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Study information

Computer Science and Mathematics (2024)

1. Programme Title:

Computer Science and Mathematics

NQF Level:


2. Description of the Programme (as in the Business Approval Form)

Mathematics and Computer Science are natural bedfellows. Many mathematical tools and techniques only acquire their full potential in applications when combined with the power provided by computers; conversely, computing itself rests on a solid basis of mathematical theory and application. By studying computer science and mathematics together, you will benefit from the natural synergy between the two subjects to receive a well-rounded education which will place you in an excellent position for a wide range of possibilities for employment or further study. The computing projects in the third and fourth years, in particular, will provide you with experience in designing and developing a substantial piece of software, thereby consolidating the range of computing topics that you have learnt during the previous years.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The programme is intended to:

a) provide a high quality general mathematical and computer science education comprising a balanced core of key knowledge together with the opportunity to study a range of selected topics in more depth;
b) equip students with knowledge of and experience with theoretical and practical computing techniques;
c) develop the analytical abilities of students so that they can identify and apply appropriate mathematical techniques and methods to solve problems in a range of application areas;
d) provide students with an opportunity to experience the industrial practice of Computer Science in a supportive environment;
e) develop in students appropriate subject-specific, core academic and personal and key skills in order to prepare them for a wide range of employment opportunities;
f) generate in students an enthusiasm for the subjects of mathematics and computer science and to involve them in a demanding, interesting and intellectually stimulating learning experience reinforced by appropriate academic and pastoral tutorial support.

4. Programme Structure

The MSci Computer Science and Mathematics programme is a (4) year programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level (7) (as confirmed against the FHEQ). This programme is divided into (4) ‘Stages’. Each Stage is normally equivalent to an academic year.  The programme is also divided into units of study called ‘modules’ which are assigned a number of ‘credits’. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

Interim Awards

If you do not complete the programme you may be able to exit with a lower qualification. If you have achieved 120 credits, you may be awarded a Certificate of Higher Education, and if you achieve 240 credits, where at least 90 credits are at NQF Level 5 or above, you may be awarded a Diploma of Higher Education .

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme. Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the Faculty website.

You may take Option Modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module. Descriptions of the individual modules are given in full on the Faculty website.

Stage 1

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
ECM1410Object-Oriented Programming15YesYes
ECM1413Computers and the Internet15YesNo
MTH1001Mathematical Structures30YesYes
MTH1002Mathematical Methods30YesYes
Select 15 credits
ECM1414Data Structures and Algorithms15NoNo
COM1011Fundamentals of Machine Learning15NoNo

Stage 2

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
ECM2414Software Development15YesYes
ECM2434Group Software Engineering Project15YesNo
Select 30 to 60 credits of Computer Science Options
ECM2418Computer Languages and Representations15NoNo
ECM2419Database Theory and Design15NoNo
ECM2423Artificial Intelligence and Applications15NoNo
ECM2425Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing15NoNo
ECM2426Network and Computer Security15NoNo
ECM2427Outside the box: Computer Science Research and Applications15NoNo
ECM2433The C Family15NoNo
ECM1417Web Development15NoNo
Select 30 to 60 credits of Mathematics Options
MTH2003Differential Equations15NoNo
MTH2004Vector Calculus and Applications15NoNo
MTH2008Real Analysis15NoNo
MTH2009Complex Analysis15NoNo
MTH2010Groups, Rings and Fields15NoNo
MTH2011Linear Algebra15NoNo
You may select 0 - 30 credits of Other Options
MTH1004Probability, Statistics and Data30NoNo
MTH2005Modelling: Theory and Practice30NoNo
*******Free Choice Elective30NoNo
EMP2001Ambassadors for Science15NoNo

The free choice (electives) can include modules from any Faculty in the University subject to approval, pre-requisites, timetabling and availability.

MTH2003 is prerequisite for MTH2004 and MTH2005.  MTH2008 is prerequisite for MTH2009.

To proceed to Stage 3 of the MSci programme, candidates must normally have achieved a credit weighted average mark in Stage 2 of at least 60%.

Students who do not reach the threshold may progress to Stage 3 of the equivalent BSc programme.

