Undergraduate degree course in Computer Science MSci I101:
During this course you will learn about all kinds of computational systems, their theory, design, development and application. This includes programming languages, software engineering, artificial intelligence, operating systems, databases, nature-inspired computation, concurrent computing, robotics and the theory of computation. The degree incorporates concepts from fields as diverse as mathematics, engineering, linguistics and psychology.
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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Professor Andrew Howes
School of Computer Science
“A key part of Computer Science is building software with which people can interact. Social media and mobile computing require computer scientists to understand not only the technology but also how people think and communicate. Trained to think rigorously about algorithms and process, you will possess one of the key skills required in industry, commerce and academia. ”
The MSci in Computer Science is a four year single honours degree programme. Following the first two years, where course content is the same as the BSc Computer Science, in their third year students spend a quarter of their time on a project. In their fourth year students have the unique opportunity to select modules from the School’s portfolio of Masters programmes and even to specialise in a particular field at Masters level. In their final year, students undertake an in-depth software project.
The course is designed to provide thorough coverage of Computer Science’s core areas giving students a systematic grounding in both the theoretical underpinnings of the discipline and practical software development.
Through compulsory and optional modules you will gain a firm foundation in the principles of algorithms, artificial intelligence, software engineering and relevant mathematics. You also learn in-depth computer programming in Java – a language widely used in business.
You progress to studying enabling technologies such as databases, graphics and the formal basis of programming languages. These are taught in conjunction with programming which gives you a much deeper understanding through the implementation of techniques. As part of a team you produce software, and learn new styles of programming in Java and a second language from a different programming language paradigm. You also select modules from a range of options which cover core computer science, programming languages and artificial intelligence. .
You are able to pick eight modules from a wide selection. You may choose to study subjects relevant to industry, for example computer networks, distributed systems or commercial programming. Alternatively you may prefer to focus on current research in areas such as evolutionary computation, neural computation, intelligent robotics and natural language technologies.
One third of your time will be devoted to a project which will give you the opportunity to write a large piece of software and to apply the computing skills you have acquired so far.
In the final year modules from our range of Masters programmes will be open to you. You will also undertake a much more in-depth software project. Your choice of modules alongside your choice of project will allow you to specialise in a field such as Computer Security, Human Computer Interaction, Robotics or Natural Computation.
On completion of the course, in addition to holding a Masters level qualification, students will be well-equipped for a career as a Computer Science professional. They will also have developed transferable skills in numeracy, problem solving, team-working, general communication, and information technology. The MSci Computer Science can be taken with a year in industry or a year abroad.
Meet the robots:
Computer Science is a dynamic discipline. What began with the curiosity of only a handful of academics has blossomed into a field with an impact on our lives that would have astonished most of the pioneers. In the past 50 years computers have contributed to numerous advances in almost every field, and Computer Science now provides the foundations for the information processing and communication systems that are at the heart of today's world. Future changes in computing and communications technologies will depend on advances in this science and the rate of progress shows no signs of slowing down.
At the University of Birmingham, you'll benefit from an industry-informed curriculum that is accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET). You'll have the opportunity to develop a high level of practical skills and build specialist knowledge in applied computer science, with the flexibility to follow your own interests through the choice of optional modules.
Some of our undergraduate degree programmes are available with a Year in Industry; an excellent opportunity to supplement your studies with paid work in the real world, and many of our students go on to work for their year-out employers after graduating; an excellent opportunity to supplement your studies with paid work in the real world, and many of our students go on to work for their year-out employers after graduating.
The University of Birmingham is world-renowned for the quality of its research and we're home to a number of centres of excellence, including:
Cercia, working at the cutting-edge of Computational Intelligence (CI) research
The Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics (CN-CR), which combines research on human cognition, sensory and motor systems, and computational modelling with research on robotic systems, leading towards a better understanding of both brain function and advanced robotics.
The Human-Computer Interaction Research Centre, which leads the development of our understanding on how people interact with technologies, and how one transforms the othe
- Data Structures and Algorithms (20 credits)
- Artificial Intelligence (20 credits)
- Logic and Computation (20 credits)
- Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science (20 credits)
- Programming in Java (20 credits)
- Fundamentals of Programming in Java (20 credits) - Compulsory for those without Grade A in A level computing
- Widening Horizons Module (20 credits) - Compulsory for those with Grade A in A Level Computing
- 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 (20 credits)
Choose 120 credits of optional modules listed 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)
- Computer Science Masters Project (60 credits)
Choose 60 credits of optional modules listed below:
- Advanced Networking (Extended) (20 credits)
- Advanced Robotics (20 credits)
- Complex Adaptive Systems (Extended) (20 credits)
- Computer-Aided Verification (Extended) (20 credits)
- Computer Graphics (Extended) (20 credits)
- Computer Vision and Imaging (Extended) (20 credits)
- Cryptography (10 credits)*
- Evaluation Methods and Statistics (10 credits)*
- Human-Computer Interaction (Extended) (20 credits)
- Individual Study (Extended) (20 credits)
- Intelligent Robotics (Extended) (20 credits)
- Language and Cognition (Extended) (20 credits)
- Machine Learning and Intelligent Data Analysis (Extended) (20 credits)
- Programming Language Principles, Design and Implementation (Extended) (20 credits)
- Research Topics in Human-Computer Interaction (10 credits)*
- Robot Vision (20 credits)
- Secure Programming (10 credits)*
- Security of Real-World Systems (Extended) (20 credits)
- Security Research Seminar (10 credits)*
- Teaching Computer Science in Schools (Extended) (20 credits)
- Theoretical Foundations for Security (Extended) (20 credits)
* Current specialist MSc modules included for an indication of content. Actual modules may change.
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:
- 2018 entry: A*AA with A level Mathematics grade A
- Required subjects and grades:
- A level Mathematics grade A for 2018 entry. 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:
2018 entry: 7, 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)
- It is desirable, but not essential, to have some experience of writing computer programs.
- Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.
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.