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PGCert in Cloud and Data Technologies FAQ

Thinking of doing the PGCert in Cloud and Data Technologies at Birkbeck, University of London? Some questions answered.

Is this programme suitable for me?

This specialist programme of study focuses on an area of growing importance in the IT industry - Cloud and Data Technologies - which underpins the efforts to develop solutions to the problems of handling "big data".

The programme has been designed to meet the needs of part-time students wishing to advance their knowledge of cloud and data technologies. Students may be already working in the IT sector and wish to update their skills, or intend to pursue a career in IT subsequently. The programme has significant coverage of emerging technologies and research developments as the modules include study and discussion of recent research advances.

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

What is covered on the programme?

Current modules are Cloud Computing, Data and Knowledge Management, Advances in Data Management and Data Warehousing and Data Mining. Note that in any one year, some modules are offered either only during the day or only in the evening. Details of the modules and the timetable can be found in the programme booklet.

Can I follow the Cloud and Data Technologies programme as either a full-time or part-time student?

The programme can be completed by a part-time student in one year and no separate full-time mode is offered. A part-time student may choose to complete the programme in two years rather than one year. See the draft timetable.

Can I start at any point in the year?

No, the Cloud and Data Technologies programme can only be started in October each year.

How does the Cloud and Data Technologies programme relate to the MSc Advanced Technologies, MSc Information and Web Technologies and MSc Intelligent Technologies degrees?

Students successfully completing the 4 modules of the Postgraduate Certificate Cloud and Data Technologues programme may continue into the final year of the part-time MSc Advanced Technologies programme and complete a further 4 modules and a project to be awarded an MSc Advanced Computing Technologies.

Students once on the Advanced Technologies programme may choose to follow a pathway to alternative awards MSc Information and Web Technologies or MSc Intelligent Technologies if they satisfy additional criteria.

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?

The programme is not offered as a programme for full-time study and so cannot be followed by a student from overseas coming to the UK to study full-time.

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 Cloud and Data Technologies programme assessed?

The programme is modular, and students will be assessed in each of their taught modules.

For each taught module there will be a 2-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, some modules have a compulsory coursework component that must be passed in order to pass the module. For other modules, the coursework and exam marks are combined according to a given weighting, without each component having to be passed separately.

What are the fees for the course?

The fee structure allows a student to follow 4 modules in one year or two modules in each of two years with the same fee overall. The current fees are shown on the Fees page. Some increase for subsequent years is to be expected.

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.

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

As a Cloud and Data Technologies student, perhaps the most important factor is pursuing your interests with teaching and guidance from teaching staff who are experts in their field. The Department is a leading centre of expertise in information and web technologies, intelligent technologies, and computational intelligence. 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?

Apply online.

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 Liam Simmonds.