Open Units For 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. Note
that there is no guarantee that it will be possible to take a given
open unit - it depends partly on timetabling in any given year.
However, if you want to take it and register by the deadline
then your preference will be taken into account during timetabling,
increasing your chances.
The full open unit catalog is available at: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/esu/edpart/progunitinfo/unit/openunits.html
Business And Economics
Principles 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
Introduction to Accounting (20 credits)
May be of interest to those wishing to develop accountancy skills.
Analysis in Management (20 credits)
Provides an overview and practical experience of non-quantitative analytical techniques used in making decisions in management.
Film 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. See here for the different options available.
MathematicsThe 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 to Metaphysics
(20 credits) includes study of possible world semantics, causation and
time, all relevant in the representation of knowledge in computer
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 2
(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 Psychology
(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 Psychology(10 credits).
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 environmental issues;
Sustainable 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.
Environment Earth (20 credits) - An overview of the natural environment, its impact on us and our impact on it.
World in Crisis? (20 credits) - An overview of the problems facing the
modern world and tools and techniques geographers use to analyse them.
Globalisation and Development (20 credits) - This unit provides an overview of the economics of globalisation and development.
The open 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)
Stars and Planets (20 credits)
Engineering Physics (20 credits)
Introduction to Social Anthropology (20 credits)
Intro to World Politics (20 credits)
Thinking Sociologically (20 credits)
Registering for Open Units
VERY IMPORTANT - If you select any unit in a different Faculty,
you MUST register with the Department that owns the unit AS WELL AS
selecting it on your Unit Choice page in SAFE. This is extremely
important as many popular units belonging to other faculties become
over-subscribed very quickly. Therefore if you do want to take a
unit from a different faculty, do contact the relevant Department now
to find out how you register. This is your responsibility. This
is because the unit registration for other Faculties is done via SITS
and as they 'own' the unit they have to register students on to it
regardless of their home dept/faculty.
To make contact with the relevant department, please find their web
page and visit, phone or email their departmental/school office. They
will be able to tell you the process by which you register for their