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Run by Faculty of Engineering Faculty of Science
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Open to international students Yes
Number of places 10-12
Start date September 2017

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 ground-breaking research.

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

Past PhD topics have included:

  • Adaptive broadcast transmission with end-user metrics; 
  • Robust, intelligent video data links;
  • Massive MIMO for high capacity 5G networks;
  • Wireless SDN integration in heterogeneous networks & 5G;
  • Multiple antenna techniques and raptor codes for vehicular communications;
  • Integrated, user-centered health sensing;
  • Leveraging SDN to deliver scalable and energy efficient M2M networks;
  • Optimization of machine-to-machine communication in large scale networks;
  • Target designation and surveillance for live aerial imagery;
  • Stochastic geometry and wireless networks;
  • Next generation conformal antenna arrays for sensors and communications;
  • MU-MIMO techniques;
  • Passive intrusion detection methodology in IoT network systems;
  • Wireless connectivity in autonomous vehicles;
  • Biologically inspired vision systems;
  • SDN (Software Defined Network) Solutions for High-criticality Networks;
  • Efficient power amplifiers for IoT machine-to-machine devices.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


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

Funding for 2017/18

Enhanced studentships covering fees and living costs (a tax-free stipend of £17,000 in year 1 and £18,000 in years 2-4) are available to UK/EU citizens. To be eligible, EU applicants must have been resident in the UK for three 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 and workshops, along with a diverse seminar programme given by leaders in their field, and individual and group research projects.

Successful applicants will join 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 to your professional careers. Bespoke entrepreneurial training will be provided throughout all four years of study. This will focus on a small number of critical subject areas to prepare PhD graduates to become entrepreneurial leaders in UK corporations, start-­ups or academia.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in electrical and electronic engineering, mathematics, computer science, physics or similar numerate discipline 

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 more than 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. While communications technology is the enabler, we recognise that people 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.

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)

How to apply
Application deadline:

19 August 2017. Early application recommended; places may fill before our deadline.

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.

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