PhD studentships in cyber security at University of Kent

PhD studentships in cyber security at University of Kent

Kent #Interdisciplinary #Research Centre in #Cyber #Security (KirCCS) at the #University of Kent in the #UK, one of 19 UK government recognised Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR), is calling for applicants for a number of PhD #studentships, to start in Autumn 2021.

Full-time PhD Students

Funding Opportunities

Open PhD studentships:

  • 6 PhD studentships for all academics of the University of Kent, 2 for each of the three Signature Research Themes of the University of Kent
    • Full funding for home students only
    • There will be a process of selection at the School, Division, and the University levels. The final decisions will be made on 21 April 2021.
    • Application deadline: 14 March 2021.
    • More information about the studentships is available here.
  • 3 University of Kent funded PhD studentships for three members of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Cyber Security and Conflict (SoCyETAL)Dr Virginia Franqueira and Dr Sanjay Bhattacherjee at the School of Computing, and Dr Gareth Mott at the School of Politics and International Relations
    • Shujun can be secondary supervisor only for these opportunities. Contact the above two academics for more details.
    • Application deadline: 28 March 2021.
    • More information about the studentships is available here.
  • 3 France-UK (Lille-Kent) PhD studentships, 1 for all academics in Natural Sciences or Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Kent
    • Full funding for both home and overseas students
    • These studentships are part of the University of Kent's involvement as a partner in the University of Lille's €15m I-SITE project.
    • The studentships will be on a cotutelle (dual award) basis, with students spending a minimum of 12 months at either side of the two institutions (University of Kent in the UK and University of Lille in France).
    • Cotutelle students are required to have an academic supervisor from each institution, with the Main Supervisor located in the host institution.
    • The application process will initially be project-led, with proposals by academic staff. PhD applicants who are interested in this funding opportunity should contact Prof Shujun Li for more advice asap.
    • Application deadline: 18 April 2021.
    • More information about the studentships is available here.

More details about the above PhD studentships can be found at here.

Note that some PhD studentships that are less connected to Shujun's research are also listed on other websites of the University of Kent. You may still apply for some of them and propose to work with Shujun as the supervisor.

In addition to the studentships listed on this web page and the above web pages of the University of Kent, there are also other funding opportunities you may explore:

  • European jointly supervised PhDs (Cotutelle) Scholarship: For EU nationals who want to stay at both the University of Kent and a university in another EU member state or accession country for a double degree (cotutelle).
  • Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for low and middle income countries): For nationals from a Commonwealth member state to pursue a PhD study in the UK. They have a deadline every year.
  • PhD studentships funded by overseas governments, institutes and companies: Many organisations in overseas countries have funding schemes for PhD studies. If the country is not a EU member state, covering the tuition fees difference between overseas and home (UK/EU) rates will be sufficient for you to apply for our normal PhD studentships for UK/EU students (see above).

General Information

If you are interested in discussing any Cyber Security related topics listed on this page for a PhD study with Shujun, please contact him with your CV, degree certificates and all transcripts, a research proposal on a topic you would like to work on, and desirably two reference letters (ideally all from your former academic supervisors) to discuss the next steps.

To be eligible for our PhD study, you need to hold a good first or master's degree. As a rule of thumb, a good first degree is an equivalent of 2:1 of the UK system, and a good master's degree is an equivalent to "with Merit" of the UK system (both the average mark and the dissertation mark).

To submit a formal application, please go to this web page and then click the "Apply Now" link at the top right corner. Name "Prof Shujun Li" as the supervisor you are interested in working with, and state which PhD studentship(s) you are applying for and if any external funding is available.

PhD students at the University of Kent's School of Computing normally start in September each year, and you should normally plan your application at least 6 months earlier. Note that calls for some studentships have a set deadline so you should check this web page regularly. In exceptional cases (e.g., when required by a funder), students can also start in January and October each year.

How to write a good research proposal?

It is common that you will be asked to write a research proposal independently to demonstrate your literature review and writing skills and general understanding of the subjects. The topic of your research proposal can be given by the academic you are applying to, or be proposed by yourself. Many supervisors prefer you propose your own topic and write a research proposal all by yourself as a starting point.

