Postgraduate study

Informatics: CISA: Automated Reasoning, Agents, Data Intensive Research, Knowledge Management PhD, MPhil, MScR

Awards: PhD, MPhil, MScR

Study modes: Part-time, Full-time

Funding opportunities

At the Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications (CISA) we enable computer systems to reproduce or complement human abilities, work with people, and support collaboration between humans. We conduct world-leading research in the foundations of Artificial Intelligence (knowledge representation and reasoning, emergence of meaning, theory and ontology change, creativity, mathematical proof) and in intelligent collaborative systems (multiagent systems, social computation, scientific collaboration platforms, web semantics and linked data).

Our research methods are inspired by developing formal models of knowledge, reasoning, and interaction that can be used to understand and automate aspects of human intelligence, but are also understandable and usable to the human designers and users of AI systems.

To achieve this, we combine theoretical research into computational models, architectures, and algorithms with a strong element of applied research. This has led to a strong track record in using our methods to address real-world problems in healthcare, scientific collaboration, social computing, emergency systems, transportation, engineering, aerospace and others.

You'll find a wide range of research areas within CISA conducted in the four research groups the Institute currently hosts:

  • Agents and Multiagent Systems
  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Planning & Activity Management
  • Data-Intensive Research

CISA includes one of the most innovative collaborations between research and business - our Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute (AIAI). Through its resources and the engagement of CISA staff and students in consultancy, training and joint projects, we help companies and government agencies to apply newly researched techniques.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScRInformatics1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

You will carry out research work within a research group under the guidance of a supervisor. You may also attend taught courses that are relevant to your research topic, as prescribed by your supervisor. You will be expected to attend seminars and meetings of relevant research groups. Periodic reviews of progress are conducted to assist with research planning.

A programme of transferable skills courses facilitates broader professional development in a wide range of topics, from writing and presentation skills to entrepreneurship and career strategies.

The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School is deploying a range of strategies to help female staff and students of all stages in their careers and we seek regular feedback from our research community on our performance.

The award-winning Informatics Forum is an international research facility for computing and related areas. It houses more than 400 research staff and students, providing office, meeting and social spaces.

It also contains several robotics labs, an instrumented multimedia room, eye-tracking and motion capture systems, and a full recording studio amongst other research facilities. Its spectacular atrium plays host to many events, from industry showcases and student hackathons to major research conferences.

Nearby teaching facilities include computer and teaching labs with more than 250 machines, 24-hour access to IT facilities for students, and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.

Among our entrepreneurial initiatives is Informatics Ventures, set up in 2008 to support globally ambitious software companies in Scotland and nurture a technology cluster to rival Boston, Pittsburgh, Kyoto and Silicon Valley.

While your research studies are a perfect route to a career in academia, your degree could also take you into the commercial world of applied AI and collaborative systems.

Software developers using AI technologies are among those who rely on the insights of our research. NASA and animation company Pixar are just two of the organisations that have recently employed our graduates.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, typically in an area of informatics, such as artificial intelligence, cognitive science or computer science. You should have experience in computer programming.

We may also consider a UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, in engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics or psychology.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDInformatics6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PhDInformatics3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
MPhilInformatics4 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MPhilInformatics2 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
MScRInformatics1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScRInformatics2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Informatics Graduate School
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Informatics Graduate School
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE