The Reid School of Music offers an exciting research environment that combines the theory, history, composition and practice of music with the scientific study of sound. We engage with a broad range of genres and traditions, including classical and popular music, Western and non-Western music, professional and amateur music making and music for screen. Our research is highly interdisciplinary, with centres and groups spanning other Colleges and Departments within the University of Edinburgh, from Physics and Neuroscience to Informatics, the Humanities, Divinity and the Social Sciences.
We have a large community of postgraduate students undertaking independent research in music.
If you are interested in undertaking a small independent research project in music, the 12-month MSc by Research is ideal. This programme is offered in any area served by the expertise of our music staff. In consultation with your supervisor you will develop an individual programme of coursework and research training over two semesters. You will submit a dissertation, or portfolio of projects equivalent to 30,000 words.
Candidates for larger-scale, doctoral research are normally admitted as probationary students for the first year of study, and on satisfactory completion of this first year are approved for registration for either MPhil (normally two years full-time, dissertation of 60,000 words) or PhD (maximum four years full-time, dissertation of 80,000–100,000 words).
All our research degrees may be studied part-time (for example, MSc by Research may be studied part-time over two years).
Staff have a wide range of research interests, engaging in research clustered around four main themes:
Some of our current hubs of research activity include:
Please consult our staff profile pages to see our interests and availability; you may propose projects in any area for consideration.
All of our research students benefit from ECA’s interdisciplinary approach and all are assigned two research supervisors. Your second supervisor may be from another discipline within ECA, or from somewhere else within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences or elsewhere within the University, according to the expertise required. On occasion more than two supervisors will be assigned, particularly where the degree brings together multiple disciplines.
The Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour (IPAB) focuses on how to link computational perception, representation, transformation and generation processes to external worlds, in theory and in practice.
This covers domains such as visual perception, dynamic control of robot systems, active sensing and decision making, biomimetic robotics, computer-based generation of external phenomena, such as images, music or actions, and agent-based interaction within computer games and animation.
Supported by the dynamic research culture of IPAB, you can develop robots that learn their own motor control, mimic animal behaviours, or produce autonomous and coordinated team actions. Or you can work with systems that interpret real images and video, or generate complex behaviour in animated characters.
We aim to link strong theoretical perspectives with practical hands-on construction, and provide the hardware and software support to realise this vision.
You carry out your research within a research group under the guidance of a supervisor. You will be expected to attend seminars and meetings of relevant research groups and may also attend lectures that are relevant to your research topic. Periodic reviews of your progress will be conducted to assist with research planning.
A programme of transferable skills courses facilitates broader professional development in a wide range of topics, from writing and presentation skills to entrepreneurship and career strategies.
The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School is deploying a range of strategies to help female staff and students of all stages in their careers and we seek regular feedback from our research community on our performance.
Our robotics labs contain a range of mobile platforms, robot manipulators, humanoid robots, and custom-built sensor and actuation systems that attract continuous interest from funders, industry and members of the public.
Recent developments include the UK's only NASA Valkyrie robot platform, application of robotic hardware to prosthetics and assisted living, and a team that competes in the international robot soccer league.
Our new Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR) brings collaboration with Heriot-Watt University to expand the range of facilities and applications we can explore, and to fund research training.
The machine vision lab has facilities for 3D range data capture, motion capture and high-resolution and high-speed video, and the high performance computing needed for graphics is well supported, including hardware partnerships with companies such as NVIDIA.
While many of our graduates go on to highly successful academic careers, others find their niche in commercial research labs, putting their knowledge and skills to use in an industry setting.
Several of our recent graduates have set up or joined spin-out robotics companies. Our graphics researchers have strong connections to the media and games industries.
This MSc is taught at the UK’s longest established centre for artificial intelligence, which remains one of the best in the world.
Our research draws on neuroscience, cognitive science, linguistics, computer science, mathematics, statistics and psychology to span knowledge representation and reasoning, the study of brain processes and artificial learning systems, computer vision, mobile and assembly robotics, music perception and visualisation. We aim to give you practical knowledge in the design and construction of intelligent systems so you can apply your skills in a variety of career settings.
You follow two taught semesters of lectures, tutorials, project work and written assignments, after which you will learn research methods before individual supervision for your project and dissertation.
You will choose a 'specialist area' within the programme, which will determine the choice of your optional courses:
You can choose from a variety of optional courses including:
Our students are well prepared for both employment and academic research. The emphasis is on practical techniques for the design and construction of intelligent systems, preparing graduates to work in a variety of specialisms, from fraud detection software to spacecraft control.
Recent graduates are now working as software developers and engineers, programmers and data analysts for companies such as HarperCollins, J.P. Morgan, Nokia, IBM, Amazon, Soundcloud and the Bank of England.
The Computer Science MSc provides a balance between computer science theory and practical software engineering skills, including teamwork for industrial or research clients. Graduates find employment in the IT industry, or complement their first degree subject with computer science knowledge, leading to interdisciplinary industrial positions and PhD research.
You will learn fundamental aspects of how computers work by taking modules in computer architecture, operating systems, compilers, data structures and algorithms. You will also gain practical knowledge in areas such as human-computer interaction, App design, databases and software engineering. You will develop programming skills in modern languages, such as object-oriented Java for Android development.
Team working, project planning and communication skills are developed by working in small groups developing software for real industrial and research clients. Optional modules allow specialisation in subjects such as functional programming, computer music, entrepreneurship and artificial intelligence.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a research project (60 credits).
Students must choose a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 45 credits from Group One options. For the remaining credits, students can choose up to 30 credits from Group Two options and up to 15 credits from Electives.
Group One Options (15 to 45 credits)
Group Two Options (up to 30 credits)
Please note: the availability and delivery of optional modules may vary, depending on your selection.
A list of acceptable elective modules is available on the Departmental page.
All students undertake an independent computer-based science project which culminates in a dissertation in the form of a project report.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and tutorials. Lectures are often supported by laboratory work with help from demonstrators. Student performance is assessed by unseen written examinations, coursework and a substantial individual project.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Computer Science MSc
Graduates from UCL are keenly sought after by the world's leading organisations, and many progress in their careers to secure senior and influential positions. UCL Computer Science graduates are particularly valued as a result of the department's strong international reputation, strong links with industry, and ideal location close to the City of London. Our graduates secure careers in a wide variety of organisations; for example with global IT consultancies, as IT analysts with City banks, or as IT specialists within manufacturing industries.
Recent career destinations for this degree
This degree opens up many different career paths. Recent graduates have been employed by some of the world's leading IT companies such as Accenture, Barclays Capital and Credit Suisse. The entrepreneurial spirit is ignited in other students and they may either start their own companies or join dynamic start-ups. Other graduates have gone on to PhD study to conduct cutting-edge research in areas that interest them.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL Computer Science is recognised as a world leader in teaching and research.
UCL received the highest percentage (96%) for quality of research in Computer Science and Informatics in the UK's most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014).
Our Master's programmes have some of the highest employment rates and starting salaries, with graduates entering a wide variety of industries from entertainment to finance.
We take an experimental approach to our subject, enjoy the challenge and opportunity of entrepreneurial partnerships and place a high value on our extensive range of industrial collaborations.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Computer Science
96% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
This programme provides an intensive grounding in the philosophy of embodied cognitive science, its methodologies, research questions and techniques of research.
You will study among one of the world’s largest and most vibrant postgraduate communities in philosophy, alongside internationally recognised leaders in the study of mind, of language, and of situated and embodied cognition. By choosing this programme, you will be entering an increasingly popular field in which many large unsolved problems remain.
This programme comprises two semesters of taught courses followed by a dissertation of 8,000 words written at the end of the second semester. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor with whom you meet to plan your reading and discuss your work.
A wide range of optional courses is offered in the philosophy, psychology, language sciences, informatics and music subject areas. Options may include:
This programme will provide you with the training necessary to undertake research in philosophy of cognitive science, and ultimately to pursue a career in academic philosophy. You will also acquire an understanding of the central debates in the sciences of the mind today.
If you do not intend to follow an academic route, the study of philosophy helps to develop general intellectual abilities and enhance analytical, critical, interpretive and problem-solving abilities.