School of Computer Science

MSc Computer Science


The MSc in 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.

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.

Course Structure

The degree is split into three segments. As the premise of this degree is conversion, you will study a range of compulsory modules plus an optional module during the 1st semester, compulsory modules during the 2nd semester, and spend four months (between June-September) working on your Software Project and Dissertation.

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

Compulsory Modules:

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. See more here.

Fundamentals Intro to Computer Science:

A series of 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 and data design. View more here.

Specialist modules:

  • Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction covers the principles meant for building computing systems that interact with human users in a synergistic way.

  • 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 but currently include: Softwar Engineering, Cryptography, Evaluation Methods and Statistics, Intelligent Data Analysis, Introduction to Neural Computation and Machine Learning.

A definitive list of the current modules is 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.

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 choose to join our PhD programme.

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.

How to apply

Applications for all Computer Science MSc programmes are made directly to the University of Birmingham. For full details on how to apply and what supporting documents are required, please click here.

International Applicants

If you are applying to us from outside the UK you can acess information about the experiences of fellow students, studying in a different country and check degree comparability here. You may also need to provide evidence of English language proficiency, but can find out further information here.

Postgraduate Brochure

Please see our Postgraduate Computer Science Brochure for further information.

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Computer Science Admissions
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8742