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Computer Science with a Year in Industry MSci

Computer Science with a Year in Industry MSci

MSci
  • UCAS code G404
  • Option 5 years full time
  • Year of entry 2021

The course

Our five-year integrated masters course offers a thorough grounding in the latest trends and technologies in the rapidly evolving world of computer science, with the benefits of a sought-after year in industry. You will have the chance to showcase your abilities in an extended final year project and this course is recommended if you want to go on to postgraduate research or pursue a high-level technical career, or just wish to delve deeper into the subject.

We cover all the essentials of application development and explore the fundamentals of computing, and we also introduce you to a host of advanced theories and technologies, from computer games, machine learning and digital sound and music, to intelligent agents and multi-agents, computational optimisation, advanced data communications, digital forensics and more. 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. The course’s modular structure gives you the flexibility to tailor your degree to your interests. Your supervised work placement can be completed at the end of year 2 or 3. At the end of year 1 you will have the option of transferring onto one of our specialist pathways (Artificial Intelligence, Information Security or Distributed & Networked Computing). Transferring onto our Software Engineering pathway requires previous programming experience and early permission to take the Software Development course in year 1, rather than Object-oriented Programming.

We are a highly respected, research-focused department, with a friendly approach and award-winning teaching. You will have a 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. Our campus is located in the famous M4 corridor and we enjoy close links with many of its leading technology companies. If you are unable to complete a year in industry you can transfer onto our four-year MSci course.

  • A flexible degree structure allows you to keep your options open and follow your study interests and career ambitions.
  • You will acquire problem modelling and analysis techniques, as well as knowledge of and practical experience in modern software development methodologies and techniques.
  • You will develop extensive team-work skills, excellent coding skills, good communication skills, and a strong professional ethos.
  • You will have access to a very wide range of optional modules, including those highlighted in the specialist pathways.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the building of computer systems whilst also gaining a knowledge of the basic concepts of 2D game design, applying them to the development of simple games. This module brings together the lab components of robotics, games design and object-oriented programming, and will allow you to progress to a group project to apply the concepts you learn together. 

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how the internet works and its key protocols. You will look at the technologies used for web development, including scripting languages and their potential for adding dynamic content to web sites and applications. You will consider the role of web services and related technologies, and will examine the fundamental principles of network security.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the handling of large and infinite objects within a programming environment. You will learn how to use formal logic to design, reason about and minimise switching circuits, and write basic programs in assembly language. You will consider the binary representations of signed and unsigned integers and how to write regular expressions to describe sets and build deterministic automata to recognise these. You will also examine the use of automata machines in the design and reasoning of sequential flow systems.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the formal reasoning for sets, relations, functions and cardinality. You will look at the structures for program data and representation and learn to write and reason recursive definitions and prove results by induction and contradiction. You will consider the representation and reasoning of problems using graphs and the use of vectors and transformations for defining and manipulating graphical objects. You will also examine the usage of probability and statistics in analysing data.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of programming and object-orientation concepts. You will learn about program basics, control flow, data structures, objects, exceptions, and file input and output. You will consider how to solve basic programming tasks and the need for program documentation, testing, readability and modifiability.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of software design and engineering processes, including the Waterfall and Agile methodologies. You will learn how to identify common software requirements and see how these have been considered in existing systems. You will look the techniques of software design and how software engineers communicate their design ideas. You will consider the importance of documentation and the usage of current industry-standard notations such as user stories and the unified modeling language (UML). You will also analyse and critique the design of existing software looking at the user experience as a measure of its fitness for purpose.

Year 2
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the design of algorithms, with a focus on time and space complexity. You will examine basic algorithms, looking at the implementation and analysis of linear search, binary search, and basic sorting, including insertion sort, selection sort, merger sort, quick sort, and heap sort. You will consider alternative data structure representations, such as binary search trees, hash tables, and binary heaps, and will gain an insight into the basics of graph algorithms.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of database technology, including the need for database integrity and robustness, and the use of a modern database system in a web-based environment. You will look at database design and the theory of the relational view of data, learn to describe the crucial issues concerning database integrity and recovery from failure, and write search query language (SQL) queries. You will also consider the process of designing and implementing a database, from the user specifications to the final design, and implement an interface to an SQL database using an application programming interface (API).

