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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Computer Science

COMP51915: Professional Skills

Type Tied Level 5 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • Programming skills in Python. Basic C programming skills.


Excluded Combination of Modules


  • Provide training and revision in large-scale code development with C and usage of established pre-compiled black-box software.
  • Provide training in essential subject-specific project management, collaboration techniques and version control.
  • Provide training in essential wider professional skills: entrepreneurship, intellectual property, etc.
  • Provide transferable skills training: communicating novel ideas in science, and reflecting on ethical issues around data as well as research in a broader sense.


  • C refresher training with an outlook into large-scale code usage.
  • Software development and usage workshops.
  • Entrepreneuership, Research Ethics (Intellectual Property, e.g.), Academic Writing, Basic Project Planning and Timetabling.
  • Communicating Science, Philosophy and Ethics of Data Sciences.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • understanding and critical reflection of legal and ethical principles underpinning the application of computational methods and data science in economical and societal context
  • fundamental entrepreneurial/project management and implementation skills
Subject-specific Skills:
  • technical skills to write and deliver large-scale scientific software in C
  • competent management of software projects, understanding of versioning and techniques for quality control
Key Skills:
  • mature research on industrial scale
  • responsible research
  • productive research

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Large-scale software development in C 8 2 per week 60 minutes 8
Workshop: Agile, Collaborative and Responsible Code Development 2 2 days in one week 10 hours 10
Workshop: Communicating Science and Research Ethics 2 2 days in one week 10 hours 10
Workshop: Structured Innovation 5 5 per week 120 minutes 10
Self-study (preparation and wrap-up in other weeks) 122

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Programming project Take-home exam 25%
Workshop Presentation/e-poster 20 minutes 25%
Workshop Presentation/e-poster 20 minutes 25%
Workshop Presentation/e-poster 20 minutes 25%

Formative Assessment:

The successful participation in professional and transferable skills training as well as the entrepeneurial training will be assessed formatively through individual and/or group presentations. Alternatively, the lecturer may ask for a short essay. They are indirectly assessed (project planning, presentation and communication skills, source code handling) with formative feedback by each individual coursework.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University