University of Chester

Programme Specification
Advanced Computer Science MSc
2017 - 2018

Master of Science

Advanced Computer Science

Advanced Computer Science

University of Chester

University of Chester and University College Isle of Man (UCM)

Thornton Science Park, UCM

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

6 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Science & Engineering Computer Science

Masters degree in computing: 

The department is aiming to achieve British Computer Society (BCS) accreditation.

PG Computer Science MAB

Thursday 2nd June 2016

The programme will:

  • Encourage a theoretically informed and reflective approach to academic study
  • foster learning and research related to the academic and vocational concerns of students and staff
  • develop students with a good undergraduate degree in computer science to become original contributors within their field
  • encourage a variety of rigorous and creative approaches to problem solving
  • develop essential transferable and vocational skills
  • develop students with the ability to communicate complex concepts to a variety of audiences
  • facilitate a robust and professional approach to the design and implementation of systems and processes. 

On successful completion the students will be able to:

Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of advanced concepts in computer science (Core: CO7100, CO7312, CO7003) (Options: CO7313, CO7314, CO7301, CO7303, CO7604, CO7605)

Perform rigorous analysis of problems and apply appropriate computational solutions with appropriate regard to resource consumption and accuracy (Core: CO7100, CO7312, CO7003) (Options: CO7313, CO7314, CO7301, CO7303)

Contribute to current research and advanced scholarship within the domain of computer science (Core: CO7115, CO7100) 

On successful completion the students will be able to:

Form concepts, and solve problems using efficient and effective procedures (Core: CO7003, CO7312, CO7115) (Options:  CO7313, CO7314, CO7301, CO7303, CO7605, CO7604)

Express critical and informed opinions on a range of contemporary issues in the field. (Core: CO7115, CO7100 especially, but part of all modules) 

Evaluate one's own work in the context of current academic inquiry (Core: CO7115, CO7001)

Make an original contribution to the area of study. (Core: CO7100) 

On successful completion the students will be able to:

Employ a variety of techniques in the design of a range of computer systems (Core: CO7003, CO7312) (Options: CO7313, CO7314, CO7301, CO7303)

Design and implement solutions related to the domain of study (Core: CO7108, CO7111, CO7001, CO7312) (Options:  CO7313, CO7314, CO7301)

Critically evaluate practical scenarios and case studies related to the domain of study (Core: CO7003, CO7312) (Options: CO7604, CO7605, CO7313, CO7314, CO7301)

Employ time and project management skills to complete a body of individual research (Core: CO7115, CO7100) 

On successful completion the students will be able to:

Communicate complex concepts in written and/or verbal form, to peers and to academics within the department (included in all modules)

Synthesise meaningful conclusions from a range of research literature (included in all modules)

Work independently on a significant body of work, under the guidance of an academic supervisor (CO7100) 

The programme structure is designed to develop students with a background in computer science to a level at which they can make original contributions to the field. Coverage of advanced computer science concepts is established in the early core modules, along with a foundation in contemporary research practices. The subsequent, optional modules and the dissertation then develop the students to a point where they can specialise and apply this theoretical foundation in one of a number of more focussed areas. The optional modules generally reflect the strongest fields of expertise in the department and are projected to expand and diversify in later revisions as the programme grows and attracts more students. 

Options are: 

  • Computer Vision and Image Processing
  • Data Visualisation
  • Virtual Environments
  • Digital Forensics and Penetration Testing
  • Software Exploitation
  • High Performance Computing

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
CO7003 7 Programming Paradigms 20 Comp
CO7100 7 Research Dissertation 60 Comp
CO7115 7 Research Methods 20 Comp
CO7301 7 Virtual Environments 20 Optional
CO7303 7 High Performance Computing 20 Optional
CO7312 7 Algorithmics 20 Comp
CO7313 7 Data Visualisation 20 Optional
CO7314 7 Computer Vision and Image Processing 20 Optional
CO7604 7 Digital Forensics and Penetration Testing 20 Optional
CO7605 7 Software Exploitation 20 Optional

  • 60 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate
  • 120 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Diploma
  • 180 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Masters degree


The department is currently aiming for BCS accreditation.  If achieved, this will cover all degree courses delivered by the department, including this one.

In addition, documentation and recommendations from a number of other professional bodies have been taken into consideration in the design of the programme, including the ACM, Eurographics and more specifically the ACM SIGGRAPH Education Committee. The last two of these have had a particular influence over the development of modules on virtual environments and data visualisation.

A good degree (normally 2:1 or above) in a computer science related discipline

In addition to this, students must have either successfully completed an undergraduate programming module(s) worth at least 20 credits at level 5 or above or have relevant programming experience from employment. 

For international entry requirements, you will need to visit and select the appropriate country.

