We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.


G406 Computer Science MEng Undergraduate 2015


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

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

Course Content


Year 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 the first year 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.

Compulsory modules

  • Introduction to Programming
  • Computational Thinking
  • Algorithms and Data Structures
  • Computer Systems
  • Mathematics for Computer Science

Year 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 compulsory 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 in the second year prepare students with an excellent grounding in a wide range of fundamental subjects within computer science, ready for subsequent specialisation in the third and fourth years. By the end of the second year all students are in a position to make informed judgements as to which particular aspects of the subject they might wish to focus on.

Compulsory modules

  • Networks and Systems
  • Programming Paradigms
  • Software Engineering
  • Group Project
  • Software Methodologies
  • Theory of Computation

Year 3

A key element of the third year 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 in the third year. 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 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.

Year 4

Students will again undertake a significant individual project (this time a triple module). This gives students the exciting opportunity to take their third-year 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 third-year 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 in the third year, students get to choose the three other modules that they undertake in the fourth year; again, just as in the third year, there is a wide range of modules offered, including advanced versions of some of the third-year modules.

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 variant of our Computer Science courses (this option is not available on the MEng) will spend the third year studying at another EU university, and then return to Durham for their final year.

We also offer the possibility to complete the third year of the MEng programme at a world-leading university abroad. Overseas Exchange programmes are currently available with:

  • National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • University of Hong Kong (HKU)
  • Canada (University of British Columbia (UBC), McMaster University, Queen’s University, University of Calgary)
  • Boston College, USA
  • Australia (University of Western Australia, University of Melbourne)
  • University of Otago, New Zealand.

Computer science is an international discipline and living and working in another county is a valuable addition to your CV.

Learning and Teaching

The programme is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, practical classes and tutorials. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular field of study and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among Computer Scientists. Students are introduced to both basic and advanced concepts, techniques and methods in Computer Science through lectures with associated written and multimedia presentations, and their knowledge and understanding are reinforced in practical and problem classes and through both summative and formative assignments. Tutorials provide opportunities for smaller groups of students to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that they have gained through their lectures and through independent study outside the programmes formal contact hours.

The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as students develop their knowledge and the ability as independent learners. In Year 1 students take five core Computer Science modules which is ten hours a week of lectures, and five two hour practicals each week. Students also study an elective module selected from those offered by any Board of Studies across the University. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to undertake their own independent study to prepare for their classes and broaden their subject knowledge.

The balance starts to shift in the Year 2, as students develop their abilities as independent learners. Lectures still play an important role in supporting students in developing their knowledge and skills, with an average of twelve hours a week. Associated with the lecture series students also attend six two hour practical classes a week. Students participate in twelve two hour tutorials across the academic year.

This move towards greater emphasis on independent learning continues in the third year The basic material and techniques learned throughout Year 1 and 2 are applied and extended in the areas of Computer Science. The material in Year 3 is at a much more advanced level.Some Year 3 teaching is research-led and reflective of not only the research expertise within academic staff at Durham but also cutting-edge advances in industry. Students have eight hours a week of lectures and depending on their choice of modules can have two hours of practicals a week. Students undertake an individual project which is a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. This project gives them the opportunity to pursue a chosen topic under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom they will typically have a minimum of eleven hours of one-to-one supervisory meetings across the academic year. Students also attend ten hours of workshops which prepare them for this work.

Year 4 involves an even more significant amount of self-study than in Year 3. Again, students are expected to drive their own learning and their progress is monitored and supported by eleven hours of individual project supervision for their advanced project, and problem classes associated with modules. There are approximately six hours of lectures per week. Less emphasis is placed on supervised practical work but some practical work is still used for the study of specific topics. The reduction of supervised learning time enables students to better direct and evaluate their own learning. Within their advanced project, students embark on research and development within a topic of Computer Science. Learning at this level is geared towards critical, independent and innovative thinking.

Throughout the programme, all students have access to an academic adviser who will provide them with academic support and guidance. Typically a student will meet with their adviser once or twice per term, in addition to which all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis.

