PhD study in the School of Computing and Digital Technologies

PhD in Computing Science

PhD in Computing Science

We are accepting PhD students to research in the fields of cyber security, health informatics, big data, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, AI, knowledge management and information systems. You will be a member of our established and expanding research community and will be able to use our dedicated PhD research lab. We would welcome PhD applications from students interested in research into any area of computer science, particularly

  • AI & IoT (Artificial Intelligence and Internet of things): cutting edge research with an emphasis on machine learning, visualisation and IoT applications. .  Contact Dr Mohamed Sedky
  • Cloud computing and cyber security: all aspects of working in a cloud environment, from security and optimisation to implementation and management. Contact Professor Dr Elhadj Benkhelifa
  • Big data & informatics: researching in the fields of data and big data analytics, health informatics and knowledge management. Contact Dr Clare Stanier

PhD in Games (Digital Design and Technologies)

PhD in Games (Digital Design and Technologies)

Join our developing research group and be part of the next generation of the games community.  The members of the Games Research group come from very diverse backgrounds and subject specialisms. These range from serious games, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Cultural Studies, War Studies, 3D art and Visualisation to Engineering, Simulation and Interactive Entertainment. Contact Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart We welcome applications for PhD study in the following areas:

Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality, Visualisation

  • Cinematics and storytelling in games, VR and AR
  • Forensic visualisation, Using VR/AR to recreate accurate crime scenes for jurors
  • Heritage visualisation, 3D environment reconstruction using photogrammetry and historical/ architectural References
  • Medical visualisation / simulation  

eSports and Game Studies

  • MMO/eSports Communities and Community Management
  • The language of games and narrative structures
  • Minority and gender representation in games
  • Diversity and representation in Esports Gaming Communities
  • An Ethnography of casters in Esports and Competitive Gaming

Serious Games

  • Games for health, games for rehabilitation and physio
  • Serious games for education, edutainment, game based learning
  • Pro-social games
  • Games as a Therapeutic Tool for PTSD
  • Gamification, behaviours modification through gamification, reward and player motivation

Games Development

  • AI in Games
  • Location-based mobile game development
  • Games analytics



PhD in Film, Media and Music

PhD in Film, Media and Music

The Department of Film, Media and Music has a growing research profile in film and media production, music and audio-visual composition and performance. We have a strong and varied research team, able to support you in digital creativity in film, media and music technology We invite applications for PhD study in the following areas:

  • Electronic music composition, music for acoustic instruments and electronics
  • Visual music
  • Interactive real-time systems for composition and performance
  • Ludomusicology, video game music studies
  • Interactive Film and Media, live cinema, neurocinematics

A PhD in Film, Media and Music will often incorporate a practice based element and require the production of a portfolio of creative works. These will be disseminated at conferences and festivals throughout the duration of the project and beyond. There will also be a technical component involving the design of applications, techniques and compositional strategies necessary to produce the creative outputs. Theoretical projects and those involving the research of scientific methodology are also possible, depending on the subject area in which you wish to study. Contact  Dr Dave Payling for further information.

PhD in Journalism

PhD in Journalism

Journalism at Staffordshire University has a reputation as one of the leading providers of journalism training and education in the UK.
We enjoy very strong links with the journalism industry, and our undergraduate courses are accredited by the key industry bodies in journalism and public relations. Our staff have a wide range of industry expertise including in sports journalism and PR, politics, media law, new media and photojournalism.

Our researchers collaborate with a number of scholars nationally and internationally and operate on a cross-disciplinary basis. The team has particular research strengths in new digital media, social media, politics and political communication, photojournalism and the history and sociology of journalism.

We would welcome PhD applications from students interested in research into any area of journalism, particularly

  • Arts and lifestyle journalism
  • Music journalism
  • Video game journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Sports journalism

Please contact Dr Carmel Thomason for further information.

Research groups

PhD students will be expected to take part in School and University research seminars and you may wish to join one of our research groups.

  • AI & IoT (Artificial Intelligence and Internet of things) Research Group
  • Cloud Computing and Cyber Security Research Group
  • Big Data & Informatics Research Group
  • VAX (Virtual Augmented and Mixed) Reality Lab
  • Games Culture and Esports Research Network
  • Interactive Filmmaking Lab

PhD supervisors

PhD supervisors in Computing Science

Professor Claude Chibelushi
Professor Elhadj Benkhelifa
Professor Alan Eardley
Dr Clare Stanier
Dr Mohamed Sedky
Dr Russell Campion
Dr Benham Bazli
Dr Justin Champion
Dr Piotr Dziurzanski
Dr Mohammad Hasan
Dr Uchitha Jayawickrama
Dr Vahid Heydari Fami Tafreshi

PhD Supervisors in Games

Professor Minhua Eunice Ma
Dr Yvan Cartwright
Dr Bobbie Fletcher
Dr Alke Groppel-Wegener
Dr Ying-Ying Law
Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart
Dr David White 

PhD Supervisors in Film, Media and Music

Dr Dave Payling
Dr Polina Zioga
Dr Marc Estibeiro
Fiona Graham 
Dr Heather Minchin 

PhD Supervisors in Journalism

Dr Carmel Thomason

Potential research projects and supervisors

Choosing to undertake PhD research is a big decision and it is extremely important that you identify a research project that really excites you. Identifying the right supervisor is critical as this relationship provides you with invaluable support and guidance from a leading academic in your field.
You may choose one of the following research projects and contact the relevant supervisor, or propose a research project that you are interested in.

