Recruitment FAQ

Frequently asked questions about recruitment.

Warning - this text is currently under revision!

  • This information is addressed to Informatics staff and is protected from outside access.
  • There is a separate FAQ for PhD applicants about the application process.
  • There is a separate internal FAQ about funding, and one for PhD applicants on how to apply.
  • This page is a work in progress; corrections, comments and contributions are welcome! Send them to the Graduate School.


Where is the PG recruitment information on the web?

The starting point for all of this information is on our postgraduate pages. Linked to this is information about the School, the application process, financial aid, etc. There are links to this page from the main School page, the Graduate School page and the University’s PG recruitment pages.

Should I put a link to this on my home page?

Yes, please do so. Visit the postgraduate page for information about applying to study for a PhD in Informatics at Edinburgh. Apart from pointing potential applicants in the right direction and maybe decreasing the number who email you to ask how to apply, more links means a higher Google rank.

What about printed information?

The School has a PG information brochure, which should be available from the IGS, although we have been investing more time in the overhaul of the webpages.

Since the vast majority of candidates look for this kind of information on the web, we haven’t traditionally put much work into distributing printed material, and its content duplicates insofar as possible the information on the web. It is useful mainly for PG Open days, recruitment visits and public engagement.

There is also the University Postgraduate Prospectus  which is currently under revision.  

What advertising do we do?

Each November we distribute a general advertisement via as many relevant mailing lists, newgroups and websites as possible. Additions to this list are welcome.

Specific studentship opportunities (that we know about - please contact us about any new opportunities) are advertised at:

Research scholarships

These opportunities are also placed in and, as well as any Institute specific journal that the supervisor thinks might be worthwhile.

Should my institute do separate advertising?

You can do this if you want, but please include a clear pointer to our postgraduate pages. It is essential that any information about procedures, deadlines etc. is consistent with what is documented there, so it is better to simply point there for such information.

What about recruitment fairs and recruitment tours?

University staff attend various recruitment fairs in the UK and abroad where they distribute information on our behalf. The Graduate School attempts to foster contacts with good universities in regions that are targeted for increased recruitment. We are currently focussing on China and India; some other possibilities include Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Informatics staff and PhD students who are visiting any of these countries and would like to give a talk about their research at a good university there in support of PhD recruitment are encouraged to do so. A small amount of funding to help cover the extra cost may be available - ask the Head of Graduate School.

What else can I do to encourage good applicants?

A major factor in where students apply is personal recommendations, for example, from faculty at their current institution. If you have appropriate colleagues or contacts, you should make sure they are aware of the strengths of our PhD programme, and consider asking them to pass specific opportunities along to their students.

What do we do to encourage our own UG and MSc students to apply for PhD study?

Members of staff (UG4 project supervisors, MSc lecturers) should individually encourage their best students to apply.  All MSc and UG4 students are invited to the annual PG Open Day, and encouraged to attend a presentation to explain more about our PGR programmes beforehand.  These groups of students can be contacted en-masse using and/or

What do we do to focus applications on research topics that are of interest to us?

We give guidance on topic areas here:

Research topics

From that page we have links to specific suggested topics proposed by researchers within each Institute.

Contact your Institute head or Institute PGR selector if you would like a topic added (or removed).

A prospective PhD applicant has contacted me. What should I do?

Enquiries usually fall into one of the following categories:

1. The enquiry appears of high interest, and you intend respond to discuss it in more detail and/or to strongly encourage a formal application.

2. The enquiry is plausible but you, personally, are not interested in this candidate at this time.

3. The enquiry is so generic or unclear they probably haven’t read even basic information about the School or how to apply, and you suspect the same enquiry may have been sent to many other people.

For cases 2 & 3, you should simply forward the message to IGS@inf with the subject “PGR-plausible” or “PGR-generic”. This will result in the enquiry automatically receiving an appropriate standardised reply, that refers them to: 

Informatics postgraduate pages

In case 1, assuming you will be replying directly to the enquiry, you should also make sure you refer them to the site above. It would also be very helpful to cc in the PGR selector for your institute (at least in your initial reply). This serves several purposes. The selector can monitor if the candidate has contacted multiple people, and may possibly be getting into detailed discussions with more than one supervisor without the others knowing. When a formal application is made, the selector will already know to whom to assign it for evaluation. They may also be able to offer early advice on funding opportunities that appear well matched to this candidate.

What should I tell an applicant about how to apply?

See advice here: How to apply?

The top universities in a selection of countries:


Country University
China Beijing University and Tsinghua University, followed by the group: Fudan University, Nanjing University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, University of Science and Technology of China, and Zhejiang University. Official rankings: 2003, 2008 (automatic translation); top-ranked universities in various sub-areas e.g. software: 2005 (automatic translation)
Taiwan National Taiwan University
India all the IITs, IISc (postgraduate only).
Japan Tokyo University, Kyoto University
Malaysia University of Malaya
Pakistan National University of Sciences and Technology
Korea Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Australia Australian National University, University of Melbourne
Mexico National Autonomous University of Mexico
Egypt University of Cairo, American University in Cairo, University of Ain Shams, British University in Egypt
Jordan University of Jordan, Jordan University of Science and Technology
Syria University of Damascus, University of Aleppo
Libya Al-Fateh University, University of Garyounis
Saudi Arabia King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University, King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals
Nigeria University of Port Harcourt, University of Lagos, University of Abuja