Computer scientists design and create search-engines, social networking applications, software applications used in the financial world to map customer profiles and expose credit card fraud, and software applications used in the medical sector to identify cancers through the analysis of medical images.
At a deeper scientific/mathematical level, we look at the theory underpinning complex algorithms, or the difficulty of implementing solutions to complex problems in a provably reliable way. At the engineering level, we ensure that complex systems are built to appropriate standards, are properly tested and run efficiently. Then at the human level, we ensure that applications are easy to learn and use and are well matched to functional expectations.
At Birmingham, we have world-leading research in terms of originality, significance and rigour. We provide specialist teaching and are committed to supporting our graduates in establishing their careers.
The School of Computer Science is committed to the student experience, offering student alumni mentoring, a dedicated welfare team and a dedicated careers and employability officer. We're keen to welcome you to our friendly, inclusive and multi-faceted School.
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BSc Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science with Industrial Year
“I have been fascinated in computers and electronics from an early age, and with the pace technology changes at, I find it a very interesting field. I made the decision to study at the University of Birmingham after attending an Open Day and speaking to the current academic staff and students. Since graduating, I have secured a place with Goldman Sachs International, where I work as a Technical Analyst. ”
Artificial intelligence is the science of giving computers human-like intelligence. It is a multidisciplinary field that draws on ideas from computing, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, mathematics and linguistics. This degree programme focuses particularly on the contribution of computing to artificial intelligence and, as a result, it aims to give you all the computing skills you need to enter industry, while also allowing you to acquire scientific skills in order to develop leading edge technologies in, for instance natural language-based technologies, computer vision and robotics.
In this year you learn about theories of mind and techniques for generating intelligent behaviour. These include understanding human language and logic, techniques for game playing, expert systems for medical diagnosis, and many others. You experiment with the techniques by implementing them as computer programs. You meet weekly with your tutor, write essays and discuss major AI issues with other students in a small group setting.
In the Computer Science part of your degree you will gain a firm foundation in the principles of algorithms, artificial intelligence, software engineering and relevant mathematics. You also learn computer programming in Java – a language widely used in business and industry. The module on Robot Programming introduces you to some important ideas that underpin intelligent robotics and includes group work as part of our commitment to preparing you for the world of work.
In the second year you take more advanced modules in specific areas of AI, including an Introduction to Natural Computation, Machine Learning, Computer Vision and Natural Language Understanding. You learn an AI programming language, and take core Computer Science modules in which you will apply your Java skills to building systems involving databases, graphics and human–computer interaction. You will also study the principles underpinning computer architectures and operating systems. These modules will give you all the skills you need to carry out your final-year project.
Third year – Year in Industry
We encourage our students to gain as much real world experience as they can during their studies. The University has strong links with a number of employers offering internships or formal placements that can range from two months over the summer vacation to a full sandwich year as part of your degree course. The college internship officer and industrial liaison tutor supports students to find work placements. We also have a vacancy database with over 2000 graduate job vacancies and internship opportunities targeted towards University of Birmingham students each year. Please visit our website for more information about the Year in Industry.
In the final year you have enormous freedom of choice. One third of your time is spent on a project which can be chosen from a wide selection offered by staff members, or developed from your own idea. This usually involves writing a large piece of software and gives you the freedom to extend and demonstrate your skills in a manner of your choosing. In the other two-thirds of your time, you can choose freely from over 20 optional modules, including some specialist AI modules such as Intelligent Robotics, Neural Computation and Advanced Natural Language Processing. You can choose to specialise in Computer Science or AI, or take a mixture of modules from both themes.
Meet the robots:
Understanding the nature of intelligence is one of the scientific challenges of the 21st century. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a fascinating subject in which you build intelligent machines and study the nature of the mind. This is especially relevant in today’s world because many cutting-edge applications need to benefit from systems that perform tasks which normally require human intelligence. Good examples of this is creating realistic characters in computer games, or in making robots that can adapt to their environment.
From a scientific viewpoint, artificial intelligence is a multidisciplinary field that connects with computing, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, mathematics and linguistics. As a result, this degree programme will give you all the computing skills you need to enter industry, while also allowing you to acquire scientific skills in order to pursue research.
