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G406 Computer Science MEng Undergraduate 2012


UCAS code G406
Degree MEng
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 4 years
Location Durham City
Typical offers A Level
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Related qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1751

Course Content


This new MEng degree has been specifically designed for students who wish to gain an encompassing education in Computer Science so that they might progress to, for example, careers in highly technical areas of the computing and software industry or careers in either academically-based or industry-based research and development. The first three years of the new MEng degree are in common with those of the BSc degrees, with MEng students then embarking on a more advanced fourth year.

Level 1

All students undertake five Computer Science modules, which cover programming, the characteristics of computers and computing systems, and the mathematical foundations of the subject. Students are also introduced to the concept and philosophy of computational thinking and explore cutting-edge technological applications of recent research. All students undertake an elective module, which may be from elsewhere within the School, Faculty or University. Students completing Level 1 will have had a thorough introduction to the fundamentals of Computer Science and to the principles, practices and methodologies that make Computer Science unique as a scientific subject. They will also have had a glimpse at aspects of Computer Science research that have enabled major technological advances in society.

Level 2

Students study six modules covering a core set of topics. One module involves a team software development project and enables students to work with external not-for-profit or voluntary organisations within the region and gain practical software development experience. Other core topics include, for example, computer networks, parallel and distributed computing, concurrency, data structures, algorithms, theory of computation, data compression, different programming paradigms, databases, systems programming, software engineering, human computer interaction, aspects of artificial intelligence, and computer graphics. The topics undertaken at Level 2 prepare students with an excellent grounding in a wide range of fundamental subjects within Computer Science, ready for subsequent specialisation in Levels 3 and 4. By the end of Level 2 all students are in a position to make informed judgements as to which particular aspects of the subject they might wish to focus on.

Level 3

A key element at Level 3 is the individual project (which is a double module). This is undertaken under the direct supervision of a member of staff and gives students the opportunity to tackle a specific computing task in much greater depth than is possible for other modules. At the end of the project, students write a technical paper describing their findings. Students are given a considerable amount of choice as to the subject of their projects; indeed, students can suggest specific projects themselves. In addition, all students get to choose the four other modules that they undertake at Level 3. A wide range of modules is offered (many reflecting current research interests of staff) covering a variety of aspects of, for example, theoretical computer science, software and software systems, computing methodologies, applications and contemporary computer science (with the latter topic engaging with modern research within Computer Science that is highly relevant to current technological advances and applications). There is also the opportunity to follow specific modules offered from elsewhere in the School and a module involving the teaching of Computer Science in schools, giving an early taste of teaching Computer Science to those interested in pursuing it as a career or on other career pathways where a public understanding of science is required.

Level 4

Students will again undertake a significant individual project (this time a triple module). This gives students the exciting opportunity to take their Level 3 projects even further, if they wish, possibly so that the resulting research might be published in a journal or at a conference, and possibly as a prelude to a postgraduate degree in Computer Science. However, for students who do not wish to continue with the topic of their Level 3 project, there is the opportunity to do another substantial piece of work in an entirely different area of Computer Science (again, of their choosing). Just as at Level 3, students get to choose the three other modules that they undertake at Level 4; again, just as at Level 3, there is a wide range of modules offered, including advanced versions of some of the Level 3 modules.

Teaching and assessment details

The degree programme consists of a mixture of lectures, practical application in the laboratories and tutorials. Lectures, supported by guided reading, provide the formal taught element of the programme. Lectures are used to introduce and explain concepts and technical details, while practical sessions provide the opportunity to assimilate these and explore their use. Practical sessions also provide valuable practical programming skills that have a very wide application. In the second year, tutorial sessions are used to help students work through example problems, and the team project forms a major self-learning element, monitored and guided by staff and third- and fourth-year students.

Assessment is mainly organised around coursework and examination. Coursework, ranging from producing technical reports through to writing programs, contributes approximately 40% of the overall assessment. The end-of-year examinations contribute the remaining 60%.

Study Abroad

We are part of the SOCRATES/ERASMUS programme, which encourages students to study for part of their course in a university of another EU country.

Students taking the European Studies variants of any of our degree programmes (this option not available on the MEng) will spend the third year studying at the other university, and then return to Durham for their final year.

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University's general entry requirements and the programme specific entry requirements above, please note:

We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. 

Grade B in Mathematics at GCSE or equivalent is required for all programmes.

We require a grade A in Mathematics at A-level for MEng.

We accept two AS-levels in place of one A-level.

If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multi-disciplinary programmes to prepare you for a range of specified degree programmes.

English Language requirements

IELTS 6.5 (no component under 6.0); TOEFL iBT 92 (no component under 23); Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) Grade C; or Cambridge Advanced (CAE) Grade A

Requirements and Admissions

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Fees have not been set for this academic year.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

School of Engineering and Computing Sciences (Computer Science)

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the very best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments and opportunities to explore college options they will provide a full experience of Durham University for any prospective undergraduates.

Pre-application open days in Durham City will take place on:

  • Monday 25 June 2012
  • Saturday 30 June 2012
  • Saturday 22 September 2012

Further details, and information on how to book.  

Campus tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

School of Engineering and Computing Sciences (Computer Science)


Innovations in technology, entwined with developments in computing, continually create new opportunities for society. Durham Computer Science graduates are empowered to lead this process of change.

The School of Engineering and Computing Sciences has recently revamped its computing programmes so as to offer students even more exciting, challenging and technologically relevant opportunities to take a lead in exploiting the powers of the more than eight billion computers that are estimated to be in use across the world. There is continuing demand for high quality computing graduates in all areas of industry, commerce and the professions. Our graduates embark on careers across a wide spectrum of companies and around the world, helping to meet society's needs at all levels; recent Durham graduates work in software companies, high technology consultancy, the civil service, GCHQ, local government, banking and finance, retail and engineering, the general IT industry (including communications), and postgraduate research.

Our degree programmes span from the fundamental underpinnings of Computer Science through to practical applications and enable our students to relate their academic studies to current practice in industry and technology. Not only do they enable students to acquire a variety of programming skills but they provide the foundational mathematical models and the specification, analysis and implementation of algorithmic aspects of computing, as well as the practices and processes involved in engineering and developing complex software systems on high performance hardware. The study format helps develop both individual capabilities and teamwork skills. Our programmes reflect the nature of computing as a design activity, using innovation to find ways to improve and enhance people's lives, where this innovation comes not only from advances in technology but also through team-based studies and social interaction. We therefore place appropriate emphasis on practical learning through application, as well as lectures.

RAE results


The School provides a modern state-of-the-art computing facility using PCs and Unix environments, and is situated at the heart of the University's Science Site. There are study areas within the building where students can use their own laptops or lab-based machines; both here and also within colleges, a laptop can be used to access the School and University resources through the University-wide computing network. Support for individual and group working is also provided via our state-of-the-art Techno Café, which is designed to provide experience with the use of technologies for learning.


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