Computer Science PhD

The School of Computer Science welcomes highly motivated and well qualified graduates to join us to work towards a doctorate.

Our work is regularly presented in international conferences and journals, indicating the high standards we achieve in research. At Birmingham, we work closely in small teams of researchers embedded within a broad and lively research culture. 

This combination means you get the necessary focus, while keeping an eye on the bigger picture in which your work is placed.

Ayush Joshi

Ayush Joshi

PhD Computer Science

“I chose the University as there are some of the leading researchers in the field of Computer Science and specifically natural computation at Birmingham, which for me was the important deciding factor as it was my chosen field of study.”

The School’s staff and research students are loosely organised into informal research themes. Researchers are free to contribute to one or more themes and each theme organises its own activities.

Cross-disciplinary research is a major feature of the school, and links exist with, for example, psychology, medicine,
language studies and electronic engineering.

Supervision is arranged on an individual basis in order to closely match the interests of the student with those of the supervisor. We can only offer supervision in the areas in which we have academic expertise. See the reseach tab for details of our research areas.

Most of our students are full-time, but a small number are part-time, usually working for UK companies. The supervision process usually takes the form of weekly meetings, (although the frequency will vary according to need), where ideas are exchanged, help is offered and written work is discussed.

Related links

School of Computer Science website:  

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees 2019/20 academic year:

  • £4,320 UK/EU students, full-time
  • £2,160 UK/EU students, part-time
  • £21,420 International students, full-time

Learn more about fees and funding.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD. You will be able to apply for funding for the 2018 to 2019 academic year in summer 2018.

Follow the video link below to find out more
Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

Further information is available at the student finance zone.

Scholarships and studentships

We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.

Contact the department for further information.

For further information about research scholarships in Computer Science visit

For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the website.

Entry requirements

2:1 Honours degree in Computer Science or a subject relevant to the research topic (eg, Mathematics or Physics). Learn more about entry requirements

International students:

English language

For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications are required:

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall, with 5.5 minimum band score
  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • PTE Academic: 51 in all four skills

Further information about postgraduate English language requirements, including alternative qualifications considered and Pre-Sessional English.

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Our research lies mainly within the following themes and their sub-themes. There is a Grouping of academics associated with each sub-theme, but the groupings have a lot of overlap, and there are no formal boundaries.

Artificial intelligence

  • Reasoning and cognition covers research on architectures for accounting for human mental states and processes as well as recreating them in computer programs.
  • Robotics research focuses on intelligent robotics and related areas, including cognitive robotics, learning robots, faultdiagnosis, machine learning and sequential decision-making.
  • Natural language processing includes metaphor understanding; emotion detection; temporal information analysis and corpus analysis.

Nature-inspired computation

This covers both basic and applied research in areas including evolutionary computation, neural computation, artificial life, self-organising systems, emergent behaviours, machine perception, evolutionary robotics, complex adaptive systems, swarm intelligence and real-world applications.

Medical Imaging and Image Interpretation

Draws upon multidisciplinary research on computational techniques for image interpretation. The core activities relate to medical imaging and aim to develop diagnostic aids, which quantitatively characterise the properties of body tissues and organs.

Security and Privacy

Covers all aspects of computing security and privacy, tackling problems that are important to society, including government and industry. We are recognised as an EPSRC/GCHQ Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.

Human Computer Interaction

Promotes research and development in theories, designs, methodologies, and systems to support people in whatever they want to achieve. Work includes visualisation, intelligent interaction, data mining, ubiquitous and mobile computing. The group acts as a focal point for research, development and expertise in anything that has the user at the core.

Software Engineering

Focuses on methods and techniques for the development of large and complex software and systems, especially in the areas of: cloud, service orientated architectures, software tools and automated code generation. Our research spans theoretical as well as practical aspects and has resulted in a number of popular software products.

Theory of Computation Sciences

Explores fundamental concepts in computation and programming language semantics. This often involves profound and surprising connections between different areas of computer science and mathematics. From category theory to lambda-calculus and computational effects, topology to constructive mathematics, game semantics to program compilation, our research is diverse and continues to provide new insight and underlying structure.

Find a PhD



University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.