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MEng Computer Science

UCAS code Typical offer Length
I102 AAA - AAB (See full entry requirements) 4 years full-time
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Learn from experts in the field

York Computer Science student in class

Develop skills that will be invaluable to employers

Group of students working in the hardware lab in Computer Science

Gain a grounding in both theory and practice

This course gives you a good grounding in the study of both software (programs) and hardware (electronics) and how they integrate into the design of systems.

Course overview

Studying at York is a great experience, and the Department of Computer Science is one of the best in the country.  A computer science degree opens up an even wider job market than I had ever expected.

Undergraduate alumna Nicola Price

Nicola Price
MEng Computer Science 2006, now working for Atkins

What this course involves

The structure of the course means that you gain a thorough grounding in the discipline in the first two years. You can then sharpen your focus on those areas that interest you by choosing modules and your individual project on topics covered by our world-leading research and expertise and the latest developments in Computer Science.

Choosing to study on a four-year Masters course gives you an extra year to study the topics that really interest you at a deeper level.

Practical and project work receive a great emphasis throughout the course, and you will be guided through this in scheduled practical and teaching sessions in the Department’s state-of-the-art teaching laboratories. This guiding in your first year is intended to give you the help you need to become an independent thinker, as you work more on practical coursework and your individual project as the course progresses.

Our laboratories are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you are able to work on your projects, coursework or simply experiment at a time of day that suits you.

In this video, take a tour of our facilities - this is where you'll come for teaching and to use the labs:

http://youtu.be/-QDYp_lzDZo

You will also have your own personal supervisor, who will meet with you regularly.They will be available to help with any issues you may be having, academic or personal.

Our links with industry

We have fantastic links with industry within the Department, and this allows us to give you exposure to the latest developments in the real world, as well as in our research. You may work on projects that have been specified by companies such as IBM or BT, who will then take any solutions and could use them within their business.

We also take advice from our Industrial Advisory Board, who make sure that what we teach is up to date and relevant to today's workplace. This means that when the time comes for you to get a job, you will be able to adapt quickly in the workplace, due to our principled and current teaching.

Opportunities to study abroad

The University operates a worldwide exchange programme that allows students to pursue international interests; there are links with a number of universities in North America, Asia and Australia.  The exchange year replaces an academic year in York, and you can apply in January of your first year.

Accreditation

Logo from BCS (Chartered Institute of IT) showing our accredited status

This course is recognised by BCS the Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of fully meeting the educational requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP), CITP Further Learning and Chartered Engineer (CEng).

IET Accredited programmes logo

This course is recognised by Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for the purposes of fulfilment of the educational requirement for CEng registration.

Find out more about what this professional accreditation means.

Course content

What you'll study

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ55Mvmk0HY

Your first year

Your first year contains essential fundamental material in programming, computer architectures and human-computer interfaces. You will also learn about the mathematical and theoretical foundations of computer science.  We also teach you how to increase your employability prospects, including helping with your presentation style and exploring the professional issues in Computer Science.

These are examples of the modules we currently teach in our first year:

Your second year

Your second year continues teaching you the fundamentals of the discipline, and more specialist modules start to be introduced. You also choose to undertake either a software engineering or hardware project.

Current second year modules are:

Your third year

Once you reach your third year, there is more flexibility, and you can choose optional modules from a wide range based on the latest developments in the discipline and research here at York.

Examples of current third year modules are:

  • Analysable Real-Time Systems
  • Computer Vision
  • Designing and Maintaining Software
  • Embedded Systems Design and Implementation
  • Computing by Graph Transformation
  • Information and Coding Theory
  • Introduction to Neural Computing and Applications
  • Machine Learning and Applications
  • Programming: Correctness by Construction

Your final year

You will undertake a large individual research project, a group project and five modules.

