The United Kingdom is probably the best destination in Europe for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Data Science, like almost every other field. Students pursuing the highest university degree in the multidisciplinary field won’t run out of options in the land of Brits. But it’s important to pick a top-tier university to make sure that your degree stands out. So, here’s a list of the seven best universities that offer a Ph.D. degree in Data Science in the UK.

Universities Offering PhD in Data Science in the UK

1. University of Oxford

Founded over 900 years ago, the University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is also recognized as one of the world’s best universities by multiple major university rankings. The university’s student population stands at around 24,000, with international students from more than 150 countries making up nearly 43 percent of it. As many as 29 Nobel laureates have attended the university.

Oxford offers a number of DPhil (equivalent to PhD) programs relevant to the field of Data Science. One of them is the DPhil in Social Data Science administered by the Oxford Internet Institute. For a full-time student, the program takes three to four years, while a part-time student requires six to eight years. A student gets two supervisors: one faculty member from the Computational Sciences and another from the Social Sciences. Another relevant program is the four-year DPhil in Health Data Science which is based in the Oxford Big Data Institute.


2. University of Essex

Founded in 1964, the University of Essex was crowned University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2018. Over 15,000 students are currently enrolled in a variety of programs at its three campuses at Colchester, Southend and Loughton in the county of Essex. More than one-third of its student population hail from outside the UK. It is the alma mater of Nobel-winning economist Sir Christopher A. Pissarides.

Essex offers a PhD program in Data Science in the UK at its Colchester Campus. It is run by the Department of Mathematical Sciences, in collaboration with the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. The program offers students with the opportunity to investigate in real depth any of the numerous areas within Data Science, including Deep Learning, Information Retrieval, Mathematical Foundations of Data Science, and Multidimensional Scaling. For a full-time student, it takes four years to complete the program, while a part-time student requires seven years to do so.


3. University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh began its journey way back in 1583 as the sixth university in the English-speaking world. With its five main campuses sited in the Scottish capital Edinburgh, the university offers higher education to over 41,000 students. Nobel laureates like physicist Igor Tamm, chemist Sir James Fraser Stoddart and molecular biologist Richard Henderson are some of its notable alumni. It claimed the 20th spot globally in the 2020 QS World University Rankings.

Edinburgh’s School of Informatics and School of Mathematics jointly offer a PhD program in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in the UK. It is a full-time program that runs for three years. One of the 85 faculty members from the two schools serves as supervisor to each of the students. They also get the opportunity to interact with over 30 industrial partners, including Microsoft Research, IBM, Amazon and Samsung.


4. University of Bristol

Next on our list of universities in the UK that offer PhD in Data Science is the University of Bristol. Founded as a University College in 1876, the University of Bristol went on to gain its university status in 1909. Its main campus is situated in the Bristol suburb of Clifton. The university has a student population north of 24,000. Its notable alumni include Nobel laureates like physicist Paul Dirac and writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio. It has been named one of the top 50 universities of the world in the QS World University Rankings 2020.

Bristol’s PhD program relevant to the field of Data Science is known as the Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Statistics and Data Science (COMPASS). It is a four-year program run by the School of Mathematics’ Institute for Statistical Science, in collaboration with internal partners within the university and external partners from industry and government. The program is offered at the Clifton campus in full-time study mode only.


5. University of Exeter

Established in 1955, the University of Exeter is a public university with over 22,000 students. It has three campuses: Streatham, St Luke’s, and Penryn. The first two are sited in the cathedral city of Exeter in the Devon county, while the last one is located in the town of Penryn in Cornwall county. It is recognized as one of the world’s top 200 universities by multiple major university rankings.

Exeter offers a PhD Computer Science program whose research areas include concepts relevant to Data Science like Machine Learning and Optimization. When studied for full-time, the program takes three to four years. In case of part-time study mode, it takes six to seven. It takes place at the Streatham campus.


6. University of Stirling

Our next university in the Uk that offers PhD in Data Science is the University of Stirling. This is a public university lying in the Scottish city of Stirling, with probably the best campus environment in the UK. Beginning its journey in 1967, the university currently has a student population north of 14,000. Around 20 percent of them are international students, representing over 120 nationalities. It is the alma mater of Jonathon Fletcher, who is often regarded as the father of the search engines for creating the first modern search engine JumpStart.

Stirling’s PhD program in the field of Data Science is known as Professional Doctorate in Big Data. It is a campus-based program supervised by the university’s academics in collaboration with industry experts. A full-time student can complete the program in three years, while a part-time student requires six years.


7. University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham began its journey in 1881 as a University College before finally gaining its university status in 1948. It has multiple campuses, including the three sited in the city of Nottingham: University Park, Jubilee, and King’s Meadow. The total student enrolment at the university stands at over 34,000, with a quarter being international students. It claimed the eighth spot in the Research Power category of the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

The University of Nottingham’s School of Computer Science offers a PhD Computer Science that allows students to specialize in a research area relevant to Data Science through its research activity centers like Data Driven Algorithms, Systems and Design (DAS) and Intelligent Modelling and Analysis (IMA). The program takes place at the Jubilee campus, and there are options of both full-time and part-time study modes.


I hope that this article on universities in the UK with PhD Program in Data Science was helpful. Make sure to also check out our Data Science Programs for International Students for some of the currently open data science courses around the world!