Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Engineering Faculty of Science
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Open to international students Yes
Number of places 10-12
Start date September 2016

Programme overview

The UK's only interdisciplinary EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications offers graduates of engineering, mathematics and science disciplines a vibrant and stimulating environment in which to undertake research. The centre, funded by EPSRC and industry, addresses the shortage of highly skilled communications engineers by training postgraduates and exposing them to groundbreaking research.

The centre brings together world-leading experts in their fields, many of whom also have extensive industrial links. Bristol benefits from a high concentration of communication-related industries in the region. Many of these organisations work closely with the centre and will provide you with industrial training/support, allowing you to obtain skills which will maximise your employability.

The programme will equip you with the necessary skills to work in a wide variety of roles to lead innovative research, future product development and exploitation.

PhD topics might include:

  • Blind source separation
  • Alternative methods for frequency duplexing
  • Adaptive broadcast transmission with end-user metrics
  • A more cognitive approach to wireless access
  • Optimization of machine-to-machine communication in large scale opportunistic networks
  • Target designation and surveillance presentation for live aerial imagery
  • Robust, intelligent video data links
  • Optically reconfigurable microwave components for communication systems
  • Sense and avoid for UAVs
  • Ultra-broadband PA linearization
  • Next generation conformal antenna arrays for sensors and communications
  • Spectrum sensing for cognitive radio
  • Multiple antenna techniques and raptor codes for vehicular communications
  • True 3D display using acoustic levitation
  • Integrated, user-centred health sensing
  • Millimetre wave communications
  • Intelligent systems
  • Network analytics for security
  • Power and spectrum efficient SDN enabled networks
  • Low latency aware SDN algorithms for future networks.

Fees for 2016/17

Full time fees


Fees quoted are provisional, per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2016/17

Enhanced studentships covering fees and living costs (tax-free stipend of £17,000 in year 1 and £18,000 in years 2-4) are available to UK/EU citizens (EU applicants must have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to application). A small number of studentships may be available to EU nationals resident in the EU. Funding is not available for international students.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

The four year programme consists of a one year taught component designed to extend and broaden key skills, followed by a three year solo PhD research project. Training is provided in the form of lectures, bespoke transferable skills courses & workshops together with a diverse seminar programme given by leaders in their field, as well as individual and group research projects.

Successful applicants will be members of a close-knit team of students. The programme has been designed to allow flexibility in assumed previous knowledge, with advanced units building on a common core. 

The centre is committed to providing additional training in skills that will help your personal development in your academic studies and through on to your professional careers. Our Entrepreneur in Residence, provides a tailor-made course that runs across all 4 years of study which focuses on a small number of critical subject areas necessary to prepare graduating PhDs to be the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders in UK corporations, start-ups, or academia.

Entry requirements

An upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or international equivalent).

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form and interview
English language requirements Profile E
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Research groups

The centre has the support of over 25 companies and organisations, and will help to build UK capability in this key area by addressing the skills shortage.  It focuses on Future Communications: People, Power and Performance. Whilst communications technology is the enabler, the centre recognises that it is people who are the creators, consumers and beneficiaries in terms of its broader applications.

The University of Bristol has been a world leader in this field for over 25 years.


Students who pursue this programme will be equipped with the necessary skills to work in a wide variety of roles to lead innovative research, future product development and exploitation in the Communications industry.

Staff profiles

Dr Simon Armour, (Senior Lecturer), Advanced wireless communications; channel estimation and synchronisation, adaptive equalisation; multi-carrier modulation techniques.

Professor Mark Beach, (Professor), 5G wireless concepts; millimetre wave channel characterisation; RF technologies; smart antenna applications.

Professor David Bull, (Professor), Image and video compression and processing; motion estimation; video coding and video communications.

Dr Ayalvadi Ganesh, (Reader), large deviations and applications to queuing theory and statistics; mathematical modelling of communication and computer networks; random graph models and stochastic processes on graphs.

Dr Oliver Johnson, (Reader), Information theory.

Professor Trevor Martin, (Professor), Artificial intelligence, fuzzy sets, soft computing.

Professor Joe McGeehan, (Emeritus Professor), Communication systems; electromagnetics; propagation modelling; RF/microwave theory and techniques; WLANs.

Dr Kevin Morris, (Reader), Power amplifier design; radio frequency technology.

Dr Robert Piechocki, (Senior Lecturer), Distributed algorithms; information and communication theory; signal processing.

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, (Professor)

Professor Sriram Subramanian, (Professor of Human-Computer Interaction), Human-computer interaction, with a particular emphasis on expanding the input bandwidth.

How to apply
Application deadline:

19 August 2016
(Early application recommended; the programme will close once full)

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

Categories 10, 11 and 15 apply. Please see full REF 2014 results for the University of Bristol.

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Get in touch

Phone: +44 (0) 117 954 5395 Email:

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications
Engineering Graduate Education Team
University of Bristol
Merchant Venturers Building
Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1UB


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

Edit this page