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Computer Science (MSc by Research)

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Course overview

Computer Science (MSc by Research) matches up students with experts in one of six research disciplines for one year of intensive supervised training. The course is aimed at recent graduates who have achieved a good first degree and are looking for the opportunity to do in-depth research in a chosen topic under the guidance of an expert in the area. This course will also be of interest to people wishing to acquire research skills after a period of employment. 

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Science by Research
Duration One year full-time
Department and Faculty Computer Science, Faculty of Science
Partner institution(s) --
Course director  Professor Zhaohui Luo
Contact for more information  depsec@cs.rhul.ac.uk

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

A minimum of a 2:1 UK honours degree in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent.

Relevant professional qualifications and relevant experience in an associated area.

English language requirements:

IELTS and TOEFL scores for non-native English speaking applicants


Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.


Please note that this is not a taught degree programme. Applicants for the Computer Science (MSc by Research) should use the form Application for a Postgraduate Research Programme, not the form for Taught Masters' programmes.

    Why choose this course?

    • The course offers recent graduates a unique chance to take their first steps into scientific research allowing them to progress to more advanced studies or into employment in research-intensive companies or organisations.
    • Students with prior professional experience can acquire valuable research skills and broaden their academic knowledge by working under the supervision of world-leading researchers
    • Students enjoy a lively research culture and are fully involved in the research activities of the Department.

    Department research and industry highlights

    • Computer Science at Royal Holloway is one of the world's leading centres of research in various areas of theoretical and applied computer science. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), we were ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of our research output, with over 28% of our publications recognised as world leading.
    • The Department offers a vibrant research culture. Students have the opportunity to attend all departmental research seminars as well as a weekly social event.
    • Collaborative research with industry is carried out in many different fields, from finance to the analysis of movie scripts, from computational simulations of epidemics to foundational aspects of probability and logic.

    Course content and structure

    The course has several strands which coincide with fundamental areas of research in Computer Science, in which the Department's contribution has been internationally recognised:

    • Bioinformatics (Biological Sequence Analysis)
    • Constraints
    • Discrete Optimisation
    • Distributed and Global Computing
    • Intelligent Agents and Multi-agent Systems
    • Machine Learning
    • Programming Languages and Compilers
    For more details for each of the strands, see our website.

      On completion of the course graduates will have:

      • Valuable experience in scientific research
      • Useful transferable skills and knowledge in research methodology
      • Ability to pursue further postgraduate studies at PhD level or embark on a more research-intensive career

      View the full course specification for Computer Science (MSc by Research) in the Programme Specification Repository


      Assessment will be based primarily on the chosen research project, the centrepiece of the course, which counts for 75% of the total mark for the MSc. It will consist of sizeable, structured piece of individual research. The project itself will normally be in a research area associated with the strand that the student has followed during the first term. The other 25% of the total mark is based on coursework and a presentation. 

      Employability & career opportunities

      Our graduates are among the most employable in the UK - we rank third in the UK for graduate employability - and, in recent years, have entered many different Computer Science-related roles including network systems design and engineering, web development and production. Our graduates have found employment at a wide range of organisations including Logica, British Telecom, British Aerospace, Microsoft, Amazon.com, American Express, Sky and Orbis Technology.  At the same time, this course also equips you with a solid foundation for further postgraduate studies at PhD level.


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