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, 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. For more information contact our Admissions Selectors
  • Grade A in Mathematics at A-level or equivalent 
  • We accept two AS-levels in place of one A-level
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

English Language requirements

IELTS of 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

The University accepts the following alternative English language tests and scores.

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

EU student fees


Home student fees


Islands student fees


International non-EU student fees


Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Engineering and Computing Sciences, School of

Durham Computer Science graduates have excellent career prospects. Our 'Graduate Prospects' score, as calculated by the Complete University Guide 2014, beats many of our competitor universities (left chart) and our graduates have the second highest average starting salary of all departments in the University (right chart, source: DLHE survey of 2012 leavers).

Of students that left in 2013:

  • 74% had secured full time paid employment within six months of leaving

Of those students employed:

  • 93% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £24,000

Of those in further study

  • 100% are in graduate level further study.

(These statistics are based on the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2012/13 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:

Examples of areas in which Durham graduates have recently gone on to further study include:
- PhD Computer Science - Durham University
- Medical conversion course - Newcastle University
- PhD Software Designers and Engineers - The University of Southampton
- MEng Electrical Engineering - Bristol University
- MSc Research - Imperial College London

Professional accreditation

The BSc Computer Science programmes have had BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT accreditation for many years. This is the first step to becoming a Chartered Engineer or Scientist. We have revised the BSc Computer Science programme (G400 and G401) for students starting in 2012 and this satisfies the educational requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) registration and in partial fulfilment of the educational requirement for the Chartered Scientist (CSci) registration. Accreditation for the new MEng programme is pending, however we fully anticipate obtaining it. 

Work experience & placements

There are numerous work placement opportunities available to students. These placements normally take place over the summer vacation between second and third year. We are constantly being approached by organisations requesting our students. We also have a number of organisations, such as IBM, Morgan Stanley and Waterstons, who regularly recruit one, two or three students for these placements. 

Some students stay with us over the summer and become part of a research team. Nuffield awards as well as college scholarships are available for summer placements in the university. They provide the student with a 'taste' of research, an excellent preparation for their final year research project.

Employment development opportunities

The University's Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre (CEEC) works extremely closely with the School to ensure that current students receive information and vacancies relevant to their needs. CEEC provide innovative talks to ensure that the students receive the most relevant and up to date advice about professions that Computer Science students are attracted to.

The School also has an active Industrial Partnership Committee (IPC) with approximately 20 industrial partners from organisations with local, national and international footprints. This committee forms a direct link between the School and employers. The Committee's objectives include ensuring that: up to date industrial perspectives are reflected in courses, students are given the best possible opportunities for industrial placements and graduate employment, industrial members are provided with strong recruitment opportunities, and industrial members are provided with collaborative opportunities ranging from final year projects to long term research partnerships.

As part of the course

  • Students are exposed to a wide variety of professions through the 'Business & Professional' talks with visiting speakers are from companies ranging from British Telecom and Morgan Stanley to independent games developers
  • Waterstons, a software consultancy company provide two of their experienced consultants to run a tutorial based exercise simulating consultancy services to a fictitious company. They also make available their HR Manager who carries out mock interviews in order to help to prepare students for entering the job market.
  • We organise dedicated presentation skills workshops run by the Language Centre: teaching vital skills students require not only during their studies but certainly when they go into the world of work.
  • Students undertake team projects. One of the projects involves the teams providing consultancy services to external 'not for profit' organisations. This develops project management skills and customer communication skills, and also frequently provides suitable experiences to discuss in job interviews!

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the 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, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Campus tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

Engineering and Computing Sciences, School of


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 revamped its computing courses to offer students even more exciting, challenging and technologically relevant opportunities to take a lead in exploiting the power of 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 graduates work in software companies, high technology consultancy, the civil service, GCHQ, local government, banking and finance, retail, engineering, the games industry, the general IT industry (including communications), and postgraduate research.


The School has recently undergone a multi- million pound refurbishment of offices and PC labs which provide students with modern state-of-the-art computing facilities. There are study areas within the School 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.


NB: Information contained on the website or in the literature with respect to the fee is correct at the time of publication but the University reserves the right to change the course information or fee at a later date.

Browse Courses