How to Apply

Recruitment for September 2022

We are making some changes to the recruitment process for September 2022.  Please do not submit any applications for September 2022 entry until we update this page with the new process which we hope to do in November 2021. Closing date for applications for September 2022 will be Friday 28th January 2022. 

Thank you for your interest in applying for a place in our CDT for September 2021.  To ensure that the application process is as smooth as possible for our applicants, we have included some detailed guidance notes. We hope that these will help you to complete your application in full.

Some key points to note before you start your application

Please be sure to read the key facts about our CDT before you start the application process.

Our initial closing date for applications for September 2021 is Friday 29th January 2021.

All complete applications received up until this closing date will be considered by the academic panel during February 2021. We will therefore not be in a position to advise applicants of the outcome of their application until then.

We are unable to submit incomplete applications to the academic panel for review, so please refer to the Documents Required to Support Your Application section below.

All students are required to be based in Edinburgh to optimise the cohort benefits.

Studentships, although limited, are available for all nationalities. All, with the exception of one, cover maintenance at the research council rate (stipend for 2021/22 is £15,609) and home tuition fees (home fees for 2021/22 are £4500).  The exception is the one studentship offered by the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt University which covers stipend and international tuition fees. 

Entry Requirements

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons and actively encourage applications from groups that are underrepresented in our CDT. All appointments will be made on merit. Please see our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement.

Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a 2.1 or higher degree in Engineering, Computer Science or related subjects such as Maths, Physics, Computational Linguistics. Applicants from a Psychology background with a strong technical background and/or experience in statistical research methods are also welcome.

Non-native English speakers need to provide evidence of a SELT (Secure English Language Test) at CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) Level B2 taken within 2 years of the programme start date. There are several types of SELT but IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the most common. The minimum requirement is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, no individual component can be less than 6.0 in a single sitting.  A degree from an English speaking university may also be accepted in some circumstances.

Research projects available for September 2021

Applicants may apply for one of the projects listed here or they may submit their own idea.  From time to time we are also able to offer industry funded studentships. Please check here for details.

Documents required to support your application

  • An up-to-date CV
  • Previous degree certificates and transcripts.  If submitting certificates and transcripts which are not in English, please submit a certified English translation for all documents
  • Two references. Please ask both referees to send their reference to with the name of the applicant clearly marked
  • Passport - front cover and page with your details
  • Personal statement of no more than 250 words stating reasons for applying to the programme
  • Project proposal relating to the project for which you are applying. Please see here for more information about the format of the project proposal.

Submitting your application

Applications are submitted via the Heriot-Watt website at

Please select "Robotics and Autonomous Systems, PhD" with programme code F229-RAS.

Once you have completed the application form, the option to upload supporting documents will be made available. 

Although the application portal might confirm that your application is complete, the CDT has some additional requirements and we would ask that you please ensure that you upload ALL of the  documents listed above to minimise delays in your application being reviewed.  Please do not include documents other than those requested with your application as these will not be forwarded to the review panel.

Contacting us

For general enquiries please contact

For institution specific queries, please contact: (Professor Helen Hastie, Centre Director at Heriot-Watt University) or (Professor Michael Mistry, Centre Director at University of Edinburgh).