PhD application guidelines
How to apply
Applicants are expected to have a First Class or Distinction Masters level degree, or equivalent, in a relevant scientific or technical discipline, such as computer science or mathematics.
Candidates who have only a Bachelors degree will not normally be considered. For candidates in possessions of a Master's level degree at Distinction, we also assess prior undergraduate degrees, for which the normal departmental acceptance level is 2.1 UK equivalent or above.
Outstanding applicants without a Master's degree and applicants not meeting the normal acceptance level but with extensive post-degree industrial experience relevant to the research area may still apply. They will be expected to supply in their accompanying documentation clear evidence of compensating factors, such as professional experience on the proposed research topic, experience accumulated in research labs or during research placements, cumulative years of study, and authorship of high-quality publications. All applications we receive will be evaluated across these dimensions before making an admission decision.
English language requirements
As part of the application process, you will be asked to show that you have met the College’s English-language requirement. The College postgraduate English entry requirement page describes how you can fulfill this requirement. Our Computing Research doctoral degree requires that students attain College English requirements at Standard level.
General information on the application process is available on the College application guidance notes. As part of the application, you will be asked to provide a CV, a personal statement, and a research proposal. Please make sure to include in your application an indication of potential supervisors, we recommend that you list 3-4 supervisors to maximize your chances of being shortlisted for an interview.
Preparing your CV
Your CV should summarise your educational qualifications, and indicate any relevant research experience, internships or work experience. The CV should also indicate any publications with web links from where they can be accessed. You will be required to submit with your application full degree transcripts showing results for individual subjects for both your Bachelors and Masters (or equivalent) degrees. Your application should also be accompanied by at least two reference letters commenting on the applicant’s suitability to undertake research.
Finding a potential supervisor
You can suggest in your application a number of potential supervisors, whose research may interest you. You should look at the research themes page for a brief overview of the research interests of our academic and research staff.
Please note that we will normally consider your application only after you have formally applied and your application has been received by the Department. Therefore we recommend that you should apply prior to contacting academics about research topics.
Preparing your personal statement
Preparing your research statement
Your application should be accompanied by a 3-5 page research statement, merged into a single PDF together with the personal statement. This should incorporate a brief description of the general research areas and topics that interest you, as this may be used to select suitable academics to whom your application will be circulated. Note that this document should not a personal statement on your motivation to pursue a PhD, its main purpose is to discuss the research problems that you wish to investigate. Motivation should be discussed in the personal statement.
Your research statement should also discuss:
- motivation for the research (i.e. why the topic is important for the scientific community and/or the broader society),
- research issues you intend to address during your PhD and
- your initial ideas on the research methodology (e.g. what sort of simulation or experimental techniques) you intend to pursue to address the research issues.
The research statement should refer to existing scientific literature using bibliographic references and should be your own original work.
The research statement does not constitute a commitment to carry out the exact research work that you have described, as this may change after acceptance and discussions with your supervisor.
Submitting an application
You can submit an application through the College online application system. Under Proposed studies, please select General for the Computing PhD Research Area options.
After you submit an application you may be invited for an interview. Interviews may be held in-person or on the phone, depending on whether you are based in the UK or overseas.
The interview typically involves giving a presentation about one of your past projects, or discussing some papers that you have been asked to read by your potential supervisor. The interview is also an occasion for applicants to learn more about the potential supervisor research interests and his/her team. Some questions you may like to ask to your potential supervisor include (but are not limited to):
- Would I be working mostly individually or as a member of a team?
- What projects your team is working on at the moment?
- How do you interact with your research students - e.g. whether meetings are ad-hoc, at regular times, one-to one, or group meetings?
For further enquiries, please contact our PhD Programme Administrator, Dr. Amani El-Kholy.