Up to four years full-time or seven years part-time.
Regular meetings with your supervisor(s).
The research programme leads to either an MPhil or PhD degree. Both research degrees involve individual study of a specific research problem. To be awarded a PhD, your research work must result in a significant original contribution to the field of study (although this is not a requirement of the MPhil). You initially register for an MPhil degree, with transfer to PhD after satisfactorily completing an initial period of study and if it seems likely that your thesis will contain significant original work.
Students who successfully complete this MPhil or PhD degree will have gained expert knowledge in their chosen research area and the ability to perform research-led activities in a broader context. In addition, students who successfully complete the PhD degree will have gained the ability to identify and solve complex problems arising in their chosen research area, and will have made a substantial original contribution to this area.
Our research focuses on data science, theoretical computer science, algorithms, internet of things, data mining and machine learning, knowledge representation and reasoning, logic and artificial intelligence, semantic web technologies, search engines, mobile and ubiquitous computing, computer vision, bio-inspired computing and social networks.
Find out more about the research interests of in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
- The Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Birkbeck is one of the longest-established computing departments in the UK, having celebrated our 58th anniversary in 2015.
- Our research dates back to the late 1940s when one of the first electronic computers was developed in the then Computing Laboratory at Birkbeck by Dr Andrew Booth. The Department was formally established in 1957 as the Department of Numerical Automation, one of the first computer science departments in the world.
- Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
- In the 2014 REF, more than 90% of our research outputs in Computer Science were ranked world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised, placing us in the top 25% of computer science departments in the UK.
- The Department provides a stimulating teaching and research environment for both part-time and full-time students.
- Watch videos of our students discussing their experience of studying and researching at Birkbeck.
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
A Master's or upper second-class degree in computer science.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Fees and finance
We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 2226 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 4195 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 6050 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 11995 pa
Fees and finance
Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.
Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.
Our School attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. We offer a limited number of fully funded research opportunities, find out more here.
Our Research Culture
Birkbeck is a world-leading research university with a vibrant, interdisciplinary research culture and a welcoming, supportive community of researchers.
Our Research Culture
In the Research Assessment Exercise 2014, 88% of the Department's research activity was judged as being of international significance. Academic staff serve on numerous journal editorial boards and conference programme committees.
The Department also has major research collaborations with the neighbouring UCL Institute of Education and with the Birkbeck Department of Psychological Sciences. Together with the UCL Institute of Education, we are exploring how digital technologies and new media are shaping the future of knowledge and learning, whilst our collaboration with the Department of Psychological Sciences, in the Centre for Cognition, Computation and Modelling (CCCM), focuses on connectionist modelling, symbolic modelling, cognitive architectures, and computational modelling for the study of human behaviour and cognition.
Study resources include a course on research methods for computer science and information systems, regular research seminars and extensive computing facilities. The Department provides assistance with funding for you to attend conferences where you are presenting your research. We also advertise teaching opportunity posts on the vacancies page of our website.
As a research student, you will have 24-hour access to servers and networked PCs running a range of language compilers, database, data mining and other specialist software, and the College library subscribes to major digital library resources in computer science.
Read more about our vibrant research culture.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link below.
Potential applicants are welcome to contact academic staff about their research before making a formal application.
You can also contact the research admissions tutor, Professor George Magoulas, with general enquiries about research activities.
Find out how to apply for a research degree.
Application deadlines and interviews
You can apply, and start studying, at any time during the year, although October is the usual start date.
Finding a supervisor
Finding the right supervisor for your research is important: we offer supervision in over 40 subject areas and in interdisciplinary combinations.
Finding a supervisorA crucial factor when applying for postgraduate study in computer science and information systems is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the department.Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff:
- Andrea Calì, MEng, PhD: database theory; logic and databases; knowledge representation and reasoning; financial data management; ontologies and semantic web; semantics in social networks.
- Professor Trevor Fenner, MA, PhD, CEng, MBCS: algorithms, data structures; combinatorial and probabilistic methods; complexity; graph theory, graph reconstruction, random graphs; evolutionary models; reconstruction of evolutionary trees; programming languages.
- Sergio Gutierrez Santos, MEng, PhD: learning technologies, educational data mining, artificial intelligence, complex systems, swarm intelligence behaviours.
- Tingting Han, BSc, MEng, PhD: logic in computer science, modal and temporal logic; formal methods, formal verification and synthesis, model checking; probability theory; timed systems, stochastic systems, hybrid systems, cyber physical systems; formal language and automata theory, complexity.
- Roman Kontchakov, BSc, MSc, PhD: knowledge representation and reasoning; ontologies and databases; computer science logic; spatial, temporal and description logics.
- Oded Lachish, BSc, MSc, PhD: algorithms and complexity, with a focus on theory and practice of computation with extremely limited resources.
- Professor Mark Levene, BSc, PhD: web information retrieval and navigation; web data mining; adaptive web technologies; machine learning in games.
- Professor George Magoulas, BEng, MEng, PGHCE, PhD, MIEEE: learning, adaptation and evolution in complex environments; computational intelligence and applications in user modelling, temporal sequence processing, adaptive systems and personalised learning environments.
- Keith Mannock, BSc, PhD: software engineering; information retrieval and hypermedia.
- Nigel Martin, MSc, PhD, CEng, MBCS: information management and integration; life sciences informatics.
- Professor Steve Maybank, BA, MA, PhD, FIMA, FRSS, Fellow IEEE: computer vision; camera calibration; scene reconstruction from images; CCTV surveillance; tracking; object recognition; application of statistics to computer vision.
- Szabolcs Mikulas, MSc, PhD: algebraic, modal and temporal logic, and its applications.
- Professor Alexandra Poulovassilis, MA, MSc, PhD, CEng, MBCS: information management, integration and visualisation; learning technologies.
- Igor Razgon, MSc, PhD: graph algorithms; graph theory; theory and practice of satisfiability testing; constraint programming; representation of Boolean functions.
- Professor George Roussos, BSc, MSc, PhD: pervasive computing; Internet of Things; human dynamics.
- David Weston, BSc, MSc, PhD: machine learning; data mining; machine vision; spatial point pattern analysis.
- David Wilson, PGD, PhD, MBCS: strategy and cross-cultural issues in global information systems.
- Peter Wood, BSc, MSc, PhD: database query languages; rule languages; query optimisation.
- Professor Michael Zakharyaschev, MSc, PhD, Habil: knowledge representation; semantic web; ontologies and data bases; computational complexity; computational logic.
- Dell Zhang, BEng, PhD, SMACM, SMIEE, FRSS: information retrieval; data mining; machine learning; social network analysis.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
Evening study explained
Birkbeck is London’s only specialist provider of evening higher education. With classes held 6pm-9pm, your days are free to study, work, volunteer, or just do your own thing.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Birkbeck is committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies. Find out about what is available, how to apply and the advice and support we provide.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Careers and employability
Our free Careers and Employability Service provides comprehensive careers advice, events and information services for current students, both in person and online, and for recent Birkbeck graduates.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS)
The Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS) offers support, training and a warm welcome to Birkbeck's vibrant community of MPhil/PhD researchers.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
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