basis of these meetings and will be finally agreed by a panel representing a diverse group of people across the department.

Panel meeting

The panel will consist of members of the SAMBa Executive Team, the MSc Director of Studies, representatives from our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and a postgraduate researcher. The panel will review applications and the feedback from meetings with applicants and decide whom to offer bursaries.


Decisions will be communicated via email. Unsuccessful applicants for the Pathways to Research scheme could still be offered a place on the MSc course without the bursary.

Contact us to find out more

Email Susie Douglas, SAMBa Co-Director