Of course, you’ll have lots of questions about the course. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t answered here, feel free to call us or send an email.
Time and Duration
The course starts each year in January, May and September.
Our online computer science courses will take between two years, three months (minimum) and five years (maximum) to complete.
A commitment of around 12–15 hours of study per week is anticipated for most students. If you have less experience in particular areas such as maths or programming skills, or have taken a long break from study, you may need to allow more time during some weeks.
Tailored to fit your lifestyle, our online computer science degree is perfectly suited to students with full-time work commitments and/or family obligations. Online study offers multiple ways to interact with the curriculum, all designed to suit your schedule.
Tuition fees are paid per unit at £722* per 10 credits. Fees are paid in unit instalments corresponding with the course units. Each taught 10 credit unit is £722 and for the 60 credit dissertation students will pay two instalments of £2,166. To qualify for an MSc you will need a total of 180 credits. All courses will have the project payment split into two equal instalments with the first instalment payable in advance of the start of the project, and the second instalment due during the following enrolment and payment window period (8 weeks after the start of the project).
To enrol on our computer science degree course, the following criteria apply:
- You should have a first or strong second-class bachelor’s honours degree or international equivalent
- To apply for this course you may have an undergraduate degree in any subject, but you must demonstrate evidence of relevant quantitative skills (especially algebra and calculus) either through your degree study or by alternative means
- We may make an offer based on a lower grade if you can provide evidence of your suitability for the degree
- If English is not your first language, you will be required to show that your first degree was principally taught and assessed in English
- Alternatively, you have passed the IELTS academic test with a grade of no less than 6.5 overall, with at least 6.0 in all of the four parts (reading, listening, writing and speaking). If you completed your degree in the UK within the last 2 years prior to the start of the course, you may be exempt from our English language requirements.
You must demonstrate quantitative skills (calculus and algebra) through undergraduate degree or minimum A level maths. Quantitative skills developed through work experience can be highlighted in the personal statement.
You do not need a background in programming to study Computer Science, but you will need to be proficient in maths in order to gain programming skills in the first unit. This course will be challenging if you do not have any programming experience, so we suggest you do some preliminary exploration and practice to gain at least some exposure to programming before the course begins.
Our MSc courses are flexible and designed to fit around your lifestyle and work commitments.
The course gives you a broad overview of computer science, with opportunities to specialise in a number of different research areas. You'll study in a research-led department within a supportive postgraduate community. With our strong links to industry here and abroad, you'll be exposed to the latest ideas and technology.
In addition to our faculty of highly acclaimed teaching staff, we have links to a wide range of companies worldwide, which means we are in a great position to open doors for our students.
Our online environment features regular interaction with your lecturers and fellow students to give it that classroom feel. To help you connect with the content, the environment includes video content, case studies and a library of digital resources. Though our online courses allow you to study at a time and place that suits you, we do ask that you complete your assignments against a set schedule.
The course is 100% online, so there is no need to visit campus at any point during your studies. You can attend campus, if you wish, for instance if you want to use the library, but it’s not a requirement.
You are welcome to visit the university where you can access facilities such as our physical library, as well as our online library. You can apply for a library card by emailing our library services with your name, address and photo.
Students are assessed through a variety of methods, which could include essays, reports, group work, case studies, quizzes, problems sets and presentations. In some cases relevant work experience can be included as curriculum credit. Find out more about the course curriculum.
The units are 8 weeks in duration, and run consecutively. Over the year, there are three short breaks - in December, April and August.
See how each unit of your course breaks down learning material into bite-size chunks.
Let's look at an example week. So each week that you are doing so each course that you do each unit that you do will be eight weeks. So you will have eight of these pages for each unit at the top you've got an introductory video of taking the sound off you got an introductory video to that week where we talk you through what kind of things you might see in that particular week. And then what we've done here is we've broken down each page into sort of bite-sized chunks. So rather than just giving lots and lots of information we've broken everything into lessons. You'll see the different styles of lessons. So if you see a lesson like this it might have a little bit less information. Whereas one like this basically means an accordion so there's a little bit more information than those lessons.
- Autumn term: September to December
Short break in December
- Spring term: January to April
Short break in April
- Summer term: May to August
Short break in August
This degree is not focused on teaching you a specific programming language, but the principles of programming in general. In your first unit, you will learn the basics of programming using the C language and object-oriented programming using Java. As you move through subsequent units you will be introduced to other languages (such as Python, Haskell and SQL) which are specifically suited to solve particular problems. Learning the principles behind computer programming helps you gain a skillset that enables you to effectively approach various new problems.
What we then do once we've presented some content – and this is very specific to principles of programming. The types of exercise that we've got will vary depending on the content, so it sort of lends itself to the type of content that we're teaching in that specific course. For programming the exercises are usually actual practice so practicing coding we can show you lots and lots of text, static text, dynamic text. When it comes to coding the fact of the matter is the best way to learn programming is just to do. It's to make mistakes try again until you're finally getting it. So, this is the best way of basically of learning how to code which is why we've structured it this way.
You will be required to complete a final research project to complete your online MSc in Computer Science. You will receive an induction to the research project through our research project preparation unit. The department of Computer Science has four research groups from which you may take inspiration for your final project: Human Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, Visual Computing and Mathematical Foundations of Computation. You can have a look at the department research page in order to get an idea of which projects our research groups typically carry out. You can find examples of previous dissertations by referring to our article on dissertations here.
All your required reading will be made available via the University Library’s reading list system and will be available to read electronically. Once you have fully registered as a student and received your university username and password, you will be able to access the Library's services and online resources.
