Whether your interest is in how users interact with technology, or you want to work with world-leading researchers in quantum computing or artificial immune systems, our Department is the place for you to gain a degree in research.When you take a degree by research in Computer Science, you will work closely with one of our internationally respected research groups. You define an area of study, and work with one of our world leading academics as your supervior. A second member of staff - an assessor - provides further support. You become a member of one of our established research groups, and you will benefit from the accumulated knowledge and resources of your colleagues.
You become part of the Department, including having access to our excellent facilities and having your own desk and fully networked computer. You are encouraged to work in collaboration with others, and to present your ideas at some of the many informal research seminars held regularly in the Department.
The extra support we offer
Mike Dodds, Research Student Training Officer "A research degree at York is not simply training in technical research; it's also training in general skill for your future life. It's my role to handle the non-research aspects of our PhD programme. I organise courses and informal advice on research methods, networking, time management, career planning and other skills essential to a successful PhD and career."
The PhD degree involves annual progression meetings and other formal requirements including written work, seminars and other oral deliverables.
A PhD degree could also be studied part-time over six years.
Please note that the statements on this page are for guidance only and do not fully accurately reflect the University's and the Department's examination rules.
The normal period of registration for part-time PhD students is six years.
The PhD by distance learning is a new variant of the standard York Computer Science PhD programme which is managed solely through the Department of Computer Science and awarded by University of York.
Available as a full-time (3 years) or part-time (6 years) programme.
Fees, supervision and assessment arrangements, and milestones are identical to the department-based programme.
Students are expected to visit York at their own expense, as follows:
Candidates need to provide a clear plan for visits, that takes account of milestone timings and any distance-learning related immigration issues anticipated (eg provisions of current visa regulations).
Students are encouraged to spend time at York, for instance to engage in research group activities and training courses, or take part in the York Doctoral Symposium.
A case to study by distance learning must be included with any application to this programme: it must be clear why York-based study is not possible. Transfer to and from the York-based programme may be permitted, where the conditions of the relevant programme are met.
The Department offers competitive funding opportunities for new PhD students. Please see below for more information regarding Annual and One-off Studentships.
To be considered for competitive funding, you should apply no later than 15 January of the (calendar) year in which you wish to start: applications will be considered from October of the previous year.
Your application must state that you wish to be considered for competitive funding.
You will not be considered in the competitive funding round if your application is incomplete on the closing date for submission.
You will be interviewed, and your interviewers will seek evidence that you have strong research potential and that your interests are aligned with those of the department.
Competitive funding offers are usually made by the third week of February in the year the course commences.
The department offers a minimum of three Departmental Research Studentship Awards for new PhD students each year. The DRSA is a fee-waiver for the tuition fees of the three-year PhD programme. The fees will be payable at the rate applicable to the student. Please refer to our University fees page.
The Department allocates Doctoral Training Awards from its EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant. The awards are for new PhD students and provide a fee waiver at the Home/EU rate for three years, and a stipend designed to cover living expenses. The EPSRC eligibility criteria vary from year to year. Please refer to the EPSRC webpage for more information on eligibility.
The EPSRC IGGI PhD programme awards are for new PhD students whose proposed research pushes back the boundaries of computer game design and creation or explores the use of games for cultural and social benefit. Although EPSRC eligibility criteria apply, there is also limited funding for exceptional non-EU students. The studentships covers a stipend and fees for the four-year PhD programme. At least three studentships are available and are awarded annually on a competitive basis. Please refer to the IGGI website for more information.
The University also has a number of scholarships available - you may be eligible to apply for these.
The PhD in Computer Science is intended for students who already have a good first degree in Computer Science or a related field. Typically, you will have achieved a good Master's degree or at least an upper second class honours degree (or international equivalent).
We are willing to consider your application if you do not fit this profile, but you must satisfy us that your knowledge in Computer Science is appropriate for advanced study.
Before making a formal application you should identify and contact a potential supervisor. To find potential supervisors consult our list of research topics.
Additional information about our academic staff (including contact details) can be found on our staff pages or you can find out more about our research groups as a whole on our research groups web page.
In particular, please take note of the supporting documents we need to see in order to be able to make a decision about your application. You are also required to nominate two referees, of which at least one should be from your current employer or place of study.
