Computer Science PHD

Why choose this course

Our PhD research programme provides you with the opportunity to study a wide range of computer science topics – from technologies and systems for securing online businesses and our lives, to technologies inspired by nature for solving complicated real-world problems, and to real-world applications of advanced technologies such as machine learning and pattern recognition. Our expert supervisors, highly rated research activities and excellent facilities mean that by the time you complete your PhD, you will be a specialist in your field.

The Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS), hosted and managed by the Department of Computer Science, is one of only 14 UK Government recognised Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACEs-CSR), and is particularly strong in interdisciplinary research with other departments, with links with Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Psychology, Business, Sociology, Law, and Economics. We also have strong links with global research institutes such as the University of Oxford, Microsoft Research Cambridge and the Pirbright Institute for joint PhD projects.

We strive to excel in our research, with many members of staff being publicly recognised as experts in their respective fields. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, 60 per cent of our research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent, and our research profile has been consistently ranked in the world top 150 and top 10 in the UK according to academic subject rankings of SJTU Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in Computer Science.

What you will study

Our PhD in Computer Science will give you the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for a career in academia, research and development work in industry, and for a wide variety of professional opportunities.

It normally takes around three to four years to complete a full-time PhD. You’ll be assigned at least two supervisors (a principal and a secondary), who will guide you through your PhD. You’ll learn how to conduct literature reviews, how to develop your research ideas and verify them with experiments, and how to collaborate and perform interdisciplinary research.

Exactly what your studies will look like will depend on your choice of topic: most of our PhD students conduct their research on computers in the Department, but some need access to special hardware in a lab setting. We’ll make sure that you’ve got everything you need to conduct your research during your PhD.

We offer a diverse programme of activities within our Department, including monthly tea parties between PhD students and staff, elevator pitch sessions every other month, as well as bespoke workshops and social events.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PHD Full-time 48 months October 2018
PHD Part-time 96 months January 2019
PHD Part-time 96 months October 2018
PHD Full-time 48 months July 2018
PHD Part-time 96 months April 2018
PHD Part-time 96 months July 2018
PHD Full-time 48 months April 2018

Additional costs

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Research themes

Secure systems

  • Hardware security
  • Trusted computing
  • Privacy-preserving computing
  • User authentication
  • Secure communications
  • Network security
  • Multimedia security
  • Digital forensics
  • Human factors
  • Applied cryptography
  • Security protocols
  • Formal methods for security
  • IoT security and privacy
  • Security visualisation
  • Intrusion detection
  • Data loss prevention
  • Cloud security
  • Cyber crime
  • Side channel attacks and countermeasures
  • Mobile security and privacy
  • Game theory for security
  • Information hiding and steganography

Nature-inspired computing and engineering

  • Computational intelligence
  • Evolutionary optimisation
  • Machine learning, including deep learning
  • Pattern recognition
  • Data mining
  • Knowledge extraction
  • Signal processing
  • Medical image processing
  • Robotics
  • Systems biology
  • Morphogenetic engineering
  • Neural information processing
  • Developmental and cognitive neuroscience
  • Time series analysis

Research facilities

We have great computing resources to support your research, including our own high-performance computing clusters, a modern seminar room with GPU support and teleconferencing and video recording facilities, and our own Applied Security Lab with isolated networking facilities for teaching and research.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a first or upper-second class degree in a relevant discipline (or equivalent overseas qualification), or a lower second plus a good Masters degree (distinction normally required).

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.

Selection process

Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.

Fees

Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Oversees fees
Full-time October 2018 £4,260 £18,700
Part-time January 2019 £2,130 £9,400
Part-time October 2018 £2,130 £9,400
Full-time July 2018 £4,195 £18,000
Part-time April 2018 £2,100 £9,000
Part-time July 2018 £2,100 £9,000
Full-time April 2018 £4,195 £18,000

For fees payable in 2018/19, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).

Overseas students applying for 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.

View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.

Studentships

We have a host of partly and fully-funded studentship opportunities available.

Verification of security and privacy in modern threat landscapes

Funding information:
A stipend of £16,000 per annum, tax-free, subject to nationality and residence status.

Exploring post-quantum cryptography into block-chain technology

Funding information:
Funding will provide an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £16,000 and coverage of the home/EU tuition fees. 

Security and privacy in intelligent transport systems

Funding information:
Funding will provide an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £16,000 and coverage of the home/EU tuition fees.

Verifiable cryptography and trusted hardware

Funding information:
A stipend of £20,000 per annum, tax-free, subject to residence status. University fees are also covered by the studentship. 

Machine learning and data science

Funding information:
Funding will provide an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £16,000 and coverage of the home/EU tuition fees.

Cyber security economics

Funding information:
Funding will provide an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £16,000 and coverage of the home/EU tuition fees. 

Multi-factor authentication

Funding information:
Funding will provide an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £22,000 and coverage of the home/EU tuition fees.

Strong security and privacy in contactless electronic payments

Funding information:
You will receive a tax-free stipend of £22,000 per year (for 3 and a half years). Additional funding is available to support presentation of research results at international conferences, participation in PhD summer schools, other scientific events, and engagement with industry.

Development of novel radiation-grafted powder ionomers for use in high performance alkali membrane fuel cells

Funding information:
Funding status: Directly Funded Project (European/UK Students only) EU/UK  fees for 3 years: 2018-19 level £4195 Standard stipend for 3 years: 2017-18 level £14,553 £5k bench fees across three-year project

Integrated Control Systems for Safe Automated Driving in Emergency Conditions

Funding information:
The studentship will cover fees and a stipend for Home and EU applicants.

Metal Halide Perovskites for Photovoltaic and Light-Emission Applications

Funding information:
Applicants must have a masters degree or first class undergraduate (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Materials Science, Physics or Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the time of start of the PhD. The post is open for home-fee qualifying applicants.

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