School of Computer Science

PhD in Computer Science

Computer Science Building

The University of Birmingham offers supervision for the degree of Ph.D. in Computer Science in many research areas of computer science.

We are looking for highly motivated and well-qualified graduates to join us to work towards a doctorate.

Our School is placed 8th nationally for research quality in the '2014 Research Excellence Framework', and our work is regularly presented in international conferences and journals, indicating the high standards we achieve in research. We are currently working towards maintaining a high position in the REF 2021.

In 2008, the UK Funding Councils undertook a national assessment of the quality of research at British universities in the Research and Assessment Exercise (RAE). Among 81 submissions nationally for computer science, the School is equal 7th in the proportion of 4* awards, for research quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

The University has also been awarded a Gold rating in the 2016/17 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Research Themes

Academics and their PhD students are loosely organized into research themes.

Applying and PhD Scholarships

When applying as a Computer Science PhD student, the research proposed should be relevant to the research interests of a potential supervisor (see the School's research groupings and personal home pages of academics for suitable topics). You are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor informally, whose name can then be given on the formal application via the online admissions portal. Your application can be processed more quickly if it is clear who the potential supervisor is. On the other hand, many applications cannot be accepted because there is no suitable supervisor.

All accepted applicants will be automatically considered for our departmental PhD scholarships. These scholarships are by nomination only, so that there is no separate application for these scholarships.

Split-site PhD in Computer Science

It is possible to study for a PhD here in split-site (also called split-location) mode, where most of the research is not done at Birmingham. Such split site PhDs may be an attractive option for some international students. When applying for split site PhD study, you will need some careful preparation:

  • You must have identified a supervisor here who is interested in split-site supervision.
  • In split site mode, several months need to be spent at Birmingham, to attend taught modules such as Research Skills and to agree on the exact research topic for the thesis proposal.
  • In addition to your research supervisor here, you need to find a local mentor, typically an academic at a local university, to work with you while you are away from Birmingham.

Scholarship and funding opportunities

The Alan Turing Institute and the University of Birmingham offer a number of places each year to motivated graduate students to complete a fully funded PhD. Find out more here.

There may also be postgraduate funding opportunities available. Please check our PG Funding database for more information.

Part-time PhD

Most of our PhD students are full-time students; a small number are part-time students, usually working for UK companies. Note that only Home/EU students can be part-time.

Helpful information

The University has many resources available to assist you in applying to study with us. Find out more here.

Postgraduate Research Admissions Team

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2653