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Frequently Asked Questions

Some frequently asked questions about the programme in Data Science and AI.

Q: What are the benefits of a Doctoral Research Centre in Data Science and AI compared to a conventional PhD?

A: The Doctoral Research Centre locates your PhD in a cohort of other students with similar interests and studies. This cohort effect makes a significant difference, especially in the early years of the programme.

The Doctoral Research Centre holds a number of events, transferable skills training, seminars, and reading groups for students. This is in addition to the range of events which are offered to PhD students within the School of Informatics.

As a norm students in the Doctoral Research Centre will choose to do a six month paid internship with one of the programme's industry partners, in addition to the 3.5 years of funded research.

Q: How do students chose their PhD topics?

A: The proposal in your application is not binding. Full PhD proposals are built through discussion with your supervisors and collaborators.

Q: Do I need to contact a supervisor before submitting an application?

A: You do not need to contact a PhD supervisor before making an application, though you may do so. However, we do ask you to nominate two potential supervisors.This is important, as it ensures you look at the staff who could potentially supervise you, and you consider the match between your interest and the (admittedly wide) research interests of our supervisors. If you already know about a specific research area or supervisor that is particularly interesting to you, please also note this in your application.

Q: When does the programme start?

A: The programme commences in September each year. There is some potential flexibility in this, but we prefer the cohort to start together. That "in-it-together" aspect of the programme is an important part of the experience.

Q: Is it possible to study part-time?

A: It is only possible to apply to undertake study in this programme as a full-time student in Edinburgh. However for students already on the programme, and in the PhD years, we are accommodating to life's circumstances, and we do consider the possibility of students moving to part time study if there is a pressing need to do so.

It is possible to take the following programmes part-time:

taught MSc in Data Science

taught MSc in Informatics

taught MSc in High Performance Computing with Data Science

Online Distance Learning (ODL) Postgraduate Programme in Data Science, Technology and Innovation

There may also be other PhD programmes in the School of Informatics where part-time study may be possible.

Q: Is it possible to do a distance learning degree?

A: Participating in the local research environment is a vital educational aspect of the programme. All students would be expected to be based in Edinburgh for both their PhD research.

The University of Edinburgh does offer an Online Distance Learning (ODL) Postgraduate Programme in Data Science, Technology and Innovation, which is different than the CDT in Data Science and AI. 

Q: Is there a separate application to request funding?

A: A separate application does not need to be made to request funding, as this will be assessed from the same application as the academic selection. The exception is for some students who are outwith the EU. If you do need to make separate funding applications, we will contact you.

All applications will be considered based on academic merit, regardless of the funding available to each applicant.

Q. What does a studentship include?

A: A fully-funded studentship includes all fees and a stipend for living costs. The stipend is paid based on the EPSRC stipend rates.

Q: Not sure that this programme is right for you? Learn more about the other postgraduate programmes in data science offered by the University of Edinburgh:

taught MSc in Data Science

taught MSc in Informatics

taught MSc in High Performance Computing with Data Science

PhD from the School of Informatics

Online Distance Learning (ODL) Postgraduate Programme in Data Science, Technology and Innovation

Have questions that aren't answered above? Visit the School of Informatics Frequently Asked Questions (particularly useful for application questions) or contact us