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Computer Science with a Year in Industry (MSci)

Entry year


This five-year version of our MSci Computer Science course provides the option to complete a employability-enhancing year working in a paid role at a leading organisation.

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MSCi

Course overview

The exciting and dynamic world of computer science is at the heart of many aspects of modern life, and the MSci Computer Science will give you both the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to become a part of that world. This four-year course will give you a true breadth of experience in Computer Science, providing extensive coverage of the subject beyond a traditional three year BSc.

On this course you will develop transferable technical, analytical and professional skills, supported by a broad awareness of current technology trends. The course covers a mixture of core techniques and concepts, advanced programming languages and paradigms, and evolving, technology-based subject matter. You will gain exposure to topics that are driving key technological developments and trends in Computer Science.

During the final two years of the course you will choose to study a selection of optional, research-led modules that will provide you with exposure to a wide set of skills and knowledge across the breadth of Computer Science research in the school. These modules include a number structured around advanced topics in the School's three core research areas:

  •  Complex Systems
  • Visual Computing
  • Data and Knowledge Engineering

Graduates are able to objectively analyse problems and develop appropriate computational solutions. Your detailed understanding of technology and advanced problem-solving skills will make you suitable for a range of professional careers and sought-after by employers.

The year in industry will give you the opportunity to broaden your experience, strengthen your transferable skills, and apply your knowledge to real-world problems.

 

Distinctive features

  • The course does not require any prior knowledge or experience of computer science. You will begin your studies with a month-long module which establishes core concepts and competencies and supports the transition to studying at a university.
  • Opportunity to develop your interest in specialist areas of computer science through project work and module options as you progress.
  • This is an integrated Master’s degree in Computer Science designed for students who wish to differentiate themselves from BSc Computer Science through an advanced mastery of the discipline.
  • During the final two years you will experience modules from across a wide range of fields and topics in Computer Science, providing you with a breadth of skills and knowledge as well as experience of team-working at a high level.
  • This degree offers the opportunity to take an industrial placement between taught years two and three.
UCAS codeG402
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration5 years
ModeFull time with sandwich year

Entry requirements

AAB - ABB including A Level Maths. Please note that General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted for entry. Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.  

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

D*D*D* in Information Technology (or Information Communication Technology), Computing and Engineering.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Computer Science & Informatics admissions criteria pages.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

GCSE Maths B/6 and GCSE English C/4

Selection

Selection or interview process: All applications for a place on any of the Computer Science degree programmes must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) application service. Applications can be made either in the English or the Welsh language. We recognise that if you are a Welsh speaker, you may feel more comfortable speaking to a Welsh speaking personal tutor. Provided there are Welsh speaking members of staff available, every effort will be made to allocate a Welsh speaker to you at any point in the application.

The School of Computer Science & Informatics assesses applications throughout the cycle. Each application is assessed by the admissions tutor who makes the decision whether or not to accept an applicant. After we have received and considered your application, we may invite you to visit the School some time during the period November to early March. This will include a guided tour of the School, Students’ Union and campus. You will meet students and staff, providing us with the opportunity of getting to know more about you and enabling you to find out what life is like as a computing student at Cardiff University. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

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.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£20,950None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

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

There may be additional costs associated with the year in industry such as travel or accommodation, which will need to be covered by the student. These are typically offset by the salary received from the placement.

Course specific equipment

What the student should provide:

You will need to provide a calculator that satisfies Cardiff University examination regulations.

What the University will provide:

Computer laboratories equipped with modern computers. All software needed to undertake the taught modules at Cardiff University will be provided on these computers

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

You will take the three taught years and the placement year of the BSc Computer Science with a Year in Industry course as normal, then (assuming progression criteria are met) will go on to a fifth year of study during which you will take modules of advanced computer science and carry out a new level 7 team project. This will lead to the qualification of Master of Computer Science (MSci).

This five-year course begins by introducing basic computing skills and concepts which will underpin the degree. Short projects in year one are followed by a substantial team project in year two, when you use new skills and knowledge to design and implement a software system. You will spend year three undertaking a salaried work placement. In year four, you focus on emerging technologies and research-led options related to the Schools core research areas (Complex Systems, Visual Computing and Data & Knowledge Engineering), and undertake an individual project centred on your own interests. In year five, you will study a further selection of modules from across the School's three core research areas, and you will also undertake a final team project.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

