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 a 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 the 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 the main text exceeds 80,000 words, there should be a good justification.

Dissertations can only be entered into the competition once.

Eligible dissertations should have been completed between 1 January 2018 and 31 March 2019.


Submissions for this year are now closed.

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