Open Units For 1st Year CS Students
In years 1 and 2, CS students have 30CP and 20CP, respectively, of
optional units. In
both cases, options are available within the CS department, but
students can also take open units from another department. This page
outlines some of the units that may be of interest to CS students.
Please note that there is no guarantee that it will be possible to take
a given optional unit - it depends partly on timetabling in any given
year. They can also become full (but the CS options will always be
available to you). So please, when you are considering options, think
about alternative choices should your preferred options not work in the
Please note that, for G401 (Computer Science with Study Abroad)
students, your language component takes 20CP of your option allowance
and you should therefore choose one of the 10 credit Computer Science
In 2013/14, we know the following options are almost certain to be
available to 1st year CS students given the current timetable:
Big Ideas in Science; Biological Psychology; Film and TV Form and
Analysis; Cognitive Psychology; Philosophy of Science; Number Theory
and Group Theory; Principles of Economics; Sustainable Development
Here is a guide to choosing optional units which gives details of how 1st year CS students
register for their options, and a form for you to use to help you plan
Here is an A-Z table
which summarises recommended options and how to register for them.
The full open unit catalog is available at: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/esu/edpart/progunitinfo/unit/openunits.html
Business And Economics
of Economics (20 credits)
Consider if you are interested in a career in the finance sector. Also
a good, but not essential, background for those wishing to take the 4th
year unit Algorithmic and Economic Aspects of the Internet, and/or in
carrying out projects related to trading agents or agent-based
to Accounting (20 credits)
May be of interest to those wishing to develop accountancy skills.
in Management (20 credits)
Provides an overview and practical experience of non-quantitative
analytical techniques used in making decisions in management.
and Television Forms and Analysis
(20 credits) Consider if you are interested in media and a
possible career in the creative industries, including animation and
Language options offered include Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese,
French and Russian, at a number of different skill levels. These are
taught by different departments within the Faculty
of Arts. (If you are interested in Japanese, it appears in the
Hispanic Studies department.)
The Mathematics department allows CS students who have an A at A level
maths to join Number
Theory and Group Theory.
This branch of mathematics underpins much work on cryptography, so this
option would be particularly suitable for those interested in focusing
on cryptography in the future.
Philosophy provides excellent training in how think clearly and broadly
about issues and to structure arguments for others. Introduction
(20 credits) includes study of possible world semantics, causation and
time, all relevant in the representation of knowledge in computer
science. They also offer an
Introduction to Formal Logic (10 credits) [These are not listed as
open, but the Philosophy dept is happy to accept CS students.] Second
years may take Logic
(20 credits), though they should check that they are familiar with the
concepts introduced in Intro to Formal Logic. This unit covers modal
logic, which has been important in branches of computer science. Other
units of potential interest include Intro
to Philosophy of Science (10 credits) and Introduction
to Philosophy A (20 credits)
Computer Science and psychology have long had relations between the two
disciplines. Students interested in Artificial Intelligence may
consider exploring how our higher cognitive functions work through Cognitive
Psychology (10 credits).
Those interested in the 'lower level' architecture of the brain, which
has inspired the neural network approach to computation, may consider
learning more about this through Biological
(10 credits). This also provides good, but not essential, background
for the fourth year CS unit on Computational Neuroscience.
Other psychology options available are Developmental
Psychology(10 credits) and Social
Psychological understanding may also provide useful background
knowledge for the 4th year unit on Interaction Design and/or project
work on a Human-Computer Interaction theme.
Sustainability, The Environment and Development
Consider the following open units if you are interested in social and
Development (20 credits) - An interdisciplinary unit
providing an overview of issues and perspectives relating to
sustainability. Useful, but not essential, background for the 3rd year
unit on Sustainability Technology and Business.
Earth (20 credits) - An overview of the natural environment, its
impact on us and our impact on it.
in Crisis? (20 credits) - An overview of the problems facing the
modern world and tools and techniques geographers use to analyse them.
and Development (20 credits) - This unit provides an overview of
the economics of globalisation and development.
unit catalog contains information on many other options for
study, including Buddhism, drug policy, ghosts, poetry, art,
archaeology, Dante and marine ecology. Any of these are possible if it
is something you are really interested in, but we would recommend
discussing your options with your personal tutor if you are considering
something more unusual. Here are a few 'overview' units which give
insights from and overviews of other disciplines:
Big Ideas in Science (20 credits)
and Planets (20 credits)
Engineering Physics (20 credits)
to Social Anthropology (20 credits)
Sociologically (20 credits)