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Informatics: LFCS: Theory & Foundations of Computer Science, Databases, Software & Systems Modelling (MScR)

Course Description

Research profile

Established 25 years ago, the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS) continues to lead the way in the development of mathematical models, theories and tools that probe the possibilities of computation and communication.

Our students benefit from being part of one of the largest and strongest groups of theoretical computer scientists in the world.

Our research is aimed at establishing deep understanding of computation in its many forms. Using advanced mathematical principles, we create theories and software tools allowing fundamental capabilities of computation to be explored, as well as designing languages that can be used to construct safe and effective programs.

Areas of interest within LFCS include verification, semantics, concurrency, process algebra, algorithms, logic and complexity.

While the results of our research can be applied to any one of a large number of diverse fields, biological modelling is of particular interest. Advances in experimental techniques mean that cell biologists need innovative tools and software to understand the vast quantities of data that are being generated.

Other areas where our research is applied include:

computer security
database systems
software analysis
programming language design
performance analysis.

Training and support

As a research student at LFCS, you will have access to our highly respected academic staff community, which includes Fellows of the Royal Society and a winner of a Blaise Pascal medal. Our students regularly receive ‘best paper’ awards at conferences.

You will 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.


The award-winning Informatics Forum is an international research facility for computing and related areas. It houses more than 400 research staff and students, providing office, meeting and social spaces.

It also contains two robotics labs, an instrumented multimedia room, eye-tracking and motion capture systems, and a full recording studio amongst other research facilities. Its spectacular atrium plays host to many events, from industry showcases and student hackathons to major research conferences.

Nearby teaching facilities include computer and teaching labs with more than 250 machines, 24-hour access to IT facilities for students, and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.

Among our entrepreneurial initiatives is Informatics Ventures, set up to support globally ambitious software companies in Scotland and nurture a technology cluster to rival Boston, Pittsburgh, Kyoto and Silicon Valley.

Career opportunities

Our graduates are in high demand for postdoctoral academic roles. In addition, the skills you will graduate with can be applied to roles in industry, particularly finance, software development and consultancy.

Visit the Informatics: LFCS: Theory & Foundations of Computer Science, Databases, Software & Systems Modelling (MScR) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

We would expect applicants to have a strong background in mathematics, in addition to a good degree in a relevant area.

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