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.

The School of Mathematics is ranked 4th in the UK for Mathematical Sciences research, based on independent analysis of the REF 2021 by Times Higher Education.

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 are developed with academic supervisors during 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 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, to join us.

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 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.

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

A Compass studentship provides four years of tuition fees at UK student rates, a stipend (£20,062 per year in 2022/23) for living expenses and a travel allowance of £1,000 per year to support research-related activities.

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

Career prospects

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, as well as opportunities to engage with leading industrial researchers through our Industry Focus Labs and DataScience@work seminars. Doctoral graduates in statistics and data science are increasingly sought after across academia and all sectors of industry.

Research groups

Compass' supervisory team originates from: