The future of health is digital. We urgently need new technologies for understanding, preventing, diagnosing and managing illnesses that affect millions of people, such as diabetes, depression and dementia.

This unique multidisciplinary PhD programme brings together students from health and life sciences, computer science, design and engineering.

Join the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Health and Care to become part of a new generation of innovators involved in building and developing apps, wearables, smart homes and other digital technologies. Together, these technologies are helping to support health professionals in their decision-making and empowering patients in managing their own health conditions.

Working together as a diverse and multidisciplinary group in purpose-built laboratories adjacent to Bristol Cathedral, students will collaborate closely with the local NHS, experts in social care, charities and with the CDT’s industry partners that range from start-ups to multi-billion dollar corporations that are household names in computing and healthcare.

The first year will provide you with a unique foundation in the rapidly-moving field of digital health. Students from engineering and computer sciences backgrounds will be introduced to relevant aspects of health; while students from a health-related background will be introduced to coding, data analysis and e-health. You will come together to work on real-world digital health problems, leveraging varied expertise from across the cohort.

The three-year PhD research project will then put what you have learnt from your first year into practice, building new expertise and creating new knowledge in digital health and care.

Learn more about the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Health and Care.

Programme structure

The taught first year is designed to bridge disciplinary gaps and produce innovative researchers who can work at the interface of health science and engineering. Students from engineering/computer sciences and technical backgrounds will take bespoke units in health, exploring major conditions from cradle to grave; while students from a health-related background will be given groundings in coding, data analysis and e-health. You will combine your expertise to work on real-life digital health case studies, explore the ethical ramifications of digital health innovation and explore the modern healthcare landscape.

You will have the opportunity to attend workshops and develop potential supervisory relationships with more than 20 external partners in the programme – including charities, community groups, small health start-ups, large technology companies, healthcare delivery organisations (including the NHS in the UK) and multi-national pharmaceutical companies.

After their first year, you will undertake a 3-year research project supervised by an interdisciplinary team formed from our supervisory network of over 60 academics across four Bristol faculties, and in close collaboration with one or more external partners. These projects make use of expertise and facilities supported by some £30 million of digital health research at the University since 2013.

Visit our current student cohorts webpageto see a range of projects that our current students are working on and their supervisory teams.

Visit the programme catalogue for further details on the structure of the programme.

Entry requirements

Upper second-class degree (or international equivalent) in either:

  • a STEM-related discipline (such as computer science, engineering)
  • or a health-related discipline (such as life sciences, medicine, health sciences, psychology, neuroscience, nursing or an allied health profession).

In exceptional circumstances, we may consider applicants with alternative qualifications.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level B.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£4,665 per year
Overseas: full-time
£25,300 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

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 2023/24

This CDT programme has Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funds to support up to ten eligible applicants per year inclusive of tuition fees, enhanced stipend, research and travel expenses. These studentships are also open to a limited number of international students. Full details of the terms and conditions for can be found on the EPSRC/UKRI webpage.

Applications received from self-funded students, and externally sponsored international students are welcome and will be considered.

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

Career prospects

The CDT in Digital Health was designed together with industry partners to provide you with a complete set of skills to start working in the field of Digital Health. The Digital Health industry is one of the fastest growing, both internationally and in the UK. Driven by the health needs of ageing populations in countries such as the UK, France, Germany, China, Singapore, Japan and the US, this growth is expected to continue for decades to come.

Exciting career opportunities to develop new digitally-enabled, personalised health solutions therefore exist within academia, the charitable sector and health providers in many different countries (for example the UK’s NHS), as well as myriad companies that have active health research and development programmes (such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Sony, Samsung, Huawei, Arm and many others). Some of the companies we work with include AstraZeneca, Babylon Health, Pfizer, Toshiba, Microsoft, the NHS and more.

During the course of the year, we organise a number of career events with these companies to help students understand what sort of opportunities are out there.

Research groups

The Digital Health group applies computer science and electronic technologies to health and wellbeing challenges. Working with clinicians and the public, we research and design wearable sensors, low power communication networks, computer vision systems and machine-learning methods that can reason about these diverse sources of data

The Bristol Visual Information Laboratory undertakes innovative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research, resulting in new technology in the areas of computer vision, image and video communications, content analysis and distributed sensor systems. Current research includes: images and video search and retrieval; video tracking; visual SLAM; medical and bio-imaging; machine vision; 3D and multi-view processing; colour science; and high dynamic-range imaging, vision and graphics.

The Bristol Interaction Group is a creative interdisciplinary research team interested in designing novel interactive computers and displays. We specialise in exciting research that couples the design of hardware devices with complex electronic, electrical and physical properties, alongside deployment and evaluation in everyday public settings. We like to call this style of research Human-Hardware Interaction (HHI).

Researchers of the Communication Systems and Networks Research Group are members of the Smart Internet Lab. This recent initiative builds on Bristol's strategic research in communications and digital technologies to create a hub for Internet Research with long lasting benefits for society and the economy.

The Intelligent Systems group explores general principles underlying learning and intelligence in artificial and natural systems. An important aspect is machine learning and data mining techniques for systems and software that improve with experience. We also work on the interface between computer science and the biological sciences, exploiting connections that not only help to make computers more intelligent but also deepen our understanding of aspects of human intelligence. We are working on computational methods for automating significant parts of the scientific method. Our research enables the development of sophisticated systems that allow us to manage and make full use of vast amounts of digital data.