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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. The groups provide a ‘home’ for researchers, allowing them to exchange ideas, get support, and often work together on projects.

In addition to the Research Groups, we have crafted seven research priority areas for the school to focus on emerging trends within our rapidly-evolving discipline. These priority areas have been designed to complement our existing research groups, aiming to provide additional vitality and agility in which we can respond to emerging trends.

Priority areas will remain dynamic and get reviewed approximately every two years as priorities change. They currently include:

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.

Our longstanding, strong and dynamic research culture has given rise to our international reputation for world-class research.

Our research is organised into three groups:

The areas of research we prioritise are:

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.

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.

Selecting a prospective supervisor

Browse our web pages by research group or individual staff members, read recent publications from members of staff in the School, and contact prospective supervisors to discuss and refine your research proposal before submitting a formal application.  For further guidance, email the Postgraduate Research Admissions Tutor including a brief paragraph describing your chosen research area.

Research proposal

Your research proposal should be no longer than 500 words (unless applying for a specific, advertised research project, in which case, provide the project title and description), and you should include:

  • 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 (or a list of prospective supervisors), and a description of how your proposal relates to their research interest and expertise (note that your application will not be considered without this)
  • a list of references that you have cited in the above
  • 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.

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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