How to Apply

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Data Science accepted its last cohort in September 2018. In the future we are planning a new CDT in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.

Students on this programme will integrate with the current EPSRC CDT in Data Science, although the programme is formally a separate one. Students with a very strong background in computer science, mathematics, physics, or engineering are particularly encouraged to apply.

The CDT in Data Science and AI will be a 4-year programme at the School of Informatics and the School of Mathematics, the University of Edinburgh. The first year provides Masters level training in the core areas of data science and AI, along with a significant project. In years 2-4 students will carry out PhD research in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics or related areas, guided by PhD supervisors from within the Centre.

Students applying should identify two potential supervisors who match their research interests, and name those two supervisors on the research application (prior contact with those Supervisors is not essential); you will have an opportunity to choose a different supervisor at various stages of the MSc, so this is only indicative at this stage.

All students will be involved in industry collaboration through the course of the MSc and PhD. There may also be specific industry studentships available with their own funding stream and these will be listed in due course.

Open Days

The CDT's Open Days are opportunities to learn more about the programme, as well as the University of Edinburgh. Join us for in-person or virtual presentations and informal sessions to ask questions and discuss research opportunities.


Our fully funded PhD places are particularly competitive especially for those who are not UK resident. 

We also welcome applicants who are funded from other sources, such as awards from their home country or who are in receipt of industry/grant awards. These applications will be considered in addition to the allocated, fully funded places.  If you are able to provide your own funding, it is important that you make sure to state this in your application.


Entry Requirements

Before applying, please read the admissions information at the following links:


All applicants should ensure that their references are aware that applicants are applying for the full 1 year MSc by Research + 3 year PhD programme at the University of Edinburgh. Reference letters should include information about an applicant’s ability to undertake a PhD as well as an MSc by Research. We have a web page directed to referees to alert them to this. You might wish to send them a link to that page.

Letters of reference should be signed, dated, and on letter-headed paper:

Research Proposal

When you apply, you will be asked to include a personal statement statement where you can note your reasons for wishing to undertake PhD training in data science. This is separate from the research proposal. In this you should also identify two potential supervisors.

A formal research proposal is required as part of the application process for the CDT in Data Science. In the research proposal you should indicate the area you believe would be of most interest to you for a PhD topic. If you are not familiar with the field, the proposal should be indicative of your interests and your background study; your actual PhD project can differ from what you propose during your application. It is possible that you will change your interest during the course of the first year. Nevertheless, the motivation and research proposal are very important in our selection, so please pay attention to it! The research proposal should provide some detail of your technical understanding of the field, and what particular challenges that entails. It is probably easier to attach a file  (either via “Upload a research proposal” or “Upload an unspecified document”) rather than to enter it all on the web form.

Before writing your proposal, you should visit the Research and Supervisor pages of our website. Both of these should give you a background on areas of research as well as current and potential research projects for postgraduate students.

There is no specific guidance for research proposals for applications to the CDT in Data Science and AI; however, you may find it useful to refer to this document about writing a postgraduate research proposal for the University of Edinburgh.

CV / Résumé

Please include a CV or résumé with your application. You should upload this as a supporting document in EUCLID. This is required.

Research Area

Please provide a statement of your preferred research area if you can (e.g. Machine Learning, Databases etc) at the top of the Research Topic field on the application form, along with two potential supervisors. This helps us in ensuring the right people see your application.


Although the choice of supervisors in the CDT in Data Science and AI can be changed at various point in the programme, we do ask you to identify (prior contact is not essential) two potential supervisors on your application.


Applications are not open for this at this time.

When we do (which is not likely for 2019 entry) you will be applying for the MSc by Research in Data Science, which is the exclusive course for the first year of the CDT. All CDT students should apply to this MSc programme as applications will automatically be considered for the full 1 year MSc by Research + 3 year PhD programme.

If you decide that you are more interested in other areas of computer science or informatics, the School of Informatics has many other postgraduate programmes available. Please see the School of Informatics pages about postgraduate study.

Please contact us if you have any queries.

Athena Swan Charter

Athena SWAN awards recognise and celebrate good practice on recruiting, retaining and promoting women in STEMM in academia.  The School of Informatics achieved a Silver Award and the School of Mathematics a Bronze Award.