What is the award?

In collaboration with the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC) we honour the significant contribution UK postgraduate students and researchers are making in the computer science field.

If you’ve written a dissertation in this discipline and feel that the reviews of your work speak for its merit, why not speak to your university about putting it forward for this award.

Since the scheme began in 1990 we've selected over forty dissertations for publication on our website.

How to submit your dissertation

Each spring, we ask universities to contribute their dissertations by a deadline, which is usually in April.

Universities can submit up to three dissertations a year, which must be from different research groups. They must be in the field of computer science, written in the UK and awarded a degree between January of the previous year and the closing date.

Award criteria


For your thesis to be considered in our Distinguished Dissertation competition it should:

  • make a noteworthy contribution to the subject
  • reach a high standard of exposition
  • place results clearly in the context of computer science as a whole
  • enable computer scientists in different interests to grasp its essentials

We don’t encourage long dissertations - if your main text exceeds 80,000 words, there should be a good justification.

Dissertations can only be entered into the competition once.

Theses completed between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018 are eligible.


Your dissertation must be submitted by your examiner, or head of department with your examiner’s advice, and must be the final version.

Submissions must be a single PDF file comprising the following information:

  • a URL linking to the dissertation - i.e. the PDF should not include the dissertation text itself
  • a justification by one of the examiners, preferably external, explaining the dissertation's claim to distinction (about 200-300 words)
  • the name of your primary supervisor and the research group at your university to which you’re primarily affiliated
  • an assurance that, within the competition period, your examiners have recommended to your university that you should be awarded a doctorate
  • an indication of whether your dissertation is being considered for publication elsewhere or has been published
  • the names and contact details of three suggested reviewers who have confirmed they’re happy to provide a review.

In addition, the submitter must complete this form indicating the email addresses of student, supervisor, department and reviewers.

Please submit your entry to https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=disdis19 by 5pm on 30 April 2019.

The reviewers must be independent of the supervision and examination of your thesis and have no conflict of interest with you or your supervisor. In addition, they mustn’t be from the same department as you, nor recent co-authors.

You’ll need to provide written agreement for us to consider your thesis in the competition, by emailing us at disdis19@easychair.org - and if you have any queries about the competition, it’s this email address you can reach us on.

Selection panel

The members of our 2019 Distinguished Dissertations selection panel are:

  • Katie Atkinson - University of Liverpool
  • Corina Cirstea - University of Southampton
  • Edith Elkind - University of Oxford
  • Simon Gay - University of Glasgow
  • Mateja Jamnik - University of Cambridge
  • Iain Philips (Chair) - Loughborough University
  • Steve Schneider - University of Surrey

When do you find out if your dissertation will be published?

An elected panel reviews the dissertations and after thorough assessment will select winning dissertations over the summer.

Winners are announced in autumn at the BCS Roger Needham Lecture, held at the Royal Society.

Previous winners

Each year, we publish the dissertation of the winning candidate.

Explore dissertations