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The primary focus of Mathematics at St Andrews is understanding patterns and structure, and developing the tools with which to analyse them. Students of mathematics are able to describe, categorise and understand processes involved in physical or biological phenomena, as well as the structure of mathematics itself.

The study of Mathematics at St Andrews allows students to specialise in either pure or applied mathematics, from abstract theory to a range of applications in physics, computer science, biology and finance.



Mathematics BSc (Hons)
Mathematics MA (Hons)
Mathematics MMath (Hons)
Applied Mathematics MMath (Hons)
Pure Mathematics MMath (Hons)

Joint degree options

The Mathematics BSc (Hons), the Mathematics MA (Hons) and the Mathematics MMath (Hons) programmes can be taken with another subject as part of a joint degree or a "with" degree.



Applied Statistics and Datamining MSc/PGDip
Data-Intensive Analysis MSc
Mathematics MSc
Statistics MSc



Please contact a supervisor in your research area to inquire about PhD opportunities.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.


Booking for the spring visiting days is now open. To book onto a visiting day, please select your preferred choice of date and complete the booking form.


  • Wednesday 8 March 2017
  • November 2017 - date to be confirmed.

Booking for the spring visiting days is now open.

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Mathematics research areas

The School of Mathematics and Statistics promotes a friendly research atmosphere with a cross-flow of ideas while providing the depth and breadth necessary to pursue major scientific programmes at an international level. There are strong links between different research groups within the School as well as interdisciplinary links with theoretical computer science, biology, astronomy and geoscience.

Research in Mathematics is divided into two major areas:

Pure mathematics

There are two pure mathematics research groups at St Andrews:

Algebra and Combinatorics
The group's specific areas of expertise include group theory, semigroup theory and combinatorics. 

Research staff

  • Dr Collin Bleak: geometric group theory; decision problems in algebraic structures; interplay between other fields and Group Theory; topological, symbolic and sequential dynamical systems.
  • Professor Peter Cameron (head of group): algebra; combinatorics; model theory. 
  • Dr Sophie Huczynska: combinatorics and finite fields; algebra and theoretical computer science.
  • Dr James Mitchell: digraphs; semigroups; permutation groups and transformation semigroups.
  • Dr Martin Quick: finite and infinite groups and their structure.
  • Professor Igor Rivin
  • Dr Colva Roney-Dougal: finite and infinite group theory; theoretical computer science.
  • Professor Nik Ruskuc: combinatorial semigroup theory; subsemigroups; group and semigroup presentations; transformation semigroups; machine and languages in algebra; combinatorics of permutations; computational algebra.

Analysis Research Group
The Analysis Research Group is one of the world's strongest research groups in fractal geometry and dynamical systems. 

Research staff:

  • Professor Kenneth Falconer (head of pure mathematics division): mathematical analysis concentrated around geometry of fractals and multifractals. 
  • Professor Lars Olsen (head of group): fractal geometry; dynamical systems; analysis. 
  • Dr Michael Todd: thermodynamic formalism; recurrence; statistical stability; open systems; slow mixing.

Applied mathematics

There are three applied mathematics research groups:

Mathematical Biology Research Group
The group focuses on the spatio-temporal dynamics of nonlinear systems arising in biology, medicine and ecology, using a blend of analytical, numerical and computational techniques along with mathematical modelling skills.

Research staff:

Solar and Magnetospheric Theory Research Group
The group explores the nature of the Sun and the Earth's magnetosphere using mathematical modelling techniques. 

Research staff:

  • Dr Vasilis Archontis: development of numerical techniques and performance of simulations in solar physics and astrophysical MHD.
  • Professor Ineke De Moortel: coronal heating and properties of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) wave propagation in the solar corona. 
  • Professor Alan Hood: solar physics and modelling observations within the MHD framework. 
  • Dr Duncan Mackay: mathematical modelling of phenomena found on the Sun. 
  • Professor Thomas Neukirch: plasma astrophysics; space plasma physics. 
  • Professor Clare Parnell: coronal heating, the magnetic carpet, magnetic reconnection and magnetic null points.
  • Dr Andrew Wright: magnetic helicity, Alfvén waves, the magnetosphere, resonant absorption, and particle acceleration. 

Vortex Dynamics Research Group
The group studies a wide range of fundamental problems arising in fluid dynamics with an emphasis on geophysical and astrophysical applications.

Research staff:

  • Dr Magda Carr: mathematical modelling of geophysical fluid dynamics; buoyancy driven flows. 
  • Professor David Dritschel: fundamental aspects of atmospheric and oceanic fluid dynamics, particularly vortex dynamics. 
  • Dr Jean Reinaud: geophysical vortex interactions and turbulence. 
  • Dr Richard Scott: planetary waves, polar vortex, turbulence. 
  • Dr Chuong Tran: GFD; MHD; turbulence; stability; mixing and transport; Navier–Stokes theory. 

Mathematics research centres

There are two research centres related to Mathematics at St Andrews.

Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Computational Algebra (CIRCA)
CIRCA undertakes mathematical research with computer assistance, develops new techniques for computation in abstract algebra, and develops and distributes software implementing these techniques.

Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM)
CREEM develops and applies advanced mathematical and statistical methods to practical problems in biology, ecology and geography.

Mathematics research portal


Careers for graduates in Mathematics

Those who study a degree in Mathematics gain skills in clear logical thinking, deductive reasoning, data handling and IT skills. Consequently, graduates in Mathematics are in high demand and have a wide selection of employment opportunities, including:

  • research
  • teaching
  • merchant banking
  • insurance
  • computer consulting
  • civil service
  • finance.

See recent graduate employment case studies.

Work experience

Work experience is invaluable when it comes to securing graduate-level employment. There are a number of Mathematics-specific opportunities for students to gain work experience:

  • Gain work experience overseas by applying for a placement through IAESTE (the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience). 
  • Become a committee member of SUMS, a student-run mathematics society. 
  • Apply for summer research scholarships: Carnegie Trust or Nuffield Foundation.

Funding opportunities

There is a range of funding opportunities available to prospective undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students.


There are a range of undergraduate funding opportunities offered by the University of St Andrews.

Undergraduate scholarships


The University of St Andrews offers various postgraduate funding opportunities.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

Find out more about funding at PhD level.

Funding for PhD students


REF 2014

The School of Mathematics and Statistics was ranked second in Scotland for the quality of research, with 91% of its research activity rated world-leading or internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award

The School of Mathematics and Statistics was awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in 2014 for recognising and encouraging practices that reduce inequalities in the work place.


School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews
Mathematical Institute
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9SS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2344

Mathematics and Statistics website Mathematics research portal