UCL Department of Computer Science


Section 2: Introduction to the Department & Faculty

2.Introduction to the Department of Computer Science and Faculty of Engineering Sciences

An introduction to the department and its parent faculty, their relationship, and key contacts within both.

2.1.UCL Department of Computer Science

Computer Science was established at UCL in the early 1970s when the Department of Statistics was expanded to form a joint Department of Statistics and Computer Science. The initial nucleus of computer scientists came from the University of London Institute of Computer Science, which was renowned for its established MSc programme and for its research.

In 1980 the independent Department of Computer Science was formed with Professor Peter Kirstein as its first Head. At that time there were seven academic staff (including three professors) and just one main research area: computer networks and data communications.

Today our portfolio of taught programmes has developed in line with the department's growth. During 2017-18, in addition to our undergraduate and research degrees, we will be offering fourteen MSc Programmes, thirteen specialist programmes and the generalist MSc Computer Science for non-computer science graduates.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (www.ref.ac.uk) evaluation UCL was ranked in first place for Computer Science, out of 89 Universities assessed. 61% of its research work is rated as world-leading (the highest possible category) and 96% is rated as internationally excellent.

Our teaching programmes are designed to engage students and give them the skills to address the world’s challenges. We have pioneered new teaching methods for our undergraduates, and involve our postgraduates with our cutting-edge, highly-rated academic research. The graduates we educate progress to a wide range of roles within engineering and technology sectors and beyond.

2.2.Computer Science within the Faculty of Engineering Sciences

The Department of Computer Science works closely with the Faculty of Engineering Sciences and its teaching departments to ensure that opportunities to create novel and exciting synergies in both research and teaching are fully exploited. For example, the department participates in the Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP), which provides undergraduate students with opportunities to engage in a broad range of interdisciplinary activity. Similarly, joint research initiatives link Computer Science with a broad range of other research groups in the Faculty, and this feeds directly into the design of the department’s taught degree programmes.

UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences is uniquely international, reflecting UCL’s global outlook. Formally organised within academic departments, its work and impact transcends the boundaries between academic subjects and departments. The Faculty of Engineering Sciences works with ten other diverse faculties at UCL, from the Slade School of Fine Art to the School of Life and Medical Sciences, to produce innovative, multidisciplinary work.

Many essential technologies originated from studies and work at UCL, including the rapid production of vaccines, fibre-optic communications (for which a share of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded) and the Internet infrastructure. The complexity of today’s societies means that engineers deal with an incredible range of challenges, ideas and techniques.

Though diverse, all the Faculty’s departments, institutes and centres specialise in combining the analysis and rigour of science with a spark of innovation and practicality, to change the world.

2.3.Key members of staff and general contacts within the department and faculty

2.3.1Senior staff

Departmental senior management

  • Prof John Shawe-Taylor
  • Head of Department
MPEB, Room 5.14
  • Prof Steve Hailes
  • Deputy Head of Department
66-72 Gower Street, Room 5.06
  • Prof Yvonne Rogers
  • Deputy Head of Department
66-72 Gower Street, Room 2.13
  • Prof Anthony Steed
  • Deputy Head of Department
66-72 Gower Street, Room 4.13

Faculty senior management

  • Prof Nigel Titchener-Hooker
  • Executive Dean
Engineering Front Building
  • Ms Sara Collins
  • Faculty Manager
Engineering Front Building
  • Dr Simon Banks
  • Faculty Tutor
Engineering Front Building, Room 2.02

2.3.2Programme staff

Programme-specific support is available from a range of staff related to the programme. A detailed list of roles and responsibilities is given in Section 3: Departmental staff related to programmes, and teaching and learning contact details are available via www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/people/.

All Programme Directors and Module Leaders will keep an office hour during term time and over the examination period. Students are very welcome to drop in on staff during their office hours if there is anything they would like to discuss.

Programme Administrator

The Programme Administrator (based in the Teaching and Learning Office, MPEB 5.22) can help with a wide range of issues and is often the best person to speak to in the first instance. Students are welcome to email, telephone, or come to speak with a member of the team in person, and with no appointment needed.

The Teaching and Learning Office is usually open Monday to Friday from 09:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:00.

Module Leader

For any issues relating to a specific module, students should usually contact either the relevant lecturer or the Module Leader in the first instance.

Programme Director

Students are always free to contact their Programme Director for advice on academic issues or any other matters relating to their studies. Academic staff often teach on multiple modules and/ or have a range of responsibilities that take them away from their offices, so it is often advisable to email – either to get a prompt resolution or to arrange an appointment.

Departmental Tutor

The Departmental Tutor can provide advice and guidance on a range of academic and pastoral issues.

2.3.3General support

The Reception Desk and Departmental Office, located in the Malet Place Engineering Building (MPEB) room 5.17, provide students with access to face-to-face advice on many issues relating to the day-to-day running of the department, and can direct students to the most appropriate point of contact to help resolve their query. No appointment is necessary.

The Departmental Office is usually open Monday to Friday from 09:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:00. There are occasions where the office has to close for meetings, training, or staff absence, in which case students should instead seek assistance from the Teaching and Learning Team in room 5.22.

2.3.4Support and welfare

UCL provides a range of support services to students, including for general welfare issues, equality and diversity, specific support for disabled students and for those who are facing emotional and psychological problems, crisis support, and advice on financial matters and accommodation. Details of these services and how to access them are given in Section 14: Welfare and support.

Further information: