MSc Computer Science

The MSc Computer Science is a generalist masters programme. The programme is in three parts; a compulsory element covering the basic computer science; an optional element where you choose three courses according to your own interests from an options list; and finally a substantial individual project which is carried out full time after the examinations which are taken at the start of the summer term.

For the MSc Computer Science we normally require a minimum of a second-class Honours degree from a UK university in a subject other than computer science or information technology, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. A level Mathematics or its equivalent is also a requirement. We also ask applicants to show some proof of basic programming either as a module taken in their previous degree or 1-3 pages of a programme written by the applicant on their own, with a description this can be submitted with the application or produced at the Admissions Tutor request.

The compulsory element is divided into five courses. These develop knowledge and skills in programming using Java; topics relating to software design - principally how software is engineered, human computer interaction, and advanced programming techniques; a course on software architecture and hardware; a course on software systems infrastructure which gives an introduction to operating systems, middleware, compilers and database systems; and finally an algorithmics course which covers the practical and theoretical aspects of data structures and algorithms.

Four of the compulsory courses from the basis element are studied during the autumn term, the algorithmics course and your three option selections are studied during the spring term. The collection of options is varied slightly from year to year, however there are usually at least ten options from which to make your selection. They cover a good range of computer science topics including communications and networks, image processing, graphics, artificial intelligence including neural networks, and medical scientific computing. It is also possible to pursue some of the topics covered in the basic courses in more depth, for example database systems, interaction design, software engineering and alternative programming paradigms. Depending on your motivation for taking the course and your career plans you may like to follow options in project management or business and entrepreneurship.

After the examinations you will work full time on your individual project under the guidance of an academic supervisor. Projects are negotiated with staff during the spring term based on a list of published project topics. You can start work on your project as soon as you have come to an agreement with a supervisor, other study priorities permitting. 

The MSc Computer Science degree is, by nature, a very intensive programme of study. You will have to work hard, often with each other, to keep up with the pace of delivery. Most students find the first term in particular a great challenge, although not always for the same reasons. If you do feel under pressure, you can be confident that you are not alone in this, so do talk to your colleagues and your tutor about your work. You may find it reassuring to know that at the end of the year the overwhelming majority of students feel that their efforts and the very real substantial investments that they and often their families have made to enable them to take the course have been very worthwhile.