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Durham University

Computer Science

Welcome to New Students

'Congratulations on gaining a place at Computer Science! You are joining Durham Computer Science at such an exciting time.'

Professor Gordon Love, Head of Department

This is a really exciting time to be studying Computer Science. At Durham we are growing our Department and the opportunities this affords to students.

It’s also an exciting time for Computer Science as a discipline - with graduates being much in demand and research in Computer Science covering some of key topics of our time.

I’d like to warmly welcome you to both Durham, and to being a Computer Scientist. Enjoy your studies, enjoy the many other activities that are on offer at University, and enjoy Durham!


Online Enrolment

Students must enrol and register for their modules. Detailed information and guidance can be found in the Student Registry pages to guide you through this process.

Please read this information carefully.

Induction Week

Induction Week 2020 starts on Monday 28 September 2020.

Attendance at all department-based activities is compulsory. Use the University Induction Week timetable to plan your week's activities. All students should select Level of study as "Undergraduate Single Honours".

Please note that teaching starts on Monday 05 October 2020.

Module Registration

Module registration is a two stage process which includes the selection of module(s) and approval of module(s).

The first stage is where you confirm your programme of study and choose your elective modules. The second stage of the process is where department(s) approve your choice of modules.

More information on module registration can be found in the Student Registry Modules section.

Read important registration instructions and advice below.

More Information about Induction Week

Induction talks are compulsory. They will be delivered online via Zoom, starting on Monday 28 September at 15:30. Detailed information about departmental induction events can be found in the Welcome Pack.


Your personal planner and further information can be found here.

Please ensure you make regular checks for updates to your induction timetable.

Registration instruction and advice

We expect all students in the Department to register online, via the Student Enrolment System on DUO.. Further useful registration information can be found on the Student Registry.. Every single honours Computer Science student must take a total of six modules in the first year. For all, there are five compulsory Computer Science modules. Four of them are common
  • COMP1021 Mathematics for Computer Science,
  • COMP1051 Computational Thinking,
  • COMP1071 Computer Systems,
  • COMP1081 Algorithms and Data Structures.
The fifth compulsory module must be chosen from
  • COMP1101 Programming (Black)
  • COMP1111 Programming (Gold)
You cannot take both of these modules, you must choose one of them. Those with A-level Computing or equivalent substantial computing experience should take Black, and those that do not should take Gold, but the decision is up to you. Both Black and Gold routes have the same basic content, but the Black route covers it within the first term, whereas Gold covers it over two terms. The first term assignment in Black is equivalent to the second term assignment in Gold, both covering client-side and server-side scripting in JavaScript. The first assignment in Gold covers only client-side scripting. The second assignment in Black requires students to choose an area in which they wish to develop and apply their skills (e.g. in contributing to an open source project, hackathon or competition) and to record and reflect upon their progress. In the first week of term one, there will be an on-line diagnostic test for those who have registered for Black to help you choose the right module - it is possible to change module registration within the first few weeks. The sixth module (a so called elective) may be chosen freely from those on offer in any department provided, of course, there is no timetable clash and you have any pre-requisites required. You can choose only one elective module. You will need to make this decision before or very soon after your arrival. There is a wide variety of modules to choose from and we recommend you consider one of the following:-
  • choose a language module;
  • choose a module completely unconnected with Computer Science that you are interested in;
  • choose a module that is useful for Computer Science, such as Business or Management, Mathematics, Philosophy or Psychology.
A list of all available Level 1 modules and their details is given in the Faculty Handbook.. Be aware that not all modules can be chosen as an elective. For example, you cannot choose any module from this list such that
  • the module is ‘Tied’ to a particular programme (this is clearly marked), or
  • the module has another non-CS module as a co-requisite,
  • the module requires pre-requisites that you do not have, or
  • the module has one of CS modules as an excluded combination.
Note that you can only choose one of the following two Maths modules as an elective:
  • MATH1031 (Discrete Mathematics), or
  • MATH1561 (Single Mathematics A).
For example, MATH1571 (Single Mathematics B) is not available because it has a non-CS co-requisite, while MATH1551 (Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists) is not available because COMP1021 has it as an excluded combination. Note that Faculty Handbook entry for MATH1031 erroneously lists COMP1021 as an excluded combination, this module can in fact be chosen. An online timetable checker is also available for you to check module compatibility: first choose COMP and then input your compulsory CS modules and finally your preferred choice of elective module. If there is a lecture clash this will be displayed in red and you are unable to take that elective module. The HELP button provides much more information. Finally, it is very important to understand that you will have to pass your elective to stay on the Honours programme – take this into consideration when making your choice.

What you need to bring

Durham University has excellent computing facilities and there are numerous PCs available for use. However, we strongly recommend that you bring your own desktop or laptop - it does not matter whether it is a Mac or a PC, and no special software packages are required. See for more information about what IT support and software will be available to you at Durham. We do not want to put too great a burden on your finances by demanding that you buy vast numbers of books. All of the Colleges have libraries and the University Library has a well-stocked section on Computing. If you want to buy some of the course books before the beginning of the term you can consult our Year 1 Computer Science reading list, which is enclosed. However, it might be better for you not to rush out to buy the recommended books. During the first weeks of the course our lecturers will give you much more detailed advice on booklists and recommended reading and you will be able to make a more informed choice on which books, if any, you want to buy.

Pre-Arrival Checklist

You should have received the following information prior to your arrival:

  • Log-in details for DUO, so that you can regularly keep up to date with staff communication and select modules.
  • Freshers welcome pack: Welcome letter from Level 1 tutor Professor Andrei Krokhin, which will contain useful information.

If you have not received any of this information, then please contact Level 1 tutor Professor Andrei Krokhin, or telephone the Undergraduate Office: + 44 191 33 42526.

Thinking of joining the Computer Science Society?

The Computing Society exists for anyone interested in computers to get together.

The Society meets every Tuesday for a short talk and also runs other events such as LAN parties, workshops, trips to places such as Bletchley Park and various socials. It also supports computing efforts in the area, especially where open source software is involved.

Please feel free to get in touch with CompSoc at any point, all information will also be posted on the Fresher’s DUO page.