I am currently weighing two options for my undergraduate study in mathematics, the University of Oxford and ETH Zurich. In Zurich, I would be graduating after three years with an Bsc., at Oxford I would have the opportunity to graduate in four with an integrated Masters, an MMath.

I have however heard that some European universities (e.g. Bonn) do not consider an MMath sufficient qualification for beginning a PhD in mathematics and require students complete their own Msc. before beginning their dissertation.

Since I am keen to continue in the world of research and obtain a PhD, and many of my friends have recommended ETH to me for PhDs, would obtaining an MMath degree bar me from directly beginning a doctorate?

Is it considered to be equivalent to an Masters degree in Europe?

  • 1
    If I were you, I would choose based on more immediate concerns such as content and rigor of the courses, cost of living etc. It might also be worth contacting someone in the maths department at Oxford to ask if they regularly send people to the EU/Europe for PhDs after the course, or if a second Master's is a more common destination. May 13, 2023 at 11:19
  • @user438383 I should have specified my question. I am German myself and am focusing on Switzerland and Germany.
    May 13, 2023 at 17:30

2 Answers 2


A first pass answer, perhaps someone else will come by with more confidence: I did a taught MSc in the Maths Institute. One friend on the course had done the standard 3 year undergrad at Ox and opted for the MSc rather than MMath, and the concern you're expressing never came up when we chatted. Nor did I hear it from anyone else.

In short: I've never heard of anyone considering an MMath insufficient preparation for a PhD place as a general rule.

  • Thanks for you insight. You said "as a general rule", so you would say some people may continue to have reservations?
    May 31, 2023 at 11:28

I strongly suspect that the problem is not about the MMath specifically. In Germany, getting a BSc + MSc would take 3 + 2 years, while in the UK it is only 3 + 1 years. It will vary from university to university how much of a problem this is for PhD admissions - the more the box tickers are in charge, the more complicated it is going to me. However, at any place where admission decisions are made on individual merits, an MMath from Oxford should be a very decent qualification for starting a PhD.

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