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Advanced Computer Science with a Professional Placement Year (MSc)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Full time with sandwich year

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Why study this course

The ‘with a Professional Placement Year’ programme provides the opportunity to undertake a 7-10 month experience as an IT professional for students who successfully find a suitable placement.

The MSc Advanced Computer Science with a Professional Placement Year will offer you exposure to key topics that are driving emerging technological developments and trends.

Computer Science is one of the fastest moving academic disciplines and the outcomes of research and innovation in this field are likely to have a significant social impact.

The subject spans all aspects of modern life, and this programme offers you the opportunity to apply new skills and advanced techniques to the area of your choice, whilst allowing you to demonstrate that you are at the forefront of your discipline.

Core to this programme is the opportunity to further develop the scope of your problem solving skills by studying advanced programming languages and programming paradigms, and to gain knowledge and skills across a breadth of topics in Computer Science.

You will choose to study optional, research-led modules that allow the freedom to build a distinctive personal portfolio of skills and knowledge.

This is a specialist Masters degree programme which will require strong technical, mathematical and programming skills from day one of the course.

You will apply for a paid 7-12 month professional work placement to be undertaken on completion of the taught phase of the program. This provides valuable work experience to develop your IT Professional skills.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of this course include:

  • A degree designed for computing graduates who wish to differentiate themselves further through an advanced mastery of the discipline.
  • In addition to coverage of core advanced computer science topics, you may select from a range of research topics in which to specialise (
  • The opportunity to undertake a paid professional work placement to further develop your IT skills
  • You will undertake an individual research project and complete a dissertation under the supervision of a member of academic research staff. The topic for this will be driven by your own interests.
  • You will be provided with a laptop during induction week that will remain with you throughout the duration of the course.

Where you'll study

School of Computer Science and Informatics

Our degree programmes are shaped by multidisciplinary research, making them relevant to today's employers and well placed to take advantage of tomorrow's developments.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4812
  • Marker5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA

Admissions criteria

We welcome applications from computer literate graduates who have a good honours degree, or equivalent professional qualification in a subject such as Computer Science or a related subject.

Applicants will possess a 2:2 honours degree in computer science, computing or a cognate subject.

If your first language is not English you must provide evidence of competence in English. Our standard requirement is an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no area less than 5.5.  The University offers English language courses that can help you achieve this.

Please feel free to supplement your application with a detailed CV or any other supporting material you may consider to be appropriate.

Programmes start in September each year but applications are considered as they arrive throughout the year. You apply directly to the University online for a postgraduate taught course.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

You will study taught modules to a total of 120 credits during the Diploma stage of your degree. All taught modules are worth 20 credits

You will undertake a placement following the taught stage of the course and prior to undertaking youtr individual project and dissertation. Most students start their placement in the summer of Year 1

The Master’s stage of your degree will be an individual project (worth 60 credits) which you will write up as a dissertation, after the Diploma stage. This project will be carried out during the summer under the supervision of a member of academic staff.

This is a full-time course undertaken over two academic years. It is also available as a full-time course over one year or a part-time course over three years, both without placement.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

Year one

You will take one compulsory 20-credit module on programming paradigms providing you with experience of both the depth and breadth of programming skills, and you will be guided in choosing five optional  20-credit modules from a range of carefully selected modules focusing on contemporary and relevant topics currently emerging within the discipline.

Year two

Your work placement will normally last between 7 and 12 months, usually taking place at the end of the taught phase of the course, before your final dissertation, allowing you to practice the new skills you have learned and apply the knowledge you have acquired, in the workplace.

You will return to university following successful completion of your work placement at the start of the Summer the following year to undertake your individual project and complete your dissertation, with the aim of completing the course within 24 months of entry.

Module titleModule codeCredits
DissertationCMT40060 credits
PlacementCMT305120 credits

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The School of Computer Science and Informatics has a strong and active research culture which informs and directs our teaching. We are committed to providing teaching of the highest standard..

Modules are delivered through a series of either full or half-day contact sessions, which include lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and laboratory classes.

Most of your taught modules will have further information for you to study and you will be expected to work through this in your own time according to the guidance provided by the lecturer for that module.

How will I be assessed?

Modules will be assessed either by coursework, examination, or a combination of both.

Feedback:

Feedback on coursework may be provided via written comments on work submitted, by provision of ‘model’ answers and/or through discussion in contact sessions.

How will I be supported?

We pride ourselves on providing a supportive environment in which we are able to help and encourage our students.

At the start of your course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor who is an academic member of staff in the School and serves as a point of contact to advise on both academic and personal matters in an informal and confidential manner. Your Personal Tutor will monitor your progress throughout your time at university and will support you in your Personal Development Planning.

Outside of scheduled tutor sessions, our Senior Personal Tutor runs an open-door policy, being on hand to advise and respond to any personal matters as they arise.

During your placement year you will continue to be supported by the School, with a placement supervisor allocated to you for the duration of your placement, and continued communication with the School placement team.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the broad range of concepts, principles and theories underpinning advanced computer science
  • an understanding of the methods, techniques, and tools available to specify, design, implement and manage computer-based systems
  • an understanding of the representation of data in structured forms and its interplay with the implementation of algorithms
  • a critical awareness of current trends in selected research areas of computer science, and an ability to discuss their contribution to developing computer based systems

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • a mastery of the practical methodologies in key areas of computing; their application to well-established areas of software development and their use in selected specialised application areas
  • an ability to objectively analyse computational problems and develop appropriate, creative solutions
  • an ability to model complex scenarios to design computer systems that meet stated requirements
  • an appreciation of how skills and concepts encountered in the degree are implemented and used within industry

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • an awareness of professional, legal, social, cultural and ethical issues that arise in the implementation of existing and future computer systems and an awareness of societal and environmental impact
  • an ability to pursue opportunities for career development and lifelong learning and appreciate the importance of commercial awareness

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability to critically review the literature, and to effectively communicate ideas, principles and theories by oral, written and electronic means
  • an ability to work effectively as team member or leader in a team and as an individual
  • an ability to make effective use of a range of IT systems

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2021/22)

Tuition feeDeposit
££

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

EU students entering in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. The Welsh Government has not yet confirmed fees and funding for EU students starting in 2021/22. We will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2021/22)

Tuition feeDeposit
££

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

Additional costs

You will need to cover the cost of travel to and from your placement employer and/or accommodation during your placement, although this is usually offset by the income from your paid placement. 

Careers and placements

Graduates from this course will be ideally placed to pursue a number of careers, such as systems architects, programmers and software developers, and could also pursue a research career via doctoral studies.

The selection of modules on offer aim to enhance your transferable skills and boost employment prospects.

Placements

You will apply for a paid 7-12 month professional work placement to be undertaken on completion of the taught stage of the course.

Whilst you are responsible for finding your own placements, the School will give advice on applying for placements, keep you informed of a variety of opportunities, and ensure that you receive support and guidance throughout the whole process from our dedicated placement support officer. If you are unable to secure a placement you will be transferred to the non-placement version of the programme.

Funding

Master's Excellence Scholarship

This award worth £3000 is open to UK and EU students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate Master’s Finance

If you’re starting your master’s degree in September 2020 or later, you may be able to apply for postgraduate student finance to support your study at Cardiff University.

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