This four-year programme has a student satisfaction rating of 90%.
Software engineering now impacts on a wide range of human activity. For example, the increasing use of robotics in surgery relies on the use of computer vision techniques to understand images of internal organs as well as to control the surgeon’s tools. Other areas include air traffic control systems, cryptographic systems for banking, satellite control for telecommunications, and of course, the internet.
Software engineering is concerned with how to build the very large software systems that are used throughout commerce and industry. Software engineers are the professionals behind this industry. As a software engineer you would lead the development of these very large systems so that they are delivered on time, within budget, and are both reliable and maintainable. Software engineering covers not only the technical aspects of building these software systems, but also management and teamwork skills.
In this degree, you learn all the fundamentals of computer science, with an emphasis on the skills required for successful software engineers. Graduates from the MEng programme are expected to be the future leaders of the IT industry so you must be academically strong. In a typical year, 30% of our MEng students graduate with first-class Honours.
The first year provides a thorough coverage of the fundamentals of computing: mathematics for computer science, algorithms, data structures and grounding in object-oriented programming using Java, which is widely used in industry. You will also have an introduction to the basic themes of large software systems, and work on a team project.
In the second year you study databases, graphics, and human–computer interfaces. Our approach is to teach these in conjunction with further work on object-orientated programming. This allows you to gain a much deeper understanding of the techniques involved by implementing them yourself. You also take comprehensive courses in software engineering, computer architecture, logic, and the mathematical theory of computation. You learn how to use complex software tools and to work effectively in a team.
You must perform well academically in the first two years to progress to the MEng stream of the degree. At the end of the second year students who will progress to the full MEng enter a separate, specially designed, third-year programme of study.
In the third year of the MEng you study the principles of advanced databases, work on a larger team project and select four options from a choice of around 20. These include: Computer Networks; Imaging and Visualisation; Operating Systems; Virtual Reality; and Intelligent Robotics. BEng students work on their final degree project. Both groups study issues in commercial programming and select options from the wide range available.
Fourth year (MEng)
In the fourth year of the MEng you study the design of safety-critical systems, such as fly-by-wire systems for aircraft control, and learn how to manage the quality of large software projects. You also spend half your time on your degree project, which is typically based on a large piece of software you have produced.
School of Computer Science website: www.cs.bham.ac.uk