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Advanced Computer Science

MSc / PGDip / PGCert

School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

BCS accredited MSc (CITPFL, partial CEng)

Our BCS accredited MSc in Advanced Computer Science provides you with a diverse range of skills so that you will be able to produce optimal solutions in complex, multi-discipline projects which are increasingly widespread in industry.


Examples of such projects include web technology combining networking, human-computer interface and intelligent systems, and high-speed networks using concepts from artificial intelligence and requiring intelligent front ends.

This course is aimed at recent graduates and those with substantial experience in the computing industry who want to gain a qualification that develops their expertise.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Wheatley Campus

Course length

  • Full time: MSc - 1 year (12 months); MSc with placement 2 years (24 months); PG Dip - 6 months; PG Cert - 3 months
  • Part time: MSc - 2 years; Msc with placement 3 years (36 months); PG Dip - 18 months (12 months study time); PG Cert - 6 months

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • The design of our programmes is informed by state-of-the-art research being undertaken in the school.
  • Professional experts contribute to the range of subjects on offer.
  • You will have the opportunity to put the skills you have gained into practice if you choose to undertake our 1 year optional placement
  • You will be joining a school with a diverse and truly international postgraduate community. 
  • The universal nature of the technical skills developed in our programmes means our courses are of equal relevance to both new graduates and those with many years of industrial experience.

Professional accreditation

The course is accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, for the purposes of fully meeting the further learning academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional and partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

The MSc in Advanced Computer Science has a modular course-unit design providing you with maximum flexibility and choice. To qualify for a master’s degree, you must pass modules amounting to 180 credits. This comprises six taught modules (20 credits each) plus your dissertation (60 credits).
The MSc in Advanced Computer Science with placement enables you to work in industry for a year in the middle of your course to give valuable workplace experience. Placements are not guaranteed, but the Department's dedicated placement team will help with the process of finding and applying for placements. To qualify for a master’s degree with placement, you must pass modules amounting to 180 credits plus the zero credit placement module. This comprises six taught modules (20 credits each) plus your dissertation (60 credits).
The Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Computer Science allows you to concentrate on the taught part of the degree and is ideal for people working in the computing industry who wish to update their skills. To qualify for a Postgraduate Diploma, you must pass modules amounting to 120 credits. This comprises six taught modules (20 credits each). In some cases, it may be possible for a student on a Postgraduate Diploma to do 3 taught modules (20 credits each) plus your dissertation (60 credits).
The Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Computer Science allows you to concentrate on the taught part of the degree and is ideal for people working in the computing industry who wish to learn a specific area in this rapidly changing discipline. To qualify for a Postgraduate Certificate, you must pass modules amounting to 60 credits. This comprises three taught modules (20 credits each).
You can also do a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Computer Science Research Project.
Part-time students normally distribute the work evenly over a two-year period.
Semester 1
You will be studying the following modules:
  • Research, Scholarship and Professional Skills (compulsory for MSc and PG Dip) equips you with the tools necessary for the scholarship and research skills needed for the computing field as well as equipping you with the professional skills and outlook needed for a lifelong career in the computer industry.
  • Secure Systems Architecture (compulsory for MSc) studies computer and network security and the ways that computer systems can be secured. This module looks at both the technological and human issues involved in securing and assessing the security level of a modern networked computer system. It also introduces basic concepts of operating systems and architecture.
  • Enterprise Networking (compulsory for MSc) teaches the principles and practice of computer networking looking at how networks are used in modern enterprises.  
Semester 2
You will be studying the following modules:
  • Advanced Software Development (compulsory for MSc and PG Dip) studies the current practices, skills and techniques applied to managing software development related projects, individually and in project teams. This module combines theory with pragmatic and professional insights and considers requirements engineering, project management, risk, quality assurance, usability and HCI issues.
  • Data Science and Machine Learning (compulsory for MSc) introduces you to the fascinating and increasingly important worlds of Data Analytics and Machine Intelligence. This module covers the key current technologies in these areas, illustrates how these technologies are being used to revolutionise business, and exposes you to current research directions in this rapidly evolving field. 
  • Big Data and the Cloud (compulsory for MSc) The cloud has become a key part of modern life and with it comes vast amounts of data. This module looks at how clouds work and can be used to tackle the big data challenges of modern science and business. 
As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, modules offered may differ from those listed.


Students undertaking an MSc with placement will do a 1 year placement in industry. The placement will be undertaken after the taught component and before doing the dissertation.
Students studying for an MSc will also take:
  • MSc Dissertation which is an individual research and development project that allows you to study a topic of your choice in depth, guided by your supervisor. The work may be undertaken in close co-operation with a research, industrial or commercial organisation. You undertake  your dissertation over the summer period.

Teaching and learning

Lectures provide a theoretical basis, while the practical sessions are used to strengthen your understanding by active involvement. Coursework and projects form the basis for continuous assessment. These methods have been developed to provide the varied experience that our students require, including the opportunity to discuss your work directly with the lecturers.

Many of the modules are enriched by the teaching staff's research expertise. There are also visiting lecturers from research organisations and industry.

Assessment methods include examination and coursework, reflecting the development of academic content from the more practical aspects to the more conceptual.

Approach to assessment

Assessments include coursework exercises, presentations, lab work, reports and examinations.

Specialist facilities

Based on your own dedicated campus our labs are equipped with industry-standard equipment and software tools. This enables you to develop skills of immediate relevance to industry needs while also providing a sound practical basis that enhances you understanding of theoretical concepts. Networking laboratories are equipped with modern Cisco routers, switches and security devices to enable design construction and testing of complete high bandwidth, secure, wired and wireless networks. Our server and security laboratories provide a safe environment for you to experiment with range of complex systems and software.

Additional Costs

Students on placement are responsible for living costs associated with their placement.

Attendance pattern

Part time study is an option on this programme for students who wish to combine their study with work. Where possible we try to ensure that part time students only need to attend for 1 day a week, although students will be expected to undertake additional independent study.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: Masters £6,360 (12 months), Diploma £5,100 (6 months), Certificate £2,550 (3 months) 2020/21: Masters £8,000 (12 months), Diploma £7,000 (6 months), Certificate £4,000 (3 months)

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: Masters £3,240 2020/21: Masters £4,000

Home/EU - sandwich fee: 2019/20: £1,270 2020/21: £1,410

International - full time: 2019/20: Masters £14,850 (12 months) 2020/21: Masters £15,700 (12 months)

International - sandwich fee: 2019/20: £3,180 2020/21: £3,250

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by up to 4% each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

The Department of Computing and Communication Technologies awards a limited number of scholarships for its taught postgraduate programmes, which are awarded on a competitive basis to UK, EU and international postgraduates each year. Further information can be found at /ecm/courses/scholarships/

Entry requirements

You should normally hold a first degree equivalent to at least a British lower second class bachelor's degree in a computer-related subject. If your first degree is not in computing but you have worked in the computing industry you can also be considered. If you have no experience or degree in a computing related discipline then you should consider our MSc in Computing Science.

For entry onto the Postgraduate Certificate Research Project you should be able to provide evidence of experience in research and study methods at an appropriate level.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English you will require a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with 6.0 in all components.


An equivalent English language qualification acceptable to the University.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

We focus on using industry standard tools to solve practical and industrially relevant problems, and using those problems to teach the theoretical concepts. This ensures that students have the opportunity to acquire skills which will not just equip them for today's computing industry, but for a lifelong career in the computing industry.

Students on the MSc course who undertake a placement will have the opportunity to put into practice in a business environment, the skills they have acquired in the taught part of the programme as well as gaining valuable experience for their CVs.


Graduates of this course are employed across a whole range of careers from development roles in small software houses, to the activities of IT departments in large, multinational corporations, to more specialist roles for providers of IT and telecommunications services. These include technical roles, including software design and development, specialist product support, and infrastructure and security management roles.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Academic and administrative help and advice will be available to all students from sources including:
  • Advice academic guidance and supervisory arrangements from the programme lead, subject coordinators and module leaders. Most modules will have tutorial, seminar or lab-based support activities
  • The Placement Team can help students find placement opportunities and give support while on placement
  • Programme and dissertation handbooks
  • Student Support Coordinators
  • Student forums
  • Student representatives who are invited to attend a variety of meetings at which programme issues and student concerns are discussed.
During induction week, you are given handbooks explaining the choices available to them on the course, and providing helpful information about the compulsory modules as well. The Subject Coordinator is available for consultation and our Postgraduate Administrator is available to deal specifically with graduate issues.

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics is home to world-leading and award-winning research. Our focus is on user-inspired original research with real-world applications. We have a vibrant and growing research community, with a wide range of activities from model-driven system design and empirical software engineering through to web technologies, cloud computing and big data, digital forensics and computer vision. Staff and students collaborate on projects supported by the EPSRC, the EU, the DTI, and several major UK companies.

Further, Computing achieved an excellent assessment of its UoA (Unit of Assessment) 11 return for REF 2014 (Research Excellence Framework).

Research areas and clusters

Students on this course link into the wide range of research that goes on in the school. In particular they can be involved with research in the following research groups: