Computer Science - MSc, PhD

The School of Computing welcomes applications for our Computer Science research programmes.

Overview

Your research should produce an original contribution in your chosen field of study. You work closely with your supervisor, a member of academic staff, who is your principal source of support. If you choose a research area that has interdisciplinary aspects, you may have more than one supervisor. In addition to regular supervision, you will be supported by a supervisory panel of three academic staff who provide further structured input and guidance.

Supporting your research

We offer an extensive support framework to all our research students. We support you in becoming an effective researcher through a series of weekly workshops taken in the first year. These cover research-specific subjects including how to access journals and review research publications, how to write and publish academic articles and how to present your work at seminars and conferences. You may also attend workshops on key transferable skills including communication, time management and teamwork.

You join one or more of our well-integrated, active research groups where you will be able to test and discuss your ideas and place your research in a broader context.

We host a seminar series for visiting speakers as well as holding regular seminars within our research groups where research students are encouraged to participate. We also host an annual postgraduate conference where you have the opportunity to both present your work and to gain experience as a conference organiser.

Many of our research students earn money by teaching on our undergraduate programmes. We provide teaching development courses in your first year to give you the skills to teach effectively.

About the School of Computing

Our world-leading researchers, in key areas such as systems security, programming languages, communications, computational intelligence and memory management, and in interdisciplinary work with biosciences and psychology, earned us an outstanding result in the most recent national research assessment.

Our programmes are taught and supervised by leading researchers who are experts in their fields. The School of Computing at Kent is home to several authors of leading computer science textbooks. Kent was awarded gold, the highest rating, in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework*.

We have strong links with industry including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.

Think Kent video series 

In this lecture, Dr Mark Batty from the School of Computing explores how mathematics can be used to better specify and design computer systems. He makes the case that computer systems should not be built above prose specifications and that a solid basis for computer-system engineering does not exist.

*The University of Kent's Statement of Findings can be found here

Entry requirements

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You are more than your grades

For 2021, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Entry requirements

A first or 2.1 degree or advanced/specialist taught MSc in computer science or a related discipline (such as mathematics, business studies or electronics, as long as the degree has a strong computing component).

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

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Course structure

If you choose the MSc by research option, you will study for one year full-time (two years part-time).

As a PhD student you study for a minimum of three years to a maximum of four years full-time, or a minimum of five years to a maximum of six years part-time.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Computer Science - MSc by Research at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £4500
  • EU full-time £20500
  • International full-time £20500
  • Home part-time £2250
  • EU part-time £10250
  • International part-time £10250

Computer Science - PhD at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £4500
  • EU full-time £20500
  • International full-time £20500
  • Home part-time £2250
  • EU part-time £10250
  • International part-time £10250

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2021, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.

Complete University Guide Research Intensity

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Computing was ranked 12th in the UK for research intensity.

An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality, with 81% of this judged world-leading or internationally excellent. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

Research areas

Research Groups and Highlighed PhDs

If you are keen to pursue a research degree, each of the School of Computing's five research groups has suggested projects: do contact the project proposers or the head of research group to tell us that you are interested. 

Programming Languages and Systems Group

Our research involves all aspects of programming languages and systems, from fundamental theory to practical implementation. The Group has interests across a wide range of programming paradigms: object-oriented, concurrent, functional and logic. We research the links between logic and programming languages, the verification of the correctness of programs, and develop tools for refactoring, tracing and testing. We are interested in incorporating safe concurrent programming practices into language design.

The Group is also interested in practical implementation of programming languages, from massively concurrent parallel processing to batteryoperated mobile systems. Particular research topics include lightweight multi-threading kernels, highly concurrent operating systems, memory managers and garbage collectors.

Research areas include:

  • theoretical and architectural questions concerning designs for both hardware and software
  • abstractions and implementations of concurrency in programming languages
  • formal specification of systems and their architecture
  • design patterns and tools for enabling the safe and scalable exploitation of concurrency
  • compilers, memory managers and garbage collectors
  • lightweight multi-threading kernels and highly concurrent operating systems 
  • refactoring of functional and concurrent languages
  • applications of formal methods to provably correct, secure systems
  • model checking and abstract interpretation, including applications to discovering security vulnerabilities
  • program verification and theorem proving

Computational Intelligence Group

This Group brings together interdisciplinary researchers investigating the interface between computer science and the domains of bioscience and cognition. In terms of applying computation to other domains, we have experts in investigating the modelling of gene expression and modeling of human attention, emotions and reasoning. From the perspective of applying biological metaphors to computation, we research new computational methods such as genetic algorithms and swarm intelligence.

The Group also develops novel techniques for data mining, visualisation and simulation. These use the results of interdisciplinary research for finding solutions to computationally expensive problems.

The Group has strong links with other schools at the University of Kent, as well as with universities, hospitals and scientific research institutes throughout the country and internationally.

