Key information

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.

The course starts in May, September and January. In order to ensure we continue to deliver world class learning experiences and high standards of student satisfaction, the number of places available on the Computer Science online MSc is limited for the May intake.

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 instalments corresponding to the course units. To qualify for an MSc you will require a total of 180 credits.

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.

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.

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.

Find out how to apply

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.

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.

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.

Find out more about studying online at Bath

The units are 8 weeks in duration, and run consecutively. Over the year, there are three short breaks - in December, April and August.

  • 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.

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 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.

The degree certificate and transcript do not mention ‘online’, and the degree qualification is equivalent to a full-time campus degree. 

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 or Windows 10, Mac OS X 10.8 or later. You will need RAM of 4 GB or more and high-speed/broadband connection. 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 Internet Explorer (version 10 or higher), 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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

* Valid up to and including September 2021 intake. Tuition fees are liable to increase each January. You should budget for an increase of up to a maximum of 5% each year.