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Computer Science (Distributed & Networked Systems) with a year in industry MSci

New Course for 2017 - Programme Under Development
UCAS code G4G9
Year of entry 2017
  View 2018 entry »
Course Length 5 years full time
Department Computer Science »

Looking for an integrated masters programme that will set you apart from other computer science undergraduates and set you on course for a high-level career? This five-year MSci programme offers a thorough grounding in computer science and allows you to specialise in distributed and networked systems, as well as gaining hands-on skills and experience during a coveted year in industry. You will also have the chance to showcase your abilities in an extended final year project. It is particularly recommended if you want to progress to postgraduate study or a specialist career in artificial intelligence or related fields.

Distributed and networked systems underpin the proliferation of sophisticated, software-enabled systems that are changing the way we live and communicate in the 21st century. You will learn all about the new generation of connected devices such as smart homes, smart cities, smart cars, smart meters, as well as how to store and analyse complex data, and how to build and maintain networks and distributed systems. You will also study the Internet of Things, one of the newest and most transformative areas of computer science.

Our progressive curriculum has been developed in consultation with industry, with a modular structure that gives you the flexibility to tailor your degree to your own interests. You will learn from leading researchers in the field, and your studies will be underpinned by a solid grounding in the fundamentals of computing and application development. From the outset you will be experimenting with programming games, robots, Gadgeteer kits, Subversion, JUnit testing, Scrum-based Agile software and more, in our well-equipped laboratories.

We are a highly respected, research-focused department with a friendly approach and award-winning teaching. We offer a summer work placement programme and a dedicated personal adviser to guide you through your studies. You will also be welcome to join our thriving Computing Society. We are one of only seven departments in the UK to hold the Athena SWAN bronze award for our commitment to increasing female participation in computer science. We are also ideally located in the famous M4 corridor and enjoy close links with many of its leading technology companies. If you are unable to complete your year in industry you will have the option of transferring onto our four-year integrated masters programme.

  • Boost your employability by incorporating postgraduate level courses and an extended final year research project with a highly sought-after year in industry.
  • Enjoy a varied and flexible curriculum, informed by cutting-edge research and current industrial needs and trends.
  • Join an elite department, ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of its research output (Research Exercise Framework 2014).
  • 97% of our students said this programme is well organised, and 92% said it is intellectually stimulating, (National Student Survey 2015).
  • This programme is accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education (EQANIE). 

Core modules

Year 1

Object Oriented Programming
Computing Laboratory (Robotics)
Computing Laboratory (Games)
Internet Services
Mathematical Structures
Machine Fundamentals
Software Design

Year 2

Software Engineering
Team Project
Operating Systems
Databases
Alogrithms and Complexity
Introduction to Information Security
Computer and Network Security

Year 3

Individual Project in Distributed and Networked Systems

Year 4

This year will be spent on a work placement. Students are supported by their academic department and the Royal Holloway Careers and Employability Service to find a suitable placement. However, Royal Holloway cannot guarantee that all students who are accepted onto this degree programme will secure a placement, and the ultimate responsibility lies with the student. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme and students will be asked to complete assessed work. The mark for this work will count towards the degree.

Year 5

MSci Individual Project in Distributed and Networked Systems

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only core modules are taken

Year 2

Robotics
Human-Computer Interaction

Year 3

Advanced Topics Seminar
Bioinformatics
Computational Methods in Bioinformatics
Image Processing
Digital Audio and Applications
Computer Games Technology
Data Visualisation and Exploratory Analysis
Embedded and Realtime Systems
Software Verification
Compilation for Embedded Systems
Compilers and Code Generation
Software Language Engineering
Computational Optimisation
Functional Programming and Applications
Advanced Data Communications
Concurrent and Parallel Programming
Interconnected Devices
Human-Computer Interaction
Graph Algorithms and Complexity
Machine Learning
Computational Finance
Intelligent Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Semantic Web
Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security
Digital Forensics
Cyber Security
Applications of Cryptography
Malicious Software

Year 5

Data Analysis
On-line Machine Learning
Digital Audio and applications
Large Scale Data Storage and Processing
Visualisation and Exploratory Analysis
Wireless Sensor and Actuator Networks
Software Verification
Computational Optimisation
Advanced Data Communications
Advanced Distributed Systems
Machine Learning
Methods of Computational Finance
Intelligent Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Semantic Web
Security Management
Smart Cards, RFIDs abd Embedded System Security
Digital Forensics
Security Testing Theory and Practice
Cyber Security

We firmly believe that how we teach you is at least as important as what we teach, and we know the importance of giving you the time and space to experiment and put theory into practice. We encourage you to use your creativity, both in project teams and independently, and to have fun while you learn. We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, small-group tutorials, supervised computer lab classes and problem-solving sessions. You will also be expected to complete guided independent study and group work. Our programming and software engineering teaching is very hands on, allowing you to learn at your own pace, whatever your previous level of experience. You will also attend laboratory classes on games and robotics in year 1, giving you the chance to develop real applications with imagination and creativity from the outset. During your year in industry, our careers tutor will visit you twice and keep in touch with your host to monitor your progression.

