Mathematical Biology, Ph. D.

  • N/A
    Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
University rank #251 ,
The PhD Mathematical Biology uses novel mathematical and computational techniques to solve problems in the biological, ecological and environmental sciences. At Essex, we currently supervise projects in the areas of animal movement and behaviour, population dynamics, plankton ecology, fisheries and natural resource management, and bioinformatics techniques. 


Holders of a such a PhD are ideally placed to continue a scientific research career as there is currently a shortage of mathematical expertise in biological, ecological and environmental research. 

We also offer an MPhil in this subject. 

Please note, part-time research study is also available.

Why study PhD Mathematical Biology at Essex?

Our Department of Mathematical Sciences has an international reputation in many areas like such as semi-group theory, optimisation, probability, applied statistics, bioinformatics and mathematical biology.

Our staff are strongly committed to research and teaching. They have published several well-regarded text books and are world leaders in their individual specialisms, with their papers appearing in learned journals like Communications in Algebra, Studia Logica, International Journal of Algebra and Computation, SIAM Journal in Optimization, IEEE Evolutionary Computation, Computers and Operations Research, Ecology, Journal of Mathematical Biology, and Journal of Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology.


Officially accredited and/or recognized by the Privy Council, University of Essex is a large (uniRank enrollment range: 10,000-14,999 students) coeducational higher education institution. University of Essex offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as bachelor degrees, master degrees, doctorate degrees in several areas of study.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Duration 36 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Within our Department, our PhD students are usually encouraged to undertake our taught module, Research Methods, in the first year of study, so you are well equipped with the necessary skills to undertake effective research. A PhD (taking at least three years) typically involves wide reading round the subject area in your first year, then gradually developing original results over your second and third years, before writing them up in a coherent fashion. The resulting thesis is expected to extend the understanding of a specialist topic, and should not exceed 80,000 words in length.

We offer an MPhil programme for those who wish to make an original contribution to mathematics, though of a less substantial nature than required for the award of a PhD. The minimum period of registration for our MPhil is six terms (two years) which is awarded on the basis of a thesis with a maximum length of 50,000 words.

All our students wishing to study for a PhD enrol on a combined MPhil/PhD pathway. In your second year of study, depending on progress, a decision is made by our Department on whether to proceed with either an MPhil or a PhD. There is no taught element although you may attend course modules on an informal basis.

It is possible to pursue your PhD via a Doctoral Programme (MPHP) in a wide variety of areas. If you are undertaking this Doctoral Programme you will, in your first year, complete a comparable programme to that of our Masters students but then continue for a further two years undertaking research in the general area studied during the summer of your first year. Your final degree will be a PhD.

Our MSc by Dissertation involves a minimum of one year of full-time research. There is no taught element, although you may attend course modules on an informal basis. The resulting thesis must contain an element of novelty and should not exceed 30,000 words in length. Award of this depends on an oral examination of you and your thesis. There is an option to upgrade to an MPhil/PhD if you make good progress.

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Take IELTS test

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Academic Requirements

For research study within our Department of Mathematical Sciences, we normally require a good Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. A well developed research proposal is also essential.

If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • GBP 13350 International
  • GBP 4200 EU/EEA


For up-to-date information on funding opportunities at Essex, please visit:

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.