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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 DRC, you will take a programme leading to a PhD. 3.5 years of funding is available, and as a norm students will additionally do a six month internship with one of our partners as part of this programme (exceptions can be made if student circumstances make this undesirable/problematic; there may be some other restrictions with internships for students on Tier 4 visas)

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

First Year

The first year you will start out on your research while at the same time taking an individually tailored set of courses that will help you in developing an advanced background in data science and AI. In your initial research, you will gain an experience of smaller projects, that will help you determine your PhD direction.

This year also consists of:

  •  interactive seminars and sessions, and the tea and biscuits meeting for those on the programme.
  • interaction with one or more company partners.

Other Years

In the later years of the PhD, you will focus on your individual research project, with regular weekly supervision, and interaction with other students in both the centre and your research group.

To get an idea of the range of projects that you could work on, here are examples of current research in the Centre. Your supervisor (from our large supervisory 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 that our students will choose to take time during their PhD to conduct research at another lab or undertake internships paid by one of our funding partners. Students will also engage with the doctoral centre 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 AI ethics training.