Computational Statistics and Data Science: Compass

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Run by Faculty of Science
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Start date September 2022

Programme overview

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Statistics and Data Science (Compass) is a four-year PhD training programme that addresses the pressing need, in the UK and internationally, for doctoral graduates who are able to combine fluency in both statistical and computational methods.  This programme links modern computational statistics to real world problems in science and society.

Compass is hosted by the Institute for Statistical Science in the School of Mathematics and integrated with internal partners from across the University and external partners from industry and government. Our team of PhD supervisors incorporates world-leading statisticians and data scientists, and experts from the Faculties of Health Sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences and Law and Life Sciences.

Compass involves a specially designed taught first year that is delivered through lectures, workshops, laboratories and guided self-study, and includes peer-supported learning and group work. PhD projects and supervisors are matched to students during the first nine months and mini project proposals are developed through the second semester of the first year, before full-time research starts in October of your second year.

PhD topics range from theory and methodology of statistics and data science, to collaborative interdisciplinary projects with experimental scientists, government agencies or industry. We provide excellent facilities at the heart of the University campus in central Bristol, one of the most creative and liveable European cities.

We welcome applications from all members of our community and are particularly encouraging those from diverse groups, such as members of the LGBT+ and BAME communities, to join us.

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
Overseas: full-time

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

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 discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

A Compass studentship provides four years of tuition fees at UK student rates, a stipend (£19,609 per year in 2021/22) for living expenses and a travel allowance to support research-related activities.

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

Programme structure

The Compass CDT is a four-year programme. In year one, you complete six mandatory taught Level M units. These are delivered through lectures, workshops, laboratories and guided self-study, and include peer-supported learning and group work, and are continually assessed without exams

PhD projects and supervisors are matched to students during the first nine months and mini project proposals are developed through the second semester of the first year. You will progress to the PhD on successful completion of 120 credit points of taught units, typically transitioning to full-time research from October in your second year. Students typically submit their PhD research thesis by the end of year four.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for the first year of this programme.

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of an upper second-class honours degree or master’s degree (or international equivalent) in mathematics, statistics, computer science or another highly numerate subject, such as economics, epidemiology or physics.

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 B
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

Compass's supervisory team originates from:


Compass is designed to prepare you for a rewarding career in data science, enabling you to make crucial contributions to health, productivity, connectivity and resilience in the UK and further afield. There are opportunities to undertake internships, particularly with our growing list of Industrial Partners. Doctoral graduates in statistics and data science are increasingly sought after across academia and all sectors of industry. 

Staff profiles

Compass interdisciplinary supervisory team:

Apply now

Find out how to apply

Application deadline

1 August 2022. Applications are reviewed throughout the year and it is possible that positions will be filled before this deadline, so early application is advised. See the Compass Application webpage for details of deadlines throughout the year.  

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Compass CDT Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 42 84909 Email:

School of Mathematics
Fry Building
Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1UG
School website: School of Mathematics
Department website: Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Statistics and Data Science (Compass)

International students

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

Bristol Doctoral College

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

REF 2021 results

The University of Bristol is ranked fifth for research in the UK (Times Higher Education), with 94% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Full REF 2021 results for the University of Bristol.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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