PhD studentships available for 2024 entry

About the Programme

The School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews is offering a number of PhD studentships for 3.5 years of study in our doctoral programme. Funding is available to cover tuition fees for UK, EU and international students, as well as living expenses (a stipend of £18,622 per annum, or the standard UKRI stipend if it is higher). We offer two types of studentship:

  • a fully-funded studentship consisting of tuition and stipend
  • tuition-only studentships, funded through the University’s ‘handsel’ scheme for tuition waivers

The School of Computer Science is a centre of excellence for computer science teaching and research, with staff and students from Scotland and all parts of the world. It is a member of the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA).

Eligibility Criteria

We are looking for highly motivated research students willing to be part of a diverse and supportive research community. Applicants must hold a good BSc or MSc in Computer Science, or a related area appropriate for their proposed topic of study.

We especially encourage female applicants and underrepresented minorities to apply. The University of St Andrews is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all, which is further demonstrated through its working on the Gender and Race Equality Charters and being awarded the Athena SWAN award for women in science, HR Excellence in Research Award and the LGBT Charter.

Application deadline

1st February 2024.

How to apply

Any PhD application received through the University PGR application system by the deadline will be automatically considered for these studentships. There is no need for a separate application. Note, however, that if you are applying for a CSC Scholarship then you cannot be considered for these School studentships due to conflicting application dates.

We strongly advise applicants to contact potential supervisors to discuss their research proposal before applying. Historically, applications with no named supervisor have been much less likely to result in an offer.

The School’s main research groups are Artificial Intelligence, Computer Systems, Human-Computer Interaction, and Programming Languages. You can find further details at A list of existing faculty and areas of research can be found at All supervisors listed on this page may be contacted directly to discuss possible projects. You can define your own project or discuss a project currently on offer. Some highlighted potential areas or projects offered by supervisors include:

  • Tool support for the representation of ethical concerns in software artefacts (Dr Dharini Balasubramaniam)
  • Automated Configuration of Constraint Solvers via Machine Learning
    (Dr Nguyen Dang)
  • ILNP ubiquitous communications (Prof Saleem Bhatti)

Full details on how to apply can be found at

Application enquiries can be directed to

PhD student wins award for best thesis in data protection

Dr Janis Wong had a productive week, firstly attending her graduation in St Andrews. The Bedellus placed a PhD hood on Janis’ head in the Younger Hall for her thesis on Co-creating data protection solutions through a commons.

Janis and Tristan at graduation.

Janis and Tristan at graduation.

Following graduation, Janis flew straight to Strasbourg for the 44th Plenary meeting of the Committee of Convention 108, where she received the Council of Europe’s Stefano Rodotà award for the best PhD thesis in data protection.

Janis was supervised by Professor Kirstie Ball in the School of Management and Dr Tristan Henderson in the School of Computer Science, who are both very proud of their graduating student. Well done Janis!

Janis Wong receiving her award for best PhD thesis.

Janis Wong receiving her award for best PhD thesis.

The Stefano Rodotà award for best PhD thesis in data protection.

The Stefano Rodotà award for best PhD thesis in data protection.

Interdisciplinary PhD studentship available with Management

Dr Tristan Henderson has a St Leonards interdisciplinary PhD studentship available, to be co-supervised by Professor Kirstie Ball of the School of Management. The area of study is to do with ethical values and data science. The student will be part of CRISP (Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance & Privacy), a collaborative research centre involving St Andrews, Edinburgh and Stirling. As an interdisciplinary project, we welcome and will consider applications from students with a wide variety of backgrounds, from computer science to management to technology law and anything in between. More details can be found on the CRISP website.

SCONE (SCOttish Networking Event)

The 18th SCONE (SCOttish Networking Event) meeting will be held in St Andrews on 26th April. These are informal gatherings of networks and systems researchers and have taken place in a number of Scottish institutions since 2008. The meeting will comprise a small number of talks, including one invited speaker (Mirco Musolesi from UCL), followed by various networking activities for PhD students. We will then retire to the pub to continue our conversations. More details can be found at Attendance is free; if you are interested in coming then please contact Tristan.

