Our advanced MSci degree with a dedicated pathway in Distributed and Networked Systems is designed to give you the knowledge, skills and practical experience to pursue a high level career. It offers a thorough grounding in computing as well as an in-depth study of the latest trends and technologies in distributed and networked systems. You will have the chance to apply your knowledge and research skills in original ways, culminating in an extended research project in your final year. This four-year programme is particularly recommended if you want to go on to postgraduate study or a scientific or technical career, or just delve deeper into the subject matter and gain a competitive edge over graduates from standard three-year BSc programmes.
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, from the sensor and actuator networks that connect up cities, to cyber-physical systems, patient-centred healthcare, and disaster-recovery systems, to name just a few. This brand new, specialist pathway has been designed in consultation with industry. 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.
You will learn from leading researchers in the field, and your specialist subject 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. Alongside our core modules you will have the flexibility to choose from a range of optional courses. There is also the possibility of transferring onto our five-year, year in industry programme subject to good academic progress.
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.
- The BCS has distinguished our teaching of Software Engineering as ‘Best Practice’.
- You will be taught by staff with extensive industrial experience, three of whom are certified Scrum Masters.
- You will learn to master the process of software engineering, from initial client meetings through to delivery.
- In the fourth-year team project, you will run a start-up.
Teaching & assessment
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.
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.
Computer Science or Mathematics or Physics. At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics. Please note that for students taking the BTEC Extended Diploma, GCSE Mathematics is also required at minimum grade B or 6.
A Levels: ABB-BBB
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A - levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. Socio - economic factors which may have impacted an applicant's education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants. Read more about what we look for here.
Other UK Qualifications
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
We accept the following internationally-recognised English language qualifications:
- Pearson Test of English
- Cambridge ESOL
Your future career
Our MSci graduates are highly employable, with a depth of knowledge and practical skills that set them apart from BSc students. 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 successful career in computing, with a specialism in distributed and networked systems that will help to set you apart.
Over the four years you will learn to analyse and solve problems with creativity and suggest cost-effective, efficient solutions. You will acquire the foresight to translate technological innovations into new programming solutions, 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 transferable skills such as teamworking, advanced IT skills, critical thinking, data handling, communication, logic, time management and self-motivation.
We work closely with partners in industry who 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 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.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9250
International students tuition fee per year**: £17500
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year. The UK Government has confirmed that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.
**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and 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.