Computer Science Masters/MSc

The MSc Computer Science is a Masters degree course for students who have a first degree in a subject other than computing.

Established in 1969, it is now the longest-running conversion programme to computing in the UK. It is designed to give you a grounding in both the fundamentals of computer science and practical software development skills, and opens the
door to exciting new career opportunities in computer science and information technology.

Students with a computing degree cannot be considered for this course and should apply instead for the MSc Advanced Computer Science programme.

Owen Davies

Owen Davies

MSc Computer Science, 2011

“The MSc was an excellent blend of practical programming skills with theoretical background. The best thing about my current job is the problem solving aspect of programming, the excitement of figuring out the answer to the problem you've been banging your head against.”

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 with a choice of in-depth optional modules. Students from all backgrounds are welcome to apply. Competency should be demonstrated in mathematics and scientific subjects, for example at 'advanced' high school level, which should allow understanding of the new Computer Science subjects.

The core components of this degree course are a software workshop, taught modules and a summer project. The software workshop involves two terms of intensive training in Java programming, including lectures, supervised laboratory work and small-group tutorials. 

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 you can suggest your own project, providing it is appropriate.

Students join this programme from a wide range of first degrees, from the technical and scientific to the social sciences and humanities. Graduates of this degree are highly sought after by employers due to the special knowledge, expertise and skills acquired.

Why study this course

Birmingham is one of the leading universities in the country for postgraduate study in computer science, and we are proud to deliver outstanding programmes that offer a range of exciting career opportunities for students from around the world.

Why choose Birmingham?

  • State-of-the-art, multi-million-pound facilities include dedicated laboratories for Computer Science students, a teaching laboratory for Robotics, and research laboratories for Security, Medical Imaging and Intelligent Robotics
  • We are a partner in The Alan Turing Institute, the UK's national institute for data science and artificial intelligence
  • Our Security and Privacy Group is recognised as an EPSRC/GCHQ Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research and we have a strong collaboration with the Centre for Computational Biology (CCB)
  • The University is home to the Centre of Excellence for Research in Computational Intelligence and Applications (CERCIA), The Human-Computer Interaction Centre (HCI), and the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics (CNCR)
  • Our teaching is consistently ranked highly in all reputable league tables and guides and we have the highest possible rating from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
  • We are ranked 8th in the UK for research, as measured by the combined volume and quality of our research (research intensity)

Award-winning development

At the School of Computer Science we are not just renowned for teaching and research excellence. We also produce novel solutions for real-world applications, including:

  • Working with Jaguar Land Rover to make their vehicles more secure
  • Contributing to the development of the Trusted Platform Module which makes many of our computers capable of secure cryptographic operations
  • Deploying autonomous, intelligent robots in security and health support facilities
  • Developing a revolutionary, award-winning method for diagnosing skin cancer


The course consists of 180 credits. As well as your core modules, you will choose two optional modules. 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.

Compulsory modules

Optional modules:

20 credits must be chosen, example of optional modules are listed below:

  • Software Engineering 1 (extended)- 10 credits
  • Software Engineering 2 (extended) - 10 credits
  • Cryptography - 10 credits
  • Evaluation Methods and Statistics - 10 credits
  • Intelligent Data Analysis (Extended) - 10 credits
  • Neural Computation (Extended)  - 10 credits
  • Machine Learning (Extended)  - 10 credits

For further information, including any pre-requisite knowledge, please visit the Computer Science website.

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

  • UK/EU students: £9,540
  • International students: £22,500

Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.

Contact the department for further information.

For further information about scholarships for our postgraduate taught programmes visit

For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the website.

Entry requirements

2:2 Honours degree in any subject other than computing. Students who have not studied in English must pass a recognised English test. Learn more about entry requirements

International students:

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about  international entry requirements

English language

For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications are required:

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall, with 5.5 minimum band score
  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • PTE Academic: 51 in all four skills

Further information about postgraduate English language requirements, including alternative qualifications considered and Pre-Sessional English.

How to apply

International applicants

Please note that applications to this programme from students who are international for fees will close at midnight on 02 June 2019. Any applications that have already been submitted before 03 June will considered as normal. 

Places are still available for the MSc Computer Science programme at our Dubai Campus. Please visit this page to find out about the programme and make an application.

Applications will reopen for 2020 in October 2019. We will close applications as soon as the programme is full, early applications are encouraged.

UK/EU applicants

The application deadline is Thursday 12 September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2020 on Monday 30 September 2019.

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The core components of this degree course are a software workshop, taught modules and a summer project. The software workshop involves two terms of intensive training in Java programming, including lectures, supervised laboratory work and small-group tutorials. 

  • The Software Workshop module is currently assessed by assignments in the practical sessions, team project and 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.

Many students graduating from this programme move into a wide variety of roles within industry and commerce.
Others use their new computing skills to start their own companies, enhance their employment prospects in work related
to their first degree or decide to pursue further study in the field.

Alumnus Brian talks about the MSc Computer Science

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.