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MSc in Advanced Computing Technologies FAQ

Thinking of doing the MSc in Advanced Computing Technologies at Birkbeck, University of London? Some questions answered.

Is this programme suitable for me?

This is a specialised programme of study of advanced computing technologies focusing on areas of expertise and research specialisation within the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems:

In addition to eight taught modules, there is a substantial practical project. Students who complete this programme will have gained strong practical and theoretical knowledge of the above areas which they will be able to use in

The programme has been designed to meet the needs of both full-time students wishing to advance their knowledge of advanced computing technologies before embarking on a career in IT or on a research degree, and part-time students already working in the IT sector. The programme has a significant research element as many of the modules include study and discussion of recent research advances.

Students who complete the programme will have gained strong practical and theoretical knowledge of the above areas which they will be able to use in

What is covered on the programme?

See "Modules" on the programme page.

Note that not all of the modules may be offered each year. Note also that, in any one year, some modules are offered either only during the day or only in the evening. See details of the modules and the timetable in the Programme booklet (in PDF).

What's the difference between the PGCert, PGDip and MSc degrees?

The degree awarded reflects the amount of study completed successfully.

You do not need to decide which of the PGCert PGDip or MSc degrees to follow before you start the course. We consider all applications for the Advanced Computing Technologies programme in the same way, and you can then choose once you are on the course whether to follow a PGCert, PGDip or MSc pathway.

What's the difference between the MSc Advanced Computing Technologies, MSc Data Analytics and MSc Information and Web Technologies degrees?

All students successfully completing 8 modules and a project may be awarded MSc Advanced Computing Technologies.

However, once on the programme students may choose to follow a pathway to alternative awards MSc Data Analytics or MSc Information and Web Technologies if they satisfy the following additional criteria.

In order to be awarded MSc Data Analytics, a minimum of 5 modules must be chosen from the following list reflecting specialisation within the area of data analytics.

Additionally, the project should have a main focus in the area of data analytics.

In order to be awarded MSc Information and Web Technologies, a minimum of 5 modules must be chosen from the following list reflecting specialisation within the area of information and web technologies.

Additionally, the project should have a main focus in the area of information and web technologies.

Can I follow the Advanced Computing Technologies programme as either a full-time or part-time student?

Yes, you can study either as a full-time or part-time student.

Can I start at any point in the year?

No, the Advanced Computing Technologies programme can only be started in October each year.

What are the entrance requirements?

A good first degree or MSc in computer science, with the syllabus containing a substantial amount of programming, preferably in an object-oriented language.
Joint honours computing graduates may also be eligible, provided they have covered a substantial amount of programming, or have equivalent professional experience in the IT industry.

I have an academic qualification from a non-UK institution. Is that OK?

The College will assess your qualifications to check their equivalence with UK qualifications - please submit photocopies of your degree transcript documents with your application. There is more advice on how to check the general equivalence of your qualifications on the Birkbeck entry requirements page.

English is not my first language. Are there special requirements for me?

The College has guidelines on the English language requirements page . However, we are happy to consider an application from you if you do not currently hold an English qualification - we can assess your command of English during an interview.

I'm thinking of applying from overseas. Does that make a difference to anything?

We welcome applications for full-time study from international students. Your application would be considered in exactly the same way as for a student in the UK. The tuition fees charged do depend on your nationality and residency over the past three years: see the information on tuition fees, money and scholarships for international students. Also, you will need to budget for to cover your living costs.

Can you tell me if I will be offered a place if I give you details of my first degree and CV?

No. We would only be able to tell you whether we wanted to pursue offering you a place once we had considered a formal application from you.

What computing facilities will I have access to as an Advanced Computing Technologies student?

Students have access to computing labs in the Department with platforms including Unix, Windows and Linux. A wide range of software is available including programming languages C++, C#, C, Java, AspectJ; database management systems: Oracle, DB2, SQLserver, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and many other packages for systems design, office productivity and web-page design. The College provides remote access to facilities via an Internet connection from home or work. The computing facilities are available to students on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week.

How is the Advanced Computing Technologies programme assessed?

The programme is modular, and students will be assessed in each of their taught modules and (for MSc students) in their project.

For each taught module there will be a 2-hour or 3-hour written exam in late May or early June. Note that examinations are held during the daytime, so part-time students will have to make arrangements with their employers to take leave of absence. In addition, most modules have a coursework component that is combined with the exam mark according to a given weighting, without each component having to be passed separately.

The project is assessed by a project report normally in the range of 8000 to 15000 words plus related technical submissions.

What are the fees for the course?

The fee structure is per year at two levels - part-time and full-time. A part-time student follows 4 taught modules in a year while a full-time student follows 8 taught modules. So a PGCert student would enrol as a part-time student for one year while a PGDip or MSc student would enrol as a part-time student for two years or as a full-time student for one year. The current fees are shown on the Fees page. Some increase for subsequent years is to be expected.

"International" status is a question of residency rather than nationality; British nationals who have been abroad for some years may find themselves assessed at the international rate. If you are a prospective international student, or think you might be, consult the College information for international students.

Students may pay the fees at the beginning of each term, or by an initial payment followed by direct debit monthly payments over eight months.

What financial support is available to help with fees and living expenses?

There is only limited financial support. Postgraduate students are expected to have made realistic provision at the start of their course to fund their tuition fees, course costs and living costs.

Further information about financial support for postgraduate students.

An MSc degree programme sounds like a big commitment. Will I be able to cope?

It is a big commitment and you need to be able to make that commitment. You certainly need to have ability in the area of study to be a successful MSc student, but you also need to be motivated, determined, and able to organise yourself. If you are not in a position to be able to pursue a full MSc programme of 8 modules and a project, you can choose instead to pursue 8 modules for an award of a Postgraduate Diploma, or 4 modules for an award of a Postgraduate Certificate.

I'm looking at a number of universities. Why should I choose Birkbeck?

As an Advanced Computing Technologies student, perhaps the most important factor is pursuing your interests with teaching and guidance from teaching staff and a project supervisor who are experts in their field. The Department is a leading centre of expertise in experimental data science, knowledge representation and data management, and algorithms, verfication and software. In addition, its location, resources, and support facilities are just some of the reasons to be a student at Birkbeck.

How do I make an application?

See "Apply now" on the programme page.

Please include a detailed, up-to-date CV with your application

What happens after I make an application?

Your application will first be considered by the College Registry who will check your eligibility and fee status. It will then be considered by the Admissions Tutor who will contact you if we need more information.

I have a question not covered by the above.

If you require further information, please contact the Programme Administrator.