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Preparing to Study: FAQs

We hope that you are looking forward to starting your Masters degree at York. We're often asked questions about what to expect in the first few months of study, and we've put together a collection of the most frequently asked questions which we hope you will find useful.

Take a look at the questions below. If you don't find the answer you need, send us an email at and we'll be happy to help.

What can I expect during my first week?

Induction week

During your first week, we'll be running a full programme of activities for you. These will provide information about the Department and the opportunities available to you as one of our students. Full information about the week's activities will be published on our Induction pages (coming soon!).

During your first week, you will also meet your academic supervisor and will arrange your first supervision meeting. Your supervisor is allocated to you when you arrive and is there to help and advise you on all aspects of life at university.

How will I be taught?

Teaching Methods

The first section of the course is taken up by taught modules. Each module comprises a mix of lectures, problem classes and practical classes, plus personal study time. In the second half of the course, you'll undertake an individual research project under the supervision of a member of staff.

Throughout the course you will have a personal tutor who will provide academic and pastoral advice throughout your course. When you undertake your individual project, you will be allocated a supervisor within your area of interest.

While working on your individual project, you will receive regular one-to-one supervision throughout. You will continue to work on your individual project during the second semester and into the summer vacation, and there will be continuing supervision and research-group meetings to discuss your project.  You will finish the course when you hand in your dissertation for your project in September.

Due to the intensive nature of the course, you will need to be in York throughout each semester and over the summer while you undertake your dissertation.

Our software labs are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help support your learning. You can access the Department building, corridor and lab by using your Student ID card.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment Methods

All the modules you take will be assessed, and we employ a variety of forms of assessment. These include practical exercises, reports and closed examinations. Your project assessment will be made up of a dissertation.

Assessments take place at various times during the year. Closed examinations take place in the three week assessment periods that follow each semester.

Practical exercises, reports and other forms of open assessment are typically issued towards the end of the teaching sessions of a module. Work for these assessments must be submitted by fixed deadlines, normally well after the conclusion of the taught sessions.

To aid your learning we provide feedback on your assessments in addition to the marks you receive. Our Examinations Team based here in the Department is also available should you have any assessment queries. You can contact the team by emailing

We also ask our students for feedback on the course at the end of each year. This helps to improve and modify what we do to help meet the needs of our students.

When will I be taught and assessed?

Teaching and assessment schedules

From September 2023, the University academic year will be split into two semesters and this will replace our previous three term model. Read more about semesters

Your timetable will be available to view before the start of the academic year. Your optional modules, if applicable, will be added to your timetable after you have selected them in your first week. 

We also produce spreadsheets showing our annual course schedules and publish them on our student web pages. These are to be used as a reference point only, as they are not updated once teaching starts.

Our full-time taught Masters programmes run for almost one calendar year from the start of the first semester each September. We expect you to be available for teaching sessions during both semesters. Outside these periods, you should still expect to work: for example, in revision and in preparation for open assessments, including your projects. See the semester dates.

Please be aware that University Regulations state that you should be in York and present at any time when teaching or other academic activities have been arranged for students on your course (this may include include Saturdays).

Who will I meet?

Computer Science Staff

During your first few weeks, you will meet your supervisor and other key staff members. Some of these are listed below.

We don't expect you to remember everyone's name! If you have any questions, or you're not sure who you should go to, speak to your supervisor or see Jo Phillips on Reception.

Will I receive any academic skills support?

Develop your study skills

You'll need strong study skills to help you learn effectively and efficiently throughout your degree, such as time management, academic writing and digital know-how.

To help you develop your skills, the University offers a range of support from online resources to in-person workshops, which will help you with your academic writing, digital skills and more.

An essential part of your development is academic integrity - this is how we make sure that our work is ethical and trustworthy. When you start with us in the autumn, it is important that you complete the Academic Integrity Tutorial module on Yorkshare, the University's VLE (virtual learning environment).

What are Course Reps?

Representing your cohort

Here at York, students have the opportunity to be listened to at every level, ensuring that everyone can have the best experience while studying for their degree.

Course reps play a major role in enhancing the student academic experience, acting as the voice of their cohort and working with students and staff to ensure that all students are equally represented.

Students that take on the role of course reps become invaluable contacts for both students and staff. By gathering student opinion, they become specialists in course-based issues, and their input is vital in helping the Department to identify and tackle problems that arise.

Being a course rep is a great opportunity to meet lots of new people while gaining fantastic experience and developing your communication and research skills. 

If you'd like to find out more about becoming a course rep, you can:

We look forward to working with you!

How do I find out what's going on?

Keep up to date!

Every year, the Department issues a Student Handbook, which is your go-to guide for useful information about studying on your course. This document is available online, and we strongly recommend that you bookmark the page, so that you can access it easily whenever you need it.

The University publishes a Student Homepage on its website,which is a useful resource for finding rooms, booking study space and check availability for library seating. It also gives support and guidance on a range of issues, making sure you can find the right contacts when you need them.

Finally, our own student web pages (UoY login required) provide you with lots of information about your course, modules and assessments. We publish regular newsletters, and also keep you up to date through our social media accounts.

Find out more:


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