Overview

The School of Compouting at Ulster conducts internationally excellent and world-leading research in, assistive technologies, next generation networks, and semantic analytics, within our two highly active research centres; Artificial Intelligence Research Centre (AIRC) and Pervasive Computing Research Centre (PCRC).

School of Computing has a long history of conducting excellent research. As part of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment, internationally renowned experts independently judged research on computer science and informatics at Ulster University as being in the top 10 of UK Universities in terms of research power. Over 86% of Ulster’s research on computer science is rated as either world leading or internationally excellent. Both research impact and research environment have attained a 100% world-leading and internationally excellent rating, offering unparalleled research facilities and environments. These outstanding results illustrate the positive impact our research makes on global economic sectors and society.


Summary

Artificial Intelligence Research Centre (AIRC)

AIRC aims to develop cutting-edge AI theories, algorithms and tools, and to create state of the art AI solutions for practical problems through engagement with stakeholders and users, and alignment with University, local, national and European initiatives.

The main research themes in artificial intelligence are: data engineering; knowledge engineering; semantic analytics (making sense of unstructured data such as image, video, spectra and text); biomedical informatics; and mathematical modelling and optimisation.

Applications include work on multimodal biometrics (including face/palmprint/iris recognition); text and video information retrieval; food authentication; reliable decision support (e.g. medical and transport); soft sensor design; software complexity metrics; text mining to extract argumentation structure and application to document reuse and software defect analysis; remote sensing data analysis and anomaly detection; mathematical and computational modelling of complex systems; and biomedical applications.

Pervasive Computing Research Centre (PCRC)

Research within the PCRC incorporates networked environments (structure and sensors in buildings, clothing and personal devices) and intelligent processing (data mining, pattern recognition, decision support, context prediction, data fusion, and multimodal interaction).

Much of the research focuses on behavioural monitoring (through environmental and biometric sensors) and activity recognition, with application to assistive technologies for smart homes, independent living, and healthcare monitoring and diagnosis.

Research is supported by new laboratory facilities for deployment of sensing technology in connected health care, including body scanner, eye-tracking, and other state-of-the-art devices.


Entry requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.


English language requirements

In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.

Get full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found on our English language requirements page.


Careers and opportunities

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.


Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Details of tuition fees can be found under the fees schedule for the academic year of entry.

To work out for which fees you would be eligible and to find out more information about potential sources of funding, please view the Fees and Funding pages on the Doctoral College website.


Apply

We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies.

Get full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application.

Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system.

Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.


Reviews

I started my PhD at Ulster University in Oct. 2017 after I received my master degree from Jiangsu University, China. My research interests are deep learning, natural language processing.I had a wonderful time during my stay at Ulster University, Jordanstown. Many thanks to all my supervisors, colleagues and research staff for their great help!

Chunlin Xu - PhD in Computing

I started my PhD at Ulster University after I received the master degree in computer application and technology from the School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Fujian Normal University, China.My research interests are feature extraction, face verification and pattern recognition.The proudest moments of my PhD when my papers were accepted by journals and I received my PhD certificate.It is a long journey to pursue a PhD, I couldn't have got through this without the constant support, help and encouragement from my supervisors and friends. Many thanks all of them.

Huan Wan - PhD in Computer Science and Informatics

I received the bachelor’s of engineering degree in computer science and technology from Shangrao Normal University, Jiangxi, China, in 2013; and the master’s degree in computer application and technology from the School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Fujian Normal University, China. When I was pursuing a PhD degree at Ulster University, I continued my research on face recognition and image representation.This long journey has only been possible due to the constant support and encouragement of my first supervisor. I also like to thank my second supervisor for his patience, support and guidance during my research studies. My favourite memory was the days of exercising, gathering and playing with my friends here. If I could speak to myself at the start of my PhD, the best piece of advice I would give myself would be "submit more papers to Journals instead of conferences".

Xin Wei - PhD in Computer Science and Informatics

After master’s degree, I joined the Artificial Intelligence Research Group in the School of Computing at Ulster University to pursue my PhD. I would like to thank my supervisors for their guidance, invaluable advice, encouragement and support throughout my PhD.My proudest moments were when my research papers were accepted in prestigious conferences and journals. I feel accomplished about the six first-author publications from my doctoral research. Also, I have had the honour of receiving the Best Student Paper Award at the 2018 International FLINS Conference.I love travelling; my favourite memories were travelling to present my research in addition to getting the opportunity to meet leading researchers from different parts of the world. And I couldn't have achieved this without the support of my friends and family.

Niloofer Shanavas - PhD in Computer Sciences and Informatics

I joined Ulster University in September 2017 right after obtaining my master's degree in Computer Science from Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea. My research focus has been on deep neural network applications to natural language processing. Was happy that my PhD work on developing techniques to improve the performance of neural machine translation models to enhance communication between individuals speaking different languages. As a young person growing up in Ghana, I initially wanted to study for a degree in Medicine but had a change of heart when I discovered the potential benefits of studying Computer Science and Engineering during my undergraduate study at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana. This has been one of the best decisions I have ever taken.I have always wanted to pursue my education towards a PhD, and I am very glad that I have been able to achieve that. I had a wonderful time at Ulster University and was able to make some

Isaac Ampomah - PhD in Computing

In the whole PhD ordeal, my supervisory team played a tremendous role:- they are three in a million. They are perfect supervisors who perfectly know which milestones or pathways to be taken during research initiatives, and they understand the roles of virtually all stages in the journey of PhD. They showcased superior abilities in managing and motivating me evoking high standards; demonstrating a commitment to excellence. Jane and Haiying guided me as their daughter and Fiona turned out to be the best of friends.I heard from “Eleanor Roosevelt” that “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” The dream with which I grew up to become a Doctor one day, has finally come true. In the journey of PhD, I embraced that a PhD is not just the highest degree in Education but rather it is a life experience where perseverance is the key. I can never forget words from my external examiner Prof Yike Guo, from Imperial College London. His words

Jyotsna Talreja Wassan - PhD in Computer Science and Informatics