Many titles of universities or research institutes have a variety of adjectives before the noun institute.

Example: Oxford University and Chennai have a Mathematical Institute each. Then, there are a number of Mathematics Institutes. I am picking examples from countries where English is used in most official communications.

Type I:

Oxford University Mathematical Institute

Chennai Mathematical Institute

Indian Statistical Institute

Type II:

Clay Mathematics Institute

Warwick Mathematics Institute

Reference: http://www.mathontheweb.org/mathweb/mi-inst.html

  • 5
    They're both perfectly grammatical. Why do you think that native English speakers would start giving ungrammatical names to their institutions? Sometimes there's more than one way to say something in English. Nov 25, 2014 at 13:27
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    There is also the longer variant "Institute of/for Mathematics", which is quite common. However, at least in English (but not in German), it is unusual to have a "Biological Institute" or a "Physical Institute", because biological and physical are adjectives that carry another meaning as well. Nov 25, 2014 at 13:29
  • @PeterShor Dear Sir, I don't doubt they are grammatically incorrect. I want to know what is the explanation. Can you please elaborate? May be it is obvious but I am missing something. I did not mean at most one should be correct. It is acceptable for both of them to be correct. But, I suppose there must be some explanation. I suspect common usage often blinds us.
    – Jardine
    Nov 26, 2014 at 10:29
  • @painfulenglish Yes, I am aware of that version. That seems correct without doubt. Hence not mentioned. However, there is at least one Biological Institute Helgoland (BAH), perhaps a translation from German, as you said. There is a certain Marine Biological Association of the UK, Marine Biological Laboratory in the US and the Biologic Institute. Just as there are National Physical Laboratory, UK; American Physical Society, London Mathematical Society etc.
    – Jardine
    Nov 26, 2014 at 10:46

1 Answer 1


You can probably consider them interchangeable for almost all intents and purposes.

To be more accurate when someone says Statistical or Mathematical they are including related fields too. Mathematics and Statistics are a somewhat narrower word. So a Mathematical Institute would probably have to do with mathematics and related fields, while a Mathematics Institute would have a narrower focus on just mathematics.

To answer your question, the one that is most correct would depend on the institution. For example I know the Clay Mathematics institute has a strong focus on pure math, so I think its aptly named. My college in my university was named the College of Mathematical Sciences. It had a much broader focus than just math.

That being said it is possible that people who named the institution didn't put that much consideration into the small distinction.

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