Structure and Content
The programme starts with two semesters of taught modules, followed by a three-month project and dissertation period.
In the Autumn Semester you will take the following modules:
Principles and Practice of Programming: In this module you will learn to design and test programs written in Java. You learn good practice in program construction, programming with data structures and graphical user interfaces.
Foundations of Information Technology: This module covers central topics including machine architecture, operating systems, networks, programming languages and implementation, algorithms, efficiency, the limits of computation, software engineering, professional and ethical issues.
Database Principles and Applications: In this module, you will obtain a critical understanding of the role of database management systems and the ability to creatively design and implement practical databases.
Interface Design and the World Wide Web: This module provides a detailed knowledge of the construction of web pages, a critical awareness of the role of the World Wide Web, and the usability issues underlying human-computer interface design.
During the winter break there is an extended programming assignment.
Spring Semester modules:
Decision Support Systems: In this module you study the nature and use of IT methods and techniques in the support of decision-making in organisations, in particular modelling, simulation and intelligent decision support systems.
Multimedia: This module broadly introduces multimedia authoring, graphics and sound. It also gives a range of practical experience with the use of specialised image, audio and multimedia development tools.
Object-orientated Software Design: In this module you study how to analyse and model requirements and develop software using object-orientated analysis and design, through the use of UML and CASE tools for software design.
You may graduate with the Postgraduate Diploma after the two taught semesters, or you may, if you wish, 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.
Computing facilities in the Department and the network infrastructure are all state-of-the art and regularly updated. You use the University’s workstations (mainly PCs), and departmental facilities (PCs running Windows XP), all linked to the campus network and beyond that, to the internet.
Delivery and Assessment
You will study IT through lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Tutorials are organised in small groups and usually mean working through exercises or discussing points covered in lectures. Practicals are a prominent feature: supervised work in computer laboratories provides you with the opportunity for hands-on experience of applying what you have learned, and to develop your technical skills. The practical work builds from small assignments in the Autumn Semester, through a group project in the Spring Semester, to the dissertation project in the summer.
Assessment is by a mixture of examination and, particularly for programming work, regular assignments 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.