Digital Health and Care

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Run by Faculty of Engineering Faculty of Health Sciences
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 2020

Programme overview

Digital technologies are increasingly seen as vital to the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and management of illnesses such as diabetes, depression and dementia. Technologies such as smartphone apps, wearable monitors (e.g. blood pressure, blood glucose) and smart home systems can gather data on a person’s health condition within their community. This data has huge potential to support decision-making by health and care professionals, help a patient manage their own illness, support independent living and deliver behavioural or pharmaceutical treatments.

This CDT will nurture future leaders who will combine technological expertise with understanding of the health landscape; and empathy with the patient’s needs with an eye to new business opportunities.

Working together as a diverse and multidisciplinary group in purpose-built new laboratories adjacent to Bristol Cathedral, students will work closely with the local NHS, experts in social care, charities and with the CDT’s industry partners that range from start-ups to multi-billion dollar corporations that are household names in computing and healthcare.

The first year will provide you with a unique foundation in the rapidly-moving field of digital health. Students from engineering/computer sciences backgrounds will be introduced to relevant aspects of health; while students from a health-related background will be introduced to coding, data analysis and e-health. You will come together to work on real-world digital health problems, leveraging varied expertise from across the cohort.

The three-year PhD research project will then put what you have learnt from your first year into practice, building new expertise and creating new knowledge in digital health and care.

Fees for 2020/21

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 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 2020/21

This CDT programme has funds to support up to ten UK/EU students per year inclusive of tuition fees, enhanced stipend (£18,000 per year), research and travel expenses. The programme has no internal funding for non-EU students, but applications received from self-funded international students are welcome and will be considered.

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

Programme structure

Throughout the entire degree you will have access to world-leading experts and industrial engagement, providing you with the opportunity to learn about real-world challenges and how industry tackles them.

During the first year of the programme you will undertake a range of units allowing you time to build knowledge and ignite your curiosity. In addition, there will be opportunities for transferable skills training and participation in public engagement activities leading to your professional development.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for the first year of the Digital Health and Care CDT programme.

Following this first year of structured units you will progress to the research component of the programme. At this stage you will be able to perform your own research at an internationally publishable standard. You will also be able to document and communicate your findings to peers and expert practitioners in the field.

Entry requirements

Upper second-class degree (or international equivalent) in either:

  • a STEM-related discipline (e.g. computer science, engineering);
  • or a health-related discipline (e.g. life sciences, medicine, health sciences, psychology, neuroscience, nursing or an allied health profession)

Case study - The applicant should provide up to 1 A4 page of text on an important health issue that interests them and give an example of a digital technology that has been proposed to address it. They should discuss critically, with references if possible, the strengths and weaknesses of the technology approach. They should give at least one example of how and why they think the digital technology could be improved or used better. The case study will not be binding once applicants begin the course, and we anticipate that proposals will change substantially over time as students build on their subject knowledge in their first year.

In exceptional circumstances, we may consider applicants with alternative qualifications.

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 B
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

  • Digital Health Engineering
  • Communications Systems and Networks
  • Bristol Visual Information Laboratory
  • Bristol Interaction Group
  • Intelligent Systems Laboratory


The digital health industry is one of the fastest growing, both internationally and in the UK, with current estimates indicating that the sector is increasing at a rate of 15 per cent each year. Driven by the health needs of ageing populations in countries such as the UK, France, Germany, China, Singapore, Japan and the US, this growth is expected to continue for decades to come.

Exciting career opportunities to develop new digitally-enabled, personalised health solutions therefore exist within academia, the charitable sector and health providers in many different countries (e.g. the UK’s NHS), as well as myriad companies that have active health research and development programs (such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, Samsung, Huawei, Arm and many others).

How to apply
Application deadline:

29 February 2020. Early application is recommended as the programme will close once the places are filled.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview from January onwards.

Get in touch

Digital Health and Care CDT Enquiries Phone: +44 (0) 117 428 2343 Email:

Postgraduate Research Admissions Team Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 4753 or +44 (0) 117 331 5232 Email:

Digital Health
1st Floor
1 Cathedral Square
Trinity Street
United Kingdom
School website: School of Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Engineering Maths (SCEEM)
Department website:

Open days and visits

Find out how to attend one of our upcoming online events.

International students

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

Bristol Doctoral College

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

REF 2014 results

  • Computer Science and Informatics:
  • 31% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 56% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 12% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

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


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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