MRes Natural Computation

The MRes in Natural Computation is a one-year full-time degree for students who would have found their undergraduate study stimulating and want to learn in-depth about this emerging interdisciplinary field. This programme is designed for students wishing to undertake a challenging research-orientated masters degree.

Course overview

You will study a mini-project in the first semester and a major research project, which will be two-thirds of the entire Masters programme. You will also study essential Research Skills, and a further 20 credits of optional modules from the following:

This Masters degree by research means you are taught core principals and then you develop these skills by doing interesting, innovative research, supported by academic staff and peers. It is structured so that you learn how to plan, organise and manage your time; you learn what it is to be a scientific researcher; you help contribute to the development of new knowledge; you ,learn intellectual skills such as argumentation, exposition, and reasoning; and develop as an individual by improving your communication skills, writing, collaborative working and creativity.

Minimum entry requirements

At least a 2.1 in Computer Science/Engineering, or a science/engineering degree with significant computing content. Applicants must possess competent mathematical skills. Students who have not studied in English must pass a recognised English test. This is a highly selective Masters Programme. We have only limited number of places available.

A statement of research

The MRes in Natural Computation is research oriented, and includes two mini-projects and a summer project, written in the style of a peer-reviewed scientific journal paper. Your application should include two sides of A4 with research interests and tentative ideas that you plan to develop for these three projects. They should normally be close to the research interest of the School (please consult the web pages of lecturers, professors and research staff).

Once you are admitted, you will have an opportunity to revise or change your research plans after discussion with your project supervisors. But it is important at application time to know that you are interested and have potential skills for research, as well as some tentative plans. The Statement of Research is an opportunity for you to demonstrate this.

Programme details

Natural computation is the study of computational systems that use ideas and gain inspiration from natural systems, including biological, ecological and physical systems. It is an emerging interdisciplinary area in which appropriate techniques and methods are studied for dealing with large, complex, and dynamic problems. The aims of this programme are to:

  1. Meet the increasing need from industry for graduates equipped with a knowledge of natural computation techniques.
  2. Provide a solid foundation in natural computation for graduates to pursue a research and development career in industry or to pursue further studies (e.g. PhD).
  3. Give up-to-date coverage of current topics in natural computation (such as evolutionary algorithms, co-evolution, evolutionary design, nature-inspired optimisation techniques, evolutionary games, novel learning algorithms, artificial neural networks, theory of natural computation).

This innovative MRes programme is led and run primarily by the world-leading Natural Computation Group and CERCIA in the School of Computer Science. The group has over 40 full-time researchers, including teaching staff, research fellows and associates, PhD students, and academic visitors. Its members publish in top international journals in artificial intelligence, evolutionary computation and theoretical computer science, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, Theoretical Computer Science, etc. The group has strong links with industry, especially through CERCIA, including Honda, BT, Thales, Unilever, GSK, Rolls Royce, etc. We encourage MRes students to carry out their research projects in collaboration with our industrial partners. Opportunities exist for students to do their project work within a company.

Important application dates

If you are applying for 2015 entry, the MSc will commence on 28th September 2015. There is no closing date for admissions, although you are advised to apply as early as possible, particularly if you need to arrange a visa. Please click here for further information on term dates.

How to apply

Applications for all Computer Science MSc programmes are made directly to the University of Birmingham. For full details visit 'How to Apply'.