What’s it like to do a PhD in Applied Mathematics?
As one of the categories of mathematical research, an Applied Mathematics PhD does have a huge component of pure maths. However, you will find that what sets it apart from the rest is the focus on collaboration with other STEM fields.
Some popular research topics in Applied Mathematics include:
- Computational analysis
- Cyber security
- Theoretical physics
- Quantum information
- Financial mathematics
- Statistical physics
- Mathematical biology
Whichever field of research you choose to pursue, you will be expected to identify a challenge in a field of your choosing and find new ways to meet it.
Like most STEM subjects, Applied Mathematics doctoral programmes are advertised with a research objective already given. However, you can also propose your own research project. It is a good idea to have a word with a prospective supervisor about the scope of your project before you make a formal application.
A PhD in Applied Mathematics will usually involve 3-4 years of full-time study and will end in you submitting a thesis of around 80,000 words to be defended in an oral viva exam.
In the UK, you may be asked to first register for a MPhil. You can upgrade to a PhD, after a review at the end of your first year, if your supervisor feels your work meets certain standards.
In addition, you may be asked to take certain taught modules in areas of Mathematics like differential equations and analytical and numerical methods that you may require during your research. Even though these modules are not compulsory, they are encouraged to help improve your knowledge and support you in your research.