We are thankful to the SICSA Networking and Systems theme for their support.

Event details

  • When: 26th April 2017 12:00 - 18:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Format: Workshop

Seminar: Slave to the Algo-Rhythm? Awaiting the Law Cavalry (Professor Lilian Edwards, Strathclyde)

The School of Computer Science welcomes Lilian Edwards, Professor of Internet Law at the University of Strathclyde.


There is considerable current concern about the decisions made wholly or partly by algorithms in our digital “big data society”: decisions which now include –

  • hiring, promoting and firing in the employment arena
  • profiling for surveillance by law enforcement as well as by private companies for tracking and marketing
  • dynamic alteration of pricing and access to goods
  • assessment of worth for admission to school, college or professions
  • health interventions and welfare distributions
  • access to news and political comment on social media

And many more.

This talk will discuss the underlying problems around algorithmic governance, including inter alia discrimination, social sorting, lack of transparency, restriction of human agency, acontextuality and other possibilities for error, which have received a great deal of publicity lately; and then more unusually, starts to conjecture what legal solutions may be available in the UK and EU to complement technological and other governance solutions.

Some attention has been attracted by an alleged new “right to an explanation” in the General Data Protection Regulation, art 13, which is in fact not new but has existed in the DPD since 19952. The problems with the right are twofold, one legal, one practical. First, there has always been a carve out from the right for the protection of trade secrets and intellectual property. This probably explains the absolute history of lack of use of this right throughout the EU. Recital 63 of the GDPR does however now counsel that this should not justify “a refusal to provide all information to the data subject” [emphasis added]. A second even more difficult obstacle is simply that no-one really knows how to present what goes on in the innards of a modern big data machine learning algorithm, which largely runs on correlation rather than causation, to non-experts.

While the latter may be seen as mainly a technological problem, a number of key legal issues have not yet really been ventilated. Are legal remedies concerning algorithmic transparency really best found in data protection law? Is transparency a useful remedy at all given the historic failure of notice and choice in privacy? Are individualistic legal remedies suitable for problems causing harms to society as a whole rather than noticeable harms to discrete individuals (another problem of which privacy scholars already have much experience?) Can better models for remedies be drawn from media, competition, employment or environmental law? Does the problem in the end fall so awkwardly between the stools of technological fixes and policy concern that neither camp really has the expertise or ability to produce solutions?


Lilian Edwards is a leading academic in the field of Internet law. She has taught information technology law, e-commerce law, and Internet law at undergraduate and postgraduate level since 1996 and been involved with law and artificial intelligence since 1985. Her current research interests, while broad, revolve around the topics of online privacy, intermediary liability, cybercrime, Internet pornography, digital assets and digital copyright enforcement.

She worked at Strathclyde University from 1986–1988 and Edinburgh University from 1989 to 2006. She became Chair of Internet Law at the University of Southampton from 2006–2008, and then Professor of Internet Law at the University of Sheffield until late 2010, when she returned to Scotland to become Professor of E-Governance at Strathclyde University,while retaining close links with the renamed SCRIPT (AHRC Centre) at Edinburgh. Since 2011, she has been Chair of E-Governance at Strathclyde University.

She has co-edited (with Charlotte Waelde) three editions of a textbook, Law and the Internet; the third edition appeared in 2009.She won the Barbara Wellberry Memorial Prize in 2004 for work on online privacy. A sole edited collection of her essays, The New Legal Framework for E-Commerce in Europe, was published in 2005. She is Associate Director, and was co-founder, of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Centre for IP and Technology Law (now SCRIPT). Edwards has consulted inter alia for Google, Symantec, McAfee, the EU Commission, the OECD, and WIPO. Edwards co-chairs GikII, a annual series of international workshops on the intersections between law, technology and popular culture.

Since 2012, Edwards has been Deputy Director of CREATe, the Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology, a £5m Research Councils UK research centre about copyright and business models. She is also a frequent speaker in the media and has been invited to lecture in many universities in Europe, Asia, America, Australasia and most recently, South Africa.

Event details

  • When: 17th March 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Format: Seminar