School of Computer Science

Resources for our Ph.D. students

We are proud of the support we give our research students and the resources we make available. We support our students through providing high quality supervision, through regular feedback on the student's work and with regular monitoring both of the quality of the supervision and feedback.

We try to provide our research students with the best facilities possible. Each has their own individual study area with a personal machine to provide access to the School's computer network and beyond. Both the School and the University have a range of support services.

Above all, we aim to provide an intellectually stimulating community which welcomes a wide variety of research students from many backgrounds at at different stages in their lives. We hope all our research students look back at their time with us as one of the very best times of their lives.

The School provides ...

Study area and computing facilities

Each full-time research student and teaching assistant has their own study area in a shared research student office - usually of about 6-8 research students. This will include a desk and filing for papers and a computer. At the moment, research student machines are dual boot Windows/Linux, all machines have access to the School's network and out onto the University network and beyond.

Training in research skills

All full-time research students are given training in research skills. One part of this consists of a course designed specifically for our students and delivered by our staff. This includes intellectual property rights, writing and searching skills and practice in giving presentations. The University also offers similar training and also offers free classes in advanced English skills for those whose first language is not English.

We monitor the progress of all our research students. This process includes opportunitities for research students to practise their written and oral presentation skills, on which they receive regular feedback.

Almost everyone of our students presents a conference paper while they are with us. Supervisors encourage their students by providing advice and other assistance. The School always tries to provide the money for all reasonable requests for students to travel to conferences to present their work.


We have several seminar series and, because the University is campus-based, we are easily able to attend seminars in other schools, for instance in Psychology and Mathematics.

Our seminars series ranges from the Computer Science seminars which are intended for a general audience, through the Theory of Computer Science seminars to the "Oven" which is a very informal series in which staff and research students present work in progress.

Details of current seminars series are available on-line.

The University provides ...

Support for students with disabilities

The University offers support to students with disabilities via the Student Support and Counselling Service and is a member of SKILL, the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities.

The University has a separate page giving advice for applicants with disabilities.

Accommodation services

The University has a large amount of accommodation although most of our research students prefer to make their own arrangements for accommodation. International first-year postgraduate students who are new to Birmingham are guaranteed a place in University accommodation, subject to certain conditions.

There are more than 1,000 married students at the University and this means that the demand for University family accommodation is very great. If you intend to bring your family with you we strongly advise you to travel alone to Birmingham and to send for your family later when you have arranged suitable accommodation.

Further information is available from Housing Services.

Graduate School

Most of your work and your social contacts are likely to be based in your school, department or research group. However, as a postgraduate student at Birmingham you will be a member of the University's Graduate School. The aim of the Graduate School is to ensure that the environment in which graduate students work meets their social and academic needs. It does this by providing a University-wide network for the discussion of issues which have particular relevance to postgraduate students, by fostering quality in the delivery of postgraduate teaching and research supervision, by ensuring the availability of appropriate academic facilities and by providing opportunities for research students to meet others and benefit from the University's social facilities.

The Graduate School maintains its own Web page.

International Office

The University's International Office offers advice to applicants. For students studying at Birmingham, there is an International Students Advisor who can advice on a wide range of concerns to students from outside the UK, from visa requirements for family members to health and legal services.

Libraries and Information Services

Information Services provides library and computing infrastructures to the University. The Main Library and its twelve satellite site libraries together form one of the largest academic library systems in the country, with a book-stock of some two and a half million volumes. It is a member of the prestigious Research Libraries Group based in the USA, thus gaining access to a network of research libraries in North America and Europe.

Library services are highly automated, and the benefits of this for readers are especially evident in the on-line public access catalogue and the wide variety of bibliographic and full-text information sources which can be searched locally (through networked or stand-alone workstations) or remotely across national and international networks.


The Chaplaincy is based in St Francis Hall, next to Guild of Students. A team of four full time and ten part-time Chaplains represent all the major world faiths on the campus, and are available to students at any time for advice and counselling.

Medical and dentistry services

The University Medical Practice aims to help students maintain and improve their health and to provide prompt and skilled treatment for any disorders which may occur. There is an eight bed Sanatorium in the same building and a small charge is made to students to help maintain this facility which is available in term time only.

There is also a University Dental Practice.

There is no need to take out separate medical insurance in the UK.

Student Support and Counselling Service

This offers support on welfare, financial problems and has an Educational Resource Centre.

The Service maintains its own web page.

Life in Birmingham ...

The City Centre is close enough for shops and entertainment to be readily accessible, especially by train, but far enough away for the University not to be a city centre campus. The original benefactors of the University gave extensive lands in the then green field site of Edgbaston. Although the City's suburbs have spread round the campus, the original campus area remains and represents a very large green space. The student accommodation is largely in the residential suburb of Edgbaston, a select housing area. The academic buildings are mainly on the side of campus bordering Selly Oak, which is dominated by private rented accommodation for students. The size of the original site has allowed the University to expand in the last hundred or so years without destroying the essential open grass and tree landscape.

The City of Birmingham lies at a hub of both the rail and motorway networks and so the University is extremely accessible. Indeed, there is a regular seven minute rail service to the town centre from the station (appropriately called "University Station") situated at the West Gate. Birmingham International Airport lies over the other side of the City centre with an easy train connection to the University.

Birmingham is one of the UK's large cultural and entertainment centres. It has produced music groups from the pub and club music world, through jazz (with pub venues and the jazz festival held each summer) to classical music - represented by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hall, Town Hall and the Birmingham Early Music Festival. There are regular concerts within the University mounted by professionals and the Music Department's students in the Barber Institute (very near to the School of Computer Science) and Birmingham has gained international recognition through BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre). University concerts are to be heard on BBC Radio, whose Pebble Mill studios are less than fifteen minutes walking distance from the School.

The dramatic and visual arts are catered for in a number of theatres in the town centre, as well at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon, just south of Birmingham. There are numerous museums of which the most famous is the City Museum and Art Gallery, with an art collection especially rich in Pre-Raphaelites. The Barber Institute is home to a nationally important art collection and the School of Earth Science's Lapworth Museum (housed in the same building as the School of Computer Science) has a collection particularly strong Lower Paleozoic fossils from around the world.

Birmingham and the locality are rich in historical venues and University staff and students have a record of contributing to the work of uncovering and interpreting sites. The School's new building is on the (excavated) site of a Roman fort, and nearby medieval digs have included Weoley Castle (a moated manor house) and Worcester Cathedral. The industrial past is represented by Ironbridge Gorge (credited as being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution) and the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, which includes a workshop that has remained almost unchanged for 100 years.

Birmingham's extensive canal system, which surprisingly has more miles of canals than Venice, has, along with much of the rest of the City Centre, undergone an exciting rejuvenation. As you walk along the tow-paths, which have been transformed into a delightful civic amenity, you can contrast the imposing grandeur of Birmingham's industrial past with our modern architecture, symbol of the City's exciting future.