Areas of research activity within the group include:

  • bio-inspired computing including neural networks, evolutionary
  • computing and swarm intelligence
  • application of computational simulations in biology and medicine
  • systems biology including gene expression modelling
  • theory and application of diagrammatic visualisation methods
  • data mining and knowledge discovery
  • construction of computational models of the human cognitive and neural system.

Cyber Security Research Group

Security - of information, systems, and communications - has become a central issue in our society. Interaction between people's personal devices (far beyond just phones and computers) and the rest of the connected world is nearly continuous; and with the advent of the Internet Of Things its scope will only grow.

In that context, so much can go wrong - every communication can potentially be intercepted, modified, or spoofed, and surreptitiously obtained data can be commercially exploited or used for privacy invasions. In fact, data flows in society are such that many people already feel they have lost control over where (their) data goes.

The cyber security research group operates within that context. All members bring a particular technological emphasis - the analysis of particular classes of security problems or their solutions - but are fully aware that it all fits within a wider context of people using systems and communicating data in secure and insecure ways, and how external pressures beyond the mere technology impact on that. The topic of computer security then naturally widens to include topics like privacy, cyber crime, and ethics and law relating to computing, as well as bringing in aspects of psychology, sociology and economics.

From that perspective, the Cyber Security research group played a key role in setting up, and continues to be a core contributor to, the University's Interdisciplinary Cyber Security Research Centre, see www.cybersecurity.kent.ac.uk.

The group has a strong involvement with postgraduate teaching in this area. It teaches most of the core modules in MSc programmes in Computer Security, and Networks and Security. A new (from September 2017) MSc Course in Cyber Security has been provisionally certified by GCHQ. The group is also involved in undergraduate modules in this area, as well as postgraduate programmes in other schools such as the MSc Information Security and Biometrics, and in UK activities to define curricula in Cyber Security.

Areas of Research Activity

Members are engaged in the following areas of research (research areas in more detail) .

  • Data Ethics and Privacy
  • Authorisation Infrastructures
  • Cybercrime
  • Internet Of Things Security and Privacy
  • Authentication
  • Quantum Computation and Information, with Security Applications 
  • Formal Methods for Cryptography
  • Steganography and Steganalysis
  • Trust Management and Metrics and Reputation Systems
  • Tools for Vulnerability Analysis
  • Self-Adaptation applied to Security and Privacy
  • Cloud Security
  • Human Aspects of Security
  • Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology
  • Identity Management

Data Science Research Group

Data Science is about developing new techniques to better understand data and draws on many areas within and outside of computer science. Our research group develops and applies methods to interpret rich information sources.Our research comes under three themes:

eHealth

  • Dr Caroline Li gathers and analyses EEG data for to study of seasonal affective disorder.
  • Dr Srivas Chennu works on neurodynamics of consciousness, developing new tools to study brain networks, including improved diagnostics and prognostics during emergence from coma. He also uses neural network modelling for predictive coding in cognition.
  • Dr Palani Ramaswamy has worked on biological signal analysis, brain-computer interfaces and biometrics. He has applied machine learning techniques to these and other fields.

Systems

Staff research interests

Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Many research students choose to continue their careers by working in academia. Our graduates have also gone on to work in:

  • software engineering
  • mobile applications development
  • systems analysis
  • consultancy
  • networking
  • web design and e-commerce
  • finance and insurance
  • commerce
  • engineering
  • education
  • government
  • healthcare. 

Recent graduates have gone on to develop successful careers at leading companies such as:

  • BAE Systems
  • Cisco 
  • IBM
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Citigroup 
  • BT.

Help finding a job

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Study support

We provide an extensive support framework for our research students and encourage involvement in the international research community.

Postgraduate resources

The School of Computing has a large range of equipment providing both UNIX (TM) and PCbased systems and a cluster facility consisting of 30 Linux-based PCs for parallel computation. New resources include a multi-core enterprise server with 128 hardware threads and a virtual machine server that supports computer security experiments.

All students benefit from a well-stocked library, giving access to e-books and online journals as well as books, and a high bandwidth internet gateway. The School and its research groups hold a series of regular seminars presented by staff as well as by visiting speakers and our students are welcome to attend.

Our full-time research students are offered funds for academic conference travel, to assist in publishing papers and getting involved in the international community. You have your own desk and PC/laptop in a research office, which is shared by other research students. We also provide substantial support, principally via one-to-one supervision of research students and well-integrated, active research groups, where you have the opportunity to test and discuss your ideas in a friendly environment. 

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff and research students publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Journal of Artificial Evolution and Applications; International Journal of Computer and Telecommunications Networking; Journal of Visual Languages and Computing; Journal in Computer Virology.

Links with industry

Strong links with industry underpin all our work, notably with Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Agilent Technologies, Erlang Solutions, Hewlett Packard Laboratories, Ericsson and Nexor.

Researcher Development Programme

Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

Apply now

Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MSc at Canterbury

PhD at Canterbury

Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

E: information@kent.ac.uk

Subject enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 764000

E:CEMSadmissions@kent.ac.uk

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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