You can apply through our online application system (SELECT).
While there is no official closing date for applications, it is important to apply as early as possible.
This course, like all others in the University, welcomes students of all backgrounds and circumstances.
If English is not your first language, or your first degree was not taught in English, then you will need to have attained a suitable language qualification no more than two years before the start of the course.
The University's Postgraduate Study webpages will tell you more about the English language requirements for graduate students.
Research activity in the Department centres on our major research groups. Our PhD students are undertaking a wide range of exciting projects within these research groups. Details of some of the current PhD projects are given below. Find out more about our current students and their research interests by clicking their name.
PhD current working title of project: Building a framework and intelligent model of argumentation system through reinforcement learning.
PhD current working title of project: Integrating mutation analysis and model-driven engineering.
PhD current working title of project: Model-based face analysis under challenging conditions.
PhD current working title of project: Hierarchical Monte Carlo Tree Search.
PhD current working title of project: Light scattering and skin surface analysis for different aging face using modified layered dielectric light scattering model.
PhD current working title of project: Device independent QKD and quantum random generators.
PhD current working title of project: Adaptive and feedback scheduling in real-time systems.
PhD current working title of project: Deceptive expectations in digital games: the influence of players's knowledge about games on immersion.
PhD current working title of project: Runtime quantitative verification of self-adaptive systems.
PhD current working title of project: Shape analysis for magnetic resonance (MR) neuroimages.
PhD current working title of project: Identity formation of players through meaningful choices in digital games.
PhD current working title of project: Assuring safety of a system in a complex environment.
PhD current working title of project: Games and interactive television.
PhD current working title of project: Quantum key distribution with continuous variables: From point-to-point protocols to network implementation.
PhD current working title of project: Spectral shape signatures and statistical encoding schemes.
PhD current working title of project: Dynamic management of on-chip multiprocessing platforms for multi-stream video processing.
PhD current working title of project: to be determined. Research area: web system engineering, with HCI elements.
PhD current working title of project: Quantum cryptography with continuous variables.
PhD current working title of project: Continual analysis of operational process dependability applied to a type-45 ops room.
PhD current working title of project: Information journeys in archival collections.
PhD current working title of project: Auto-tooling for complex textual languages.
PhD current working title of project: Swarm agency and cognitive decision-making in robotic collectives.
PhD current working title of project: Improving packet predictability of scalable network-on-chip designs without priority pre-emptive arbitration.
PhD current working title of project: Game data mining and skill acquisition through games.
PhD current working title of project: Statistical mechanics in complex networks.
PhD current working title of project: Logics and tools for safe fine-grained concurreny.
PhD current working title of project: Type Inference in Flexible Model-Driven Engineering (EngD).
PhD current working title of project: Shape modelling and shape matching.
PhD current working title of project: Automating validation test of sense and avoid algorithms with evolutionary search.
We asked some of our academic staff, about their involvement with PhDs. See what they said they got up to:
I am an interdisciplinary scientist working in the York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis. My research on orca (killer whales) has allowed us to discover a lot about the survival of these amazing protected animals.
Many of my students have worked on modelling biological systems. One student, for example, developed models that allowed us to understand how ants form networks of nests for distributing resources. PhD students are often full of enthusiasm and a joy to work with. I particularly like to see how they develop over the course of a PhD and go on to do great things! Working with a team of bright interdisciplinary PhD students is challenging and rewarding.
All of my PhD students have gone on to great things. One went on to work at Harvard University, one is a Marine Biologist, and one a programmer, for example.
My research focuses on the development of theory and software tools for the engineering of dependable self-adaptive systems. Together with my students and researchers, I am developing new approaches to using formal modelling and analysis in runtime scenarios, to support the compositional and incremental re-verification of critical systems, and to drive their dynamic reconfiguration in response to failures, variations in workload, and changes in requirements.
Pursuing a successful PhD project in this area requires strong motivation, a solid mathematical background, a keen interest in programming, and excellent writing, communication and presentation skills. Supervising the work of PhD students as they develop the confidence to undertake a growing number of research and teaching tasks, and ultimately become independent researchers, is always a great pleasure.
A Computer Science PhD is an increasingly essential requirement for most senior positions in a wide range of technical organisations.
Want to find out more about our research groups?