We are one of the leading centres for AI teaching and research in Europe, which enables us to offer an unusually rich and innovative programme for undergraduate study. You will benefit from a dedicated robotics and vision laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment where you can work on practical exercises and projects.
Examples of AI technologies include:
- Neural networks simulate the work of neurons in the brain
- Natural language processing aims to produce computer systems that can understand both the meaning of language input and the emotions being communicated, for instance in providing customer feedback systems
- Theorem provers allow computers to solve mathematical problems and discover new mathematical concepts
- Artificial Intelligence (20 credits)
- Data Structures and Algorithms (20 credits)
- Logic and Computation (20 credits)
- Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (20 credits)
- Programming in Java (20 credits) *1
- Fundamentals of Programming in Java (40 credits) *2
- Widening Horizons Module (20 credits) *1
*1 - compulsory for those with Grade A in A level Computing
*2 - compulsory for those without Grade A in A level Computing (to replace Programme in Java and the Widening Horizons module - 40 credits)
- Advanced Functional Programming (20 credits)
- Mathematical Modelling and Decision Making (20 credits)
- Security and Networks (20 credits)
- Software Engineering (20 credits)
- Systems Programming in C/C++ (20 credits)
- Team Project (Artificial Intelligence)
Computer Science Industrial Placement (120 credits).
In order to proceed to Year 3 (the industrial year), students must:
- Not have any modules to repeat during the year. If they have resit examinations, they must arrange for time off to take these.
- Have found a company willing to provide a placement which meets the School's requirements, which include providing an Industrial Tutor. The placement must involve a component of skills training (approximately 40%) and technical project work (approximately 60%). The skills training can include formal taught and/or self study courses and apprenticeship style learning "on the job". The training and project work must be of a technical nature relevant to the degree programme. The project work will most typically involve programming but other types of project work are acceptable.
- Students who do not meet the academic requirements or cannot find a suitable industrial placement will transfer to the degree programme without the Year in Industry component.
- A student who fails the Industrial Studies module will be permitted to transfer to the degree programme without the Year in Industry component.
- Computer Science Project (40 credits)
80 credits from the range of modules below. Please note that 60 to 80 credits must be taken in Complex Adaptive Systems, Intelligent Robotics, Language and Cognition and Machine Learning and Intelligent Data Analysis. Any remaining credits can be chosen from the others below:
- Advanced Networking (20 credits)
- Complex Adaptive Systems (20 credits)
- Computer Graphics (20 credits)
- Computer Vision and Imaging (20 credits)
- Computer-Aided Verification (20 credits)
- Human-Computer Interaction (20 credits)
- Individual Study (20 credits)
- Intelligent Robotics (20 credits)
- Language and Cognition (20 credits)
- Machine Learning and Intelligent Data Analysis (20 credits)
- Programming Language Principles, Design, and Implementation (20 credits)
- Security of Real-World Systems (20 credits)
- Teaching Computing in Schools (20 credits)
- Theoretical Foundations for Security (20 credits)
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. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2018. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- AAA with A level Mathematics grade A
- Required subjects and grades:
- A level Mathematics grade A. If you are taking any reformed science A levels, which include Biology, Chemistry and Physics taught from 2015, you must pass the practical element.
General Studies or Critical Thinking not accepted.
International Baccalaureate Diploma:
6, 6, 6 required at Higher Level (including 6 in Mathematics), with a minimum of 32 points overall. We also require 5 in Standard Level English.
BTEC Extended Diploma/Diploma qualifications will only be considered if accompanied by A level Mathematics.
- BSc; D*D* plus A-level Maths at grade A.
- MSci; D*D* plus A-level Maths at Grade A*
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma will be considered in combination with 2 A levels including Mathematics.
- BSc; D* plus A-level AA.
- MSci; D* D* plus A-level A*A.
The BTEC Extended Diploma alone will be considered for our Physical Sciences Foundation Year programme (DDD required)
Please note: typical offer grades are for guidance only, other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.
It is desirable, but not essential, to have some experience of writing computer programs. Please note that Access qualifications are not suitable for this programme
Standard English language requirements apply, learn more about
international entry requirements.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.
