Postgraduate study

Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

Awards: MScR, PhD

Funding available

The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) combines a MSc by Research (MScR) and a PhD into a 4 year programme. It is offered jointly by the School of Informatics and the School of Mathematics. It follows on from the EPSRC CDT in Data Science.

The CDT recognises that if researchers in this area wish to be leaders in AI and shape the technology landscape, they must be deeply conversant in both data science and AI. Only then will they be able to direct and better understand how to research, develop and target technologies that will be the pioneering breakthroughs.

Data science is the study of the computational principles, methods and systems for extracting knowledge from data. Almost every activity in science, society and commerce now relies on data-driven decision making --- from large data analytics in biology to small companies deploying data-collecting apps to millions of customers.

AI is the study of computational systems that demonstrate capabilities of perception, reasoning, learning and action that are typical of human intelligence. We have also recently seen an explosive growth in the capability of modern AI technologies. The great recent successes of modern AI, such as object recognition and game playing, are based on data-driven approaches rooted in machine learning and deep networks.

Our programme will allow you to specialise and perform advanced research at the interface of Data Science and AI and gain breadth and practical experience throughout the field.

You will be supervised by one of our 85 world-renowned faculty members. You will also benefit from interacting with a group of 30+ leading industrial partners, including Microsoft Research, Aberdeen Standard, Amazon, Samsung, Huawei, IBM and IBM Research amongst many others.

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
MScRData Science1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

The MScR is the first part of a longer 1+3 (MSc by Research + PhD) programme offered by the School of Informatics.

Our four-year PhD programme combines masters level coursework and project work with independent PhD-level research.

In the first year, you will undertake six masters level courses, spread throughout machine learning, databases, statistics, optimization, natural language processing, and related areas. You will also undertake a significant introductory research project. (Students with previous masters-level work in these areas may request to take three courses and a larger project, instead of six courses.)

At the end of the first year, successful students will be awarded an MSc by Research. From this basis, the subsequent three years will be spent developing and pursuing a PhD research project, under the close supervision of your primary and secondary supervisors.

You will have opportunities for three to six month internships with leading companies in your area, and to participate in our industrial engagement programme, exchanging ideas and challenges with our sponsor companies.

Throughout your studies, you will participate in our regular programmes of seminars, short talks and brainstorming sessions, as well as skills training and outreach initiatives and benefit from our pastoral mentoring schemes.

The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award and the School of Mathematics a Bronze Award, in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School's are 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.

Our research groups contain a diverse range of compute clusters for compute and data-intensive work, including a large cluster hosted by the Edinburgh Computer and Data Facility.

More broadly, 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 two 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 to support globally ambitious software companies in Scotland and nurture a technology cluster to rival Boston, Pittsburgh, Kyoto and Silicon Valley.

We intend for our graduates to become the research leaders, both in industry and academia, whose work will lead the way in data science. This vision is shared by our industrial supporters, whose support for our internship programme indicates their strong desire to find highly qualified new employees.

You will be part of a new generation of data scientists, with the technical skills and interdisciplinary awareness to become R&D leaders in this emerging area.

Our component research groups already have excellent track-records in post-graduation destinations, including the research labs of industry-leading companies, and post-doctoral research positions in top tier universities.

A minimum UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in computer science, mathematics, physics, engineering or a related discipline. Most students accepted to the programme hold a first class degree.

Applicants coming directly from a bachelors or masters degree are welcome.

We particularly welcome applications from members of communities under-represented in computer science and mathematics.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • 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(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • 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.

You must also submit a CV.

Find out more about the application process for this programme on the Data Science website:

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