At least 10 fully-funded studentships are offered through SAMBa starting in October each year. We provide a four-year PhD programme, including an MRes qualification earned during your first year of training.

SAMBa training programme

You'll be working at the interface of statistics with applied and computational mathematics, and delivering high quality applied and applicable research. You'll develop a broad range of mathematical, computational and statistical skills, and collaborate with industry, government and applied sciences. You'll bring a new mathematical mindset to their challenges.

During the first year, you will define your own research topic to carry out during years two to four. A series of courses and opportunities will enable you to explore ideas and scope your future research in collaboration with academic staff and partner organisations.

Throughout your training we will offer a wide range of activities to complement your PhD, such as conference and workshop participation, placement and secondment opportunities, and industrial and international collaboration.

SAMBa graduates move on to a variety of academic and industrial research positions, as well as government organisations. As a graduate, you'll be well set up for a career in academia, industry, or elsewhere. Ready to work in the emerging world of big models and big data.

Programme structure

SAMBa is designed around a four-year full-time programme of study, starting in October each year. Fully funded studentships for SAMBa are available. Students are expected to be available for full-time study although a part-time option in years two to four may be available under exceptional circumstances. How to apply.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students or developments in research. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

First year

You’ll complete training consisting of taught courses, short research projects, and participation in Integrative Think Tanks. This will lead to the award of an MRes qualification.

During your first nine months you will work with academics, external partners and other students in the cohort to develop the topic of your thesis. The proposal for this will be developed over the summer as a thesis formulation report

Taught courses
Taught courses

You’ll choose six units across a cross-disciplinary syllabus with two units from each of these streams, depending on your background and experience:

  • Statistics and data science
  • Applied and probabilistic analysis and modelling
  • Computation and numerical mathematics

The choice of units in each in stream will be guided by SAMBa and your own interests but there are a number of core units in the programme, of which 4 must be taken.

More detail on available units can be found in the University’s Programme and Unit Catalogue.

Interdisciplinary research projects
Interdisciplinary research projects

You’ll work in small groups on an interdisciplinary research project, which will bring together elements of the core streams into a short research project.

Examples of previous projects:

  • Numerical methods for proton therapy treatment planning
  • Modelling the spread and control of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
  • Efficient bilevel optimization for imaging
  • Marine sensor network optimisation
  • Modelling the spread of MRSA
  • Beyond traditional modelling in flood estimation for ungauged or highly variable sites
  • Mining input-output carbon differentials for anomaly detection in experimental engine testbed
Student-led symposia
Student-led symposia

The student-led symposia will run continuously through your first year. You’ll be 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 often relate to upcoming Integrative Think Tanks. There will be support from SAMBa leaders and students from the years above you.

Integrative Think Tanks(ITTs)
Integrative Think Tanks(ITTs)

ITTs are facilitated, week-long, off-campus workshops involving around 80 participants. They include postgraduate students, academics from mathematical sciences, application-focused researchers, and collaborators from around the world. You will be presented with high-level challenges from non-mathematical partners. You’ll be working in small groups to formulate these challenges into mathematical problems.


To find out more visit our ITT page:

Integrative Think Tanks
Thesis formulation
Thesis formulation

During the three-month summer period you’ll determine the subject of your PhD thesis research through a structured and mentored process. You’ll work with your chosen supervisor to prepare a Thesis Formulation Report, outlining motivation, objectives and methodology for your proposed PhD.


‘Visit our staff pages to find out more about potential supervisors’.

Our supervisors
PhD phase

In your second year, you’ll start work on your PhD thesis whilst also undertaking two assessed courses or projects. You’ll attend at least one ITT and act as a mentor to new SAMBa students.

In your third and fourth year, you’ll focus on research and the preparation of your thesis. Your PhD thesis should be submitted within four years of joining SAMBa but this may be extended if you need to suspend your studies for any reason.

You’ll continue to be involved in student-led symposia throughout your time at SAMBa and will present developing research to first-year students, including open research problems for discussion. You’ll also participate in at least one more ITT. Your academic progress and general welfare will be monitored by your supervisor, Director of Studies and the SAMBa management team.


During the first year of the integrated PhD, students complete work which leads to the award of an MRes qualification (formally awarded on completion of the PhD). The taught elements of the MRes year include units that are assessed using coursework and examinations (both oral and written). Students are required to reach a pass mark of 60% in order to progress onto their research phase.

During years 2-4, students carry out supervised research in their chosen subject which must then be written up as a substantial thesis. The confirmation of the PhD programme is subject to students passing an assessment process, which normally involves submission of written work and an oral examination. This usually takes place 12 months after the start of the research phase.

The final stage of the PhD is submission of the thesis and the oral or viva voce examination, in which students are required to defend the thesis to a Board of Examiners.

Assessment methods
  • Written examinations
  • Coursework
  • Group projects
  • Oral assessment
  • Participation
  • Thesis

Academic milestones



Taught phase

60% required to pass

Thesis formulation


Research project begins




Writing up

Notice of intention to
submit a thesis / portfolio

Submission for

(Viva Voce)

Examiners report

Final submission
of thesis / portfolio