Key Information Set (KIS)
Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.
The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.
The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.
You will be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.You can find out more about the members of staff in the School of Computer Science here where you can read about their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest.
What you can expect
Depending on the programme, the modules you select, and the number of optional
help sessions you choose to take part in, each week you will have between:
Year 1: 15 and 25 hours of lectures, labs and tutorials, with lecturers available
to provide additional help outside those hours. During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into University. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.
Year 2: 13 and 22 hours of lectures, labs and tutorials, with lecturers available
to provide additional help outside thos hours.
Year 3: 9 and 20 hours of lectures, labs and tutorials, with lecturers available
to provide additional help outside those hours.
Year 4 - MEng programmes only: 7 and 18 hours of lectures, labs and tutorials, with lecturers available
to provide additional help outside those hours.
Please note the above data is based on the most common module
selections for the each year group and does not include hours for self-study.
This data does not include modules taken during a Study Abroad.
How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you are joining the academic elite and have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in the field of computer science. Throughout your studies, you'll be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, thriving on challenge and opportunities to think for yourself.
At the start of your degree, you'll be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues.
Laboratory-based work is an integral part of our Computer Science degree programme, vital to develop your experimental practical skills and to reinforce concepts introduced in lectures or to explore a particular phenomenon. First-year practical sessions typically last for four hours and increase in length in subsequent years so that you can study more advanced concepts and work more independently.
Lectures take place in our theatres which, as well as the traditional whiteboard and pen, are equipped with the latest technology, including facilities to show movies, animations and molecular graphics, to record lectures and to interact with 'ask the audience' style electronic voting systems.
Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is a group activity which requires you to work in a team, with a variety of assessment methods; in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. Based on techniques used in research-led organisations like the University of Birmingham, EBL gives you a research-orientated approach to a problem and helps you to gain essential skills that are highly valued by employers.
Each module is assessed independently with all containing some components of continuous assessment, which usually accounts for about a fifth to a third of your marks. Some modules are completely assessed by coursework. Assessment methods include end-of-year examinations in May and June, written assignments, oral and poster presentations, computer-based tests, marked exercises, and laboratory and project reports.
During your first year you will undergo a formal 'transition' review to see how you are getting on and whether there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your School or Department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.
Feedback is an essential part of learning and we use a wide range of methods, such as written feedback on your assessments, class feedback sessions and discussions with your tutor. You'll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, highlighting the positives of your work as well as any areas that need more attention. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you fail an exam we will ensure that you receive particularly detailed feedback to enable you to learn for the future.
The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survy 2015/16 shows that 94% of our graduates are in graduate-level employment or further study six months after graduation.
Preparing for your career is one of the first things you need to think about when you start university. Our Computer Science graduates can choose from a huge variety of career opportunities, including working with one of the global technology giants, or in other areas of industry and technology. But you'll also be highly sought after by employers in the fields of finance, business, government, teaching and research.
At the University of Birmingham, we also enhance your employability with superb opportunities to gain industry experience, assisting you to secure mentoring opportunities, global internships and placements, from summer jobs to spending a whole year in industry between your second and final study years. This placement year is a chance to earn money and gain real-life experience, allowing you to get involved in serious projects and put into practice the skills and knowledge gained from your degree. It's a great chance to prove your worth and placements often lead to sponsorship and/or the offer of a graduate job.
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. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Career destinations of previous graduates include:
The graduate employment market is competitive, many employers require evidence of employability or being ready for the world of work.
Internships represent a great way for you to gain experience of the workplace. They also offer employers the opportunity of clarifying what they are looking for and perhaps even assessing interns for future employment.
We offer our students the opportunity of internship placements during their time at Birmingham.
The video below talks to students, staff and employers about their internship experience:
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.
If you make the most of the wide range of services
you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Visit the careers section of the University website for further information.
Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.
Clubs and societies
The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.
Science Society aims to provide a wide range of social and careers
activities to enable you to take time out from studying and relax in a friendly
atmosphere. You may
also be interested in the Autonomous
Robotic Club and the Robotics
Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.
The City of Birmingham
One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.
Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.