More Postgraduate Computer Science Options
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 24 August 2018

The Fall is traditionally the start of the University year so if you are considering gaining a Masters degree or other postgraduate qualification now is a good time to make your decisions and complete the application process. Here we look at online options from the Open University and the University of Liverpool.

These options are not restricted to UK residents although there is a requirement for an adequate level of spoken and written English. Also you don't need to have an undergraduate Computer Science degree as long as you have suitable experience.

The advantages of online study at this level is that you can fit it in with work and other commitments. You study part time - at home, at work and on the move to suit the demands of your lifestyle and circumstances.

oushield

In the case of the Open University (OU) registered students gain  access to the world-class teaching materials and its digital library  24 hours a day. Each student is allocated a personal tutor to guide their learning, provide feedback on written work, deliver group tutorials and provide support throughout the course by phone or online. 

The OU's website lists these reasons why you should choose it:  

  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • Enhance your career prospects and increase your salary potential.
  • Gain specialist academic, professional and technical knowledge and skills.
  • Compete in the UK jobs market and further afield.
  • Progression route to a research degree, for example, a PhD. 

The OU's Masters degree is modular and requires 180 points by completing six 30-point modules. Students can take up to two  modules per year and you can complete the degree in a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 6. Fees are charged per module and the entire cost is £7,515–£8,160 (until June 2019), depending on your choice of modules, which in turn determine which of three named degrees you'll be awarded.

The most flexible is the MSc in Computing which has the widest choice of modules). There more focused alternatives:

  • MSc in Computing (Software Engineering) 
  • MSc in Computing (Information Security and Forensics)

The entry requirements for any of the three are a bachelors degree in computing or a related discipline (from the UK or the or equivalent from another country), or relevant industrial experience. If you do not hold a bachelors degree, irrespective of your industrial experience, you will need to demonstrate your ability to study successfully at postgraduate level by completing one of the two modules in the Open University Postgraduate Certificate in Computing, K22) which will also count towards the Master's degree.

To get started you will first need an OU user id and password and then just register for the first module you want to count towards the Masters you have set your sights on. Register by 13 September for courses starting in October

An advantage of the modular approach is that you can gain recognized credentials along the way. Taking two modules, thereby gaining 60 points, is sufficient for the Postgraduate Certificate in Computing. This is made up of two courses that are fundamental to the MSc in Computing (Software Engineering):

M814 Software Engineering (next starts November 1, 2018) 

This module explores the advanced concepts and techniques used throughout the software life cycle, for the effective production and management of large, complex, and long-lived software systems. It looks at how complex software systems fit into organizations, from procurement to maintenance and development. Students will also gain an understanding of the business context of any proposed software, in order to elicit and analyze software requirements. The module is divided into four blocks: 

  1. Software in context
  2. Software engineering process
  3. Software evolution
  4. Requirements engineering

M813 Software development (next starts May 1, 2019) 

In this module students gain the fundamental knowledge and understanding, and analysis and synthesis skills that needed to develop software artifacts fit for a real-world organizational context. It provides an opportunity to investigate emerging trends in software development and acquire the personal development skills needed to keep abreast of important developments in this rapidly changing field. The module has three blocks which use UML and Java:

  1. Software development and early life-cycle
  2. Design and code
  3. Software architectures and systems integration 

If you add another two modules to accumulate 120 points you can claim one of: 

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Computing
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Computing (Software Engineering)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Computing (Information Security and Forensics)

according to which modules you choose.

To gain the final 60 points to achieve the corresponding MSc students undertake a substantial independent project, with either a professional or research orientation. The professional project engages in a research scenario in an employment-related setting of your choice, while the research project enables you to design a research proposal relating to an issue or problem of professional relevance to you or an employer, institution or public body.

 uniliverpool

There is a wider range of postgraduate options in Computer Science from the University of Liverpool Online and their starting points seem more advanced compared to those from the OU. The five MScs are in:

  •  Advanced Computer Science
  • Software Engineering
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Cyber Security
  • Information Systems Management

These typically take 2.5 years to complete and the cost in the UK is approximately £15,000. They each comprise four core modules and four elective modules enable you to tailor the focus of your degree. The first module takes 10 weeks and each subsequent one lasts eight weeks. Work is completed in a cloud-server platform that mirrors a real-world IT work environment. Students are able to access some of the most current tools used in advanced computation via a cloud environment that many organizations are already using. Through completion of practical assignments, students create a Professional Portfolio of Evidence, which is an opportunity to showcase solution-based and decision-making skills to employers.

There are corresponding postgraduate certificates (PGCerts) which consist of the core four modules of the master’s program and typically takes 12 months of study.

The pre-requisites for both programs are a bachelors degree equivalent to a UK honours degree, proficiency in English, two years of professional computer science and, with the exception of Information Systems Management, a fundamental knowledge of programming languages. The next starting date for is September 27 and admissions will close on September 17. 

The MSc in Advanced Computer Science provides an opportunity to gain real-world skills to design, implement and execute creative computation solutions. It is designed to enable students to:

  • Understand current computer science learning and research issues in the two main pillars of algorithms and intelligence systems
  • Develop a deep understanding of current developments within computer science and how these contribute to the effective design and implementation of computational solution
  • Produce original work within your chosen study area that is at the forefront of development, by exploring the possibilities of computer systems
  • Plan and carry out a major computational project within the domain of computer science, including the requirements around research, creative design, realization, critical evaluation and reflection
  • Develop practical solutions in a cloud environment that you can use to demonstrate your solution-based skills to current or future employers via creation of a Professional Portfolio of Evidence
The MSc in Software Engineering  gives the opportunity to develop practical skills to design, implement and manage high-quality software products and is designed to enable students to:

  • Manage and develop data systems, teams and complex projects
  • Understand advanced theory and practice behind software engineering including current paradigms, tools and techniques
  • Play a critical role in the in the design, programming and implementation of complex software systems
  • Plan and carry out a major project within the domain of software engineering, including the requirements around research, creative design, realization, critical evaluation and reflection  

The two latest computer masters programmes are in the Cyber Security and Big Data Analytics which tackle cutting edge issues with a 100% online approach and let you collaborate with fellow students globally through discussion forums, seminars, case studies and assignments. There is still time to join in these for the first time.

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More Information

Open University MSc in Computing

University of Liverpool Online Degree in Computer Science 

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Last Updated ( Friday, 24 August 2018 )