About the course


The goal of our programme is to train you to become a research leader in data science and artificial intelligence. To work in this field, you need to understand both theory and practice as well as have breadth across systems, methodology and theory. We see this area as a confluence of ideas from machine learning, statistics, optimization, automated reasoning, systems, databases, algorithms, natural language processing, computer vision, and speech processing. You will specialize in a particular area in your PhD, but you will also receive broad training across these fields so that you can speak the language of collaborators from other areas.

As a student in the Centre, you will take a four-year programme leading to a PhD. The first year will provide you with the background needed to carry out research, through a combination of coursework and projects. In years 2-4, you will specialize to a particular area and carry out a substantial programme of original research.

Read more about the course below or learn about studying at Edinburgh.

Year 1

The first year will prepare you to do research by giving you an advanced background in data science and experience of smaller projects.

This year consists of:

  • six master’s-level across the data sciences (list of relevant courses);
  • a class called “Introduction to Research in Data Science”, which introduces you to current research issues in data science;
  • a small practical project, in which you apply ideas from one of the taught courses to a small real-world data set;
  •  and an MSc dissertation under one-on-one supervision from one of our supervisors.

Years 2-4

In these years, you will focus on your individual research project.

At the beginning of your second year, you will confirm your choice of a supervisor for your PhD project and together you will define a proposal for your PhD thesis. You’ll meet weekly with your supervisor to receive individual guidance.

To get an idea of the range of projects that you could work on, here are examples of current research in the Centre. A supervisor from our team will guide you through your work. Additionally, you will be able to talk to fellow students about your work through our weekly tea and research groups. You will also receive feedback from our external partners at annual workshops.

We generally expect our students choose to take time during their PhD to conduct research at another lab or undertake internships with one of our funding partners. Students will also engage with the CDT by supporting our outreach and industry activities.The latter includes training events for industry partners, hackathons, and round table meetings. Students are also expected to be involved with broader transferable skills training, and ethics training.