Potential projects in Computing Science

  • Physics-based and bioinspired video analytic hazard tracking for construction (supervisor: Dr Mohamed Sedky)
  • Cognitive radio: next generation wireless networks for the internet of things (supervisor: Dr Mohamed Sedky)
  • Measurement models for business intelligence (supervisor: Dr Clare Stanier)
  • Real-Time Cyber Communication Threat Analysis (supervisor: Dr Justin Champion)
  • Adoption effectiveness of cloud ERP solutions in SMEs (supervisor: Dr Uchitha Jayawickrama)
  • Security issues of internet of things (IOT) for smart home or campus or city to support physical and mental wellbeing (supervisor: Dr Mohammad Hasan)

Potential projects in Games

  • Serious games, games for health, games for rehabilitation and physiotherapy (supervisor: Professor Minhua Eunice Ma)
  • Location-based mobile game development (supervisor: Professor Minhua Eunice Ma)
  • Representations of gender and the female gamer in e-sports communities (supervisor: Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart)
  • Creating a creative academic practice resource for games education (supervisor: Dr. Alke Groppel-Wegener)
  • AI in games or topics in games programming (supervisor: Dr David White)

Potential projects in Film, Media and Music

  • Film, experimental film, documentary, narrative film, experimental sound and sound installation, video art (supervisor: Dr Heather Minchin)
  • Interaction and User Interface for interactive film and live brain-computer cinema performance (supervisor: Dr Polina Zioga)
  • Performers and audience participation, cognition and emotional engagement in live cinema and performing arts (supervisor: Dr Polina Zioga)
  • Hybrid Brain-Computer Interfaces and eye tracking for artists with disabilities (supervisor: Dr Polina Zioga)
  • Writing music for acoustic instruments and electronics (supervisor: Dr Marc Estibeiro)
  • Visual music and audio-visuals; electronic music and dance music (supervisor: Dr Dave Payling)

Potential projects in Journalism 

  • Health and lifestyle journalism (supervisor: Dr Carmel Thomason)
  • Arts and entertainment journalism; music journalism (supervisor: Dr Carmel Thomason)
  • Community journalism (supervisor: Dr Carmel Thomason)

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement is second class degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject. An MSc in a related subject is an advantage but is not a requirement. Good written and spoken communication skills are essential. Please note that there are additional requirements for the PhD Partial Scholarships. English language proficiency which meets UKBA requirements is required for international applicants. The IELTS requirement is 6.5 with a minimum score of 6 in each element. 

Information on tuition fees

PhD Scholarships (fee waiver)

If you have a good undergraduate Honours degree (2:1 or above), or a Masters degree with Merit/Distinction, or equivalent qualifications in any relevant discipline, you are eligible to apply for the CDT PhD fee waiver scholarships. For applicants whose first language is not English the minimum language requirement is IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in all bands. 

There are 5 PhD fee waiver scholarships available in the School of Computing and Digital Technologies to start in either January or September 2019.

  • One in Computer science
  • Two in Games
  • One in Film, Media and Music
  • One in Journalism
If your application is successful,
  • you will be a full time on campus PhD student;
  • your fees will be waived for three years;
  • the fee waiver scholarship does not include a maintenance stipend;
  • you may receive additional funding for the purchase of equipment and attendance at conferences but this is subject to application and funding is at the discretion of the School;
  • you may be expected to undertake up to 6 hours work per week on teaching or research assistance for the School.

    The closing date for applying for the PhD fee waiver scholarships is 31 December 2018. Please submit your completed PhD scholarship application form  PhD scholarship application form (DOCX, file size: 19.79KB) and your research proposal to with the subject ‘PhD fee waiver scholarship application’ by the application deadline. 

How to apply

Follow the link below to the PhD application page. Select the ‘Apply Direct’ button near to the academic year that you wish to start (if you intend to start before September choose the current academic year; if you intend to start after September choose the next academic year). Create a user account if you don’t have one. Log in, fill in the online application form, upload required documents and submit.

The PhD application review process can take 4 weeks. If you don’t hear from us after 4 weeks, please contact Dr Clare Stanier

How to write a research proposal

You are required to submit a brief research proposal when you apply for PhD study. The proposal can be for a project of your choice or you can write a proposal for one of the suggested projects listed on this page.  Your proposal should include the headings given below.  You are not expected to have a complete proposal at this stage but you should be able to outline the area you are interested in and how you propose to carry out the research.

The areas you should cover are:

  • PhD project title
  • An outline of the research question area

Tell us which area or problem you plan to investigate

  • Your motivation for carrying out this research

Why are you doing this research? Why is it important? How will it contribute to knowledge? Your motivation might be personal (an interest in this area because …); it might be intellectual (a challenging problem I would like to tackle because ….); it might be because the area is important (this area is transforming the way we ….); it might be for another reason such as career development. All reasons are equally valid.

  • Literature review

A literature review is needed to show that this is a current area (you are not trying to solve a problem that has already been solved), that this is a valid area for a PhD (the literature review will demonstrate that other people are researching in this field) and that there is enough background material available to support your research.

  • The literature review is not expected to be complete. We have specified about 500 -700 words. Don’t feel you have to review all the literature in your field and do not exceed the word limit.
  • You must reference correctly, using the Harvard style and include a references section
  • You must write in your own words.  Do not rely heavily on quotations.
  • An outline of how you intend to carry out the investigation

We do not expect much detail at this stage and the methods of investigation will probably change in the course of your PhD but you should show that you have thought about what you intend to do and that you have some ideas as to how you might carry out your research.

  • Special equipment, hardware and software required for your proposed PhD project