Computing and Digital Technology Research Degrees - PhD - 2017/18 Entry

Course Overview

The essential course information

How to apply
Course Code:
PR0111 (Full-time) PR0154 (Part-time) PR0170 (Distance Learning)
  • Full Time (3-4 years)
  • Part Time (4-7 years)
School of Computing and Digital Technology
City Centre

The School welcomes enquiries relating to hardware of telecommunications, computer networks, games technology, electronic engineering and software engineering. Areas of research in which staff are currently active include gaming, e-business, home automation, learning technologies, intelligent systems, security and forensics, robotics and cloud computing.

Contact the School for more information, or call us on +44 (0)121 331 6400.

Key Facts

A PhD, “Doctor of Philosophy”, is the highest-level qualification, based on individual and detailed research, resulting in a thesis of about 80,000 words.

The School offers specialist supervision if you wish to pursue research programmes for the award of PhD. You may undertake your research either full-time or part-time. If you are accepted for PhD research you will be assigned to a Director of Studies (your main supervisor) and at least one second supervisor. There will be a programme of training workshops and seminars to support you.

As a research student in you will exposed to a versatile range of academics. You will be encouraged to take part in various activities, seminars, to publish in collaboration with your supervisors and to take part in research conferences nationally and (where possible) internationally. The Faculty as a whole also has a growing population of research students who organise social and academic events.

For further information, please consult our Research Degrees Handbook


We currently have scholarship opportunities* available for the following topics:

Machine learning based audio tools for rhythmic and timbral analysis of music

Within the creative industries, recent developments in music informatics have led to the creation of new software tools for music generation and production. Large industry projects are also underway (for example, Google's Magenta) which are intended to enhance the creative workflow of musicians through the use of machine intelligence for content analysis and music generation. Recent examples of this research include automated sequence generation, virtual music partners/assistants, content-aware audio effects, pre-set recommendation and automatic remixing.

This research will produce new audio tools for rhythmic and timbral analysis and variation through the use of machine learning (for example, recurrent and convolutional neural networks) and signal processing techniques. The analysis methods will be relevant to a variety of music information retrieval tasks such as rhythm and metre detection and the created tools will be capable of generating recommendations to musicians for both software instrument parameterisation and audio transformations.

For further details or an informal discussion please contact Dr Jason Hockman (

To apply please follow the steps under the “how to apply” link and clearly mark your proposal with the project title you wish to apply to. Please select a September 2018 intake.

Applications must be received no later than Friday 6 July 2018

*We are offering PhD bursaries funded at UK Research Council rates plus fee waivers; the 2017-8 bursary is likely to be £14,777

Entry Requirements

PhD applicants will normally be expected to hold a Master's degree in a relevant area.

You will need to complete the research degree application form and provide a statement of your initial research ideas (we advise between 1,000 and 2,000 words, with full referencing to relevant literature).

How to Apply

To apply, please complete the most appropriate online application form from the list below.

You can also download a copy of the CEBE PhD proposal form.

Application deadlines

For a September start, applications must be in by the end of May.

For a February start, applications must be in by the end of October.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
May 2018 FT 3-4 years PhD £4,195
May 2018 PT 4-7 years PhD £2,098
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
May 2018 FT 3-4 years PhD £12,000

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Please contact the faculty office for information on fees.

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Postgraduate Open Event

Our postgraduate open event offers you the chance to:

  • Meet with lecturers and other prospective students to discuss study options
  • Meet and chat with our current students
  • Obtain advice on fees and funding opportunities.

97% of our graduates find work or further study within six months (DLHE). Explore your potential at our open evening.

Who is it for?

Whether you are coming to the end of your undergraduate studies, or have been in your job for a while and want to progress in your career or change direction, a postgraduate qualification gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd in a competitive market.

Our graduates are already shaping the world in a variety of high-profile roles – and you could be next. Read some of our inspiring case studies.

For more information, visit our Open Days page or call our Course Enquiries Team on +44 (0)121 331 5595.

Book now
Book now
Saturday 30 June 2018

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Professional Development

The PhD is a well-established and valued academic qualification within the sector and is highly likely to enhance career prospects. For those wanting to follow a career in teaching and researching in Higher Education, a PhD is highly desirable.

Course Structure

A research degree is not a taught ‘course’ but is an individual programme of research developed by the student and supported by at least two expert supervisors. A full-time PhD will normally take about 3.5 years, and can also be studied part time.

All students are required to undertake an initial training programme leading to a Post Graduate Certificate (PG Cert) in Research Practice during their first year of study, and other appropriate training in later years.

A day in the life of a PhD student

If you're considering doing a PhD there's probably a lot of questions going through your mind: how am I going to pay for it? Should I quit my job? Will I cope with the workload? But most importantly, what is it really like? Karen Patel, a full time PhD student, shares her experiences of juggling life, a part time job and her studies. Read more in Karen's blog.

Assessment Methods

Written thesis (normally about 80,000 words). An oral examination with at least two specialist examiners is also required. All assessments are in English.


Prospective students from the UK
  • Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
  • If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
  • Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from outside the UK


For an overview of our postgraduate courses and a range of other information please download our Postgraduate Prospectus (10Mb).

Further Information

Prospective students may make enquiries about research degree study by emailing