Year of entry2018
Start dateOctober 2018, January 2019 or April 2019
Up to four years full-time or seven years part-time
Regular meetings with your supervisor(s)
Other entry years for this course2017
An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two, and if it seems likely that your thesis will contain significant original work. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.
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.
In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), more than 75% of our research outputs in Computer Science were ranked world-leading or internationally excellent. 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.
- The Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Birkbeck is one of the longest-established computing departments in the UK. We are celebrating our 60th anniversary in 2017.
- 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.
- The Department provides a stimulating teaching and research environment for both part-time and full-time students.
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.
We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.
Fees (2017/8)Part-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
From 2018-19, PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of up to £25,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.
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.
The School of Business, Economics and Informatics attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. We also offer a limited number of fully funded research opportunities
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
The Department 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.
Our academic staff serve on numerous journal editorial boards and conference programme committees.
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.
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. Find out how to apply for a research degree.
Potential applicants are welcome to contact academic staff about their research before making a formal application. Read more about the Department's research groups and centres and the research activities of individual staff.
You can also contact the research admissions tutor, Professor George Magoulas, with general enquiries about research activities.
Application deadlines and interviews
You can apply, and start studying, at any time during the year, although October is the usual start date.
If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.
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 supervisor
A 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 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.
Financial support and PhD loans
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.
Professor Bill Bowring awarded Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences
Professor Bowring is a leading expert in the UK on legal and human rights issues in Russia and the countries of the Former Soviet Union, and Eastern and Central Europe.
Professor Martin Paul Eve awarded Medal of Honour in the Humanities and Social Sciences
The Medal of Honour is awarded to laureates of exceptional academic or social distinction, who make a unique contribution to the mutual relationship between faculties and universities.
Public engagement with research
A grant from Research Councils UK will enable Birkbeck to build upon existing public engagement initiatives and enrich our culture of engagement.
Sunil Gupta: In Pursuit of Love
Peltz Gallery, 43 Gordon Square
The Centre for Research on Race and Law - Strategic litigation: Anti-racism in the courtroom?
CLO B01, Clore Management Centre, Tavistock Square, London, WC1E 7JL
Murray seminar - Kim Woods on Speaking Sculptures
Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43-46 Gordon Square
Performing under pressure
PhD student Emmanuel Ducrocq on his research about attentional control in sporting performance.
Public research funding
Is it still necessary? Dr Federica Rossi and Professor Aldo Geuna discuss.
A day in the life
of Birkbeck scientist Dr Emma Meaburn.