Computer Science  PhD / MPhil


The Department of Computer Science in the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering has a vibrant and dynamic community of research students and welcomes research degree applications from candidates whose interests align with those of our academic staff. Approximately 25 research students enter the programme each year.

Research students are central to research activity in the department. Our goal is to support talented individuals who wish to develop their research skills, to undertake rigorous and inspirational research and ultimately to obtain an MPhil or PhD qualification. Research students are supported in their studies through a structured programme of supervision and training.

If you are interested in studying for a research degree, please have a look at our research centres and groups:

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a record of high academic achievement. The minimum requirement is a good undergraduate degree (first or upper second class honours) in a relevant subject from a UK university, or a recognised equivalent from an overseas institution.

In exceptional cases, we will consider applications from individuals whose undergraduate degree is in a less relevant discipline but who hold a relevant Masters degree with at least a merit level pass. We will also consider applications from individuals with extensive professional experience in the area of their proposed research.

English Language Requirements

Proof of English language proficiency is required for applicants whose first language is not English. We require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5.Please note that the UK Border Agency currently requires us to confirm that you are at level B2 or above in all components of English before issuing visa documents.

Please note that due to changes in the UKVI's list of SELTs we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.

Visa Requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

Start Dates / Duration of Studies

Start Date

1st October or 1st February each year.

Duration of Studies

PhD by Major Thesis or Prospective Publication, full-time study:

  • Minimum registration: 2 years
  • Maximum registration: 4 years.

PhD by Major Thesis or Prospective Publication, part-time study:

  • Minimum registration: 3 years
  • Maximum registration: 7 years.

PhD by Prior Publication:

  • Minimum registration: 1 year
  • Maximum registration: 2 years.

Maximum registration periods include any time spent in writing-up mode.

We offer the following types of award:

  • PhD by Major Thesis
  • PhD by Prospective Publication
  • PhD by Prior Publication
  • MPhil.

We also welcome enquiries from candidates who wish to spend one year at City, University of London as part of a PhD Sandwich programme.

Degree Pathway

Research students are initially registered for the degree of MPhil. Promotion to PhD registration is contingent upon the satisfactory outcome of a review process. This normally takes place towards the end of the first year of registration for full-time candidates and towards the end of the second year for part-time candidates.

The PhD programme concludes with the candidate submitting their research in the form of a PhD thesis and attending a viva voce examination with two examiners, at least one of whom will be external to City.

Research Areas

The main research areas in the department are:

Within these areas, we offer MPhil/PhD routes:

  • MPhil/PhD in Computer Science
  • MPhil/PhD in Software Reliability
  • MPhil/PhD in Human Computer Interaction
  • MPhil/PhD in Health Informatics
  • MPhil/PhD in Creativity Science
  • MPhil/PhD in Software Systems Engineering

Potential research topics and staff research interests


  • Full-time EU: £4,000 per year
  • Part-time EU: £2,000 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £12,500 per year
  • Part-time Non EU: £6,250 per year

External EU: £2,000 per year

External Non-EU: £6,250

The writing-up fee for all candidates is £500.00 per year (max 1 year).

PhD by Prior Publication

EU Year 1: £7,500

EU Year 2: £3,750

Non-EU Year 1: £24,000

Non-EU Year 2: £12,000

Fees for doctoral candidates are charged annually and cover registration, supervision and examination. Fees are subject to review each year and are likely to increase by approximately 3% annually.


University Funding

Investing in Academic Excellence: Five doctoral studentships

Closing date: May 19th 2017

The School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering (SMCSE) at City, University London is offering five full-time, three-year doctoral studentships for 2017/18 entry. Applications are invited from exceptional UK, EU and international graduates wishing to to pursue cutting-edge research in any of the School's key research areas. 

Find out more about these five SMCSE doctoral scholarships.

We also offer a PhD studentship in Digital Publishing Technologies and the Reader in collaboration with the British Library.

We welcome applicants funded through a wide range of schemes including:

  • The Science Without Borders scheme for Brazilian citizens
  • Commonwealth Scholarships, for citizens of developed and developing Commonwealth countries.
  • The Indonesia-UK DIKTI Scholarship Programme, for faculty members at Indonesian Universities to study for a doctorate in the UK.
  • The EU Erasmus Mundus programme.

Preliminary Enquiries

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact staff with relevant research expertise to discuss supervision prior to submitting a formal application.  Information about the research interests of staff and some of the latest research topics that they are interested in supervising is available on the departmental web pages.

Alternatively, if you require help in identifying a potential supervisor or if you have a general query about the application process, please contact the Research Enquiries team,

How to Apply

We accept applications on an ongoing basis for entry in October, January and April. You are advised to submit your application at least six weeks before your proposed start date in order for us to consider and process your application. Once you have identified a supervisor who will accept to guide you through your research, please submit the following documents:

  • PhD application form
  • A three page Research Proposal (See our detailed guidance on writing a research proposal)
  • Copies of your degree transcripts and certificates (originals or certified copies). If your applications is successful, we will need to see the original hard copies before a final offer is made.
  • Two reference letters from at least one academic staff, sent from an office work email (not private) to
  • Proof of English language proficiency (minimum 6.5 IELTS) if English is not your first language.

Please note that we will not consider incomplete applications.

Writing Your Research Proposal

Your research proposal should be approximately 3 pages of A4 text covering the following: (a) research question, (b) background literature and motivation for the research and (c) outline methodology/work plan. Guidance on Research Proposals.


All research students are appointed a supervisory team consisting of at least two supervisors. One of these will be designated as the first point of contact with personal responsibility for ensuring that effective supervision is provided.

Training Provision

The supervisory team will discuss training requirements with the candidate when study is commenced. We may recommend that a candidate takes a number of taught modules, benefiting from the specialist Masters courses in the Department of Computer Science.

Research Environment

Research students are provided with a desk, PC and bookshelves in a shared office space and have access to shared printing facilities. Specialist facilities, such as the City Interaction Lab, are also available where relevant to the research topic. All research students are strongly encouraged to contribute to our dynamic research environment and to attend regular research seminars and meetings.

Under construction.