Postgraduate study

Informatics: LFCS: Theory and Foundations of Computer Science, Databases, Software and Systems Modelling PhD, MPhil, MScR

Awards: PhD, MPhil, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

The Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS) continues to lead the way in the development of mathematical models, algorithms, theories and tools that probe the possibilities of computation and communication.

Our students benefit from being part of one of the largest and strongest groups of theoretical computer scientists in the world.

Our research is aimed at establishing deep understanding of computation in its many forms. Using advanced mathematical principles, we create theories and software tools allowing fundamental capabilities of computation to be explored, as well as designing languages that can be used to construct safe and effective programs.

Areas of interest within LFCS include: algorithms and complexity, cryptography, databases, logic, programming languages and semantics, performance modeling, quantum computing, security and privacy, software modeling and testing, and verification.

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

As a research student at LFCS, you will have access to our highly respected academic staff community, which includes Fellows of the Royal Society and a winner of a Blaise Pascal medal. Our students regularly receive ‘best paper’ awards at conferences.

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

Our graduates are in high demand for postdoctoral academic roles. In addition, the skills you will graduate with can be applied to roles in industry, particularly finance, software development and consultancy.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, with a strong background in mathematics.

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.

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
PhDInformatics3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDInformatics6 YearsPart-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
  • Office 3.42, Informatics Forum
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AB

Applications for 2020/21 entry can be submitted all year round, however, please submit your completed application at least three months prior to desired entry date.

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

Round Application deadline
1 29 November 2019
2 31 January 2020

Please note that some university and school scholarships require separate applications via the Scholarships portal.

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