COMPASS Computational Statistics and Data Science

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Statistics and Data Science – COMPASS for short – is a 4-year PhD programme hosted by the Institute for Statistical Science in the School of Mathematics. A team of world-leading experts from across the University of Bristol together with external partners from industry and government train COMPASS students in statistical and computational techniques of data science.


Year 1: Students are required to complete 6 mandatory taught Level M units delivered through lectures, workshops, laboratories, guided self-study, and including peer supported learning and group work. PhD projects and supervisors are matched to students and research proposals developed through the summer of the Year 1.

Years 2-4: Full-time research. PhD research topics range from statistical theory and methods to collaborations with experimental scientists and businesses. COMPASS graduates are equipped with in-demand skills in modelling, uncertainty quantification, prediction and decision making.

COMPASS CDT course content (19/20) (PDF, 176kB) 

Please note these are indicative course contents for 2019/2020 and maybe subject to change.

Research Areas

Bayesian Modelling and Computation | Bioinformatics and Genetics | Cybersecurity | High-Dimensional and Highly-Structured Data | Imaging | Information Theory | Longitudinal Data | Machine Learning and AI | Medical Sciences and Causality | Multilevel Modelling | Multiscale Methods | Modern Regression Methods | Spatial Statistics | High Performance Computing | Statistical Foundations and Philosophy | Stochastic Models for Life Sciences | Time Series, Networks and Point Processes | Uncertainty Assessment and Risk


A COMPASS studentship provides 4 years of tuition fees at UK/EU student rates, a tax-free stipend of £18,777 per year for living expenses and a travel allowance to support research related activities. Applications are welcomed from international students and the University may, in some circumstances, agree to waive or part-waive the international element of tuition fees.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) or master's degree in mathematics, statistics, computer science or another highly numerate subject such as economics, epidemiology or physics. For information on international equivalent qualifications, please refer to our International Office website.

Personal Statement for Application

All applications must include a personal statement (minimum one A4 page). Your personal statement should

  • explain your motivation for applying to the programme and how it relates to your plans for the future
  • explain why you should be offered a place on the programme, highlight elements of your academic record which align with the theme of the programme, such as project work or courses you have taken
  • highlight any other relevant skills or experience
  • identification of a specific research project is not required at this point in time

Application Deadline

To be considered for a funded position, submit your application by 25 March 2019

How to Apply

  1. Click "Apply Online" below
  2. Select "Computational Statistics and Data Science (CDT)" in Programme Choice
  3. Attach academic transcripts, CV and personal statement (see guidance below).
  4. Nominate two academic referees, at least one from your most recent studies.

To be kept informed about COMPASS, contact us at

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