Information and Communication Systems PhD
Why choose this programme
The University of Surrey’s Institute for Communication Systems (ICS), home of the 5G/6G Innovation Centre (5G/6GIC), is the one of the UK’s major academic research centres specialising in information and communications technology. You’ll be taught by leading experts in the field, become part of our thriving community of academics, researchers and PhD students, and gain excellent employment prospects.
We’re specialists in mobile and wireless technologies, including satellite communications and networks, internet of things, cyber security, and future network architectures and protocols. As home to the 5G/6GIC, we’re recognised as world leaders in end-to-end research and practical implementation for 5G/6G mobile communications and beyond.
Our strong track record in research includes high-quality publications, patents and world-class implementations. We’re heavily involved in collaborative research across the UK, Europe, Asia and the Americas, funded by governments and industry. Our PhD graduates secure good positions across industry and academia in the UK and worldwide.
Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2023 ranked our telecommunication engineering subjects as 51-75 best in the world.
What you will study
It normally takes three to four years of full-time study to complete this PhD. Your research can be based on a topic of your choice, or may be dictated by industry sponsorship or government funding.
You’ll be assigned two supervisors, who’ll guide you through your studies. Your supervisors will give you direction and experience of the cutting-edge technologies in their areas of expertise. They’ll also give you the support you need to complete your PhD, from giving you guidance and feedback on your work to helping you frame your research proposal. Though you’ll primarily be in contact with your two supervisors, you’ll also work with other staff within ICS and you may have the opportunity to become a team member on research projects.
You’ll be required to write a confirmation report on your research in your first year, and you will be examined by two examiners.
Your final assessment will be based on the presentation of your research in a written thesis, which will be discussed in a viva examination with at least two examiners. You have the option of preparing your thesis as a monograph (one large volume in chapter form) or in publication format (including chapters written for publication), subject to the approval of your supervisors.
The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate careers and employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.
China Scholarship Council-Surrey Awards
Successful candidates will receive full cover of their tuition fee for overseas students for a duration of up to 48 months. Successful candidates will also receive a stipend as prescribed by the Chinese government, and international round trip air fare between China and the UK.
We research areas related to information and communication technology, including end-to-end terrestrial, mobile and satellite communications and networks, and their application to verticals such as connected vehicles and health, including:
- 5G-Advanced and 6G
- Integrated satellite and terrestrial 5G and 6G
- Artificial intelligence networking and wireless communications
- Reflective and transmissive intelligent surfaces
- THz communications and components
- Positioning and image sensing
- High-quality time and frequency transmission
- Connected transportation
- Ultra-Massive MIMO
- Terabits-per-second communications
- Internet of senses
- Network and physical layer security
- Intelligent and high-performance networking and service delivery
- MAC, RRM and RAN management
- Theory and practice of advanced concepts in wireless communications
- Antennas and signal processing.
Our academic staff
See a full list of all our academic staff within the Institute for Communication Systems.
You’ll be allocated space in ICS, which is home to 143 researchers. ICS is one of the world’s major academic research centres dedicated to mobile and wireless communications. You’ll have access to state-of-the-art facilities such as:
- Campus-wide 5G/6G testbed
- Antennas and signal processing
- Networks lab testbed
- Link and system level simulators
- Satellite networking testbed
- Security testbed
- Wireless network testbed
- Internet of things testbed.
Applicants are expected to hold a first or upper second-class (2:1) UK degree in a relevant discipline (or equivalent overseas qualification), or a lower-second (2:2) UK degree plus a good UK masters degree - distinction normally required (or equivalent overseas qualification).
International 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.
Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before they submit an application via the website. Please refer to section two of our application guidance.
Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.
Selection is based on applicants:
- Meeting the expected entry requirements
- Being shortlisted through the application screening process
- Completing a successful interview
- Providing suitable references.
Start date: April 2024
Start date: July 2024
Start date: October 2024
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
Start date: January 2025
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
For fees payable in 2023/24, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than September 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 2023 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4 per cent rounded up to the nearest £100.
View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.
There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.
If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, you should enter the details of the specific project that you wish to apply for rather than your own research proposal.
Read our application guidance for further information on the application process.
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).
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and procedures, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2023/24 academic year, as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.