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university of birmingham computer science overview
Our Computer Science Masters/MSc 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 through a series of compulsory 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.
Students with a computing degree cannot be considered for this course and should apply instead for the MSc Advanced Computer Science programme.
Why study Computer Science Masters/MSc at Birmingham?
- 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.
- 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 Intelligent Robotics and Computer Vision
- 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)
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
Our Standard Requirements
2:1 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. For more information on the gathered field process, please see our how to apply section.
Please note that we are operating a staged admissions process for this programme as it is very competitive, and as such this is the minimum entry requirement. For more information on the gathered field process, please see our how to apply section.
For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications are required:
- IELTS: 6.5 overall, with 5.5 minimum band score;
- TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing;
- PTE Academic: Academic 67 overall with no less than 59 in all four skills.
Your first year and second year are comprised of compulsory computer science subjects, and you’ll receive a comprehensive education in fundamental, relevant subjects. You’ll be given an overview of the subject and gain a firm foundation in the principles of algorithms, artificial intelligence, software engineering and relevant maths. You’ll also learn computer programming in Java – a language widely used in business and industry.
university of birmingham computer science modules
- Artificial Intelligence 1 (20 credits)
- Data Structures and Algorithms (20 credits)
- Theories of Computation (20 credits)
- Mathematical and Logical Foundations of Computer Science (20 credits)
- Object Oriented Programming (20 credits)
- Full Stack Application Development (20 credits)
You’ll move on to study more fundamental subjects in computer science, including enabling technologies such as databases, graphics and the formal basis of programming languages. Teaching these together with programming allows you to put the theory into practice, giving you a much deeper understanding. You’ll also learn to work in a team to produce software, and you’ll learn new styles of programming in Java and a second language.
- Functional Programming (20 credits)
- Security and Networks (20 credits)
- Software Engineering and Professional Practice (20 credits)
- Systems Programming in C/C++ (20 credits)
- Team Project (20 credits)
- Artificial Intelligence 2 (20 credits)
In your final year you’ve got a huge amount of choice so you really can tailor the degree to your ambitions and interests. You’ll spend one third of your time on a project, either developed from your own idea or from a wide selection offered by staff members. This usually involves writing a large piece of software and gives you the freedom to extend and demonstrate your skills in your own way.
In the other two thirds of your time, you can choose freely from over 20 optional modules, including practical subjects such as operating systems, computer networks and graphics, and some of the latest research in areas such as evolutionary computation, neural computation, intelligent robotics and natural language technologies. Some modules allow you to gain further programming skills in specialised areas such as systems programming in C and C++.
- Computer Science Project (40 credits)
Choose 80 credits of optional modules, examples listed below:
- Advanced Networking (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)
- 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)
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 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to core modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
university of birmingham computer science msc
Annual tuition fees 2021/22
- £9,250 – UK
- £23,400 – International
Visit our tuition fees page for more information.
At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.
- we offer a range of scholarships and awards for Computer Science students.
- the University also offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of other bursaries, grants and scholarships.
Tuition fees for placement years (where applicable)
There is a reduced tuition fee for the academic year spent in industry or whilst studying abroad (where available). Fee information and further clarification is available on the University fees and funding page.
How To Apply
Apply through the UCAS website using code G400.
UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
View advice on how to apply for undergraduate courses.
A dynamic, fast-moving sector that offers exciting careers and excellent rewards.
The term computing covers every kind of digital technology that we use to create, store, communicate, exchange and use information. This makes it the foundation for small and large businesses to build their strategies and grow. It is also the key to making our personal lives easier and more fun: mobile phones, online shopping, social media – we owe them all and a lot more to computer science.
What can I do with a postgraduate degree in Computer Science?
Our graduates find themselves in a variety of environments within academia, research, industry, government and private organisations. The following is a short list of research and vocational areas:
- Software Engineering: developing methods for producing software systems on time, within budget and with few or no defects
- Software Applications: applying computing and technology to solving problems outside the computer field, eg, in education or medicine
- Computer/Cyber Security: covers all the processes and mechanisms by which computer-based equipment, information and services are protected from unintended and unauthorised access, change or destruction
- Artificial Intelligence: developing computers that simulate human learning and reasoning ability
- Information Technology: developing and managing information systems that support a business or organisation
- Theoretical Computer Science: investigating the fundamental theories of how computers solve problems and applying the results to other areas of computer science
- Operating Systems and Networks: developing the basic software computers use to organise themselves or to communicate with other computers
Where can I work?
You could join a technology consultancy firm like Accenture, PwC, CHP Consulting, LogicaCMG, BAE Systems, PA Consulting or Capgemini, or one of the global IT giants, such as Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Cisco Systems and Apple, amongst many others.
There are a huge number of IT-focused UK companies, not to mention opportunities in investment, retail banking and financial computing and analytics (such as Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Bank of England, Bank of America, HSBC, Barclays, RBS); telecommunications companies (such as BT, Vodafone, Orange, AT&T); IT for retail businesses (such as eBay, Amazon, Tesco, Argos, Expedia) and public sector organisations (such as NHS, GCHQ, Home Office).
Some students choose careers in teaching, research or technology development at universities both in the UK and overseas. There is a great deal of potential for postgraduates looking to put their computing skills to good use.
What does the future hold?
Your career prospects are great and computing graduates with a good degree are in demand. Plus, with the number of computer science graduates from the UK diminishing at the same time as jobs are increasing, students with a postgraduate degree have an excellent chance of securing employment.