Examples of current modules are:

  • Adaptive & Learning Agents
  • Constraint Programming
  • Critical Systems
  • Emergence
  • Evolutionary Computation
  • Evolvable Hardware
  • Neural Computing
  • Topics in Privacy & Security
  • Quantum Information Processing
  • Quantum Computation
  • Requirements Engineering
  • Software Measurement & Testing
  • Swarm Intelligence
  • Systems Architecture
  • User Centred Design

Your final year project

You will be able to choose from a large list of projects, or define your own topic according to your interests.

Some recent examples of final year projects are:

  • Models of safety-critical Java programs
  • Computation with molecules
  • Creating believable avatar animations in Second Life
  • 3D shape retrieval
  • Machine learning of spontaneous gestures
  • Finding comets in solar images
  • Using the web to solve crossword puzzles
  • A Flash-based animation engine for ZLive
  • Tuple-Spaces using the Google Data API

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct;
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work;
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts;
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

Teaching

How you'll be taught

Our holistic view of teaching the subject - blending theory and practice, software and hardware - means that you will learn the principles behind Computer Science, and will be able to pick up any challenges you find in the workplace.

Professor Jim Woodcock, Head of the Department of Computer Science

Professor Jim Woodcock, Head of Department

At York, Computer Science is taught in a broad and principled way, where you cover theory as well as practice, and hardware (electronics) as well as software (programs), and how they integrate in the design of systems. We encourage you to develop your professional competence as well as your intellectual adventure.

How will my contact hours be spent?

A typical week will involve about 16.5 hours of scheduled teaching time. Our courses are based on series of one-hour lectures with associated laboratory sessions, programming classes and tutorials. 

Throughout the course, you will have a personal supervisor responsible for guiding your studies. In addition to any timetabled sessions, you will meet with your supervisor regularly, and you can also go to him or her at any time, should you have any issues, academic or personal. There are problem classes to help you put learning from lectures into practice and one-to-one weekly project supervisions in your final year.

However, much of the required learning is achieved outside the scheduled timetable. This can be through working in the labs, which are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or through reading recommended materials or working through problems. Consequently, students are expected to be self-motivated, self-disciplined and willing to learn outside regular classes.

Your contact hours in the first year are higher than subsequent years, as we teach the fundamentals of the subject. As you progress through the course you will develop your skills to become a more independent learner. In your final year you will be working on your individual project in addition to timetabled activity; you will be allocated a project supervisor, with whom you will have regular meetings in addition to timetabled sessions. You can go to your project supervisor for support and advice regarding your project.

What difference does studying for an MEng make?

The four year course means you are able to study at a greater depth more topics in Computer Science. This includes the latest cutting-edge research from our own academics, giving you an insight into what is happening in the discipline today.

Due to the nature of this more in-depth study, you are required to achieve a higher average mark across your modules in order for you to progress on the course.

Assessment

How you'll be assessed

I really enjoy one-to-one supervision of students on individual projects and helping them to achieve results.

Nick Pears, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science

Nick Pears, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science

We use a variety of assessment techniques throughout your course. This allows you to practice different techniques, from report writing and presentations to closed exams. This also means you are not disadvantaged by being assessed in any one way.

Here's a few examples:

  • If you choose a hardware project in your second year, your assessment will include a live demonstration of your project, which counts towards your final mark.
  • In your first year, you will complete a log book detailing your work in the hardware sessions.
  • When you undertake your final year project, you will be expected to produce a large report, as well as an oral presentation of your project.
  • Our Skills for Computer Scientist module is there to help you develop your employability skills, and so assessed work includes presentations, writing a blog and developing your career plan.
  • Your first year programming module, Theory and Practice of Programming, includes a timed, closed programming assessment, where you must code in an exam setting.
  • Other modules include mini exams throughout the year which contribute to your final mark.

Feedback on assessments

The Department really cares about its students and has done a lot to improve the course and listen to feedback while I’ve been here.

 Undergraduate Alex Chow

Alex Chow, MEng Computer Science with Embedded Systems Engineering

We're working hard on how we provide feedback to our students. We provide exam review sessions, where you can come and see your marked assessment and ask an academic member of staff any questions about the way it has been marked. We also provide you with electronic feedback, which is given alongside the marks you receive. We also have a Board of Examiners, to which any student can apply if they wish to take queries about their assessments further.