Stage 3

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
ECM3401Individual Literature Review and Project45YesYes
Select 15 to 45 credits of Computer Science Options
ECM3408Enterprise Computing15NoNo
ECM3412Nature Inspired Computation15NoNo
ECM3420Learning from Data15NoNo
ECM3422Computability and Complexity 15NoNo
ECM3423Computer Graphics15NoNo
ECM3428Algorithms that Changed the World15NoNo
ECM3446High Performance Computing 15NoNo
Select 30 to 60 credits of Mathematics Options
MTH3001Theory of Weather and Climate15NoNo
MTH3004Number Theory15NoNo
MTH3006Mathematical Biology and Ecology15NoNo
MTH3007Fluid Dynamics15NoNo
MTH3008Partial Differential Equations15NoNo
MTH3011Nonlinear Systems and Control15NoNo
MTH3013Applied Differential Geometry15NoNo
MTH3019Mathematics: History and Culture15NoNo
MTH3021Combinatorics 15NoNo
MTH3022Graphs, Networks and Algorithms15NoNo
MTH3024Stochastic Processes15NoNo
MTH3030Mathematics of Climate Change15NoNo
MTH3038Galois Theory15NoNo
MTH3039Computational Nonlinear Dynamics15NoNo
MTH3040Topology and Metric Spaces15NoNo
MTH3050Functional Analysis15NoNo
You may select 0 to 30 credits of other options
EMP3001Commercial and Industrial Experience15NoNo
NSC3009Aerosols, Clouds and Climate15NoNo
XXXXXXXFree Choice - Upto 30 Credits30NoNo
The free choice (electives) can include modules at NQF Level 5 (Stage 2) or Level 6 (Stage 3) from any Faculty in the University, subject to approval, pre-requisites, timetabling and availability.
Not all optional modules listed will be available each year; options are offered at the discretion of the Faculty.

Stage 4

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
ECMM428Individual Research Project30YesYes
MTHM010Representation Theory of Finite Groups15NoNo
MTHM014Metric Number Theory and Diophantine Approximation15NoNo
MTHM018Dynamical Systems and Chaos15NoNo
MTHM019Fluid Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans15NoNo
MTHM023Modelling the Weather and Climate15NoNo
MTHM028Algebraic Number Theory15NoNo
MTHM029Algebraic Curves15NoNo
MTHM030Waves, Instabilities and Turbulence15NoNo
MTHM031Magnetic Fields and Fluid Flows15NoNo
MTHM036Research in Mathematical Sciences15NoNo
MTHM041Analytic Number Theory15NoNo
MTHM045Space Weather and Plasmas15NoNo
MTHM048Ergodic Theory15NoNo
MTHM052Mid-Latitude Weather Systems15NoNo
NSCM005Mathematical Modelling in Biology and Medicine15NoNo
MTHM062Data-driven Analysis and Modelling of Dynamical Systems15NoNo
MTHM063Uncertainty Quantification15NoNo
Select at least 30 credits:
ECMM409Nature-Inspired Computation15NoNo
ECMM422Machine Learning15NoNo
ECMM423Evolutionary Computation & Optimisation15NoNo
ECMM424Computer Modelling and Simulation15NoNo
ECMM426Computer Vision15NoNo
ECMM461High Performance Computing 15NoNo
COMM510Multi-Objective Optimisation and Decision Making15NoNo
Select between 0 and 30 credits:
XXXMXXXFree choice of Level 7 modules30NoNo

The free choice (electives) can only include modules at NQF Level 7 from any Faculty in the University, subject to approval, pre-requisites, timetabling and availability.

Not all modules will be available each year; options are offered at the discretion of the Faculty.

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning & Assessment Methods

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to: Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be accommodated & facilitated by the following learning & teaching and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

A Specialised Subject Skills & Knowledge

1) use the terminology and conventions used in mathematics;
2) apply the essential concepts, principles and practice of computer science;
3) use a range of fundamental concepts and techniques from calculus, vectors, analysis, algebra, information systems, data structures, and software engineering;
4) use key techniques in a range of applicable areas;
5) demonstrate skills in a selection of more specialist optional topics from various branches of computer science and mathematics;
6) analyse the complexities of the inter-relationships between computer science and mathematics, for example in computer algebra, the analysis of algorithms and computational statistics.

