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G406 Computer Science MEng Undergraduate  2017


UCAS code G406
Degree MEng
Professional accreditation Accredited by the British Computer Society, the Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional. Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT on behalf of the Science Council for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Scientist.
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 4 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A-Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 2468

Course Summary


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, 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, previous modules have included: 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.

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, practical and problem classes. 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 summative and formative assignments.

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, typically twelve hours a week, still play an important role in supporting students in developing their knowledge and skills. Associated with the lecture series students also attend six two hour practical classes a week. This move towards greater emphasis on independent learning continues in the third year with the basic material and techniques learned throughout Year 1 and 2 being applied and extended with material in Year 3 being 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 typically have eight hours a week of lectures and depending on their choice of modules can have two hours of problem classes or 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 normally attend five 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 research and development advanced project, and approximately eight hours of problem classes associated with each chosen module. Less emphasis is placed on supervised practical work but this reduction of supervised learning time enables students to better direct and evaluate their own learning. 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

Subject requirements, 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.
  • We accept BTEC qualifications D*DD but this must be accompanied by an A grade at A-level Mathematics.
  • 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.

Science A-levels

Applicants taking Science A-levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A-levels with an English examination board.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £22,000.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities

School of Engineering and Computing Sciences

The School of Engineering and Computing Sciences runs degree programmes that produce talented graduates with strong academic and scientific competences, aligned to the needs of industry on a local, national and global level. Durham Computer Science graduates have excellent career prospects with our Graduate Prospect score for 2016 being 100%. Our graduates have a high average starting salary which has significantly increased in recent years which highlights the need from industry for well qualified graduates from Computer Science.

Of students that left in 2015:

  • 87% were in employment or further study within six months of leaving

Of those students employed:

  • 100% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £28,000

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2014/15 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 work for include:

- - Software Engineer
- BAE Systems Applied Intelligence - Software Engineer
- Bank of America Meryl Lynch - Analyst
- CGI Group - Consultant
- Data Interchange - Software Engineer
- Facepunch Studios - Programmer
- ANDigital - Associate Product Analyst
- Cisco Systems - IT Engineer

Further Study examples:
- 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. Our degrees have very recently been re-accredited and the BSc Computer Science programmes (G400 and G401) and BSc Software Development for Business (G603) satisfies the educational requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) and Incorporated Engineer registration and in partial fulfilment of the educational requirement for the Chartered Scientist (CSci) and Chartered Engineer (CEng) registration. Accreditation for the MEng programme satisfies the educational requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) and in partial fulfilment of the educational requirement for the Chartered Scientist (CSci) registration.

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 Amazon 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..
  • 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:

Discover Durham Tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

School of Engineering and Computing Sciences


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 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 learnt and gaining the kind of experience that will make you stand out from the crowd.

  • 92% of our Computer Science students said they found their course intellectually stimulating in the National Student Survey 2015 (sector-wide average 81%).
  • 100% of our Computer Science graduates secured graduate-level employment within six months of graduating (The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2016).
  • 7th in The Complete University Guide 2016.


For a current list of staff, please see the School's web pages.


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.