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 July
PhD Full-time 48 months January
PhD Full-time 48 months April
PhD Full-time 48 months October
PhD Part-time 96 months January
PhD Part-time 96 months April
PhD Part-time 96 months July
PhD Part-time 96 months October
Stag Hill

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).

Our students

  • Andreas Antoniades, PhD Computer Science

    “One of the best things about studying at Surrey is the friendly environment within the Department of Computer Science. Staff treat research students as peers, and openly discuss research opportunities.”

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  • Brian Gardner, PhD Computer Science

    “Studying for my PhD at Surrey was a great experience. There’s plenty of support available to enable PhD students to become effective researchers, such as the researcher development programme, which offers a wide range of helpful workshops.”

    Read more

  • Jorden Whitefield, PhD Computer Science

    "To date I have already had one joint paper published with researchers in the Netherlands and Germany, and I’m currently writing up another publication to submit soon."

    Read more

Discover

  • Find out how our Doctoral College can support your research career

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  • Stay up to date with our latest research news

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  • Explore how our research is making a difference to the world

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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.

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

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 Overseas fees
Full-time July To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full-time January To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full-time April To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full-time October To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part-time January To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part-time April To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part-time July To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part-time October To be confirmed To be confirmed

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

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

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Funding and studentships

Contact us

Admissions enquiries

+44 (0)1483 682 222

admissions@surrey.ac.uk

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