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

Assessment arrangements

We will make reasonable adjustments for any students with disabilities. For more information, take a look at the University disability support services.

Careers

Careers and employability

Join a Computer Science department with one of the highest employability rates in the UK. Nine out of every ten of our graduates get work or go into further study within six months of leaving York.

Information technology is a rapidly expanding field, creating demand for computer scientists and software engineers across a broad section of employers, so the skills you develop here will make you attractive to many organisations.

Many of our graduates are employed by software and electronics industries, but the continuing expansion of the use of computers in commercial and financial operations means that you will be able to find employment in other industries - and here your sharpened numeracy and analytical skills will have prepared you well.

Here's some idea of which industry sectors our graduates choose to work in:

Industry sectors of jobs our graduates gain when they leave York

Read some profiles of our past students, to find out how their degree from York helps them to do jobs in organisations as diverse as Mars and Cancer Research UK.

A Computer Science degree from York prepares graduates for the workplace at all levels. They keep up with emerging trends and prepare graduates to adapt quickly, so we find that graduates from York are able to integrate with Amadeus easily.

Jeffrey Hau
HR Business Partner, Amadeus

Skills for the workplace

Most importantly, you learn how to think and gain a broad understanding of all of the essential scientific principles, engineering techniques and practices in Computer Science. This allows you to be flexible and adapt quickly in any field that you wish to go into. More specifically, we can identify four main skill areas as follows:

  • The ability to approach problems analytically, and to design structured solutions. Laboratory modules will help you to develop skills of data analysis, design and implementation. You will also be introduced to a wide range of modern software development tools and techniques.
  • Research skills. Throughout the course you will be given opportunities to learn research skills. These culminate in a major final year project where you will research a problem, identify the key issues, produce a critical assessment of the relevant literature, and generate a new solution.
  • Management skills. You will have the opportunity to learn about the techniques, concepts and theories used in project management, and gain experience of putting them into effect.
  • Communication skills. Communication skills are invaluable. You will have the opportunity to develop these skills throughout the programme, through, for example, oral and written presentations, in both formal and informal settings. At the end of the course, you will be confident and competent in communicating your knowledge and skills to a wide range of audiences.

Find out more about how York can help make you more employable 

Applying

How to apply

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When your place at York is confirmed, you'll be sent a free Raspberry Pi. Then you can take part in our Challenge!

See what last year's Challenge was like, and watch a video of the proceedings

All applications must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

We will make all of our offers in terms of grades - we will not use tariff points in your offer.

All of our offers will require a grade B or above in A-Level Mathematics (or equivalent qualification).

Tips on applying

Please put as much information as you can on your UCAS form. This will help us to process your application as soon as possible.

We do not require our students to have any programming or computing experience, but if you have, you should mention this in your personal statement - whether it be working with hardware, software or applications. We are interested to know why you want to study Computer Science for the next few years, so let us know what interests you about the subject. We may also ask you about this at interview.

Bear in mind that we are interested not only in what you have done, but, even more, in what you are going to do. Put information in your application that tells us how you are going to make use of your opportunity at University and after graduation.

Whilst we do not specifically require you to have studied Computing at A-level, we are delighted to accept students with this qualification and would encourage you to apply. We also recommend the new OCR or AQA GCSEs in Computer Science/Computing, so that you can gain a grounding in the principles of Computing, though this is also not an admissions requirement to any of our degrees.

Your offer and visiting York

If we receive your application form and are impressed by your grades, personal statement and references, we will recommend you for an offer. You will also be given the opportunity to attend an optional interview.

The interview is not part of your offer, and you do not need to attend. However, if you choose to attend and you perform well at interview, your offer may be reduced by one A-Level grade or equivalent. Please note, irrespective of your performance at interview, the Department will recommend that the University makes you an offer.

The interview will be a one-to-one session with a member of our academic staff, to discuss your motivation for studying Computer Science and your aptitude for the subject. Find out more about our Open Days and Applicant Visit Days.

