Computer Science at Royal Holloway is one of the world's leading centres of research in advanced areas of theoretical and applied computer science.
We are renowned in particular for our research excellence in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Distributed Computing. Our research expertise is shaping the future of those key areas for society and the economy.
In the latest Research Excellence Frameworks (REF, 2014), we ranked 11th in the UK among more than 80 computer science departments for the quality of our research outputs.
Collaborative research is carried out in many different fields with companies and organisations, from finance to the analysis of movie scripts, from computational simulations of epidemics to foundational aspects of probability and logic.
We welcome applications for Postgraduate Research studies from across the world, and the department has earned a Bronze Athena SWAN award for best practice in equal opportunities and our inclusive environment.
In addition to the information below, check our separate page on the topics in which we supervise.
Research facilities and environment
Research students in Computer Science join a lively research community and become fully involved in the research activities of the department, sharing their successes. Many of our research students present papers at international conferences, with financial support from the department.
A Postgraduate Colloquium is held annually: all second and third-year research students give 15-minute talks to present the results of their research achieved during the year to members of staff from different research groups, fellow research students, and external guests; first-year students give a poster presentation.
Regular departmental research seminars include talks by professionals in a variety of application areas, and there is a separate student-organised 'cakes talk' series which allows students to develop their presentational skills. We have a weekly social event to which all students, research assistants and staff are invited. Royal Holloway provides dedicated social space for graduate students, facilitating inter-departmental links.
Major research topics include Algorithms and Complexity, Bioinformatics and Medical Applications, Machine Learning, Planning, Cyber-Physical Systems, Distributed Computing, and Type Theory and Applications.
Especially for topics that involve data analytics, the department has a dedicated state-of-the-art computing cluster HP DL380 comprising 32 processors, 32 Terabytes of disk storage, GPU and RDMA networking. The cluster is currently running the full-fledged Hortonworks Hadoop distribution (HDP) as well as the PostgreSQL and MongoDB servers.
You will have 24/7 access to dedicated on-site facilities and equipment.
Students who are admitted to this programme are initially registered on a MPhil programme. Before the end of their second year of studies they will have an upgrade meeting; if successful, they then become registered on the PhD Computer Science programme.
To be awarded a PhD Computer Science degree, students must submit their thesis, and pass their viva examination with one internal and one external examiner.
A good first degree or masters in a cognate discipline to computer science, and relevant to the proposed research project. We are also prepared to consider candidates with extensive practical or industrial experience that would be relevant to the project. As a guideline, English proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.5 is expected.
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
- TOEFL ib: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.
Your future career
Our graduates have an excellent track record of finding employment. PhD graduates from this department are now in senior positions in both academia and industry, including senior research managers at both Facebook and Amazon.
During term-time, we have weekly talks by external speakers from industry: these occasions are useful for graduate students to make external contacts and to learn of opportunities. In addition to the support provided by The Careers and Employability Service, the department has a coordinator to advise on career development and job opportunities.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £4,345
International students tuition fee per year**: £20,500
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options.
* and ** These fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email email@example.com for further information on part-time fees. We adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home/EU tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
*** These estimated costs relate to undertaking this particular programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.