Computer Science PhD

Start date
Contact the School for information about specific starting dates
PhD: 3 years full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Doctoral research

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:
£4,500 (UK students)
£23,580 (International Students)
Further fee information is available.

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


Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Ayush Joshi, PhD Computer Science

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

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Annual Tuition Fees 2021/22 academic year

  • £4,500 UK students, full-time
  • £2,250 UK students, part-time
  • £23,580 International students, full-time

Note: Fees to be confirmed by RCUK spring 2021. 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.

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

Further information is available at the student finance zone.


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.

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 Standard 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 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 with no less than 5.5 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 51 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

Our research is breaking new ground in the theory and practice of computational systems and their applications.

Artificial intelligence

The Intelligent Robotics Lab in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham has a history of working on basic and applied research projects at the intersection of AI, robotics, and machine learning. Our researchers have expertise in computer vision, knowledge representation and reasoning, cognitive systems, interactive learning, formal verification, and dexterous manipulation. Our research projects and educational initiatives are funded by competitive grants from funding agencies and industrial collaborators in the UK, EU, US, and other countries.

Security and Privacy

The Security and Privacy Group, led by Professor Mark Ryan, is a team of eleven academic staff based in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. For over a decade, the group has remained committed to its ethos of tackling cyber security problems that are important to society. Working in collaboration with academia, industry and government, the Group consistently produces internationally leading research on key issues that has led to recognition by GCHQ as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.

Human Computer Interaction

The Human-Computer Interaction Centre based at the University of Birmingham focuses on a people-centred perspective on interaction and technology; it leads the development of our understanding on how people interact with technologies, and how one transforms the other.

Theory of Computation Sciences

Theoretical Computer Science at Birmingham is  one of the largest research groups in the world to focus on the logical foundations of computer science. Much of our work makes use of techniques such as category theory, type theory, topology, domain theory, and game semantics, which we apply to deep and conceptual questions in a broad range of areas.

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.

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