Postgraduate study

Informatics: IPAB: Robotics, Computer Vision, Computer Graphics and Animation PhD, MPhil, MScR

Awards: PhD, MPhil, MScR

Study modes: Part-time, Full-time

Funding opportunities

Studying at IPAB has not only allowed me to further my own research goals it also provides me with a network of great researchers in close proximity. The exchange and support of ideas as well as the sense of community through regular socials and talks are a big part of what makes the institute a great research environment.

Stefanie Speichert PhD Student at the Robust Autonomy and Decisions Lab, 2017-2022
Stefanie Speichert               PhD Student at the Robust Autonomy and Decisions Lab, 2017-2022

The Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour (IPAB) focuses on how to link computational perception, representation, transformation and generation processes to external worlds, in theory and in practice.

This covers domains such as:

  • visual perception
  • dynamic control of robot systems
  • active sensing and decision making
  • biomimetic robotics
  • computer-based generation of external phenomena, such as images, music or actions
  • agent-based interaction within computer games and animation

Supported by the dynamic research culture of IPAB, you can develop robots that learn their own motor control, mimic animal behaviours, or produce autonomous and coordinated team actions. Or you can work with systems that interpret real images and video, or generate complex behaviour in animated characters.

We aim to link strong theoretical perspectives with practical hands-on construction and systems development, and provide the hardware and software support to realise this vision.

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
PhDInformatics3 YearsFull-timeProgramme structure 2022/23

You carry out your research within a research group under the guidance of a supervisor. You will be expected to attend seminars and meetings of relevant research groups and may also attend lectures that are relevant to your research topic. Periodic reviews of your progress will be 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 is committed to advancing the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School is deploying a range of strategies to help female staff and students at all stages in their careers and we seek regular feedback from our research community on our performance.

Our robotics labs attract continuous interest from industry, government and members of the public, containing:

  • a range of mobile platforms
  • robot manipulators
  • humanoid robots
  • custom-built sensor and actuation systems

Recent developments include:

  • the UK's only NASA Valkyrie robot platform
  • application of robotic hardware to prosthetics and assisted living
  • a team that competes in the international robot soccer league

Our new Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR) brings collaboration with Heriot-Watt University to expand the range of facilities and applications we can explore, helping fund research training.

The machine vision lab has facilities for:

  • 3D range data capture
  • motion capture
  • high-resolution and high-speed video

The high-performance computing needed for graphics is well supported, including hardware partnerships with companies such as NVIDIA.

While many of our graduates go on to highly successful academic careers, others find their niche in commercial research labs, putting their knowledge and skills to use in an industry setting. Several of our recent graduates have set up or joined spin-out robotics companies.

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a computing or engineering field. You should have strong programming skills.

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 (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).

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.

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
  • your tuition fee 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
  • Office 3.42, Informatics Forum
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AB

Applications for 2023/24 entry open on 3 October 2022 and can be submitted all year round.

Please submit your completed application at least three months prior to desired entry date.

If you want to be considered for School funded PhD scholarships you must apply by one of two rounds:

Round Application deadline
1 25 November 2022
2 27 January 2023

Please note that some University and School scholarships require separate applications via the Scholarships portal.

You must submit two references with your application.

You must submit an application via the application portal and provide the required information and documentation. This will include submission of:

  • a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • research proposal (2 to 5 pages long)
  • degree certificates and official transcripts of all completed and in-progress degrees (plus certified translations if academic documents are not issued in English).
  • two academic references

Only complete applications are passed on to the academic selection stage.

Read through detailed guidance on how to apply for a PGR programme in the School of Informatics

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

Further information

  • School of Informatics Graduate School
  • Office 3.42, Informatics Forum
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AB