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Computer Science

Course overview

(MSc) Master of Science
Computer Science
University of Essex
University of Essex
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
MSC G40E24

We will consider applications with an overall grade of 2:2 and above, in any subject except computer science or electronic engineering, and GCSE Mathematics, grade C or above, or an equivalent qualification.

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 Options Optional 0 Optional Optional

Year 2 - 2020/21

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 CE901-7-SU MSc Project and Dissertation Compulsory 60 Compulsory Compulsory
02 Options Optional 0 Optional Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To develop and acquire the productive and receptive language and study skills needed for successful participation at graduate level in a British university. These include both linguistic and communicative competence skills; academic writing; reading efficiency; summarising, paraphrasing, quoting and referencing skills; avoiding plagiarism; the ability to work independently;

To provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge in computer programming required to progress to Master’s degree level;

To develop the students’ ability to work on projects and relatively unstructured assignments and to understand industrial practice in the computer industry;

To acquire the knowledge and skills (ie. critical, analytical, research, problem-solving and study skills; argument and communication) that will not only stand students in good stead for more specialised academic careers, but will also enhance their opportunities for employment in a wide range of other careers.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Improve language accuracy and fluency to C1 level
A2 Recognise and use the appropriate lexical and discourse structures of their subject area
A3 Principles, techniques and processes of project management
A4 Programming models and languages, operating systems
A5 Information systems, including data modelling, database design, information retrieval
Learning Methods: Lectures and classes

Directed reading

Individual and group tasks


Modules are taught through lectures, laboratory classes, seminar discussions, tutorials and student presentations, with both peer and tutor feedback.

Where feasible, input in the EAP modules will be based on material provided by academic module teachers, and some classes may be team-taught.

Computer science lectures provide knowledge of key ideas in the field, including programming, databases and operating systems, as well as project management and industrial practice.
Assessment Methods: Unseen written examinations

Assessed essays

Class tests

Class assignments and presentations
Laboratory assignments

Assessment tests both basic understanding of concepts and issues and a range of approaches and interpretations.

A1-A2 outcomes are assessed via an extended project in EL933.

This is designed to examine students' ability to produce an extended piece of writing which demonstrates the ability to present a coherent argument based on a range of sources drawn from key texts in the target academic discipline.

A3-A5 are assessed by means of the coursework and examination requirements of computer science modules.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

Learning Methods:
Assessment Methods:

C: Practical skills

Learning Methods: C1 EL 931-933: students practise these skills using audio and video materials.

They are also expected to make notes during classmates' presentations.

They are then required to write up a selection of these notes at a later date, to check their accuracy and effectiveness.

The teaching materials and methodology place great emphasis on pair and group work and student participation - this is explicitly addressed in tutors' reports and students are encouraged to discuss these reports in tutorials.

C2 EL932: students select texts from a variety of sources for class discussion - these texts are then read for content and also critically evaluated for the quality and reliability of the evidence they contain and the structure of their argument.

There is also some analysis of the varying requirements of specific academic genres.

C4 EL933 preparation for project work in plenary sessions and in 1:1 tutorials and feedback on process, editing and drafting.

All of these skills are also practised both directly and indirectly in EL931, EL932, EL933, EL934 and in relevant computer science modules.

C3 is developed through exercises and exposure to a range of systems software

C5 is developed in group assignments and project work

Various aspects of C6 are acquired in programming and other assignments, and further developed in team and individual project work
Assessment Methods: Assessment of EL modules is based on a mixture of oral and written assignments which test students' ability to implement these skills effectively.

Achievement of practical skills in computer science modules is assessed through marked coursework, project reports, oral presentations and demonstrations of completed basic systems.

D: Key skills

Learning Methods: D1 There is a continuous emphasis on effective communication.

Awareness of audience and appropriate linguistic and discourse choices is a focus of all work, especially in writing.

D2 Students are trained in the use of PowerPoint for presentations and in using the Internet for research purposes.

D4-D5: Students are expected to work in pairs and groups on a variety of information- and opinion-gap tasks and analysis of texts.

In presentations students give and receive peer feedback, both oral and written.

Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning, especially in individual tutorials.

Reflective tasks are also part of the portfolio requirement.

D1-D6 are implicit in some computer science modules.
Assessment Methods: D1-D6 are assessed as an integral part of class work and assignments.

EL modules: students are required to word process their work and to use PowerPoint for oral presentations.

Peer evaluation and feedback are an important part of the informal assessment of students' performance.

D6: IA931-IA933 include reflective tasks in the portfolio of assessed work.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: