School of Informatics offers you a wide range of PhD, MPhil and MSc research programmes.
Edinburgh is one of the best informatics research centres in the world. The breadth of research in the School means that we can accommodate a vast range of research topics.
As one of our students, you will be part of a small and specialised research community in your immediate area, as well as a member of the wider Informatics community, which includes around 400 MSc and PhD students, from all over the world. Each PhD student is hosted within one of our six research Institutes. Further information on each of our Institutes can be found on the reserach topics page.
The period of study is 36 months if studying full-time, or between 48 and 72 months if studying part-time.
The first year of PhD studies is probationary. Your supervisor will identify your training needs, if any, and invite you to attend lectures relevant to your research topic. These lectures may be selected from those offered to MSc students, or may be specialist courses and seminars organised by the School's various research groupings.
Towards the end of the first year you will be expected to submit a thesis proposal which identifies a specific research topic, reviews the relevant literature, outlines a plan of research to address the topic, and describes progress made so far.
Your progress is reviewed annually with submission of a thesis expected at the end of the third year, followed by an oral examination. You will be awarded a doctorate if your thesis is judged to represent an original contribution to knowledge in your chosen area.
Our PhD degrees
List of Informatics PhD degree programmes- see individual degree pages for tuition fees and other detailed information.
This programme provides you with the opportunity to acquire research skills by undertaking independent study related to the School's ongoing research programme.
The period of study for the degree is one year full-time or two years part-time.
The emphasis in this course is on independent research work, but you will also attend research training classes. Your supervisor will identify your training needs.
To be awarded the degree of MSc by Research you will submit a portfolio of your work for assessment by a Board of Examiners. In your submission you will have to demonstrate that you have acquired an advanced level of knowledge and understanding in the field of study and are capable of undertaking independent research.
Fees and funding
Tuition fees - this information is on the individual MScR degree pages.
Research scholarships - information on various scholarships and funding that are available.
The objective of an MPhil is to produce a research worker who has acquired a good all-round knowledge of Informatics, in-depth knowledge of a specialist area, and the research skills to carry out and present a piece of original research for submission for a higher degree.
The MPhil degree requires a minimum of two years of supervised research study, and is awarded on the basis of a thesis and oral examination.
The first year of MPhil studies is probationary. Towards the end of the year you will be expected to submit a thesis proposal which identifies a specific research topic, reviews the relevant literature, outlines a plan of research to address the topic, and describes progress made so far. You will normally be expected to attend lectures relevant to your research topic. These lectures, chosen in consultation with your supervisor, may be selected from the modules offered to taught MSc students or may be specialist seminars.
You will also attend meetings of research groups relevant to your area of interest. Most research groups have such meetings on a regular basis.
During the second year you will carry out independent research according to your plan and complete a thesis, to be submitted at the end of the year, followed by an oral examination.
The following list of topics is meant to serve as a source of ideas, and is neither exhaustive or complete and you are welcome to propose a novel topic.
Research students are hosted within one of our six research Institutes. You will need to know which Institute you are applying to. We have given an overview of the main research areas associated with each Institute in the table below. Explore the Institute websites for more specific suggested topics, you can also use the our research explorer.
|Main research areas
|Artificial Intelligence and Its Applications Institute
|Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (ANC)
|Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation (ILCC)
|Institute for Computing Systems Architecture (ICSA)
|Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour (IPAB)
|Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS)
Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)