MSc in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing

Places are still available on the course for the academic year 2014-15. Prospective students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible via the online application form.


Oxford's M.Sc. in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing aims to train graduates with a strong mathematical background to develop and apply their skills to the solution of real problems. By the end of the course students should be able to formulate a well posed problem in mathematical terms from a possibly sketchy verbal description, carry out appropriate mathematical analysis, select or develop an appropriate numerical method, write a computer program which gives sensible answers to the problem, and present and interpret these results for a possible client. Particular emphasis is placed on the need for all these parts in the problem solving process, and on the fact that they frequently interact and cannot be carried out sequentially.


[MT, HT, TT = Michaelmas, Hilary, Trinity Term]

To complete this course a student must complete 13 units, counted as follows:

  • Core courses (1 unit each): normally 24 lectures + classes + exam. There are four core courses: one on Mathematical Methods and one on Numerical Analysis in each of MT and HT. Each course will be assessed by a written examination in Week 0 of the following term. Every student must complete the core courses.
  • Special topics (1 unit each): normally 12-16 lectures + mini-project. There are about twenty special topics to choose from spread over all three terms. Each student must do at least one special topic in the area of Modelling (M) and one in the area of Computation (C).
  • Case Studies in Modelling and in Scientific Computing (1 unit each): normally 4 weeks of group work + oral presentation + report (HT). Each student must do at least one modelling case study and at least one scientific computing case study.
  • Dissertation (4 units): ~50 pages, not necessarily original. Here is a list of recent dissertation titles. Since there is another M.Sc. course in Mathematical and Computational Finance, students on the M.Sc. in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing are not permitted to undertake a dissertation in the field of mathematical finance.

Students will normally accumulate 4 units for core courses + 3 units for special topics + 2 units for case studies + 4 units for dissertation.

In addition all students must attend:

General Information

The Course Director is Dr Kathryn Gillow (NA Group). A supervisor will be appointed for each student who will discuss their progress with them and who can advise on what options are suitable.

The course lasts almost twelve months, from the beginning of October to the end of the following September. Although the lecture courses are given during the three University terms, the examinations will take place during the weeks preceding both Hilary and Trinity terms. Additionally, much other work is carried out in the vacations, and students should expect to spend most of the year in Oxford. There will be no time for long holidays.

For the academic year 2013-2014, the course will begin with a week of introductory material based at the Mathematical Institute, beginning at 9.30am on the morning of Monday 7th October 2013.

The dates of the University Full Terms for the Academic Year 2013-2014 are:

  • MT = Michaelmas Term 2013: Sunday, 13th October 2013 - Saturday, 7th December 2013
  • HT = Hilary Term 2014: Sunday, 19th January 2014 - Saturday, 15th March 2014
  • TT = Trinity Term 2014: Sunday, 27th April 2014 - Saturday, 21st June 2014

Here is the HT2014 timetable. The TT 2013 and MT2013 timetables are available for information at TT2013 and MT2013.

Funding and Application Procedure

The M.Sc. provides a number of bursaries each year. These will not provide complete support, but are intended to help to meet the cost of attending the course. Generally only a few bursaries are awarded each year. All applicants who are o ffered a place on the course after one of the three main admissions deadline are automatically considered for these bursaries. These applicants will be assessed by the Admissions Committee on the basis of academic merit. Students who undertake an industrial project suggested by a sponsor will receive a small additional bursary. The University provides some information about fees and scholarships for international students

In 2012-2013 the course was sponsored by NAG, ARKeX, Philips and Thales. All these companies suggested topics for student dissertations.

Funding is also available from the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. The scholarships provide living expenses as well as College and University fees and are available to UK applicants who are Muslim and also to people who are nationals of certain developing countries in Asia and Africa. Applicants should state why the course of study is of relevance to the Muslim world and apply by application deadline 2. For more details see The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies scholarships profile.

Graduates from the State University System of Florida (SUSF) are also eligible to apply to the Frost Scholarship Programme. They will provide 10 full scholarships per year from October 2014 to students studying on a range of courses including the M.Sc. in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing. The full eligibility criteria and other details about the scholarship are available from the Frost Scholarship Programme website.

Here are the Admissions Criteria. It is possible to download information about deadline dates and application forms. Enquiries about the course should be directed to the Course Director, e-mail: kathryn [dot] gillow [-at-] maths [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk.


The usual background is a good undergraduate degree (for UK applicants this means a 2.1 or higher) in a subject with significant mathematical content.

A reasonable level of competency in mathematical analysis and linear algebra is required for this course. The speed at which the course proceeds does not allow any time to catch up on basic material. A detailed list of the minimally required basic knowledge is given in prerequisites.

Frequently Asked Questions

The links below give answers to some frequently asked questions:

Checklist for Discussion with Supervisor and Course Director

Print this checklist and discuss it with your supervisor and the course director. The checklist should be returned to the course director by Friday of week 5 of MT.

Course Details

Further Information