Mathematics for Computer Science

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
26 July 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC G620 Computer Games (Including Foundation Year),
BENGG520 Computer Networks (Including Foundation Year),
BSC G403 Computer Science (Including Foundation Year),
BENGH750 Computer Systems Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGGH46 Computers with Electronics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC GH3P Computing and Electronics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC I401 Artificial Intelligence (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module covers the mathematical skills needed to proceed to any degree course within Computer Science. The syllabus covers the mathematics of basic arithmetic, algebra and graphs, finite summations and series, converting between and using different number systems and differentiation.

The associated work in classes and lab sessions develops the skills used to solve relevant problems, with classwork and online assignments being set and full solutions provided as part of the feedback process.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To ensure that students from a wide range of educational backgrounds understand core mathematical skills needed within the study of Computer Science.

  • To develop the ability to acquire knowledge and skills from lectures, classwork exercises, and mathematical software and apply theory to a range of weekly tasks.

  • To develop students' ability to use these skills in their subsequent degree courses.4. To equip students with the mathematical techniques needed to solve problems involving topics from the syllabus and to structure their solutions and conclusions clearly.

  • To give students the ability to display functions graphically and interpret graphs.

  • To give students an understanding of differentiation and how to use this to analyse graphs of functions.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand and use basic arithmetic and algebra.

  2. Understand different number systems and the ability to work within different systems as well as convert between them.

  3. Ability to plot basic graphs and understand shifts in graphs.

  4. Ability to evaluate finite summations and series and predict convergence/divergence of series.

  5. Understand and use differentiation and partial differentiation to find the gradient of functions of one or two variables.

  6. Analyse functions by interpreting results from differentiation.

  7. Understand the syntax of propositional logic, draw truth tables and analyse logical statements.

  8. Understand trigonometric functions and solve simple trigonometric equations.

  9. Systematically enumerate sets and lists of objects using combinatorial methods such as the multiplication rule, the over-counting principle, combinations and permutations.

Skills for your professional life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of this module, you will have been offered opportunities:

  1. To improve your mathematical fluency, intuition and critical thinking skills in a broad range of both concrete and abstract contexts.

  2. To develop your fluency with mathematical computer syntax by working extensively with software such as Numbas.

  3. To improve your understanding of how mathematics and computer science overlap in the real world.

  4. To take responsibility for setting your own targets and managing your own time.

Module information


  • Basic arithmetic and algebra.

  • Number systems: Working in and converting between decimal, binary, octal, hexadecimal, and q-ary, systems.

  • Graphical representation of functions shifts in graphs and graphical solution of equations.
    Finite summations and series.

  • Calculus: differentiation of linear and polynomial functions, partial differentiation of functions of two variables, turning points, applications of differentiation.

  • Basics of trigonometry.

  • Basics of combinatorics, including combinations and permutations.

  • Propositional logic, truth tables and Boolean algebra.

  • Practical application of mathematics to computer science-related problems.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 1-hour lecture per week.
  • One 2-hour class per week.
  • One 1-hour lab session per week.

There are two weeks of revision lectures and classes in the Summer Term.

Teaching and learning on Essex Pathways modules offers students the ability to develop the foundation knowledge, skills, and competencies to study at the undergraduate level, through a curriculum that is purposely designed to provide an exceptional learning experience.

 All lecture notes and exercises are placed on Moodle for easy student access. Listen Again is also used as part of learning support in which students can review the recordings at a later date.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   IA126 In-person, Open Book (restricted) Test 1    42% 
Coursework   IA126 In-person, Open Book (restricted) Test 2    50% 
Coursework   IA126 - Participation    8% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 150 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 150 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Additional coursework information

Formative assessment

  • Students engage in weekly worksheets, lab sessions and online assignments and receive in-class feedback.

Summative assessment

  • One-hour in-person, open book (restricted) test 1, to be completed on Numbas via Moodle
    The first test examines students’ understanding of mathematical concepts taught in the first six lectures of the course. These concepts include prime factorisation, solving basic exercises involving arithmetic operations, solving basic exercises involving algebraic operations, solving systems of simultaneous linear equations, solving linear and quadratic equations, basic linear graphs concepts and solving worded questions.
  • Two-hour in-person, open book (restricted) test 2, to be completed on Numbas via Moodle
    The second test examines students’ understanding of further mathematical concepts used in computer science. These concepts include: solving exercises and worded questions using calculus (differentiation of linear and polynomial functions, partial differentiation and gradients), basics of trigonometry and combinatorics, and exercises involving operations in and conversion between different number bases. Emphasis is put on questions relating to computer science concepts.
  • Participation mark. Participation marks are awarded for completing mini-online assignments during the lab sessions of the module. The assignments are based on the topics taught during the weekly lectures.
  • A 2.5-hour in-person, open book (restricted) exam.The exam consists of questions covering all the topics taught during the module and included in the syllabus. Emphasis is put on questions relating to computer science concepts.

Reassessment strategy

  • Failed Exam - Resit the exam which is re-aggregated with the existing coursework mark to create a new module mark.
  • Failed Coursework - Resit the exam which counts as coursework and is then re-aggregated with the existing exam mark to create a new module mark.
  • Failed Exam and Coursework - Resit the exam which will count as 100% exam mark. The exam will cover all the learning outcomes.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
60% 40%


Coursework Exam
60% 40%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Billy Woods, email: billy.woods@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Billy Woods
Kate Smith - catsmith@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Austin Tomlinson
University of Birmingham
Available via Moodle
Of 123 hours, 112 (91.1%) hours available to students:
8 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
3 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Pathways

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