Minimum English language requirement: IELTS 6.5 (Min 5.5 in each sub-skill) or equivalent (see for further information about equivalents) 

The following describes how our MSc in Advanced Computer Science meets the QAA Benchmarking statements for Postgraduate Computer Science (2011):

  1. There is a clear linkage between the identified outcomes and the title of the award.
  2. The programme is designed with an assumption of a background in computer science. The entire structure is built around a core in computer science theory and practice, problem solving, and research methods, in order to guide students towards a level of expertise appropriate for the award of MSc.
  3. The theoretical foundations are clearly identified and incorporate such matters as computational complexity, advanced algorithm design and analysis, models of computation, programming paradigms and software development and testing methodologies.
  4. Emphasis is based on the application of theory across the curriculum, encompassing both generic theories relating to computation itself and specific theories relating to applied areas of study. Related, practical case studies are to be found throughout both core and optional modules.
  5. The integration between modules has been carefully considered throughout and builds over a three term structure to equip students with the necessary knowledge, skills and expertise. In particular, a generic focus is fostered in the earlier terms before a diversification into more specialist areas, prior to the dissertation.
  6. An understanding of the students' work in relation to new developments in Computer Science is required in all core modules, as well as the dissertation and many of the optional modules.
  7. Later modules are designed to draw on combinations of competencies and skills gained in the earlier stages of the course
  8. This can be summarised by the presence of the following
    1. critical analysis of current research
    2. comprehension and application of current techniques
    3. originality in application of principles
    4. the ability to communicate complex concepts to a range of audiences
    5. self direction in tackling problems
  9. 180 credits are required for graduation at master's level. 

For access to the full QAA documentation, please see section 18 of this Programme Specification document.

The development of the learning outcomes and reinforcement of the student learning experience is promoted through the following teaching and learning methods:

  • Lectures and workshops are the primary means of conveying academic material and information. Most of these are delivered in a hybrid form with each module leader adapting their methods to suit the topic being addressed on a given occasion. Consequently we may employ a mixture of student and teacher led activities including demonstrations, case studies, discussions and design and implementation exercises on an individual or group basis.
  • Student-led seminars & presentations are employed in many of our modules to provide our students with an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and to respond to constructive criticism and questions. This strengthens the students' ability to defend a thesis or standpoint and challenges them to critically evaluate their own work as well as the work of others.
  • Guided independent study and literature review are vital aspects of our tuition incorporated into all modules. These form very important aspects of our research methods and dissertation modules as well as being incorporated into the independent study component of our subject specific delivery.  
  • Dissertation work with individual supervision is a vital aspect of our programme requiring students to follow direction, work independently, identify and form a comprehensive knowledge of new directions in a subject area and demonstrate the potential to make an original contribution to the field.
  • Departmental research seminars are an important aspect of our postgraduate culture and students are encouraged both to attend and take part in these, in order to gain experience of the challenge of disseminating research to a wider community.

A particular strength of this programme is the range of different assessment strategies that are deployed to ensure that the student has the best opportunity to demonstrate the attainment of a learning outcome.

  • Written examinations are typically of 2 hours duration. The content of these exams is previously unseen by the student, and many modules use written exams to assess knowledge and understanding, and selected subject-specific intellectual skills. 
  • Coursework assignments are used throughout the curriculum where students are required to seek additional information so that they can develop and demonstrate their understanding of the course material. The exact form of assignment reflects the subject matter. In particular prototypes, coding assignments  and/or portfolios are used where the attainment of a subject specific practical skill is relevant. Essays, literature reviews and technical reports are used to develop a critical appreciation of the wider subject area and to encourage core research and dissemination skills. Coursework may constitute the only or the major form of assessment in some modules and can be conducted on an individual or group basis.
  • Oral presentations are often included as part of coursework assignments. These presentations allow students to develop their communication skills.
  • The dissertation is a vital aspect of the programme and is expected to demonstrate the potential to make a relevant, useful and original contribution to the subject domain. 

Formative Assessments do not contribute to the final marks achieved for each module, but provide an opportunity for students to monitor their own academic progress. They also provide a useful opportunity for lecturers to give feedback to the students and to monitor and improve the students learning experience. These assessments will take the form of diagnostic tests, in-class tests and on-line tests during lectures. Students will have opportunities to develop their oral and presentation skills during tutorials and workshops.

The programme provides the following skills:-

  • The ability to solve problems independently
  • The ability to manage and complete a significant project according to a fixed schedule
  • The comprehension of state of the art technologies and processes within the subject domain
  • Sufficient skills to undertake the communication and presentation of complex information to a variety of audiences

Additionally, students will be located at our Thornton Science Park campus, where they will have the opportunity to work in collaboration with many of the companies who also reside there.

Potential job titles for graduating students include but are not limited to:

  • Data scientist

  • Software architect/engineer/programmer

  • Digital analyst

  • Optimisation scientist

  • HPC systems engineer

  • Security manager/analyst/architect

  • Penetration tester

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression. 

The programme is delivered in English and provided the student has attained the defined standard there are no other cultural issues. 

As a technology-oriented degree there is a high likelihood that the majority of disabilities can be addressed using appropriate specialist hardware and software; individual applicants will be invited to discuss their individual needs with the programme leader and the applicant will be advised as to the provision that can be made for them, prior to accepting a place.

Full time students can enrol onto this programme in September of each recruiting year.

Part time students can enrol onto this programme in September, January or May of each recruiting year.

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