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Computer Science and Informatics

Studying for a PhD or MPhil at the Cardiff School of Computer Science and Informatics offers you the opportunity to become part of a strong, dynamic and internationally successful research school.

Research in computer science and informatics is all about going beyond current knowledge and technologies to build the computing systems of the future.

Technologies we now take for granted, like the web, smartphones, and databases, are all products of past research in computer science and informatics. So what will the future bring?

Researchers here at Cardiff are currently working on new developments in areas like computer graphics, data mining, and ‘intelligent’ mobile systems. We hope that our research will enable new kinds of computing applications, products and systems to help people in areas like healthcare, the environment, security and business.

Conducting research in computer science and informatics is exciting and challenging and we offer you the opportunity to work alongside our research staff who are leaders in their areas of expertise. They publish widely, edit and review for international journals, act as external examiners both within the UK and internationally, provide consultancy and secure research funding.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD, MPhil
Full-time duration PhD 3 Years, MPhil 1 Year
Part-time duration PhD 5 Years, MPhil 2 Years
Start dates January, April, July, October
Application deadline(s) Your complete application (including transcripts, certificates and two academic reference letters) must be submitted by the following dates (unless a specific deadline is indicated for an advertised studentship): end of August for entry in the subsequent January; end of November for entry in the subsequent April; end of February for entry in the subsequent July; end of May for entry in the subsequent October.

Research in the school is organised into three Research Groups. Each one is led by a distinguished professor and is made up of academic staff, research assistants, and research students.

Over the course of their studies, research students will normally publish a number of papers and attend conferences that will help them work towards their thesis.  To be successful, these papers will contain new ideas and research results that will go beyond current knowledge in computer science and informatics. The student’s supervisors will help them develop these ideas and achieve results, and other members of the student’s research group will help them communicate and improve their ideas and results.

Research students attend a programme of seminars given by invited speakers, as well as seminars given by specialist research group members.  Each year students attend training events which develop their skills by presenting posters and talks on their own project.  Progress is monitored at 6 monthly intervals, with an annual review to ensure progress is at the appropriate level.

The results of the research student’s research are written up in the form of a thesis that demonstrates the design and execution of an original piece of research, and the thesis is assessed by an oral examination or viva voce.

When considering whether to join us as a research student, you should review the topics and activities in these research areas and priorities to make sure that we have similar interests. Please contact a lead member of staff in one of these areas to help identify a suitable supervisor with whom you can discuss the nature and direction of your research work.

This postgraduate research programme will prepare you for a career as a leading academic or in an industrial research and development role. Successful graduates will be able to demonstrate to employers both a deep understanding and broad knowledge concerning contemporary computer science from a research and development perspective.

Examples of career pathways include: Software Developer, Lecturer, Web Developer, Software Engineer, Software Architect, Technical Consultant, IT Specialist, and Support Analyst.

UK government postgraduate doctoral loans

Candidates for the Professional Doctorate programme may be eligible to apply for a UK government postgraduate doctoral loan.

Find out more about UK government postgraduate doctoral loans


Self-funded research

We welcome applications if you are self-funding or have funding from other sources, including government studentships or your employer. You should review our research areas and priorities to make sure that we have similar interests.

Funded research

We usually award a small number of EPSRC-funded doctoral and other funded studentships each year. These projects are open to UK/EU and often to overseas students.

Although funded projects are designed for full-time study, you are welcome to discuss the feasibility of conducting any project part-time with the supervisor in advance of your application. You can find their contact information by following the profile links at the bottom of each project description below.

You can search for PhD studentships on the university website, as well as on the FindaPhD website.

See our latest PhD studentships and projects and find out more about other funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

To begin your application, please use the Apply box to select your preferred programme, mode of study and entry year.

Browse our web pages by research group to get an idea about the research themes and projects that are being undertaken in the School.  When you have an idea of what you would like to research, we recommend that you take a look at our academic staff profiles to see which staff member(s) have similar research interests to you. You can then contact them and give them a brief idea of what you would like to research. If they agree that they would be interested in receiving an application from you, then you should apply in the normal way.

Applicants who have already contacted the relevant tutor are far more likely to be accepted than those who apply without doing this.

With all applications, please include a current CV and personal statement and a research proposal.

Research proposal

Research proposal

Your research proposal should be no longer than 2000 word and should include the following. Please note that proposals longer than 2000 words will be rejected at the initial application stage.

  • a summary of your chosen research area, which briefly describes the state-of-the-art and lists the shortcomings and questions that your study will address
  • an outline of the methods and techniques that you propose applying
  • the name of a prospective supervisor, and a description of how your proposal relates to their research interest and expertise
  • a list of references that you have cited in the above

In addition, you can also upload an example of previous work, such as a journal or conference paper that you have contributed to, or a chapter of a dissertation from your MSc or undergraduate degree.

For more guidance visit the writing your research proposal page.

Funded studentships

Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics offers several competitive studentships every year. Funding normally covers an annual stipend, as well as postgraduate tuition fees at the home/EU rate.

The deadline for applications for the PhD studentships 2023 is 13 March. We anticipate the shortlisting and interviewing process to be conducted in April.

Admission process

Telephone Interview

If your application meets our entrance requirements, you will be invited to an interview with your proposed supervisor and a representative of the postgraduate research admissions tutor, and a decision will usually be made within 5 days.

A 2:1 Honours undergraduate degree or a master's degree, in computing or a related subject. Applicants with appropriate professional experience are also considered. Degree-level mathematics (or equivalent) is required for research in some project areas.

English language requirements

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate their proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.

Please read our English language requirements for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

Computer Science postgraduate research


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See the range of PhD studentships and projects currently available.

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