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how information security may be influenced by real-world design and implementation decisions. You will look at the different cryptographic algorithms, considering their use, advantages and disadvantages. You will use these cryptographic primitives to review and evaluate cryptographic protocols, and examine the rational decisions in the design of tokens and secure elements.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the function and architecture of network operating systems. You will look at the role of an operating system, considering processes, memory and file systems. You will learn to write basic shell scripts, see how services are used at the operating system-level, and evaluate the theory and practice of existing operating systems. You will also examine the UNIX shell, including starting programs, input and output streams, pipes, filters, and utilities.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of software engineering techniques and the managerial discipline required to work as part of a team. You will look at basic object-oriented concepts and consider the need for effective program documentation, testing, readability, and modifiability. You will consider the tools used to support software development, such as version controllers, debuggers, and code style checkers, and see how these are integrated into an industry-standard development environment (IDE). You will deliver a small-scale project using test-driven development.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the role of the computer professional, gaining practical experience in developing medium scale software as part of a team using Scrum-based Agile development. You will apply managerial discipline and learn about the software lifecycle, team development, standard industrial software engineering, project management, use of version control, and integrated development environments (IDEs). You will see why project cost and effort is hard to estimate, and consider why project quality is hard to prescribe.

Year 3
  • All modules are optional
Year 4
  • You will spend this year on a work placement. You will be supported by the Department of Computer Science and the Royal Holloway Careers and Employability Service to find a suitable placement. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme and you will be asked to complete assessed work. The mark for this work will count towards your final degree classification.

Year 5
  • In this module you will have the opportunity to plan and organise a large project, analysing complex ideas, identifying problems, and coming up with solutions. You will apply scientific principles and use a range of software and hardware techniques. You will analyse the effectiveness of your solutions and evaluate the results. You will also consider legal, social, ethical and professional issues. You can design your own project or choose a topic from a suggested list.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules 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
  • All modules are core
Year 2
  • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  • Mathematical Methods for Computer Science
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of computer and network security. You will look at software vulnerabilities, hands-on hacking-oriented attacks, memory errors, and web and network security. You will learn how to identify such vulnerabilities and consider the countermeasures that can mitigate their exploitation. You will also examine malicious software (malware) as a typical consequence of a successful software exploitation.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the principles of human-computer interaction (HCI) and the approaches that can be used to create interfaces matching users' needs and expectations. You will evaluate the usability and suitability of user interfaces, and build simple prototypes using different media and technologies. You will consider how perception and cognition influence HCI, and examine tests, such as web experiments.

Year 3
  • Computational Finance
  • Intelligent Agents and Multi-agent Systems
  • Machine Learning
  • Semantic Web
  • Data Visualisation and Exploratory Analysis
  • Advanced Data Communications
  • Concurrent and Parallel Programming
  • Interconnected Devices
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the fundamentals behind cryptography and how it is deployed in real systems. You will look at a range of security services that can be provided by cryptography and the mechanisms behind them, such as symmetric and public-key encryption, hash functions, MACs, digital signatures and authentication protocols. You will consider the architecture of security systems using cryptography, including key management, implementation issues, cryptographic standards and crypto politics, and examine real-world applications such as 3G, EMV, and SSL/TLS.

