MSc Computer Science

Overview

The MSc Computer Science is a one-year programme that allows graduates of non-Computing disciplines to develop expertise in Computing. Often referred to as a 'conversion' course, it is the longest running programme of this kind in the UK (since 1969).

The programme is different to IT programmes, in that it is a technical degree with a significant programming component. It is designed to give you a grounding in both the fundamentals of computer science and practical software development skills, and a choice of in-depth subjects as optional modules. Students from all backgrounds are welcome to apply, but a certain amount of background in mathematics and scientific subjects, for example at 'advanced' high school level, would facilitate mastering the new Computer Science subjects.

The mixture of core computing modules and a range of flexible options reflecting your interests and first degree provide a solid foundation for a career in computing or for further study.

Programme structure

Semester 1 Semester 2 June-September
Software Workshop Software Workshop Software Project and Dissertation
Fundamentals of Computer Science Fundamentals of Computer Science
Human Computer Interaction Artificial Intelligence
Optional Module Operating Systems and Networks

Core module descriptions

Software workshop:

A major part of the first semester is devoted to the Software Workshop to introduce and develop object -oriented design and programming skills. The core of Java programming is covered in lectures but most of your learning will come from tutorials and practical sessions built around a series of assignments. These assignments begin with fairly small individual exercises and move onto larger tasks involving design and testing of your programs. In the second semester the exercises are, of course, more advanced and typically finish with a group project involving a networked Java applications linking to a remote data base system, for instance an online bookshop.

Fundamentals of Computer Science:

Four modules explore some of the fundamentals of computer science, both hardware and software. Topics will include: introduction to hardware, operating systems, networking, programming languages, data types and algorithms, the software lifecycle, stages of the lifecycle, case studies, relational theory, relational algebra, query languages, data design. The necessary mathematical background will be developed alongside its application in databases. Students will be introduced to an existing database system.

Specialist modules:

  • Human-Computer Interaction covers the principles meant for building computing systems that interact with human users in a synergistic way. It draws on foundations in human psychology and graphic design and develops interaction models.

  • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence introduces the subject of AI, which we can use when building computing systems that incorporate some aspects of intelligent behaviour - such as logical reasoning, problem solving and automatic learning.

  • Operating Systems and Networks gives an overview of the design of computer operating systems and computer networks. It also provides an opportunity for hands-on lab sessions for learning about a selection of essential Operating Systems and Network skills.

Optional modules:

All students select at least one optional module. In addition, students that may have taken any of the compulsory modules in their previous curriculum or have specific interest in some subjects may opt to take additional optional modules. The modules available vary from year-to-year. The range of modules include: Software Project Management, Commercial Computing, Cryptography, Evaluation Methods and Statistics, Intelligent Data Analysis, Introduction to Neural Computation and Machine Learning.

An option checker, together with the module descriptions are available here.

Summer project:

The four summer months are spent working on your project. Projects vary from applied software engineering through to work that is linked to our research groups. The common factor is that almost all projects involve the development of a large software system. Usually, projects are selected from a list of topics proposed by the teaching staff (possibly on behalf of an external customer) or students can suggest their own project, providing it is appropriate.

Examinations and assessments:

The Software Workshop is currently assessed by assignments in the practical sessions, team project as well as a final examination. Taught modules are assessed in a variety of ways: summer written examination, practical assessment or a mixture of both. The project is assessed by a report, supported by a practical demonstration.

Entry requirements:

The minimum entry requirement for admission is a Lower Second class degree (or an international equivalent). Applications are accepted from able graduates from all subject areas. Students who have not studied in English must pass a recognised English test.

International students:

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. Learn more about international entry requirements here. Standard English language requirements also apply. To view all acceptable qualifications please click here

When to apply:

If you are applying for 2015 entry, the course begins 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:

All applications to study the MSc in Computer Science must be made online, via the University online portal.

Career prospects:

Most students graduating from this programme move into industry to work on software development. Others use their new computing skills to enhance their employment prospects in work related to their first degree. Each year, some students join sales and software support teams in industry and commerce or start their own companies and others few join our PhD programme.