In the case of applicants living outside the UK, a decision will be made based on their application.

Transfer between courses

We encourage you to apply for the course you are interested in, but you can transfer between courses (except for joint honours degrees) at any time until the end of the first year.

Entry requirements

A levels

For MEng courses:  AAA - AAB including an A-level in Mathematics. 

For BEng/BSc courses:  AAB - ABB including an A-level Mathematics.

An A-level in Mathematics is an absolute requirement for all our courses. Your other two A-levels can be any subject.

For our joint Computer Science and Mathematics course, you must achieve an A in A-level Mathematics.

Whilst we do not specifically require you to have studied Computing at A-level, we are delighted to accept students with this qualification and would encourage you to apply.

We also recommend the new OCR or AQA GCSEs in Computer Science/Computing, so that you can gain a grounding in the principles of Computing, though this is also not an admissions requirement to any of our degrees.

GCSEs

From applicants who have taken GCSEs, we look for a good range of subjects, including GCSE English Language at grade C or above.

We also require a qualification in a physical science; for example, a GCSE at grade C or above in Physics or Double Science.

International Baccalaureate

For MEng courses:  overall grade of 36 - 35 points, with a grade 6 in Mathematics at Higher Level. 

For BEng/BSc courses:  overall grade of 35 - 34 points, with a grade 6 in Mathematics at Higher Level. 

You should have at least some basic qualification in Physics. This could be at a level one or two years earlier than your school-leaving qualification; but a qualification as part of your school-leaving qualification would provide an even more useful preparation.

The ideal preparation would be Physics at HIGHER level; but it would still be very useful to you at STANDARD level. Nevertheless, we do not require it to be part of your IB, provided you have studied physical science earlier in your school career.

Evidence of English language ability is also required from applicants whose first language is not English and who have not been taught predominantly in English.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

For MEng courses:  AA - AB in Advanced Highers, including Mathematics, plus AAAAA - AAAAB at Higher Level.

For BEng/BSc courses:  AB in Advanced Highers, including Mathematics, plus AAAAB - AAABB at Higher Level. 

For joint courses with Mathematics, we will ask for A in Mathematics in all cases. 

Our GCSE requirements can be satisfied by any combination of Scottish Standard and Higher level qualifications.

Irish Leaving Certificate

For MEng courses:  AAAAAB - AAAABB at Higher Level, including A1 or A2 in Mathematics.

For BEng/BSc courses:  AAAABB - AABBBB at Higher Level, including A1 or A2 in Mathematics. 

For joint course with Mathematics, we will ask for A1 in Mathematics in all cases. 

BTEC

BTEC Extended Diploma (or National Diploma) (Level 3)

For MEng courses:  Grades DDD, plus a grade A in A-level Mathematics.

For BEng/BSc courses:  Grades DDD - DDM, plus at least a grade B in A-level Mathematics.

Please note that, for all applicants studying the BTEC Extended Diploma, we will also require an A-level in Mathematics. The grade required for MEng and BEng/BSc courses is listed above. For joint courses with Mathematics, we will require a grade A in A-level Mathematics. 

We will consider applicants with a National Certificate (BTEC Diploma) if they also hold a grade A in A-level Mathematics. In the first instance, you should contact the Department to discuss your application with details of your BTEC course.

Our A-level Mathematics requirement may be waived if you have obtained Distinctions in BTEC level 3 Extended Diploma papers in Mathematics with a sufficiently rigorous approach, and sufficient content at an appropriate level. If this is the case, then the A-level requirement will be waived and our requirement will be Grades DDD for the Extended Diploma.

To save disappointment, we should point out that any Mathematics module described as 'for IT' is unlikely, on its own, to be an acceptable mathematical preparation for our programmes.

You would find Electronics, Electrical Engineering or Physics the most useful preparation among your other modules.

You should also have at least some basic qualification in Physics. This could be GCSE Double Science (or single Physics); but a qualification as part of your BTEC Diploma or Extended Diploma would provide an even more useful preparation.

 

BTEC HNC Diploma (Level 4) or HND Diploma (Level 5)

For MEng and BEng courses:  We ask for the HNC Diploma or HND Diploma with Distinctions in most papers, and Merits in all those papers that are not Distinctions, plus a grade A in A-level Mathematics.

Our A-level Mathematics requirement may be waived if you have obtained Distinctions in a number of HNC or HND papers in Mathematics with a sufficiently rigorous approach, and sufficient content at an appropriate level. To save disappointment, we should point out that any Mathematics module described as 'for IT' is unlikely, on its own, to be an acceptable preparation for our programmes.

You would find Electronics, Electrical Engineering or Physics the most useful preparation among your other modules.

You should have at least some basic qualification in Physics. This could be GCSE Double Science (or single Physics); but a qualification as part of your HNC or HND would provide an even more useful preparation.

European Baccalaureate

For MEng courses:  an overall average of 85% - 80% with a Mathematics (FIVE-period) by written examination result of 85%.

For BEng/BSc courses:  an overall average of 80% - 75% with a Mathematics (FIVE-period) by written examination result of at least 75%.

For joint courses with Mathematics, we will ask for a result of 85% in Mathematics in all cases. 

You should have at least some basic qualification in Physics. This could be at a level one or two years earlier than your school-leaving qualification; but a qualification as part of your school-leaving qualification would provide an even more useful preparation. The ideal preparation would be Physics as part of your EB. Nevertheless, we do not require it to be part of your EB, provided you have studied physical science earlier in your school career.

Evidence of English Language ability is also required from applicants whose first language is not English and who were not taught predominantly in English. This requirement can be satisfied by obtaining 65% in English in the EB.

Other qualifications

Cambridge Pre-U Diploma

For MEng courses:  pass with D3/D3/D3 - D3/D3/M2 in principal subjects including Mathematics.

For BEng/BSc courses:  pass with D3/D3/M2 - D3/M2/M2 in principal subjects including Mathematics. 

For joint courses with Mathematics, you will be required to achieve D3 in Mathematics in all cases.

 

Open University

We welcome applications offering a mix of OU, A level, and other appropriate qualifications. Applicants can use appropriate Open University (OU) courses to fulfil some or all of our A-level subject requirements.

The 30 credit courses Essential Mathematics 1 (MST124) and Essential Mathematics 2 (MST125) can be taken to replace our Maths A-level requirement. You must take both courses and achieve at least 85% (Distinction) in both.

Please note that we require Mathematics as your main qualification: from the OU (as above) or as an A level, or equivalent.

The Mathematics courses stated above replace just one of our normal A-level requirements. You may have some further OU or other qualifications, or some A-levels, or some relevant work experience, or a mixture of all of these. Please get in touch with us to discuss your individual circumstances.

We might, depending on your individual case, require some evidence of a background in physical science, such as at GCSE. The OU course S104 Exploring Science (60 points at Level 1) is an excellent introduction to the culture of science. It is very broad, and we would encourage any potential applicant to consider taking it.

As a preparation for our courses, the OU course Exploring Science does not cover Electronics to any significant extent. We would therefore recommend that you also look at textbooks for GCSE Physics, or for an AS-level Electricity or Electronics module, or for an Electrical or Electronic vocational (technical) qualification.

Other qualifications are accepted by the University. Please contact Undergraduate Admissions.

English Language Requirements

If your first language is not English, and you have not been taught predominantly in English, you will need to offer a suitable qualification in English language.

Find out more about our English Language requirements

Mature students

We welcome applications from mature candidates and will assess any application on its own merits. However, we still expect you to have an appropriate background in Mathematics. We recommend that you contact us for an informal discussion before you apply.

Any questions?

Contact our admissions team:

Admissions Tutor:

  • Dr Will Smith

Admissions Administrators:

  • Mrs Dominique Pickering
  • Mrs Catherine Smith

admissions@cs.york.ac.uk
+44 (0)1904 325412

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