Postgraduate research study

Our PhD and MSc by Research degrees enjoy worldwide prestige and we offer postgraduate programmes of outstanding quality.

The School of Computing Science provided me with an environment that stimulated my intellectual development and allowed me to do work that pushed the boundaries of science.
Joe Wandy, PhD graduate, 2016

Postgraduate students benefit from the best possible support and supervision and, on graduating, they are well qualified to take up key posts in industry and academia.

The School's academic staff, organised in five research sections, offer a diverse range of specialisms ranging from formal methods and machine learning to human-computer interaction. 

A list of currently available projects and funding opportunities can be found on the PhD projects and funding opportunities page.

Applying for a Computing Science PhD/MPhil/MSc

Your Computing Science Application

The same application is used for a Masters by Research (MRes), MPhil or a PhD. We want to make the application process as simple as possible and encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or problems.

To apply for a postgraduate research degree in the school of computing science you need to complete the online application which requires you to provide the following information:

  • Name of a potential supervisor (we strongly recommend you get in touch with your prospective supervisor before submitting your application)
  • Provide a Computing Science specific research proposal (see guidance elsewhere on this page).
  • Two references on headed paper (at least one academic and an academic or professional).
  • Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  • Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed).
  • A Curriculum Vitae.
  • Documentation that you meet the language requirements for the College of Science & Engineering.

You can find more details on the "how to apply for a research degree" website.

Assistance: If you need help identifying a supervisor or writing your proposal then please contact us at the address below or email directly the members of staff working in your area of interest (the email addresses of members of staff can be found from the staff contacts pages or use the staff search function) - they will be happy to help you. 

To find out more contact:

Research Student Admissions
School of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8RZ
Tel: 0141 330 5322
Fax: 0141 330 4913
Email: socs-pgr-enquiries@glasgow.ac.uk


Writing a Computing Science Research Proposal

When you are a research student studying for a PhD/MPhil/MSc in the School of Computing Science, you must show that you are knowledgeable in the research area, rigorous, original and creative. Providing a research proposal on the following points will give you the opportunity to demonstrate these qualities and tell us something about your interests. The research proposal should be based on work that you are interested in doing. This does not mean that you will be required to work on this specific topic once you are here and have started your research. However, it does give us something with which we can estimate your current research skills and interest.

A well-researched proposal will typically include the following aspects (the structure can be different):

  • Overview: Motivation, background summary, research questions/aims, and significance.
  • Literature survey: used to position your research and contextualize your research questions and aims.
  • Identification of the research direction including specific objectives.
  • Research design and methodology.
  • Timeline (e.g. as a Gantt chart).
  • List of references: should reference papers and resources that you think will play a large role in your analysis. 

Length and structure: We normally expect your proposal to be 3-4 pages excluding the bibliography and figures (A4, font size 11, standard margins, single line break). The structure of your proposal can certainly be different from the one outlined above but should address all of the aforementioned aspects to allow the school to judge your research potential.

Feedback: Writing a suitable research proposal can be very challenging and takes considerable consideration. We recommend that you discuss your proposal with a prospective supervisor before submission. This will allow your supervisor to give feedback on your draft and ensures that your line of work aligns with the research direction of your potential supervisor.

Already funded projects: Certain Ph.D. projects are already funded by the time you apply for admission and they typically come with a pre-existing project description. In this case, we recommend you discuss the need to write a proposal with your supervisor.

Help/Contact: Please contact the School’s PGR committee if you require assistance in identifying a suitable supervisor or drafting your research proposal socs-pgr-enquiries@glasgow.ac.uk.


Tuition Fees

Information about tuition fees can be found here. If you're awarded a scholarship your fees will typically be covered for the duration of your PhD/MPhil/MRes study.


Support and Resources

As well as excellent supervision, the School will provide you with a rich environment in which to do your research. Among the resources available to you are a sophisticated computing environment, a wide variety of library services (both paper and electronic), and, most importantly, a vigorous society of academic staff and other research students.

The Research Students' Committee (RSC)

The RSC is the committee that looks after PhD, MPhil and Masters by Research students in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. It is responsible for the day-to-day handling of research student matters from progress monitoring through to submission and viva arrangements. Each research group in the School will be represented by one or two research students, nominated by the corresponding group leader. The list of research student representatives is updated yearly, and is provided on the RSC web page. The role of the research student representatives is to bridge between RSC and students. Representatives are expected to communicate and supply feedback from others in their research group.

During the scheduled meetings both student representatives and staff have the opportunity to raise matters of current interest and concern. In addition, students experiencing problems or difficulties should feel free to approach RSC members at any time.

Research discussions

All the research groups in the School organise weekly research discussions during term-time. Normally a member of the group or an outside speaker will present a talk, and a discussion follows. These research discussions provide a valuable opportunity to learn more about your subject area, and get to know other students and members of academic staff who are working in your area. As well as specialised research discussions, we have a regular seminar series in which distinguished speakers from around the world give talks. These talks are intended for a wide audience, and all research students are encouraged to attend. You are also encouraged to attend some of the courses given to our final-year undergraduates. These cover a range of specialist topics within Computing Science, eg:

  • Computer Vision and Graphics 
  • Embedded, Networked and Distributed Systems (ENDS)
  • Formal Analysis, Theory and Algorithms (FATA)
  • Human Computer Interaction (GIST)
  • Inference, Dynamics and Interaction (IDI)
  • Information Retrieval (IR)
  • Software Engineering and Information Security (GLASS)

They provide an excellent opportunity for you to widen your knowledge of your subject, or study a related subject that you think may be important for your research.

Your office

You will be given space to work in a research student office. You will normally share this office with three or four other students, often other people working in your own area. Your office will also have a phone.

Research student office


Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT)

Centre for Doctoral Training in Socially Intelligent Artificial Agents (SOCIAL)

Led by Professor Alessandro Vinciarelli in our School, SOCIAL brings together researchers from Computing Science, Psychology and the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology with 16 industrial partners to train students on Socially Intelligent Artificial Agents.

The overarching goal of the CDT is to shape the next generation of experts in Artificial Social Intelligence. It is the AI domain aimed at endowing artificial agents with social intelligence: the ability to deal with users’ attitudes intentions, feelings, personality and expectations.

As well as training in key areas of AI such as human-computer interaction and machine learning, students will be trained by specialists in fields such as psychology, social sciences, ethics and neuroscience. Research will be developed in collaboration with industry partners to address real-world industry problems. Each PhD project will have an interdisciplinary supervisory team and/or industrial associate.

The CDT offers a PhD in Computing Science and Psychology with integrated study.

Find out more at https://socialcdt.org