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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there three websites for applications?

If you apply for a general PhD programme, then you need to apply either on the University of Edinburgh website or on the Heriot-Watt University website, depending on the affiliation of your potential supervisor. If you are interested in the MIGSAA CDT, then you need to apply on the MIGSAA website.

Why are there two deadlines?

We would like to consider candidates in two batches and invite shortlisted candidates to two separate open days.

When will the open days take place?

The open days will most likely take place in December 2017 and February 2018. The precise dates will be announced at a later time.

What funding opportunities are there?

PhD studentships are funded mostly by the two universities, sometimes in partnership with EPSRC. Additional funding for overseas students may be available.

I am not a resident in the UK. Am I eligible for a scholarship covering fees and living expenses?

Yes, some funding for overseas students is available.

How long does it usually take to complete a PhD?

The funding period for PhD positions ranges from 36 months to 48 months. Shorter PhD positions are for more experienced students, who have already completed a master's degree or equivalent. Longer funding is usually connected to more preliminary training via, e.g., Scottish Mathematical Sciences Training Centre.

If I get accepted, can I choose the length of the PhD programme that I enroll in and a specific funding option?

No, these will come as part of the offer we will make you.

What is the difference between the general PhD programme and the MIGSAA CDT programme?

First of all, the MIGSAA PhD programme is specialized in analysis and its applications only. Secondly, there are a number of differences: The duration of the MIGSAA programme is 48 months, while the length of a general programme is variable, depending on the applicant's previous experience (usually, 36-42 months), a PhD student enrolled in the MIGSAA programme will not have a supervisor assigned until the end of his first year of studies, while a PhD student enrolled in the general programme is assigned a supervisor from the moment they accept our offer. Also, a PhD student enrolled in MIGSAA will receive two PhD diplomas if successful (one from each university), while a PhD student enrolled in the general programme will receive one PhD diploma.

At the end of the PhD programme, will I receive two PhD diplomas, from both the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University?

In the case of a general PhD programme you will only receive a diploma from the university of affiliation of your supervisor. In the case of the MIGSAA CDT programme you will receive two diplomas.

Will I receive funding for attending conferences and summer courses during my PhD studies?

While many institutions organising conferences and summer courses offer funding to PhD students to attend such events, the two universities also have funds allocated for this and PhD students can informally apply for them.

What are the requirements regarding the number of courses one needs to take (or number of credits one needs to obtain) during PhD studies?

This depends on the candidate's experience (as well as the resulting length of funding). We expect all our PhD students to participate in some of the courses offered by the Scottish Mathematical Sciences Training Centre. A student funded by EPSRC for 42 months usually takes four modules. Requirement for MIGSAA students are different, please see here.

Am I allowed to take graduate courses at the other university?


How many hours am I expected to dedicate to training that is not directly linked to my PhD research?

About 50 hours per academic year.

Is the training in teaching, outreach, and industry compulsory?

Yes, besides the general skills training, we require that each PhD student reaches level III in one of the three streams: teaching, outreach, or industry.

Can I do training in two or three of the streams dedicated to teaching, outreach, and industry?

Yes, as long as you reach level III in at least one of the three streams. Interested students are welcome to do training in two or three streams after discussing time management with their supervisors.