Complexity Sciences

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Run by Faculty of Engineering Faculty of Science
Awards available PhD
Programme length Three years full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Start date Not fixed

Programme overview

Have you ever wondered how animals move collectively in flocks, swarms and shoals? Or how the brain learns and remembers information? Or how different plants, species or even transport systems evolve and adapt according to their environments?

These are just a few examples of the numerous strands of research undertaken at the Bristol Centre for Complexity Sciences (BCCS).

The BCCS cultivates interdisciplinary research across a range of modern engineering, social, life and molecular science subjects. Combining new and traditional methods from a variety of disciplines, our complexity sciences research focuses on the development of innovative mathematical methodology, tools and concepts that can be applied and tested on important real-world problems.

Fees for 2018/19

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2018/19 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 2018/19

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

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in mathematics, physics, computer science or similar. Other degrees are considered but evidence of a strong mathematical background is essential.

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 E
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

The BCCS brings together expertise from across the university, with highly esteemed potential supervisors in a wide variety of areas such as:

  • biological sciences
  • synthetic biology
  • social medicine
  • transportation
  • civil engineering
  • computer science
  • engineering mathematics
  • chemistry
  • mathematics
  • neuroscience
  • social sciences
  • physics

Please visit our website for more information about our current and completed research projects and a list of affiliated academic staff.


Students starting a postgraduate programme at the BCCS are exposed to a wide range of problems across some of the most compelling application areas, coupled with exposure to the underlying complexity theory and methodology. Many find themselves drawn to areas of research or industry that they may not have considered before.

Find out more about our graduate destinations via our careers and alumni website.

Staff profiles

How to apply
Application deadline:

To be confirmed.

International students

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

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

Please see full REF 2014 results for the University of Bristol.

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

Bristol Doctoral College

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

Get in touch

Mr Matthew Guppy BCCS Manager Phone: +44 (0) 1179 331 8232 Email:

Bristol Centre for Complexity Sciences (BCCS)
Bristol University
1-9 Old Park Hill
Bristol, BS2 8BB


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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