Computer Science PhD

As a PhD student, I work in a very friendly environment, with members of staff always ready to assist me. From the very beginning the department and the University has offered me all the equipment and support that I needed to start my research project. Moreover, the department, through the seminars and the annual conference that it holds, is giving me all the essential experience to become a skilled researcher.

Kostas Eftaxias PhD graduate

Why choose this course?

Our PhD research programme provides you with the opportunity to study a wide range of computer science topics – from the rapid rise of the software industry, forensics of multimedia security through to digital ecosystems and media analysis.

Our expert lecturers, highly-rated course and excellent facilities mean that by the time you complete your PhD, you will be a specialist in your field.

Computer science at Surrey has a booming postgraduate research programme of over 60 PhD students, with many industrial sponsorships.

We have the best computing resources to support your research, including an Access Grid-equipped seminar room and a Grid infrastructure supporting leading-edge distributed technologies, as well as a number of high-performance servers.

The Department of Computer Science strives to be world-leading or internationally excellent in all its research, with many members of staff being publicly recognised as experts in their respective fields.

Employment levels for our computer science students are exceptionally high, and the Department performs well in student surveys.

What you will study

Our PhD programme offers the opportunity to study in a wide range of interdisciplinary and cutting-edge research areas of computer science, with good support from academics and peers within a University committed to the personal, professional and academic development of its students.

There are currently around 60 PhD students in the department. The PhD community is very active and well organised when it comes to arranging research and social activities for students.

An annual PhD conference, which has been successfully run for over ten years, is organised by the students to showcase their research work.

Why not read some of our recent news, including a feature on one of our PhD students, who was recently named best speaker in a Research Spotlight competition.

Research areas

Secure systems

New technologies for security and safety-critical domains, ranging from trustworthy voting systems, to formal methods integration for software systems development, and formal models for UML.

Nature-inspired computing and engineering

Building up computational models for understanding biological and social intelligence and developing algorithms inspired by natural intelligence for solving complex real-world problems found in optimisation, signal processing and pattern recognition, decision-making, and self-organisation of collective system.

Why not explore our research in greater depth?


There are a number of fully funded PhD studentships for suitably qualified UK and EU nationals who can demonstrate the appropriate residency requirements. Other funding opportunities are also available within different research centres.

We have received major awards for research from the following:

  • IET and e-voting for digital watermarking
  • Student awards from Detica, Fyvium, IBM, Microsoft, Renew, Honda, Thales Research & Technology and Thoughtified


PhD Studentship in Computer Science


Dr David Williams

Lecturer in Secure Systems


Professor Steve Schneider

Director of Surrey Centre for Cyber Security, and Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise)

Funding Fee waiver and a stipend of £16,000 per annum for a Home (UK/EU) student.
Application deadline 30 October 2017

Security and privacy in intelligent transport systems


Dr David Williams

Lecturer in Secure Systems


Professor Steve Schneider

Director of Surrey Centre for Cyber Security, and Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise)

Funding A stipend of £16,000 per annum, tax free, subject to nationality and residence status.
Application deadline 30 October 2017

Verifiable Cryptography and Trusted Hardware


Dr François Dupressoir

Lecturer in Secure Systems


Professor Steve Schneider

Director of Surrey Centre for Cyber Security, and Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise)

Funding A stipend of £20,000 per annum, tax-free, subject to residence status. University fees are also covered by the studentship.
Application deadline 30 October 2017
Opportunities across all subjects

Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 30-48 months October, January, April, July
PhD Part-time 60-96 months October, January, April, July

Entry Requirements

A first or upper second-class 2.1 degree in engineering or physical sciences, or equivalent overseas qualification, or a lower second 2.2 plus a good Masters degree (distinction normally required).

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

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English will normally be required to have IELTS 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.


Study mode UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4195 £18,000
Part-time £2100 £9,000

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

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry should please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Doctoral College

Our Doctoral College supports researcher excellence and employability across the doctoral and early career stages of the researcher journey.

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 academic staff

Our students