Communications (EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training)

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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
Start date September 2019

Programme overview

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications offers graduates of electrical and electronic engineering, mathematics, computer science, physics or similar numerate 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 from academia and industry. Bristol benefits from a high concentration of communication-related industries in the region and a number of these organisations work closely with the centre and provide industrial training and support, enabling you to obtain skills that will maximise your employability.


  • training in advanced communication engineering topics
  • group and individual research projects
  • mentoring from industry on the application and context of research
  • bespoke technical training
  • enterprise and innovations skills training
  • transferable skills development opportunities to increase employability
  • followed by a three-year cutting-edge research project

A wide range of PhD topics are proposed and developed collaboratively by industrial member companies and academics, and are selected by students towards the end of the first year. At the start of the second year, students are integrated into specialist research teams with world-leading research profiles in areas such as wireless communications, networks, RF technologies, vehicular connectivity, mathematics, video and communications, while continuing to collaborate with their industrial mentors.

Past PhD topics available have included:

  • enhancing Massive MIMO performance in 5G New Radio
  • detection of unusual behaviour and actions in communication systems
  • physical layer security in next generation Communication technologies
  • software defined networking and converged heterogeneous networks
  • wireless connectivity in autonomous vehicles

Fees for 2019/20

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

UK/EU: full-time
Overseas: full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2019/20

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, UK/EU applicants must have been resident in the UK for three years prior to application. A small number of studentships are available to EU nationals resident in the EU.

We welcome applications from self-funded 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 with a range of core and optional units, group and individual research projects (which could become your PhD project), designed to extend and broaden key skills. This is followed by a three-year solo PhD research project. 

A topic for the PhD will be chosen towards the end of the taught year. Throughout the programme, training is provided in the form of bespoke transferable skills courses and workshops, along with a diverse seminar programme given by leaders in their field and an annual conference, and opportunities to attend international conferences.

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 for Doctoral Training in Communications is committed to providing additional training in skills that will help your personal development, in both your academic studies and your professional careers. This will focus on a small number of critical subject areas to prepare you 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.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile E
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Communications engineering provides exciting opportunities to work on cutting-edge projects. You will be part of a close-knit community that meets regularly throughout the programme. For the three-year research project, you will be based with a relevant research group while continuing to meet with other CDT students for skills training, workshops, seminars and an annual student research conference.


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

Graduates of this programme have gone on to a wide range of careers in the UK, EU and US in postdoctoral research, industry and intellectual property law.

Staff profiles

Dr Simon Armour, (Senior Lecturer), Advanced wireless communications; Advanced wireless communications; Advanced wireless communications

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.

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

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

Professor Robert Piechocki, (Professor), Distributed algorithms; information and communication theory; signal processing.

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, (Professor)

How to apply
Application deadline:

19 August 2019. Early application recommended; places may fill before our deadline.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa 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

Please see full REF 2014 results for the University of Bristol; in particular, the scores for subject areas 10, 11 and 15.

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.

Open days and visits

Find out more about opportunities to visit Bristol.

Register to attend our postgraduate open day, 20 November 2019.

Get in touch

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

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications
School of Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Engineering Mathematics
University of Bristol
Merchant Venturers Building
Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1UB


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