Advice for PhD applicants in Financial Mathematics

To study for a PhD in Financial Mathematics in the Statistical Laboratory, you will need:

(1) Funding.

This is the first thing to find out about, as nothing is going to happen without it. We do not expect that you will necessarily have a firm commitment of support before you make an application for study at the University of Cambridge, but you should at least know how you intend to be supported. Some students are supported from their own resources, or by their families. Most however will apply for an award of some sort to cover the costs, and if this is your situation, you should at least know where you intend to apply, and have some idea of the likelihood of success (for example, how many awards are made each year by your intended funding body?) For applicants from the United Kingdom, or an EU state, there is the possibility of EPSRC funding. Funding from other UK research councils may be possible, but EPSRC is the most common source of support. For applicants from outside the EU, there is very little support available, and you should be aware that the first question we will ask if you contact us will be, `Who will be funding your study?' The University's Board of Graduate Studies gives a lot of information about the costs and what may be available.

(2) An excellent first degree in mathematics.

An excellent first degree in some other highly quantitative subject, such as physics or electrical engineering, may be enough to satisfy our requirements, but we get many more extremely talented mathematicians applying each year than we can take, so the competition for our few PhD places is very intense. Often those applying are studying in Cambridge for the Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics (sometimes called Part III of the Mathematical Tripos). This is in effect a high-level one-year taught Masters in Mathematics, and the standard these students achieve is generally outstanding; there are some past papers which give some idea of the scope and level of what is offered. So the entry level for PhD study here should be thought of as being somewhat above the level of a UK first degree. If you think that your background in mathematics may not be at this level, there are other Faculties in Cambridge which offer PhD study in financial topics, and you can find out more about those from the Cambridge Finance page.

(3) To visit us.

Since we are able to fill our few Financial Mathematics PhD places (3 or 4 a year) with students of outstanding ability who are able to come to talk to us and discuss their understanding of the subject with members of the Laboratory, it is extremely unlikely that we would accept a student solely on the basis of transcripts and written recommendations from tutors without having spoken to him or her face to face. It is also important from the student's point of view to visit the Laboratory and get to see the environment here for themselves.
If you want to explore further the possibilities of coming to study here, you can make a formal application through the Board of Graduate Studies . If you prefer, as this is a rather formal procedure, you can first contact us direct by email ( secretary[AT] for some guidance about the likelihood of your being accepted to study for a PhD. If you want to do this, please be sure to attach an up-to-date CV, and explain how you expect to be funded.

There are no vacancies now for admission in October 2013; you should be preparing now if you want to apply for admission in October 2014.