Modules taught in the first two semesters will introduce fundamental computing skills and concepts that form the basis of your degree. This includes the programming of algorithms using languages such as Python and Java™, an understanding of Internet and web technologies, computer architecture and operating systems, software engineering principles and mathematics for computer science. You will be expected to develop new technical and professional skills, and to demonstrate individual creativity and originality throughout the year.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Computational ThinkingCM110120 credits
Web ApplicationsCM110220 credits
Problem Solving with PythonCM110320 credits
Developing Quality SoftwareCM120220 credits
Architecture and Operating SystemsCM120510 credits
Maths for Computer ScienceCM120810 credits
Object Oriented Java ProgrammingCM121020 credits

Year two

Core modules taught in year two introduce advanced topics; some choice is introduced into the degree through optional modules. The structure and processing of data is further explored and simple algorithms are expanded into applications that are able to communicate via networks. Skills developed so far are applied during a team project to professionally design and implement a software system.

Your choice of optional modules in year two will allow you to begin to specialise your skills, focusing on either a ‘theoretical computer science’ pathway, an ‘applied/data analysis’ pathway or a ‘systems’ pathway. At the same time, your future career, employability or entrepreneurship and professional skills will be enhanced as you begin to look towards life after university.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Human Computer InteractionCM210110 credits
Database SystemsCM210210 credits
Computational MathematicsCM210410 credits
Enhancing your EmployabilityCM210610 credits
Group ProjectCM230520 credits
Communication NetworksCM230620 credits
Object Orientation, Algorithms and Data StructuresCM230720 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Data Processing and VisualisationCM210510 credits
Systems ModellingCM210710 credits
InformaticsCM220310 credits
Introduction to the Theory of ComputationCM220710 credits
Scientific ComputingCM220810 credits
Enterprise Architecture and ImplementationCM220910 credits

Year three: Sandwich year

Preparation begins during year two when you will be supported by our dedicated Placement Officer and other university services to help secure an appropriate salaried post, and ensure you have access to a broad variety of relevant placement opportunities. The School will also provide support and guidance during your placement year, in which you will be given the opportunity to enhance your CV and boost your employment prospects by gaining the valuable experience and skills that employers require.

Year four

In year four you will focus on emerging technologies and advanced topics in computer science. The pathways chosen during year two will be continued and enhanced according to your specific interests, alongside a choice of additional research informed optional modules. Contemporary topics include computer security and forensics investigation, high performance computing, artificial intelligence, computer vision, graphics, and multimedia. You will complete an individual project under staff supervision, driven by your interests.

Your module choices in year four will inform the options available to you during year five, as students may not duplicate topics between the two years. Exact module choices available will depend on the modules offered at the time, and full details of explicit module pairings that must be avoided will be provided in Student handbooks each year. Students will be advised on their module selections during Year four and five to ensure they are able to study their interests at the correct level and to maximise their coverage of Computer Science skills and knowledge.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Emerging TechnologiesCM320220 credits
One Semester Individual Project - 40CM320340 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
High Performance ComputingCM310320 credits
Large-Scale DatabasesCM310420 credits
MultimediaCM310620 credits
Knowledge ManagementCM310720 credits
Combinatorial OptimisationCM310910 credits
SecurityCM311010 credits
ForensicsCM311110 credits
Artificial IntelligenceCM311210 credits
Computer VisionCM311310 credits
GraphicsCM311410 credits

Year five

As well as taking part in a compulsory team project under the supervision of a member of academic staff, you will choose from a range of carefully selected research-informed modules focusing on contemporary and relevant topics currently emerging within the discipline. This year will consolidate your core Computer Science skills while also widening your knowledge across the breadth of discipline.

Your module choices from year four will inform the options available to you during this year, as students may not duplicate topics between the two years. Exact module choices available will depend on the modules offered at the time, and full details of explicit module pairings that must be avoided will be provided in Student handbooks each year. Students will be advised on their module selections during Year four and five to ensure they are able to study their interests at the correct level and to maximise their coverage of Computer Science skills and knowledge.

Module titleModule codeCredits
One Semester Individual Project - 40CM320320 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 and received an excellent report in the most recent Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) review.

Key skills such as programming are taught through a combination of lectures and lab-based practical sessions. Further support mechanisms are used to help digest material. These include example classes, tutorials and help sessions, amounting to a total of between 15-20 formal contact hours a week in year one. Teaching delivery in years two and four mirrors that of year one, but there are fewer formal contact hours as you will have acquired the skills needed to take control of your own learning by these latter stages of the course. Modules in year five 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.

Project

You will undertake project work throughout the course, with the opportunity to exercise increasing independence at each level.

In year one, you will participate in team project work. The tasks are well defined and enable you to put into practice knowledge and skills acquired earlier in the academic year.

