Research overview

Join our research team to work on projects that have an impact in the real world. From optimisation for airports to machine learning for energy suppliers, we do computer science from theory to application. 

The school's research topics include:

  • artificial intelligence
  • computational optimisation
  • computer vision
  • data science
  • functional programming
  • human-computer interaction
  • machine learning

Find out more on our research webpages

Project case study

Rodrigo Pinheiro did his PhD at Nottingham. The title of his thesis was "A Computational Study and Heuristic Algorithms for the Home Healthcare Scheduling and Routing Problem" supervised by Prof Dario Landa Silva.

During his PhD, Rodrigo became the associate in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project between the University and Webroster Ltd. The project was on optimisation for workforce scheduling and routing in home care.

Rodrigo then joined Webroster, first as Optimisation Specialist then Head of Data Science. Now, he is Head of Data Science at a new company developed to focus on the optimisation engine from the KTP and his PhD.

Course content

In the first year, you will focus on learning what information is already published and identifying gaps in knowledge. You will start to formulate your own research questions.

In year two, you'll start to answer the questions you created in year one. 

In the final year, you'll finish your research and prepare for writing your thesis. 

You will complete a written thesis of up to 100,000 words, with expert support and advice from your academic supervisor(s). You will also take a verbal examination called a viva voce where you explain your project in-depth to an examination panel.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.


2:1 or masters in computer science or another relevant area

Additional information

Applications are initially assessed. If successful, you will be invited for an interview. This is usually a video call or in person if possible.


2:1 or masters in computer science or another relevant area

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

Additional information

Applications are initially assessed. If successful, you will be invited for an interview. This is usually a video call or in person if possible.

IELTS6.5 (6.0 in each element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.


Please find a potential supervisor before applying. We're open for applicants to contact academic staff members about PhD projects. 

We don't need a research proposal for the application form but please indicate the research area you're interested in and the supervisor's name.

Watch Prof Dario Landa-Silva's video on how to apply.

Points to cover when discussing your interest in applying for a PhD

  • Motivation for doing a PhD
  • Your academic record and research experience
  • Sources of funding
  • Research topic
Find a supervisor

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply


UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in February 2022.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for 'home' fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

The school offers free printing and each student will be given their own workspace including a desktop computer.

There are some extra costs that you need to be aware of:

  • £25 deposit for a building key
  • £160 thesis pending fee (current price at time of publication but it can increase each year)
  • Late submission fee for each month or part of the month that passes between the expected submission date and the date that the thesis is actually submitted


UK applicants

We offer a number of projects each year which are funded by:

  • the school and University
  • industry partners
  • charities
  • centres of doctoral training (CDTs)
  • doctoral training partnerships (DTPs)

Some of the funded projects the school offers are posted on the studentship jobs website.


These are the current CDTs at Nottingham that have projects related to computer science:

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


You'll meet with your supervisor at least 10 times per year. Most of our students have 15-20 meetings per year. 

Our research groups hold regular seminars which PhD students can attend.

We do our best to support students to attend conferences when they have papers to present.     

Hear more about what life is like in the school from current PhD students. 

In the 2019 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, the School of Computer Science was ranked highly in:

  • resources
  • progress and assessment
  • responsibilities
  • research skills 

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

Play video

Where you will learn

Jubilee Campus

Jubilee Campus has eco-friendly buildings, alongside green spaces, wildlife and a lake. 

This campus is home to our business, education and computer science schools, as well as a sports centre and student accommodation.

You can walk to University Park Campus in around 20 minutes or catch a free hopper bus. Nottingham city centre is 20 minutes away by public bus.


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Many PhD graduates choose to continue an academic career. You may start with a postdoctoral position or a teaching fellowship. 

However, there is a need for PhD graduates in industry too. Graduates typically work in:

  • finance
  • logistics
  • energy
  • manufacturing

Your expertise would be used to build specialised computing techniques. 

96.4% of undergraduates from the School of Computer Science secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £28,895.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • We're ranked in the top 10 for research power out of all computer science departments in the UK
  • All of our school research impact activities were classified as being world-leading or internationally excellent
  • We're ranked 2nd in computer science in the UK for our research environment
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 01 July 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.