A research proposal should normally include the following components (unless there are specific guidelines for a call explaining how a research proposal should be written):

  • Title
  • Your full name and contact details: Please make sure your full name match the one on your formal application form and your signature in your emails to avoid confusion. It will also be good to include your application number so your application can be uniquely identified. For your email address, please make it a clickable so the supervisor can just click it to write an email to you. If you have a personal website or ResearchGate/LinkedIn/Google Scholar Citation profiles, please consider include them.
  • Date: This should be the date of the last update. You may also want to include the date of the first version and a version number if you have sent multiple versions to potential supervisors.
  • Abstract: This is optional but can highly recommended so your potential supervisors can quickly get an idea of what your want to do.
  • Introduction: This is for you to explain the background/context of the topic and your personal motivation to study it.
  • Related Work: This is a section for you to review related work, to demonstrate your understanding of what have been done by other researchers on different aspects of the selected PhD topic.
  • Research Methodology: This is a section for you to explain how you currently plan to study the topic technically. You are expected to include some good technical details, in the context of related work in the Related Work section.
  • Work Plan: This is a section for you to explain a timeline of your proposed PhD study, fitting into a period of 3-4 years depending on your personal circumstances (e.g., if your funding lasts for 3 years, make a 3-year plan; and if you have funding for 4 years, do a 4-year plan). In no case you should plan to finish in longer than 4 years because there is a expectation that by the end of the 4th year you should have submitted your PhD thesis for examination.
  • References: This is a section for you to include all key references you used in your research proposal. Each reference should be cited at least once in the proposal. Pay attention to the format of references and ensure the full, correct and consistent citation information for each reference. When possible, include a URL so each reference can be checked by a single click.

Some useful guidelindes on how to write a good research proposals are listed below:

Information about Tuition Fee

UK universities normally charges a tuition fee for all PhD students. The fee normally increases on a yearly basis and the more precise figure can be found at the University of Kent's fee information web page. To search for the relevant one for your study, please select the right year (the first year of your expected PhD study), click "Postgraduate" and then search for "Computer Science" and then look for the row marked with "PhD".

There are two different rates of the tuition fee:

  • a lower home fee (currently £4,407 for the 2020/21 academic year): for students who meet the "home fee" status (roughly speaking, UK nationals or permanent residents in the UK, but some other people may also be entitled to pay home fees)
  • a higher overseas fee (currently £20,500 for the 2021/22 academic year): for all the other students who do not meet the "home fee" status

Most PhD studentships provided by the University of Kent cover the "home fee" only, but many are open for non-home fee applicants as well. However, non-home fee applicants will have to bring external funding or self fund the fee difference (currently £~15k for the 2019/20 academic year) to be able to have sufficient funding to do a PhD study.

From time to time, there will be some PhD studentships that can reduce the fee of non-home fee students to the home fee or waive the fee in full. This page will include information of such PhD studentships when they become available.

English Requirements

The English requirements for international students who need a visa to study the University of Kent's PhD in Computer Science can be found here. For most applicants, the following approved English tests apply:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in each component)
  • TOEFL iBT: 90 overall (with a minimum of 22 in R&S; 21 in W; 20 in L)
  • PTE Academic: 62 overall with 60 in each subtes
  • CAE/CPE: 176 overall (with a minimum of 169 in each component)
  • Special arrangement during the COVID-19 pandemicKent English Test

For students who do not need a visa to study in the UK (e.g., EU students), the English language requirement is here.

For students studying recognised qualifications in English at an international school and who do not require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, see here.

For students with at least a Bachelor's degree level qualification in a majority English speaking country or a degree taught entirely in the medium of English, see here.

Visiting PhD Students

Shujun also welcomes visiting PhD students to work with him, particularly those who can visit for at least 6 months at the University of Kent. There are normally no funding from the UK for visiting students, but many overseas governments and universities have funding schemes to encourage such visits to UK universities. If you can get such funding and are interested in doing a visiting study with Shujun, please contact him with the same material (CV, degree certificates and all transcripts, a research proposal, and desirably two reference letters) for discussing the next steps.

The University of Kent normally charges normal tuition fee proportional to the period of your visit, which however can be waived if we consider your case strong enough and strategically important for the University. Cyber Security is a university level area of research excellence, so Shujun will always help you waive the fee if he is willing to host you. Contact him if you have questions on this.

The English requirements for visiting PhD students are defined in Article 6.3 of the University of Kent's Visiting Students Policy: "Schools may use their discretion on the level of English language required of a Visiting Student; however, at a minimum all students must meet IELTS Level 5.5 (CEFR B2) in all four components (speaking, writing, listening, and hearing) as well as overall, unless a student is exempt from English language requirements as defined by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). Evidence of English language will be required for all Visiting Students requiring a study visa unless the Visiting Student is from a UKVI majority English speaking country."

For more information, please read the following page and the relevant links on this page:

For any queries such as recommendations on topics and supervisors, please contact Professor Shujun Li at [email protected].

March 9, 2021
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