There is a specific requirement to undertake ‘broadening’ training: courses which are designed to broaden the student’s knowledge and understanding of the Mathematical Sciences. Courses should be chosen in consultation with your supervisor.


What counts as broadening?

Broadening courses may be selected from the following:

  • Taught Course Centre courses
  • Graduate lectures and advanced classes/courses as listed in the Mathematics lecture list
  • Courses specific to any of the Mathematics MSc programmes
  • MMath Part C and Part B courses provided that the student has not already taken the course (or an equivalent elsewhere)
  • Courses offered by other departments, with prior approval from the DGS
  • LMS/EPSRC Summer Schools, Graduate Modelling Camps and similar, with the num­ber of hours of lectures defining the amount of training;
  • Other courses with approval from the DGS


Please note, research students who attend Part B and C courses may not attend the problem classes; they are encouraged to form informal groups to discuss the problem sets, and (when space permits) the Department will facilitate booking of rooms for this purpose.


Seminars, workshops and colloquia

All doctoral students should be attending seminars, workshops and colloquia regularly, even if not in their specialist area. Students are required to provide a list of such events attended and are encouraged to submit extended abstracts (one or two pages) of at least four of them.


How many broadening courses to do


  • Students who started before October 2020

Must undertake 100 hours of broadening. These should amount to the equivalent of 5 standard 16- hour lecture courses with the remainder of hours being made up via attendance at seminars and colloquia.

You must complete:

- At least 2 broadening course prior to Transfer. 

- 3 further courses prior to Confirmation. 

*At least 3 of the 5 courses should be distinct from your research.


  • Students who started from October 2020 

Must un­dertake 68 hours of broadening courses during their DPhil studies. These should amount to the equivalent of 3 standard 16-hour lecture courses, with the remainder of hours being made up via attendance at seminars and colloquia.

You must complete:

- At least 1 broadening course prior to Transfer. 

- 2 further courses prior to Confirmation.

*At least 2 of the 3 courses should be distinct from your research. 


* DTC and CDT students are exempt from the requirements, with the exception of attendance of at least 20 seminars, workshops or colloquia.


Exemptions for previous study

Students who have studied for an undergraduate and postgraduate degree for a combined period of five years previous to starting the DPhil in Mathematics may apply to the DGS to have the broadening requirement reduced. 

In cases where exemptions are granted:

- Students who started in before 2020 may be exempt from up to 2 of the required 5 courses.

- Students who started from October 2020 will be exempt from a maximum of 1 of the required 3 courses.


For further information on how to apply for an exemption contact Graduate Studies @email


Teaching for broadening

If your supervisor agrees, you are also permitted to act as a TA to meet the broadening requirement. As described in the Teaching site, students are expected to teach one set of classes prior to transfer of status and a further one or two sets prior to confirmation of status. You may combine teaching one set of classes with one broadening course by producing a mini-project for marking at the end of teaching one set of classes. However, any further teaching for broadening should be in addition to acting as a TA to meet the teaching requirement. 


Assessment methods for broadening courses

Assessment methods will vary from course to course. In general the summative outcome will be pass/fail, and any other feedback will be formative. Students offering a part B or C course normally submit a short mini-project essay (or equivalent if appropriate, for example a documented computer program), along the lines of those for the MSc (MMSC) or the MSc (MCF). The topic should be chosen by the student in consultation with the lecturer and the final write-up, which should be in LATEX, should normally be between 5 and 10 pages long. Lecturers may also choose to assess through the submission of problem sets, or a presentation/interview. The form of assessment must be agreed directly with the lecturer at the start of a course.

The assessors for Transfer or Confirmation of Status may ask students questions (at a fairly general level) about the topics they have covered in their broadening training.

The completion of an assessment is not required. However, students must ask their supervisor and the lecturer to sign the Broadening form. After completing the broadening please download, fill in and send this broadening form to Graduate Studies @email

Broadening Form


Broadening survey




Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Last updated on 08 Jun 2023 10:47.