Computer Laboratory

Applying to do a PhD in the group

This page contains information for people who are considering applying to undertake their PhD in the Graphics & Interaction Group at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.

First steps

First read the background information about the Computer Laboratory, its research and the Rainbow Group.

Our research areas

The Rainbow Graphics & Interaction Group undertakes research in a broad range of subjects. Peter Robinson mainly works on interactions between people and machines, Alan Blackwell on interaction and design, Rafał Mantiuk on perception in graphics, displays and computational photography, and Hatice Gunes on affective computing.

Please note that we do not undertake (much) research in computer vision, signal processing, nor display design. If you wish to undertake research in one of these fields you are advised to consider applying to the Department of Engineering. In particular, look at the web page of the Machine Intelligence Laboratory (which undertakes research in computer vision and robotics, medical imaging, and speech), or the Photonics and Sensors Group.

Your proposed research project

We tend not to have prepared projects that students simply take on; students are invited instead to propose their own research in 1000-3000 words and we then see if it fits with the interests of people here. Obviously, it is helpful if you contact us to discuss your research proposal before submitting your application. If you do not have much background in Computer Science, it might be appropriate to take our one-year post-graduate MPhil in Advanced Computer Science first.

The application process

Read the general information about applying to Cambridge including the Graduate Studies Prospectus and the particular details of the procedure for applying to do research in the Computer Laboratory.

The absolute deadline for UK applicants and for overseas applicants who have already secured funding from elsewhere is 31 March each year, for admission the following October. People are occasionally admitted at other times of the year. It is wise to apply much earlier than 31 March. Applicants from outside the UK who wish to enter the funding competitions for scholarships must apply earlier: the University's funding page is the place from where you can find the crucial dates.

If you are thinking of applying here, you will see that there are three requirements for acceptance at Cambridge: the department, a college and proof of funding. The department will accept anyone that it thinks is likely to succeed and for whom an appropriate and willing supervisor can be found, although students whose native language is not English will need a high score in the IELTS. A college place for a research student is unlikely to prove difficult; in extremis, most supervisors can lean on their own colleges. Funding is more difficult …

The Laboratory has a small quota of EPSRC grants for UK and EU students and an even smaller number of separate studentships. The competition for these is extremely fierce; simply getting a first class degree is not sufficient to earn one. Unless you are able to secure one of these studentships, you will need to have a studentship from some other source (such as a Gates scholarship, a Cambridge Trust award or industrial sponsorship which you arrange through your own contacts) or be able to convince the University that you have sufficient private funds to support yourself for three years. For more information see the Costs & Funding section of the Graduate Studies Prospectus.

Contacting us

If you would like to visit the Laboratory some time to discuss a possible application, please feel free to get in touch. However, if you contact more than one person in the Laboratory, please make sure that all the people you contact are aware of all the others so that we do not duplicate effort. Contact details are on our individual web pages.