Technology drives society, and computer science is developing faster than ever before. Social media, cloud computing, face recognition software, network security and robotics all have a basis in computing. In both business and research, computer science continues to change our lives, our work, and the way we communicate and socialise with one another.
Our research covers a range of topics, from materials science and semiconductor device physics, to the theory of computation and the philosophy of computer science, with most of our research groups based around laboratories offering world-class facilities. On the four-year MSci version of this course, you develop the same key skills for computer science as on the BSc, in particular in the areas of:
- Algorithm analysis and basic computability
- Software engineering
- Java language principles and application programming interfaces
In addition to these areas, you achieve a masters-level qualification and also have the opportunity to investigate more advanced topics in computer science, specialising in one of the areas of research being undertaken within our department. You are able to pursue a diverse range of topics, including:
- Assistive technologies
- Computer games
- Artificial intelligence
- Evolutionary computation
Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. Today’s computer scientists are creative people who are focused and committed, yet restless and experimental. We are home to many of the world’s top scientists, and our work is driven by creativity and imagination as well as technical excellence. More than two-thirds of our research rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014).
You graduate with the creativity, imagination, and technical excellence to explore further how technology influences people’s lives.
Programming at Essex
Teaching someone to programme is about opening a door. In your first year at Essex you will study a module that introduces you to programming using Python. We assess your ability to think in a programmatic way in the very first week of term and if you require additional support, we offer classes which will boost your skills and confidence with programming.
Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement with an external organisation, as part of one of our placement year degrees. The learning outcomes associated with this programme focus on using the specialist technical skills acquired in the first three years of the course and developing communications skills with customers.
Students are provided with support to secure a placement. Recent placements undertaken by our students have been with ARM, Microsoft, Intel, Nestlé, British Aerospace, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, as well a range of SME software and hardware companies.
Our expert staff
Our original Department of Computer Science was founded by Professor Tony Brooker, who came to Essex from Manchester where he had worked with Alan Turing. Professor Brooker invented the compiler-compiler, one of the earliest applications of a formal understanding of the nature of programming languages.
In recent years we have attracted many highly active research staff and we are conducting world-leading research in areas such as evolutionary computation, brain-computer interfacing, intelligent inhabited environments and financial forecasting.
- We have six laboratories that are exclusively for computer science and electronic engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress
- All computers are dual boot Windows 10 and Linux. Apple Mac Computers are dual boot MacOS and Windows 10
- Software includes Java, Prolog, C++, Perl, Mysql, Matlab, DB2, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and Project
- Students have access to CAD tools and simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (OMNet++)
- We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robotics, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors.
The Government and industry are increasingly concerned that there will be a shortfall in skilled personnel to meet the needs of the IT industries. An incredible 92% of our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020).
Past Essex graduates in computer science have found employment as systems analysts, software engineers, programmers and systems engineers, while a number go on to postgraduate study or research.
Our department has a large pool of external contacts, ranging from companies providing robots for the media industry, through vehicle diagnostics, to the transforming of unstructured data to cloud-based multidimensional data cubes, who work with us and our students to provide advice, placements and eventually graduate opportunities. Read more about computer science and electronic engineering career destinations here.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:
- Formula One
- Light Speed IT Solutions
- Royal Bank of Scotland
We also work with our University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- You’ll join a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development.
- We are home to many of the world’s top scientists and engineers in their field.
- We are Top 250 for Computer Science in THE World University Rankings by Subject 2021.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.