Please note that our content is on an online learning platform that is not available offline and requires an internet connection to access.
It is recommended you have one of the following operating systems in order to fully enjoy the benefits of our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): either Windows 8, 10, 11, Mac OS X 10.11 or later, Linux based operating systems will likely be sufficient but please note they are not officially supported by our technical support teams. You will need RAM of 4 GB or more and high-speed/broadband connection (at least 25Mbps). If you are unsure, you can test your internet speed here.
It is also important you have an up-to-date web browser, listed here: Chrome (version 30.0 or higher), Firefox (version 25.0 or higher), Microsoft Edge, or Safari (version 6 or higher). Cookies must be enabled in your browser for our VLE to function correctly. Most browsers have cookies enabled by default. If you are unsure whether your browser is configured properly, please contact technical support for advice.
Within the VLE you can access a discussion forum within each unit where you can post questions to your tutor and fellow students. You can also email any questions you may have to your lecturer. Tutors and lecturers can offer support by email or forum posts on weekdays during business hours. If you are seeking support, you can contact our student support team, or if you are having a technical issue, you can ask our 24/7 technical support team.
One of the main forms of interaction is on discussion forums on our VLE, where some of the weekly activities involve you sharing your thoughts in discussions with your fellow classmates. You also have the option to message each other and connect via email, text, WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
There will not be live Q&A sessions with tutors throughout the taught unit due to students being based globally. There is a discussion forum within each unit where students can post questions to the tutor and their fellow students.
Graded assignments are always due at 12 noon GMT/BST. Students can submit their coursework prior to the due date. This extends to any graded work.
Although we cover machine learning, we do not currently cover enough content for someone to specialise as a data scientist. If your interest specifically lies in machine learning, it might be worth checking out our Business Analytics online MSc which has a higher focus in this area. You can also check out our Artificial Intelligence online MSc.
You will not need to download new software in this course to learn programming. Discover how the University uses an online platform called Repl.it to practice coding.
Now a question I often get is: “what do I need to download what am I going to code in for principles of programming?” You won't need to download anything. So, we program in an online coding environment called Repl.it. We call it basically what this is. It's sort of a place that we can embed into these pages where you can then go in and change the text, so you'll be able to change the text you'll be able to run the code. You'll be able to see what it does here now if you wanted to actually do the assignment which is to edit the code to print something different, you're welcome to do it here what you can also do is open it in Repl.it. So, what that does is it opens up a new page and it shows the code here. Now the thing that I hear a lot of questions about is: “well if I change this won't I change so the master code?” You won't. So, what if the magic of having logged in before is I’ve already created an account. I’ve already logged in. This is something that we'll be asking you to do pretty much at the start of week one. But what I would do here is if I make any changes. What it does is it switches to my account and then I can make changes to the original here like that.
You will write and submit code for credit using lab sheets. As you complete your lab sheets, you can use the unit’s discussion board to get help from your peers and instructor.
So that was an example lesson: a few pages of content and then an exercise. Let's go to the end of the week then. So, towards the end of the week, we've then got lab sheets in this particular unit. So in the lab sheets what we usually do is we get you to actually write code here. Now the lab sheet won't be a single question – it will usually be multiple questions. Same thing again you edit the code you create your own answers to these questions and then you post them on the lab sheet. What we've then got is a discussion forum and in the discussion forum we ask you to sort of start discussions with each other, but also ask questions for us. So, if it's lab sheet specific post some questions in here say: “I couldn't figure out how to do this particular thing does anyone have any ideas? Does anyone have any suggestions?” Specifically, you know we ask quite openly here: “how are you doing with the lab sheets?”, “Are you finding anything difficult?”, “If you did find something difficult and you fixed it: what kind of tips would you have for your classmates?” So this is the sort of thing that we're looking for here.
Learn how you will navigate the virtual learning environment. This video walks you through how to get to the unit overview, learning outcomes, and available resources, as well as your assignments and grades.
All right let's get back to the main page. So the first thing is that you'll see in each unit is this welcome page. (Let's see if I can mute the…it's muted great stuff!) So in the welcome page you will have a video which is an introduction to the course itself. Under here you'll have lots of resources that you can go to. We'll have a unit overview – so that will be information about what we're trying to teach in this particular unit. And then we also have your learning outcomes.
So let's say these specific ones are sort of the ones that you would go and have a look at as you start each unit. The following resources I would say you probably end up coming back to multiple times throughout your studies. And those are for example greater tests and assignments. This is a really great one it gives you an overview of exactly when your graded tests are due. Obviously these are dummy dates. But exactly when your graded tests would do anything that you need to do in order to succeed in this particular unit. So you've got your due dates in here. We want to make sure that we present this to you for every course for every unit that you take, because it's with the understanding of course that this is this is a part-time degree and therefore you everyone is busy. We're all busy people and so this is a chance to sort of have a look in advance and see when is it when am I going to be working a little bit harder perhaps because I’m working towards a graded assignment.
Computer science is the backbone of many different industries, making it a skill well worth learning. This computer science course will help you develop the theoretical knowledge and practical skills for careers in IT consultancy, software development, banking and education. It also opens up opportunities for further study. Find out more about career opportunities.
The degree certificate and transcript do not mention ‘online’, and the degree qualification is equivalent to a full-time campus degree.
The department offers PhD positions, depending on availability, these are in the following research areas: human computer interaction, visual computing, artificial intelligence, and mathematical foundations of computation. The MSc course may also lead to opportunities for PhD studies in other areas of study.