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Study information

Computer Science (2023)

1. Programme Title:

Computer Science

NQF Level:


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

This is an extended version of the BSc Computer Science programme, giving the student the opportunity to engage in more advanced research-led study at Masters level. It also provides the option of a term of Computer Science study abroad.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

Through this programme we aim to

Provide you with knowledge and understanding of how computer systems are organised and how they work

Give you a thorough grounding in computer programming techniques and skills, including both procedural programming and object-oriented programming

Give you practical experience and understanding of a range of techniques for developing and maintaining software

Give you experience of applying computer science techniques to a range of problems in science and business

Provide you with the mathematical and logical techniques underpinning computation

Introduce you to some current research topics in computer science and provide the opportunity to pursue some of these in greater depth than in a typical BSc degree.

Engage you in extended project work, with a research component, both as an individual and as a member of a team

Foster an awareness of the social, legal, and ethical dimensions to the work of computer professionals

Help you to attain the necessary speaking, writing, and presentation skills to communicate your ideas effectively.

4. Programme Structure

The MSci in Computer Science is a four-year programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7 (as confirmed against the FHEQ). This programme is divided into four ‘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 in Computer Science, 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 in Computer Science.

If a student meets the criteria for progression to stage 4 but is for some reason unable to proceed, they will be eligible for the award of BSc Computer Science.


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 review of this programme. Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the College web site

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 College web site

You may take Elective Modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme in the second and third stages of the programme 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.

Stage 1

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
ECM1407Social and Professional Issues of the Information Age15YesNo
ECM1410Object-Oriented Programming15YesYes
ECM1413Computers and the Internet15YesNo
ECM1414Data Structures and Algorithms15YesNo
ECM1415Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science15YesNo
ECM1416Computational Mathematics15YesNo
COM1011Fundamentals of Machine Learning15YesNo

Stage 2

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
ECM2414Software Development15YesYes
ECM2418Computer Languages and Representations15YesNo
ECM2419Database Theory and Design15YesNo
ECM2426Network and Computer Security15YesNo
ECM2427Outside the box: Computer Science Research and Applications15YesNo
ECM2434Group Software Engineering Project15YesYes
Select 30 Credits:
ECM2423Artificial Intelligence and Applications15NoNo
ECM2425Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing15NoNo
ECM2433The C Family15NoNo
ECM1417Web Development15NoNo
*******Free Choice Elective30NoNo

Students may choose up to 30 credits of modules which are not listed above, either from within or outside the Faculty of Environement, Science and Economy

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
ECM3401 is Compulsory for students not taking Study Abroad
ECM3401Individual Literature Review and Project45YesYes
ECM3429 and ECM3430 are Compulsory for students taking Study Abroad
ECM3429Term of Computer Science Studies Abroad60YesYes
ECM3430Computer Science Individual Project30YesYes
Students not undertaking Study Abroad will take 45 - 75 credits, and Students taking Study Abroad will take 30 credits (See details in Notes Field):
ECM3408Enterprise Computing15NoNo
ECM3412Nature Inspired Computation15NoNo
ECM3420Learning from Data 15NoNo
ECM3422Computability and Complexity 15NoNo
ECM3423Computer Graphics15NoNo
ECM3428Algorithms that Changed the World15NoNo
ECM3446High Performance Computing 15NoNo
EMP3001Commercial and Industrial Experience15NoNo
*******Free Choice Elective30NoNo

Students not taking the Study Abroad Option may choose up to 30 credits of modules which are not listed above, either from within or outside the Faculty of Environement, Science and Economy,  subject to approval, timetabling and satisfaction of prerequisites.

Students taking the Study Abroad option will take ECM3430 instead of ECM3401, and will take 30 credits from:

ECM3408, ECM3420, ECM3425 and ECM3426.

Stage 4

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
ECMM427Group Development Project 30YesYes
ECMM428Individual Research Project30YesYes
Select 60 credits:
ECMM409Nature-Inspired Computation15NoNo
ECMM422Machine Learning15NoNo
ECMM423Evolutionary Computation & Optimisation15NoNo
ECMM424Computer Modelling and Simulation15NoNo
ECMM426Computer Vision15NoNo
ECMM447Social Networks and Text Analysis15NoNo
COMM510Multi-Objective Optimisation and Decision Making15NoNo

Students may choose up to 30 credits of NQF Level 7 modules which are not listed above, either from within or outside the Faculty of Environement, Science and Economy, subject to approval, timetabling and satisfaction of prerequisites.

Not all modules will be available every year, and new modules may be made available from time to time

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 Explain how computer systems are organised and how they work

2 Write computer programmes in a number of different programming languages

3 Specify, design, implement, test, and maintain a substantial piece of software

4 Apply your computer skills to a variety of different application areas

5 Make use of mathematical notations and techniques needed in the analysis of computational systems and problems

6 Pursue research activities in one or more areas of advanced Computer Science

Learning & Teaching Activities

Attending lectures, tutorials and practical workshops.

Undertaking project work under supervision, both individually and as part of a team.

Completing written exercises

Producing and demonstrating software

Private study

Assessment Methods

1 Written coursework (ILOs A1, A2, A4, A5)

2 Project report (ILOs A3, A4, A5, A6)

3 Written examination (ILOs A1, A5)

4 Project demonstration (ILOs A3, A4, A6)

B Academic Discipline Core Skills & Knowledge

7 Describe a range of topics in computing at the forefront of current research

8 Identify social, legal, and ethical issues arising in the work of computing professionals

Learning & Teaching Activities

Attending lectures and tutorials

Completing written exercises

Private study

Assessment Methods

5 Written coursework (ILOs B7, B8)

6 Written examination (ILOs B7,B8)

C Personal / Transferable / Employment Skills & Knowledge

9 Manage a computing project from inception to delivery

10 Work as part of a team

11 Communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and through a variety of presentation media

Learning & Teaching Activities

Undertaking project work under supervision, both individually and as part of a team.

Giving stand-up presentations

Assessment Methods

9 Project report (ILOs C9,C11)

10 Written coursework (ILO C11)

11 Project demonstration (ILOs C9,C10,C11)

12 Team meeting report (ILOs C10, C11)

13 Group presentation (ILOs C10,C11)

14 Individual presentation (ILO C11)

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.


You can progress to the next stage (in stages 1, 2 and 3) once at least 90 credits have been passed in a stage, and provided that an average of at least 40% has been achieved over the 120 credits of assessment for that stage.

You can proceed to the award of an honours degree in the final year provided that an average of at least 50% has been achieved over the 120 credits of assessment for the final stage. 


This programme is accredited by a PSRB under licence from the Engineering Council. Therefore, the latest Engineering Council regulations on condonement apply to this programme. Please find further details in the TQA Manual here:

Assessment and Awards

Assessment at stage one 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:

Undergraduate Degrees                                      

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 Faculty has 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 of Exeter. In addition, entry to this programme will normally require a qualification equivalent to A-levels at grades AAB or higher, including A-level Mathematics.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed Faculty assessment 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).

The MSci Computer Science is accredited by the BCS (the Chartered Institute for IT) for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional, and (on behalf of the Engineering Council) for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng).

Accreditation is awarded for a maximum of 5 years under each assessment exercise. The dates applicable to the current accreditation of this degree programme can be viewed on the BCS list of accredited degrees:, and on the Engineering Council list of accredited degrees:

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) I402
20 NQF Level of Final Awards(s): 7
21 Credit (CATS and ECTS) 480 (240 ECTS)
22 QAA Subject Benchmarking Group (UG and PGT programmes)
23 Origin Date February 8th 2023 Last Date of Revision: September 20th 2023