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Undergraduate Programmes

The Department offers undergraduate programmes in Computer Science, Computer Science and Electronics, and Mathematics and Computer Science. The Computer Science programmes are:

BSc (Hons) Computer Science (G400, 3 years)
MEng (Hons) Computer Science (G403, 4 years)
MEng (Hons) Computer Science with Study in Europe (G401, 4 years)
MEng (Hons) Computer Science with Study Abroad (G402, 4 years)

All these programmes are designed to give you a sound understanding of the fundamentals of Computer Science, with opportunities to develop a deeper knowledge of certain topics which are of particular interest to you. The first two years provide a solid foundation in the theoretical and practical elements of Computer Science as well as generic skills such as project and group working, presentation and communication skills, and enterprise. In the final year of the three year course you can opt to concentrate on specific topics in Computer Science in addition to undertaking a major individual project in an area of your choice.

The MEng programmes are four year programmes, and give you greater knowledge and experience of project design and development, with particular emphasis on working in groups, the engineering paradigm of design, build and test, and the importance of business planning and enterprise. In the third year you undertake a major group project to develop an interactive game on one of the Departments gaming platforms. In the final year, you can further specialise your options in addition to working on a substantial individual project in an area of your choice. The project takes up about half of your time and is completed on a full-time basis during the 2nd semester.

The two study abroad programmes allow you to take your third year abroad, either in continental Europe (G401), or in a country in which the language of instruction is English (G402). This includes, for example, the USA, Australia or Hong Kong. This enables you to build up experience in addition to your Computer Science qualifications. This will give you wider opportunities for employment following graduation as well as giving you a broader perspective on the difference between the UK and other environments. Places abroad cannot be guaranteed and, as a result, you may find you are not registered on these programmes until your place is confirmed.

MEng (Hons) Computer Science and Electronics (GH46, 4 years).
MEng (Hons) Computer Science and Electronics with study abroad (GH4P, 4 years).

These are four year Honours degree programmes, currently organisationally managed by the Electrical and Electronic Engineering department. At their core are the parts of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science that allow you to build complex embedded systems, such as those found in automotive electronics, GPS equipment, or DVD players. In the first two years of the course, you will get a foundation in Computing and Electronics. In the third year, you will spend a significant amount of time on a group project, your group will spend the equivalent of one year effort on developing an appliance.

The GH4P programme provides you with the opportunity to study the third year at a University abroad. The year abroad can be taken in any country in which the language of instruction is English. This includes, for example, the USA, Australia or Hong Kong. This enables you to experience studying in a different country and culture, and gives you wider opportunities for employment following graduation.

BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Computer Science (GG14, 3 years)
MEng (Hons) Mathematics and Computer Science (GG1K, 4 years)

These are Honours degree programmes run jointly with the Mathematics Department (and were formerly administered in the Science Faculty, with the 4 year degree leading to an MSci, and for some purposes codes GG41 and GGK1 are used to distinguish them from the older versions). The BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science is a three year Honours degree programme which provides integrated study in the two disciplines. You will spend approximately equal time on units from the two Departments. The programme is organised around a number of themes which emphasise the links between Computing and Mathematics whilst also allowing opportunity to specialise in specific areas of each discipline. In the first two years you will cover core topics in Mathematics and Computer Science, as well as the generic skills covered in the other Computer Science programmes. The final year consists of an individual project undertaken in one of the departments combined with a selection of specialist options from both disciplines.

The MEng in Mathematics and Computer Science is a four year Honours degree programme. It offers you the chance to study both subjects in more depth than is available in the GG14 programme.

Computer Science Open Units

The department offers some units that aim to give non computer science students a foundation in computer science.

In particular the 20 credit point unit COMS21301, "Human Computer Interaction" is on the interaction between people and computers, and has no prerequisites. Occasionally, stduents outside the department take one of the first year programming units, though some previous programming experience is desirable.

Transfer in, out and between programmes

It may be the case that you are not completely sure of which degree programme to enter at university, and that at some point you decide that you'd like to change. This may mean a transfer between programmes within the Department, a transfer into Computer Science from outside the Department or indeed a transfer out of Computer Science to another department or even another university. In general, it is much easier to transfer before or at the start of a year rather than part way through, and in some cases there may be fee or loan implicaitions.

Transfer between programmes within the Department

It is usually very easy to arrange transfers between G400, G401, G402 and G403 within the first two years since the syllabuses for these programmes are the same in Years 1 and 2. Transfers out of G400 onto a four year degree may be conditional on doing sufficiently well, and transfers into G401 may be difficult because of the language requirement.

Transfer from GG14 or GG1K to G400, G402 or G403 is usually possible at the end of the first year, or exceptionally at the end of the second year.

Transfer into Computer Science

This may be possible at the beginning of the second year if a place is available and provided you have studied suitable first year units. Other courses of action such as studying these units over the summer, doing a selection of the coursework and taking the resit exams in September could be possible in certain cases.

If you enter second year and you haven't studied the first year unit on the Introduction to Computer Architecture then this will have to be taken in your second year. This has the knock-on consequence that other units may have to be deferred to the third year and hence that you will not have the same range of options as you otherwise would have done. The arrangements for transfer into second year and the implications for your choice of units would have to be discussed and agreed with the Director of Studies.

If you wish to discuss transfer into first year Computer Science, you should approach the Admissions Tutor in the Computer Science Department to see whether a place is available and whether you satisfy the same entry criteria that are applied to new university entrants. Since you would be restarting your studies you need to think carefully about such a move, including its financial implications, as you risk losing a year's fees and funding if you leave it too late. You should discuss it thoroughly with your tutor in your own department. If you are sure that you want to restart in Computer Science, a request received early in the year is more likely to be treated sympathetically than a request made just before you expect to fail your first year exams!

For all transfers, never assume that your transfer has been approved until all the Faculty procedures have been completed and you have checked with the Faculty office that your transfer has gone through.

Transfer out of Computer Science

Transfer onto a programme outside the Department will, of course, depend on the pre-requisites for the programme of your choice. Should you feel that you have made the wrong choice in studying Computer Science then you should discuss the matter with your personal tutor who will be able to give you guidance as to your future action.

Programme descriptions

Following the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ), units in our department are organised at four levels. There are 1st year undergraduate units (units labelled COMS1, officially known as level 4 and previously known as level C or Certificate level). There are 2nd year units (labelled COMS2, officially level 5, previously level I for Intermediate). There are 3rd year units (labelled COMS3, officially level 6, previously level H for Honours). And there are masters units (labelled COMSM, officially level 7) usually taken by MEng undergraduates in the 4th year and by MSc students. If there is a good reason, you may be allowed to take a limited number of units outside your level.

The tables of units in the individual programme pages give an in-depth description of the programmes for each year. The University operates a modular scheme whereby you must obtain 120 credit points (CP) in each year of an undergraduate programme. Each unit earns 10, 20, 30 or 40 credits. The right hand column of each table specifies whether a unit is compulsory or not for each particular programme: `c' refers to compulsory/core units, `o' refers to Computer Science Options, `co' refers to either-or units `-' refers to units that cannot be taken in that year. If you want to take a unit that is not part of your programme, you must contact the Director of Studies asking for permission, with a motivation as to why you want to take that unit. Optional units may be introduced or withdrawn on short notice (before the academic year), depending on, for example, staff availability for specialist topics.