School of Computer Science

MRes Natural Computation

The MRes in Natural Computation is a one-year full-time degree for students who would have found their undergraduate study stimulating and want to learn in-depth about this emerging interdisciplinary field. This programme is designed for students wishing to undertake a challenging research-orientated masters degree.

Course overview

Split into three sections, you will study:

Semester 1

  • Mini-project
  • Research skills
  • A choice of options
  • Research Project and Thesis

Semester 2

  • Further options
  • Continuation of Research Project and Thesis


  • Continuation of Research Project and Thesis

This Masters degree by Research means you are taught core principals initially and and then given the chance to develop your skills by undertaking interesting, innovative research, supported by academic staff and peers. It is structured so that you learn how to plan, organise and manage your time and learn what it is to be a scientific researcher. You will have the opportunity to contribute to the development of new knowledge, learn intellectual skills such as argumentation, exposition and reasoning, and develop as an individual.

Programme Information

Natural computation is the study of computational systems that use ideas and gain inspiration from natural systems, including biological, ecological and physical systems. It is an emerging interdisciplinary area in which appropriate techniques and methods are studied for dealing with large, complex, and dynamic problems. The aims of this programme are to:

  1. Meet the increasing need from industry for graduates equipped with a knowledge of natural computation techniques.
  2. Provide a solid foundation in natural computation for graduates to pursue a research and development career in industry or to pursue further studies (e.g. PhD).
  3. Give up-to-date coverage of current topics in natural computation (such as evolutionary algorithms, co-evolution, evolutionary design, nature-inspired optimisation techniques, evolutionary games, novel learning algorithms, artificial neural networks, theory of natural computation).

This innovative MRes programme is led and run primarily by the world-leading Natural Computation Group and CERCIA in the School of Computer Science. The group has over 40 full-time researchers, including teaching staff, research fellows and associates, PhD students, and academic visitors. Its members publish in top international journals in artificial intelligence, evolutionary computation and theoretical computer science, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, Theoretical Computer Science, etc. The group has strong links with industry, especially through CERCIA, including Honda, BT, Thales, Unilever, GSK, Rolls Royce, etc. We encourage MRes students to carry out their research projects in collaboration with our industrial partners. Opportunities exist for students to do their project work within a company.

A statement of research

The MRes in Natural Computation is research oriented, and includes two mini-projects and a summer project, written in the style of a peer-reviewed scientific journal paper. Your application should include two sides of A4 with research interests and tentative ideas that you plan to develop for these three projects. These ideas should ideally be close to the research interest of the School. For information on current academic staff and research areas, please click here.).

Once you are admitted, you will have an opportunity to revise or change your research plans after discussion with your project supervisors. But it is important at application time to know that you are interested and have potential skills for research, as well as some tentative plans. The Statement of Research is an opportunity for you to demonstrate this.

Entry Requirements

At least a 2.1 in Computer Science/Engineering degree with significant computing content. Applicants must possess competent mathematical skills.

How to apply

Applications for all Computer Science MSc programmes are made directly to the University of Birmingham. For full details on how to apply and what supporting documents are required, please click here.

International applicants

If you are applying to us from outside the UK you can acess information about the experiences of fellow students, studying in a different country and check degree comparability here. You may also need to provide evidence of English language proficiency, but can find out further information here.

Postgraduate Brochure

Please see our Postgraduate Computer Science Brochure for further information.

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Computer Science Admissions
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8742