MPhil or PhD Electronics, Computing or Mathematics*
Why choose this course?
Challenge your thinking, develop original ideas and realise your potential by completing your research degree at Derby.
- Become a confident, forward-thinking specialist in your area of study
- Shape your ideas under the supervision of committed, dedicated and qualified experts who are highly regarded internationally
- Gain the ideal preparation for a career in academia, research and development
- Study in state-of-the-art facilities
- Benefit from our wide-ranging industrial and professional partnerships
- Join a university with an excellent research environment and fast-growing reputation
Employable Graduates – we’re ranked 15th highest amongst all UK universities and 12th for English institutions with 96% of graduates in work or further study within six months of completing their degree: HESA 2016.Show All
Start date: You can enrol between August and May. Course length: The MPhil is studied over two years. You can study the PhD for three years full time, or six years part time. The new route PhD is studied over four years. Campus: This course is currently being taught at Kedleston Road site, Derby Campus. From 2017, the course will be taught from the Markeaton Street site, Derby Campus. College: College of Engineering and Technology
About this course
Research is an important component of academic life. It plays a major role in supporting what we teach to our students and directly helps organisations to solve real-world problems.
Research at Derby is underpinned by our strong industry connections within the region and active international links with organisations such as CERN, Roche Pharmaceuticals and Rolls-Royce among others. As a result, we ensure that our research contributes directly to the development and wellbeing of the region as well as the body of knowledge in the scientific community at large.
Our Department of Electronics, Computing and Mathematics has a research-active, focused, dedicated and committed team of staff who are very keen to work with you as you pursue your own research interests.
One of the Department’s core aims is to provide research-related opportunities for widening participation in higher education. Through its collaborations and scholarly activities, it also seeks to make an impact and raise its reputation for excellent research regionally, nationally and internationally.
Choose your specialism
Available research areas for study include:
Electrical and Electronics project areas
- Renewable energy and energy sustainability
- Embedded systems, smart systems and the Internet of Things
- Power electronics
- Sensor systems
- Control systems
Entertainment Engineering project areas
- Live sound reinforcement system design and optimisation
- Real-time audio digital signal processing
- Digital signal processing for sound, music and multimedia technology
- Electroacoustic design and analysis
- Acoustic model development and refinement
- Virtual bass synthesis and applications
- Binaural sound reproduction and algorithms
- Surround microphone array technology
- Performance and live event technology and techniques
- Ambisonic surround sound
- 3D auditory displays
- 3D audio for virtual reality
Computing project areas
- Cloud computing, P2P and data grids
- Data science
- Big Data analytics/streaming analytics
- Complex networks, network architectures and management
- Crowd sourcing, social networks and web data analytics
- Distributed data and collective computational intelligence
- Multi-agents and service oriented computing
- Resource discovery and scheduling in heterogeneous networks
- Semantics, ontologies and conceptual structures
- Situated, context-aware computing and smart environments
- Trust, intrusion detection and network security
- Security and performance in operating systems and the Internet of Things
- Privacy and the use of personal data
- Administrative domains and deontic logic
- Risk and trust within digital forensics
- Visual computing, games and serious games
Routes to your MPhil or PhD
You can undertake a negotiated programme of research leading to the award of either a Master of Philosophy degree or a Doctor of Philosophy degree. These higher degrees are awarded in recognition of a successful period of research training normally culminating in the production of a thesis.
There are three routes to a higher degree:
This is designed for graduates who want to gain a strong knowledge and understanding of the subject and then take the discipline forward through an approved programme of original research.
New Route PhD
The new route is for recently qualified graduates with good honours degrees who are keen to progress immediately to a research experience and to prepare for a career in which the ability to undertake research will play a key role.
Traditional Route PhD
This route entails a programme of research which normally takes three years of full-time study. You can choose to take it part time over a period of up to six years. The traditional route enables capable and qualified individuals to pursue an original research investigation into a chosen topic within a field of enquiry.
You will normally hold a first or second class honours degree, an equivalent qualification or relevant experience.
If your first language is not English we must be satisfied that you have the necessary command of the language to undertake the research investigation. We will require IELTS 7.0, unless you can demonstrate an adequate command of English through the recent successful completion of an award bearing programme from a UK university. If you are an overseas applicant you may be required to complete a course in English as a Foreign Language before being enrolled as a research student.
How to apply
Postgraduate research students can enrol at the University of Derby any time between August and May.