Learning & Teaching Activities

Knowledge in (1-3) is primarily provided through formal lectures supported by regular problem sheets providing formative technical exercises and computer workshops for students to tackle on their own. Project work is introduced and developed at Stages 1 and 2. At Stage 1 lectures are reinforced by regular tutorial groups in which assistance with, and feedback on, problem sheets is given. At later Stages in the programme students work on set problems by themselves and to seek help when required within office hours of staff. Applications of mathematics, computer science and statistics (4,5) are introduced in various Stage 2 modules and more advanced applications are introduced in Stage 3 options. Modules at Stage 3 encompass an extensive range of the applications of mathematics, computer science and statistics (5). The interplay between the mathematics and computer science is emphasized throughout the programme (6). In Stage 4 students can explore in greater depth a range of specialist modules with strong connections to research conducted in the Faculty (5). The compulsory project at Stage 4 involves substantial elements of computer science, mathematics and the relevant research methodology (6).

Assessment Methods

Direct assessment is through a range of formal written examinations, marked coursework and project work. Marked coursework can take the form of problem sheets (both practical and theoretical), and reports/essays based on directed reading and research. Project work at all levels is assessed through a combination of supervisors reports, formal assessment of final reports and associated software, and presentations. In particular, Level 6 and Level 7 (individual) projects are formally assessed on the basis of final and intermediate reports and literature reviews, together with associated software, a presentation and the supervisor’s report. Peer assessment is used in ECM2413.

B Academic Discipline Core Skills & Knowledge

1) explain your reasoning systematically and logically;
2) construct mathematical proofs;
3) evaluate systems in terms of general quality attributes, including interface design and functionality;
4) specify, design, construct and test computer-based systems;
5) effectively deploy the tools used for the construction and documentation of computer applications;
6) formulate, analyse and solve problems;
7) organise tasks into a structured form;
8) summarise and analyse data;
9) transfer appropriate knowledge and methods from one topic within the subject to another;
10) apply a range of mathematical and computer science ideas to unfamiliar problems and demonstrate good selection of choice in solution strategy;
11) demonstrate a capacity for critical evaluation of arguments and evidence;
12) present scientific material clearly, logically and accurately, both in writing and orally;
13) formulate and conduct a research plan, including critical analysis of literature and design, development and evaluation of software and/or experiments.

Learning & Teaching Activities

All these skills, which are an essential part of the understanding of computer science and mathematics, are embedded throughout core elements of the programme and are intrinsic to good performance in the programme. They are developed through formal lectures, tutorials, coursework, computer practicals, use of IT and private study. Skills (9-13) in particular are reinforced in optional modules involving directed reading and seminars, together with project work at Stages 3 and 4.

Assessment Methods

All these skills are tested indirectly in various core elements of the programme, with (7-11) contributing particularly to the more successful work. They are all assessed in part through written coursework and in part by unseen formal examinations. Skills (1-7) are assessed by a variety of tests, continuous assessment, formal examinations and project work. Skills (8-13) are directly assessed in some optional modules via oral presentation, essays, computer programmes or project reports.

C Personal / Transferable / Employment Skills & Knowledge

1) use a range of IT software including standard and mathematical word-processing applications and computer algebra software;
2) communicate ideas effectively and clearly by appropriate means including oral presentation;
3) manage time effectively;
4) search and retrieve information from a variety of sources including libraries, databases and the web;
5) work as part of a team and to constructively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of other team members;
6) plan your career and personal development.

Learning & Teaching Activities

Skill (1) is developed from Stage 1 through use of the mathematical computing packages in core Stage 1 modules. Skills (1-2) are developed in various other core components of the programme (e.g. oral presentations in Stage 1 tutorials and presentation of project work) and the requirement for submission of word-processed coursework in some assignments in certain modules at Stages 1 and 2. Skill (3) is intrinsic to successful completion of the programme. Skill (5) is developed through project work in Stages 1 and 2. Skill (6) is reinforced through annual self-appraisals with personal tutors.

Assessment Methods

Skills (1-3) are indirectly assessed as part of coursework in core modules and effective use of skills (1-4) will generally enhance performance throughout the programme. Skills (1-5) are more directly assessed at Stage 3 through the requirement to complete at least one of certain specified modules or a project.

7. Programme Regulations


The programme consists of 480 credits with 120 credits taken at each Stage. Normally not more than 75 credits would be allowed in any one term. In total, participants normally take no more than 150 credits at Level 4, and must take at least 210 credits at Level 6 or higher of which at least 120 must be at Level 7.

The pass mark for award of credit in an individual module is 40% for modules taken at NQF Levels 4, 5 and 6 and 50% for modules taken at Level 7.