  • Malicious Software
  • Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security
  • Human-computer Interaction
  • IT Project Management
  • Software Language Engineering
  • Bioinformatics
  • Compilers and Code Generation
  • Computational Optimisation
  • Digital Audio and Applications
  • Functional Programming and Applications
Year 5
  • Methods of Computational Finance
  • Data Analysis
  • Deep Learning
  • Intelligent Agents and Multi-agent Systems
  • Machine Learning
  • Online Machine Learning
  • Semantic Web
  • Data Visualisation and Exploratory Analysis
  • Advanced Data Communications
  • Advanced Distributed Systems
  • Large Scale Data Storage and Processing
  • Wireless Sensor and Actuator Networks
  • Cyber Security
  • Digital Forensics
  • Secure Business Architectures
  • Security Management
  • Security Testing Theory and Practice
  • Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security
  • Running a small business
  • Standards, IP and Technology seminar series
  • Technology Entrepreneurship
  • Computational Optimisation
  • Digital Audio and Applications

We firmly believe that how we teach 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, including a postgraduate-level extended project in your final year. 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 attend laboratory classes on games and robotics, giving you the chance to develop real applications with imagination and creativity. 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 (including the full unit project in year 3), essays, oral presentations and oftware submissions. Your year in industry forms an integral part of the degree course and you will be asked to complete assessed work that will count towards your final degree.

A Levels: AAB-ABB

Required subjects:

  • Computer Science or Mathematics or Physics.
  • At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and B/6 Mathematics.
For student taking the BTEC Extended Diploma please click here to see the specific modules you must take in order to meet the entry requirements for this course.

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. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. No subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 54. No subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.

Undergraduate Pathways

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, the International Study Centre offers the following pathway programmes:

International Foundation Year - for progression to the first year of an undergraduate degree.

International Year One - for progression to the second year of an undergraduate degree. You can join the International Year One in January 2021 and progress to degree study in September 2021.

Our MSci graduates are highly employable, with a depth of knowledge and practical skills that set them apart. 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. Our students have enjoyed placements in software companies such as Apple, Microsoft or Symantec, as well as in a range of other sectors, including finance and consulting. Many have been offered permanent jobs in the same company at the end of their placements, to take up after their graduation.

Computer scientists work in a vast array of fields, including the arts, the media, finance, aerospace health and, of course, the IT sector. You will graduate with the ability to develop large and complex systems, solve technical problems, and analyse complex information. Your coursework will have honed your team work, communications, time management and self-motivation skills and helped you to showcase your grasp of cutting-edge technologies. You will have the flexibility to adapt to change, to innovate, and to critically evaluate the implications of exploiting new technologies.

We work closely with our partners in industry who help us keep abreast of all the latest market needs and trends. This means our graduates are up-to-speed with the latest developments and ready to contribute to the next generation of computing systems. In recent years, they have launched careers in everything from network systems design and web development, to business management and finance. They work in a diversity of organisations such as: Amazon, American Express, Apple, Bupa, Capita, CGI-Logica, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Symantec, among many others.

On graduating, you will be eligible to apply for membership of the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. We are also accredited by the European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education (EQANIE). You will be invited to attend jobs fairs and networking events and your personal adviser and the campus Careers team will be on hand to offer advice on career opportunities. We maintain strong links with our alumni, who can often provide advice, contacts and networking opportunities.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

The fee for the year in industry will be 20% of the tuition fee for that academic year.

EU and International students tuition fee per year**: £22,600

The fee for your year in industry will be 20% of the tuition fee for that academic year.

Other essential costs***: Costs incurred during your year in industry 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 about funding options, including loansscholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.

*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2020/21, the fee will be £9,250 for that year. The fee for UK undergraduates starting in 2021/22 has not yet been confirmed.

**The Government has confirmed that EU nationals starting a degree in 2020/21 will pay the same fee as UK students for the duration of their course. For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has recently confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2021, we will award an automatic fee reduction which brings your fee into line with the fee paid by UK students. This will apply for the duration of your course.

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. Fees shown above are for 2020/21 and are displayed for indicative purposes only.

***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.

Accreditations

BCS - British Computer Society - The Chartered Institute for IT
EQANIE - European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education
11th in the UK for quality of research publications

Source: THE REF institutions ranked by subject, 2014

90% overall student satisfaction

Source: NSS, 2019

97% of our Computer Science graduates are in graduate level employment within six months of graduating.

Source: DLHE, 2018

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