All enrolments are arranged by appointment once your application is successful. Please be aware that it can take between six and twelve weeks to consider a complete application.
Fees and finance
Find out more about fee information for our research degrees.
How you will learn
You will be allocated a Director of Studies and one or two second supervisors who will form your 'supervisory team'. As a research student supported by your supervisory team, you will encounter many different experiences of working in the ‘real-world’. These experiences are unique to the research you are conducting and the people and organisations with whom you and your team are collaborating.
All research students find themselves involved in a variety of project roles. These could be instigated by your supervisor or you might create a project yourself to contribute towards your research. If you are sponsored by an industrial partner, this also presents many work-related opportunities for you to explore.
The processes of research equip students with important transferable skills such as being critical, evaluating and synthesising results, writing technical reports, reporting complex data, communicating outcomes to different audiences, project management and negotiation. All of these skills will make you a valued employee and will ensure that you are work-ready at the end of your research.
As a research student, you will become part of our Department of Electronics, Computing and Mathematics. Office accommodation is provided on campus, as is the necessary computing equipment.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Careers and employability
With the prestige of a PhD on your CV, you can progress in your present job or seek new career opportunities in a range of areas such as research and teaching in universities, industrial research centres or publicly funded bodies. You can also enter management at a senior level within industrial companies.
What our students say
Justin Rogowski - developing software to identify individual bottlenose dolphins
Using artificial intelligence to develop a tool for marine conservationists, Justin Rogowski's research into artificial intelligence for his doctorate has resulted in an important tool for marine conservationists. Justin has developed software to analyse the dorsal fins of bottlenose dolphins. Working with Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation in Ireland, he has mapped unique identifiers for each individual dolphin. During his research, Justin discovered that computer graphics and image processing software can be used to identify each dolphin's dorsal fin and the aspects that make it unique.
Jonathan Moore - diffuse signal processing in live sound reinforcement
Live sound reinforcement is plagued by comb-filtering due to the interaction of coherent signals stemming from multiple loudspeakers, resulting in position-dependent listening experiences. Jonathan’s research focuses on developing a practical solution to this problem using what is known as Diffuse Signal Processing (DiSP). DiSP produces decorrelated signals which do not result in severe comb-filtering, thus reducing frequency response variance across a listening area. There are several potential applications of DiSP in live sound, most notably within subwoofer systems, monitor wedges, microphone arrays, loudspeaker crossovers and line arrays. Research is being carried out into developing an appropriate DiSP algorithm. Algorithms are being evaluated with bespoke acoustic modelling software (for objective analysis) and in-depth subjective evaluations. Once a suitable and effective processing option is defined, a prototype will be tested in a controlled environment and later in-situ at live events around the UK and USA.
Ian McKenzie - spatial sound through tissue conduction
The aim of Ian’s project is to develop and evaluate auditory spatial imagery presented through tissue conduction. Surround sound delivered through headphone, where one transducer feeds one receiver (ear) has been around for many years, as has the stimulation of the auditory nerves using bone/tissue conduction (vibrations transmitted through the skull). However, this project has found that - by utilising transducers in multiple locations around the head -a more flexible and externalised spatial perception can be achieved than is currently possible using headphones or standard two channel bone conduction headsets alone. This project is investigating the use of bone/tissue conduction 3D audio perception, and also the headset as a tool for monitoring/communication solutions at live events. This has benefits due to the fact that the ears aren’t occluded by the tissue conduction headset, allowing hearing to function normally when worn.
Alex Vilkaitis - immersive spatial audio development for use in theatre
Alex’s project aims to investigate the use of 3D sound reproduction techniques in the context of a live event in reality and virtual/augmented reality to ascertain its effectiveness on parameters such as immersion, envelopment and intelligibility. Sound is an integral part of how human beings experience the world. Sound naturally occurs all round us - from different source locations, in different acoustics and in different environments. The way we listen to films, television and music as consumers does not accurately reproduce how we experience sound in the real world. The entertainment industry, including theatre and cinema especially, is trying to bridge the gap between how we experience sound in the 3D world compared with an artificial reproduced 2D environment as is often used in standard PA systems. This project is developing real-time systems to allow for virtual auditory set design and sound reinforcement that enables us to utilise our natural auditory scene analysis to create a more realistic, immersive and intelligible experience. Check out the Example 360 Analysis and Auralisation of Derby Theatre using YouTube Spatial https://youtu.be/UplpDBT64x4