We are proud of our award-winning teaching. Professor Dave Cohen won a College Excellence Teaching Prize for the re-design of our second-year software engineering courses, and he was shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award for Most Innovative Teacher of the Year. The British Computer Society (BCS) has distinguished our software engineering teaching as an exemplar of 'best practice' in computer science education.

Assessment is through a mixture of examinations and coursework. Most course units have a two or three-hour written examination taken at the end of the year in which they are taught, but around half of your final award will come from assessed coursework, which could include project reports, essays, oral presentations and practical work submissions. Your year in industry forms an integral part of the degree programme and you will be asked to complete assessed work that will count towards your final degree.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels AAB-ABB 
Required/preferred subjects

Required subject: either Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science or Mathematics


The offer given will take into consideration:

  • Subjects taken at A-level
  • The educational context in which academic achievements have been gained
  • Whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken.
At least five GCSE passes at grade A*-C including English and Mathematics. For applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma, a grade B in Mathematics is required. 
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including Maths, Computer Science or Physics, with a minimum of 32 points overall 
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject (with significant programming content) and at least B in GCSE Maths 
BTEC National Diploma Distinction, Distinction plus an A2 grade B in Maths or Physics or Computing 
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma Distinction plus A2 grades B, B including Maths or Physics or Computing 
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Level Core 
Scottish Advanced Highers AB including Maths or Physics or Computing (only acceptable when combined with the required Scottish Higher grades as published) 
Scottish Highers AABBB (only acceptable when combined with the required Scottish Advanced Higher grades as published) 
Irish Leaving Certificate H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 including H3 in Maths or H3 in Physics 
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit 

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

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English language
requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall and a minimum of 5.5 in each subscore. For equivalencies, see here

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. Royal Holloway offers an International Foundation Programme and pre-sessional English language courses, allowing students to further develop their study skills and English language before starting their undergraduate degree.

Our integrated masters graduates are highly employable, with a depth of knowledge and practical skills that set them apart from BSc students. Year in industry degrees are also highly valued by employers because they give you the chance to gain first-hand experience of the world of work and to apply your learning to real world scenarios. Some of our students have been offered permanent jobs in the same company at the end of their placements, to take up after their graduation.

Distributed and networked systems exist in almost every sector, from private companies to educational institutions, charities, the arts, healthcare, government agencies and the military. It is a rapidly expanding area of computer science and the work can be highly lucrative and rewarding. This programme will give you a solid grounding in the knowledge, skills and practical experience required to pursue a high level career in computing, with a specialism in distributed and networked systems and hands-on experience from the world of work that will really set you apart. Over the five years you will learn to analyse and solve problems with creativity and suggest cost-effective, efficient solutions. You will acquire the technical skills to design, implement, test and maintain software systems, and the ability to digest and explain complex technical information. You will showcase your abilities in an extended independent research project, study modules at master level, and develop valuable transferrable skills such as: team working, advanced IT skills, critical thinking, data handling, communication, logic, time management and self-motivation.

Our partners in industry advise us on our curriculum, to make sure it responds to the latest market needs and trends. This means our graduates are up-to-speed with all the latest trends and developments. We run jobs fairs and a short-term work placement scheme, and your personal adviser and the campus Careers team will be on hand to offer advice on career opportunities. We also maintain strong links with our alumni, who can often provide advice, contacts and networking opportunities. In recent years, our computer science graduates have launched careers in everything from network systems design and web development, to business management and finance. They work in organisations such as: Amazon, American Express, Apple, Bupa, Capita, CGI-Logica, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Symantec, among many others. Find out more about what some of our graduates are doing, here.

  • Get ahead by completing an advanced five-year degree with a specialism in distributed and networked computing and a highly sought-after year in industry.
  • 85% of our computer science graduates are in work or further study within six months of leaving (Unistats 2015).
  • Our strong ties with industry mean we understand the latest market trends and can introduce you to all the newest developments.
  • Add professional prestige to your qualification with membership of the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education (EQANIE), after you graduate. 

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £15,600

Other essential costs***: Costs incurred by students while on a Year in Industry / Business will vary depending on the nature and location of the placement. For further information please contact the Department of Computer Science.

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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