In year two, you will undertake a group project fostering systems design, interpersonal and presentation skills. Each group is monitored by a supervisor with whom the group must keep in regular contact.

Year four individual projects give you the chance to demonstrate your ability to build upon and exploit knowledge and skills gained in earlier years.

In year five, you will carry out a comprehensive team project, aiming at exploring all the knowledge you have learnt and developing new research, technology, and team project skills

How will I be supported?

The School prides itself on offering a comprehensive support structure to ensure positive student/staff relationships.

We believe that providing suitable feedback mechanisms is crucial to ensure that the best programmes of study are available to our students. We have a student/staff panel consisting of elected student representatives and members of teaching staff who meet to discuss academic issues. In conjunction with the work of the panel, all students are provided with an opportunity to complete feedback questionnaires at the end of the Autumn and Spring semesters. These mechanisms allow the School to regularly review courses and ensure our students receive the best provision, delivered in a consistent manner, across all of our degrees.

The course makes use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central to provide course materials, and additional information is provided online.

You will be assigned a member of staff to act as your personal tutor, who will serve as a point of contact to advise on both academic and personal matters in an informal and confidential manner. You will see your personal tutor on average once a month during your first year of study. During years two, three and four there is a reduced schedule of contact sessions, which takes into account the increasing academic and time demands as you progress. 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. Your Personal Tutor will monitor your academic progress and supply references in support of any job applications that you make.

During the year in industry, our Placement Officer will maintain contact with the host organisation as well as with the student. Academic staff from the School will visit, which will give you an opportunity to maintain links with the School, and raise any concerns that you might have. You will also be able to remotely access all the above support mechanisms at Cardiff University, and will maintain contact with your Personal Tutor via email and/or Skype.

How will I be assessed?

Progress in each module will be assessed during or at the end of the semester in which it is taught. All modules include assessments, including written examinations or assessed coursework, or a combination of both. The format of the assessments depends on the learning outcomes of each specific module.

Most modules include coursework elements for assessment. The importance of good referencing, use of libraries and web-based information retrieval as a prelude to critical, independent study is developed. Assessed essays and reports are used to encourage knowledge and understanding, critical analysis, development of reasoned argument and synthesis of conclusions.

Practical assignments assess programming and design skills. These typically address small, well-defined problems at the start of the course, and become progressively open-ended. Tests are also used to assess knowledge, skills and techniques, which a professional may be expected to use in a time-constrained situation. You can also be assessed by poster presentation. 

Your placement will be assessed via a reflective report and a poster presentation to staff, students and employers during enrolment week of year four.

Feedback:

Feedback on assessed work will normally be made available no later than four working weeks after the assessment deadline. We recognise the importance not only of assessing the quality of the work submitted, but also of giving useful feedback which will help you in your understanding of the subject being assessed.

Feedback is used to identify what has been done well, why a particular mark was given, and what can be done to improve in the future. Feedback is given in a variety of ways including oral feedback given by staff on an informal, ongoing basis, written feedback on individual submissions, and written or oral feedback given to students as a group in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes.

What skills will I practise and develop?

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 relating to the storing, processing and communication of information; 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 ability to select, derive and analyse appropriate algorithms to solve computing problems
  • an ability to assess systems (which may include software, devices, people, and so on), to recognise the individual components and to understand their interaction, to improve systems, to replace them and to create them
  • 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

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Skilled computer scientists are in extremely high demand. This means the employment prospects for graduates in the computing and ICT industry are very strong. You will be equipped with transferrable skills that open doors to careers in many sectors.

In recent years, more than 90% of the School’s graduates were in employment or engaged in further study within six months of graduation.

Recent statistics show that the vast majority of our graduates are following their chosen career paths in roles such as Software Engineer, Web Developer, Computer Programmer, Associate Software Developer, Business Analyst and Systems Development Officer. They go on to work for companies including Airbus Group, Amazon, BBC, BT, Cardiff University, Capgemini, Confused.com, GCHQ, IBM, Lloyds Banking Group, MoD, Morgan Stanley, Sky, South Wales Police and Thomson Reuters. Others have chosen further study or research at Cardiff or other top universities.

Placements

Between year’s two and four you will have the opportunity to undertake a salaried placement year.

Preparation for the placement begins during year two when you will be supported by the School's dedicated Placement Officer and other university services to help you secure an appropriate salaried post, and ensure you have access to a broad variety of relevant placement opportunities. The School will also provide support and guidance during your placement year, in which you will be given the opportunity to enhance your CV and boost your employment prospects by gaining the valuable experience and skills that employers require.

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