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Courses

G406 Computer Science MEng Undergraduate 2016

Essentials

UCAS code G406
Degree MEng
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 4 years
Location Durham City
Typical offers A Level
A*AA
International Baccalaureate (IB)
38
Alternative qualifications

www.durham.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/entry-reqs/qualifications

Department(s) Website
www.durham.ac.uk/ecs
Email
ecs.admissions@durham.ac.uk
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1751

Course Content

Description

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

Students have the possibility to complete the third year of the MEng programme at a world-leading university abroad. This is a replacement year. 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.

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

www.durham.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply

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

Information relevant to your country

www.durham.ac.uk/international/countryinfo

Fees and Funding

 

Fees have not been set for this academic year.

Scholarships and funding

www.durham.ac.uk/undergraduate/finance 

Career Opportunities

School of Engineering and Computing Sciences

/ecs/undergraduate/degrees/cs/careers/

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: www.durham.ac.uk/opendays

Campus tours

www.durham.ac.uk/undergraduate/visit/campus.tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

www.durham.ac.uk/international/office/meetus

Department Information

School of Engineering and Computing Sciences

Overview

The most significant developments in our society over recent decades have come through amazing innovations in technology and the intelligent algorithms that run those technologies.

Our graduates are empowered to lead this process of change in the decades to come.

Durham University offers Computer Science courses that are exciting, challenging and technologically relevant, covering topics from the foundations of how computers work and how to efficiently manipulate data, up to the state-of-the-art such as systems for image analysis, object tracking and DNA analysis or the mathematical exploration of the limits of computing. There is continuing demand for high-quality Computer Science graduates and our graduates embark on careers across a wide spectrum of companies and around the world.

We have strong links with industrial partners and our Software Development for Business degree offers you the opportunity to spend a year on placement in industry, applying the skills you have learned and gaining the kind of experience that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Recent graduates from our degrees have gone on to work as entrepreneurs, founding their own start-ups, or working in leading software companies, high technology consultancies, the civil service, GCHQ, banking and finance, retail, engineering, the communications and IT industry, and postgraduate research.

Rankings
  • 89% of our Computer Science students said they found their course intellectually stimulating in the National Student Survey 2014 (sector-wide average 82%).
  • 92.7% of our Computer Science graduates secured employment within six months of graduating (The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2015).
  • 5th in The Complete University Guide 2015
Facilities

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.

Website
www.durham.ac.uk/ecs

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.