Applying for PhD in Computer Science

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Who can apply?

We invite home and international candidates with First or Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree (or an international equivalent) in computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, or any other academic background that is relevant to our research portfolio and the intended research of the candidate. We invite prospective candidates to visit our web pages for an overview of our research themes and to discover the research interests and ongoing research projects of our faculty members. Candidates are welcome to contact potential supervisors informally prior to applying. 

We aim for our PhD student cohorts to reflect the diversity of our society and are dedicated to ensuring equal opportunities for all applicants. We encourage applicants from ethnic minorities, under-represented groups, individuals with disabilities, and neurodiverse candidates. We provide support to students to help them adapt to their unique personal circumstances through options like part-time and split-site study opportunities.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for motivated candidates with the potential to carry out excellent research, under the supervision of our faculty members. Applicants must explain in their personal statement their motivation for joining the school and must identify one or more potential supervisors. The personal statement should elaborate on current academic interests of the applicant and must convince the admission committee that the applicant is engaged with one of the research themes in the school, and comprehends the research scope of the named potential supervisors.

We encourage candidates to elaborate in their personal statement on any education experience, technical and transferable skills that can support their application such as relevant postgraduate degrees, prior research exposure including research final-year projects and research internships, or work experience aligned with their discipline. Our selection criteria favour technical competence and the potential to carry out research collaboratively as well as independently, yet we additionally appreciate candidates who can demonstrate leadership (such as involvement in student organisations), and have international mobility experience. Moreover, we welcome individuals who contribute to the diversity of our student cohorts in terms of their individual, social and academic backgrounds. 

How to apply?

Applications are accepted and processed following the timeline set out below. We automatically consider all applications for scholarships, which are awarded through a competitive selection process.

Applicants who do not wish to be considered for scholarships can choose to opt out in order to accelerate the decision-making process. This pertains to candidates who have secured external funding or require a conditional offer for their sponsors. Such applicants should clearly indicate their opt-out preference in their applications.

Alongside information about your previous studies and work experiences, we ask for the following documents to support your application. 

*Required for consideration

Personal Statement*

The personal statement is the most important document of your application. It should explain why you are interested in the programme, identify potential supervisors, demonstrate engagement with their research, and convince the admission committee about your potential to pursue excellent research and contribute to our research environment. As a general guideline, a good personal statement should typically range from 500 to 1000 words. Applicants have the option to attach a longer research proposal, which can be provided as supplementary material.


Your application must include the contact information of two referees. Ensure that you inform your referees to expect communication from the University of Birmingham via email, asking for their reference. Please be aware that the referee's contact email address must be an official one and not a personal one, such as a Gmail address. Referees must submit their letter of reference no later than 7 days after the submission deadline of your application.

Transcript and Academic Certificates*

You have to provide proof of your academic performance. Specifically, you need to upload your degree certificates and transcripts. Certificates must be in English or must be certified English translations. If you are yet to graduate, you can upload an interim transcript from your latest exams. You then have to upload your final degree certificates at a later stage if required to meet the admission prerequisites.

Proof of English Language Proficiency

Unless you are exempt, you need to provide evidence of language proficiency. See our language entry requirements for more information. Nonetheless, this can be submitted at a later stage to meet the admission prerequisites.

Supplementary Documentation

You have the option to include supplementary materials to strengthen your application, such as a longer version of your CV, a sample of written work, or a research proposal. Please be aware that the admissions committee will consult your supplementary materials at their discretion.


The school offers studentships for a full-time three-and-a-half-year programme, awarded through a competitive selection process to exceptional candidates participating in this call.

Scholarships include tuition fee waivers plus an annual maintenance allowance of £18,622, for eligible domestic and international students. The allowance is paid as a tax-free stipend and its rate is usually incremented on 1 October each following year. 

We welcome applicants who have their own funding and support those who intend to apply for external funding sources. Applicants who need a conditional offer for their sponsor and do not seek to be considered for scholarship should contact CS Admissions Team to expedite the decision-making process. Applicants who intend to apply for external funding are encouraged to contact potential supervisors prior to applying.

We provide personal laptops and travel funding to attend conferences (pending prior approval) and one summer school (or equivalent) to all admitted students, whether they have a scholarship or are self-funded. Students will also be given the chance to participate in teaching activities, including creating and grading exercises as well as conducting laboratory and tutorial sessions, which are compensated separately.

Part-time & Split-site PhD

The standard offer is for full-time PhD study and most of our students study full-time, although we also offer the opportunity to study your PhD part-time. This is common choice for student pursuing their PhD while working for UK companies. Note that the part-time option is only available to home students. 

It is also possible to study for a PhD here in split-site (also called split-location) mode, where most of the research is not done on our campus. Split-site study is an option available to both home and international students.  When applying for split-site PhD study, you need some careful preparation:

  • You must have identified a supervisor here who is interested in split-site supervision.
  • A number of months need to be spent on campus at Birmingham, to attend taught modules (e.g., Research Skills) and to meet with your supervisor at Birmingham.
  • 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.


Our admission committee will evaluate your application shortly after the application deadline. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an online interview. Interview will happen within at most two months after the application deadline. Final decisions will be made shortly after the interview. 

Applications for entry in the cohort of 2024 are received in three cycles. Applications received after an application deadline are automatically considered in the next cycle. The timeline for each cycle is specified below. 

First call

Application deadline: 1 December 2023, 4pm UK time
Student interviews: December / January
Offer to be made: January / February
Offer to be accepted: 29 February 2024

Second call

Application deadline:  1 February 2024, 4pm UK time
Student interviews:  February / March
Offer to be made:  March / April
Offer to be accepted:  30 April 2024

Third call

Application deadline:  1 April 2024, 4pm UK time
Student interviews:  April / May
Offer to be made:  May / June
Offer to be accepted:  28 June 2024

Summer Admissions

We accept applications during the summer for self-funded students and students applying for advertised projects. Applicants are invited to contact potential supervisors prior to applying.

The expected start date of the PhD programme is 23 September 2024. Applicants can request to anticipate or delay the start of PhD to accommodate individual circumstances. Requests should be made in agreement with the supervisor.

Further information

The University has many resources available to assist you in applying to study with us. For more information or queries, please visit the university's research support page or contact