Computer Science and Software Engineering


The PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering develops your understanding of the research process and your ability to analyse and constructively augment a particular research area. It provides you with experience in communicating research results in both written and oral forms and equips you with advanced knowledge and research skills relevant to both academia and industry.


We provide high-calibre, discipline-specific training that takes advantage of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University’s distinctive international features and vibrant research environment.

The programme, based at XJTLU, is a strategic research collaboration between XJTLU and the University of Liverpool. Upon successful completion of your programme you will receive a University of Liverpool-issued degree, which is recognised by China’s Ministry of Education.

Students enrolled in this programme are registered with the University of Liverpool as off-site postgraduate research students. You will carry out research on XJTLU premises under the guidance of a supervisory team.

You will be appointed a designated primary (local) supervisor at XJTLU who is a full-time member of academic staff. In addition, you will have a designated secondary supervisor based at the University of Liverpool.

Pursuing a full-time PhD typically involves three years of conducting research and one year of writing a thesis, supported by subject-specific and generic skills training and development. A full-time PhD student must submit a thesis within four years. A part-time PhD student must submit it in six years. As a registered full-time PhD student, you will have the opportunity to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to six months. Your accommodation and travel fees would be covered by XJTLU and the University of Liverpool.

XJTLU provides every registered PhD student with conference funds of up to 16,500 RMB over the course of study at XJTLU. The purpose of this fund is to support students’ academic experience, encourage the dissemination of research, and enhance XJTLU’s research profile nationally and internationally.

Why should I do my PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering at XJTLU?

  • Our PhD programme equips you with a range of professional skills to help you maximise your future employability;
  • Our supervisors will guide you through one of the most intellectually satisfying experiences of your life;
  • You will receive supervision from respected academics at both XJTLU and the University of Liverpool;
  • PhD students have dedicated travel budgets for participating in international conferences;
  • You will have the chance to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to six months; and
  • You will have opportunities to work as a teaching assistant and develop academic skills crucial to your career.

Research areas

The main research areas for the PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering include the following:

  • Computer science and software engineering: high-performance computer systems, storage systems, network systems, software engineering, cloud computing, generalised human-computer interaction, internet theory and technology, intelligent network learning environment theory and technology, computer network security, dynamic trust management theory, new-generation programming methodology, parallel computing, data mining, pattern recognition, computer vision, distributed computing, pervasive computing, deep learning, generative models, medical image processing;
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data: AI, transformative AI, generative AI, decision intelligence and AI knowledge representation, human centred and collaborative AI, edge AI and distributed enterprise, embedded intelligence, big data, data science, machine learning;
  • Internet of Things (IoT): IoT, software architecture for IoT, semantic web of things (SWoT), IoT for smart cities, analytics for IoT, artificial intelligence IoT, application-specific IoT, internet of vehicles, edge computing, fog computing, edge AI and embedded intelligence, security for IoT, IoT network design and architecture, IoT network protocol, IoT-enabled software architectures and middleware, human-computer interaction in IoT, data trading in IoT; and
  • Intelligent robotics and related technologies: robots and robot control, human-robot interaction, computer graphics, machine vision, optimisation theories.

Potential supervisors

School of Advanced Technology

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Communications and Networking.

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Computing.

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Intelligent Science.

Find out potential supervisors from Department of Mechatronics and Robotics.

XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang)

Find out potential supervisors from School of AI and Advanced Computing.

Find out potential supervisors from School of Internet of Things.

Find out potential supervisors from School of Intelligent Manufacturing Ecosystem.

Find out potential supervisors from School of Robotics.

Find out potential supervisors from School of CHIPS.


The scholarship application is open only to those applying for full-time doctoral programmes.

1) Apply for a scholarship for a funded PhD project

One option is to apply for an existing PhD project that has received funds from the University or external funding bodies. The research topic and supervisory team for these projects have already been established.

There is no specific application deadline for a project, as it will remain open until the position is filled. The start date of a PhD programme is usually the first day of March, June, September, or December. You can visit the Postgraduate Research Scholarships Page for information about the specific PhD projects available or to contact potential supervisors to discuss funding opportunities.

2) Apply for a postgraduate research scholarship with your own project

You can also apply for a scholarship with your own project. With this option, there will be two application rounds each academic year:

Application Rounds Application deadline Release of results
First Round 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 October End of December
Second Round 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 April Early July
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