Studying Software Engineering/Testing as part of a PhD

If you’re a motivated student who is keen to study Software Engineering and/or Testing as part of a PhD, then I’d be interested to hear from you.

I supervise a wide variety of topics, some of which appear on my research page and those that I have previously published on. I’m also keen to hear and discuss any ideas of your own.

The Application Process

If you’re interested to do a PhD under my supervision, then these are the steps involved, from initial contact through to a potential interview:

First Steps

First, check out the areas of research that I’m interested in. If you think you would like to do a PhD in one of these areas under my supervision, then please get in touch with me via email. Make sure you attach your CV. This should including details of your qualifications, any dissertation projects you have completed as part of these. If you’ve already published some research papers, ensure you’ve listed them. Don’t forget to include information regarding your technical skills. Mark your relative experience (in years) with different programming languages, the types of systems you have programmed, how big (in terms of lines of code or classes) they were, and whether they were developed as part of a group or individually.

Assuming you’re a suitable candidate, I will request to chat with you further (either in person, or via a Skype conversation), and ask you to submit a formal application. Sometimes it makes sense to chat first, in others I will ask you to submit the application straight away, and follow this up with a conversation afterwards. To submit the application, you’ll need to follow the instructions on the University of Sheffield web pages.

Research Proposal

Your application will require you to propose a topic, and ideas or lines of inquiry for your PhD study, called a research proposal. You may already have some thoughts of your own regarding this. If not, a starting point could be the topics listed on my research page, or my publications pages and the “future work” sections of papers that are linked from them.


Details about PhD fees and possible funding schemes can be found here.

Unfortunately, funding for students from outside the EU is especially competitive. For non-EU students, a more common source of funding is from government schemes or from other supporting institutions.

Following the Application

Should your application be suitable, you will then be interviewed by me and another academic in the Computer Science department at Sheffield. We’ll ask you questions about your proposal and papers related to it. To check your competence at programming, we may set an exercise for you to complete in time for the interview.

Current and Past Students

Current students

  • Abdullah Alsharif
  • David Paterson
  • Thomas Walsh
  • Sina Shamshiri (co-supervised with Gordon Fraser)

Past students

  • Chris Wright (graduated: 2016)
  • Mathew Hall (graduated: 2014)
  • Sheeva Afshan (graduated: 2014)