Condonement is the process that allows you to be awarded credit (and so progress to the next stage or, in the final stage, receive an award), despite failing to achieve a pass mark at a first attempt. You are not entitled to reassessment in condoned credit.

Up to 30 credits of failure can be condoned in a stage on the following conditions:

You must have registered for and participated in modules amounting to at least 120 credits in the stage.

You must pass the modules marked with a 'Yes' in the 'non-condonable' column in the tables above.

In Stages 1-3 you must achieve an average mark of at least 40% across the full 120 credits of assessment, including any failed and condoned modules. In the final stage you must achieve an average mark of at least 50% across the full 120 credits of assessment, including any failed and condoned modules.

To proceed to Stage 3 of the MSci programme, candidates must normally have achieved at least 2:1 level (60%) over the 120 Stage 2 credits. For MSci candidates who successfully achieve the general progression requirement for the Stage 2 assessment but who do not achieve the requisite credit weighted average mark for progression to Stage 3 of the MSci programme, a recommendation will be made to Faculty Board for transfer to the equivalent 360 credit BSc (Hons) programme (with entry to Stage 3 in the subsequent academic year).

Assessment and Awards

Assessment at Stage 1 does not contribute to the summative classification of the award. The award will normally be based on the degree mark formed from the credit-weighted average marks for Stages 2 and 3 and 4, combined in the ratio 2:3:4 respectively.


The marking of modules and the classification of awards broadly corresponds to the following percentage marks:

Class I    70% +                                                      

Class II   Division I 60-69%                                     

Class II   Division II 50-59%                                    

Class III  40-49%

Full details of assessment regulations for UG programmes can be found in the Teaching Quality Assurance Manual (TQA) on the University of Exeter website.  Generic marking criteria are also published here.

Please see the Teaching and Quality Assurance Manual for further guidance.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

In accordance with University policy a system of personal tutors is in place for all students on this programme.  A University-wide statement on such provision is included in the University's TQA Manual.  As a student enrolled on this programme you will receive the personal and academic support of the Programme Coordinator and will have regular scheduled meetings with your Personal Tutor; you may request additional meetings as and when required. The role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme and extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Information Technology (IT) Services provide a wide range of services throughout the Exeter campuses including open access computer rooms, some of which are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.  Help may be obtained through the Helpdesk, and most study bedrooms in halls and flats are linked to the University's campus network.

Additionally, the Facultyhas its own dedicated IT support staff, helpdesk and computer facilities which are linked to the wider network, but which also provide access to some specialised software packages.  Email is an important channel of communication between staff and students in the Faculty and an extensive range of web-based information (see ) is maintained for the use of students, including a comprehensive and annually revised student handbook.

The Harrison Learning Resource Centre is generally open during building open hours. The Centre is available for quiet study, with four separate rooms that can be booked for meetings and group work. Amongst its facilities, the Learning Resource Centre has a number of desks, four meeting rooms with large LCD screens, and free use of a photocopier. Also available are core set texts from your module reading lists, and undergraduate and MSc projects from the past two years.

Online Module study resources provide materials for modules that you are registered for, in addition to some useful subject and IT resources. Generic study support resources, library and research skills, past exam papers, and the 'Academic Honesty and Plagiarism' module are also available through the student portal (

Student/Staff Liaison Committee enables students & staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

10. Admission Criteria

All applications are considered individually on merit. The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

Candidates must satisfy the general admissions requirements of the University and the entrance requirements for this programme. These are published in full in the University of Exeter Undergraduate Prospectus (see In addition to candidates offering GCE AS and A2, those offering International Baccalaureate and appropriate VCE A-levels will also be considered, as well as mature candidates with evidence of appropriate alternative qualifications. Direct entry to Stage 2 of the programmes will also be considered for candidates who have successfully completed study equivalent to the core material in the first stage of the programmes.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed Facultyassessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both Faculty and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice.  See the University's TQA Manual for details.

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

Certain programmes are subject to accreditation and/or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

14 Awarding Institution University of Exeter
15 Lead College / Teaching Institution Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy
16 Partner College / Institution
17 Programme accredited/validated by
18 Final Award(s) MSci (Hons)
19 UCAS Code (UG programmes) GG4D
20 NQF Level of Final Awards(s): 7
21 Credit (CATS and ECTS) 480 credits (240 ECTS)
22 QAA Subject Benchmarking Group (UG and PGT programmes) Computing, Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research
23 Origin Date February 27th 2024 Last Date of Revision: March 21st 2024