The MSc in Advanced Computing is a one-year advanced programme for those who wish to obtain an up-to-date knowledge on computing technologies, including computer networking and telecommunications, object-oriented design and programming, databases, and multimedia and computer game programming. It is designed to complement and extend a student’s previous education, training and experience in computing. Appropriate module choices facilitate adjusting the programme of study according to your prior expertise. Graduates from the programme will be well placed to enter the IT departments of commercial organisations. You will have specific vocational skills in the design and development of computer applications and networks. You will have gained experience in specific technologies such as enterprise database systems, web services, telecommunications systems, computer games, and decision support systems.
Structure and Content
The programme comprises two elements: two 15-week semesters of taught modules and a three-month dissertation period.
The first part of the course (Semester 1) concentrates on fundamental techniques. The second part (Semester 2) integrates, develops and applies these skills.
In the Autumn Semester you will take the following modules:
Foundations of Computing: This module covers central topics including networks, algorithms and efficiency, the limits of computation, software engineering, professional and ethical issues.
Interface Design and the World Wide Web: This module provides a detailed knowledge of the construction of websites, a critical awareness of the role of the internet and the usability issues underlying human-computer interface design.
bullet Web Scripting with PHP and XML: In this module you will study Web scripting using PHP and XML. You will study the significance of XML for data storage and transfer, as well as related technologies, such as XSLT and XPath.
bullet Principles and Practice of Programming: This module will cover the design and testing of programs written in Java. You will study good practice in program construction, programming with data structures and graphical user interfaces.
bullet Database Principles and Applications: This module provides a critical understanding of the role of database management systems and the ability to creatively design and implement practical databases.
During the winter break there is an extended programming assignment using Java or PHP and XML.
Then, in the Spring Semester you will study:
bullet Object-Oriented Software Design: This module focuses on how to analyse and model requirements and develop object-oriented software, through the use of UML and CASE tools.
bullet Networking: This module investigates the principles of data communications, including layered network architecture, services and protocols, such as TCP/IP, SMTP and SNMP.
bullet Decision Support Systems: This module covers the use of IT methods and techniques in the support of decision-making in organisations, in particular modelling, simulation and intelligent decision support systems.
bullet Multimedia: This module introduces multimedia authoring, graphics and sound. It also gives practical experience with the use of image, audio and multimedia tools.
bullet Computer Games Technologies: This module introduces technologies for game programming, including graphics, animation and sound components for 2D and 3D games.
bullet Web Services: This module covers the principles of web service provision and its role in industrial applications. You learn to use BPEL and WSDL for the implementation of web services.
bullet Telecommunications Systems: This module covers existing telephony networks and the underlying concepts of new, internet-based, telecommunications architectures and networks, such as the AIN and SIP.
You may graduate with the Postgraduate Diploma after two taught semesters, or you may continue with a three-month project and dissertation to qualify for the award of the MSc degree. The subject of the dissertation usually covers the application of computers to a field of special interest to you.
Delivery and Assessment
You will learn about computing through lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Lectures involve the whole class, while tutorials and practicals are for small groups. Practical work is a key component in our degrees, and provides the opportunity for hands-on experience. It builds from small assignments in the first semester, through a group project in Semester 2, to the dissertation project in the summer. In fact, our computing laboratories offer 24-hour, seven days a week access to state-of-the-art networked PCs, with full internet access. Generally, practical work is a key component of the degree.
Assessment is by a mixture of examination and, particularly for programming work, regular assignments at intervals throughout the programme.
Following the taught part of the programme, the award of the MSc degree requires the completion of an individual, supervised project during the summer period. This is principally assessed through a written dissertation.
The MSc in Advanced Computing will enhance the employment prospects of students who already have a degree in Computer Science. Career prospects for computing postgraduates are excellent and are likely to remain so in the future. Stirling computing graduates have a good track record in finding well paid jobs. Previous graduates from the Department have been very successful in obtaining suitable employment in a considerable diversity of posts - some with small companies, others with major international organisations, as well as with local authority and government bodies. Destinations for recent graduates have included major organisations, such as:
* British Telecom