Our research activity and supervision for our standard three-year PhD Computer Science is concentrated in the following principal research areas: artificial intelligence, biologically inspired architectures, educational technology, e-learning, natural and evolutionary computation, natural language engineering, software agents and software engineering. Our cross-disciplinary projects draw on the expertise of our electronic engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians, physicists and psychologists.
We are one of the largest and best resourced schools in the UK. Our work is supported by extensive networked computer facilities and software aids, together with a wide range of test and instrumentation equipment. Our research covers a range of topics, from the theory of computation and the philosophy of computer science, computational intelligence and computer games, to artificial intelligence and robotics, with most of our research groups based around laboratories offering world-class facilities. Our impressive external research funding stands at multi-million pounds per year and we participate in a number of EU initiatives and undertake projects under contract to many outside bodies, including government and industrial organisations.
Studying within our School provides both the recent graduate and the practising engineer with an opportunity to gain new skills or enhance existing ones. Our graduates have progressed to a variety of senior positions in industry and academia. Some of the companies and organisations where our former graduates are now employed include: Alcatel Submarine, BT Group, QinetiQ, Dolby Laboratories, Fujitsu, Royal Air Forces, and within our University and Imperial College, London.
We also offer an MPhil and a Masters by dissertation in this subject.
Please note, part-time research study is also available.
Studying for your PhD involves person-to-person interaction with your supervisor, who will guide you in developing your chosen research topic, refine your research skills, and advise you in capitalising on the technical knowledge you already have from your taught degree. Supervisors often keep in touch with their PhD graduates throughout their careers, and may work on scientific collaborations with them after they finish their doctorate.
Our PhD graduates generally go on to pursue careers as academics or as researchers in industry.
Our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering provides six laboratories exclusively for computer science and electronic engineering students. Three of our software labs are open for 24 hours a day including weekends and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress. Our labs are managed by an experienced and dedicated team of technical support staff who can assist you with most practical aspects of the curriculum - for example, advising on how to overcome programming problems.
Our BCI Lab comprises 70m² within our School. It is divided in four experimental areas, one of them being shielded against EM interference, and is one of the best equipped facilities for non-invasive BCI research in Europe. Our equipment includes: five EEG systems (two Biosemi ActiveTwo systems, 64 and 128 channels, respectively; two 32-channel gTec systems, and a 24-channel Mindset system), a 24-channel near infra-red system, a 16-channel Nexus EMG system (plus 8-channels for other physiological signals), a Jazz eye tracker, a MagStim BitStim transcranial magnetic stimulation system, many Biometrics Ltd electrogoniometers and accelerometers, two Edubot robotic manipulators, three Lego NXT robots, three virtual reality systems, and four Bionics electrically-controlled medical chairs, aside from the necessary computer equipment to interface with the above devices. We also have a 182-processor Viglen/Rocks cluster dedicated to our research.
Our Brooker Robotics Lab (a PC environment with 30 dual boot PCs) is equipped with about 25 mobile robots (of three different types) and ten miniature 'intelligent' rooms, and is used for intelligent embedded systems and robotics work. A range of specialist software is used, most notably a cross-development system called Tornado (the latest version of VxWorks: the software used in the recent Pathfinder project for the Mars Explorer vehicle) for developing embedded systems.
Our Robot Arena is a 100m² laboratory with a six metre ceiling height for flying robots. It has one of the world largest powered lab floors for long duration experiments of mobile robots. Our Robot Arena features a range of dedicated robotic equipment including a state-of-the-art 3D motion tracking system.
Our Embedded Systems Laboratory provides software and hardware facilities for the design, construction and prototyping of a variety of embedded system solutions. The primary focus is to provide an environment where ARM based embedded systems can be prototyped and tested as part of a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Sixteen dedicated, dual screen, workstations are provided together with a range of state of the art test equipment to support the development process. In addition a number of soldering stations are provided to enable the construction of custom designed hardware. Such hardware will be designed by you as part of the courses you undertake.
Studying within our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering provides both the recent graduate and the practising engineer with the opportunity to gain new skills or enhance existing ones.
Our graduates have progressed to a variety of senior positions in industry and academia. Some of the companies and organisations where our former graduates are now employed include: Electronic Data Systems, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Bank of Mexico, Visa International, Hyperknowledge (Cambridge), Hellenic Air Force, ICSS (Beijing), United Microelectronic Corporation (Taiwan) and within our University.
You will need a good honours degree and a Masters degree, or equivalent, in a related subject. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.
You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
The aim of undertaking your PhD within our School is to become trained as an independent researcher who can critically assess other research work, and have a comprehensive knowledge of their subject area.
Our PhD programme is usually three to four years duration and all our students are initially registered as MPhil/PhD students, then transferred to the PhD in the first half of their second year of study if they have made satisfactory progress. In your second and third years, you work towards your PhD.
Within our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, your PhD thesis is generally completed within three to four years and has a length of around 80,000 words.
Your PhD is awarded after your successful defence of your thesis in an oral examination, in which you are interviewed about your research by two examiners, at least one of whom is from outside Essex.
£16,230EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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