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Unit information: MSc Project Computer Science in 2021/22

Unit name MSc Project Computer Science
Unit code COMSM3201
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Calway
Open unit status Not open

COMSM0084 Introduction to Computer Science



School/department Department of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit involves undertaking a major computer science project over the summer. It gives students the opportunity to make use of the knowledge and skills that they have developed during the taught component of the MSc programme. The expectation is that the project will involve a significant software development component applied to an application area, allowing students to demonstrate their ability to design, implement and evaluate a large piece of software that meets the specification and requirements of the application.

Students are encouraged to select application areas which align with their interests and/or previous degree subject and where appropriate to collaborate with organisations either inside the department such as research groups, or outside of the department, either in other parts of the University, with industry partners or with cultural/public organisations. This can include spending time working within the organisation if appropriate.

Students will begin thinking about their project area within Teaching Block 1 as part of the unit COMSM0084 Introduction to Computer Science, where they will be introduced to best practice in designing, implementing, evaluating and writing up computer science projects. Students are encouraged to come up with their own project ideas, developing them during Teaching Block 1 and Teaching Block 2, with projects being confirmed within Teaching Block 2, including project partners. Students will also select an appropriate academic supervisor who will provide guidance and advice during the project.

It is also possible for a group of students to work together on a single project. This provides opportunity for larger projects to be undertaken, widening the scope of potential topics and applications. Effective team working is highly valued by industry and this group project option allows students to gain further experience of working in a team in addition to that gained in the unit COMSM1401 Software Engineering and Group Project.

Projects are assessed in August/September by a demonstration and viva relating to the work completed and by a report. In the case of a group project, students do a joint demonstration and viva and submit both a joint report and individual reports, with the latter covering individual contributions and evaluations of the project.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete the unit will be able to:

  1. Work independently or within a group on a Computer Science or related project for which they have defined the objectives and rationale.
  2. Apply knowledge about an application area to a specific problem, which may be engineering, analytical, academic or applied in nature.
  3. Design, implement and evaluate a solution to the chosen problem, including the use of suitable frameworks, methodologies and practices.
  4. Effectively document their work and to communicate their design, implementation, evaluation and conclusions, including motivation, justification and analysis of the approach adopted.

Teaching details

The supervision of the MSc project is carried out by a member of academic staff, sometimes with the assistance of a research associate or doctoral student. In the case of a collaboration with an organisation outside of the department, it is usual for a representative of that organisation to also contribute to the supervision in an advisory capacity. In the case of a group project, students can choose to have more than one supervisor, depending on the project.

Students meet regularly (at least fortnightly) with their supervisor(s) (and/or assistants) throughout the project period to provide an update on progress and to plan the next steps. Towards the end of the project the student will be given guidance on preparing for the demonstration and viva, and on writing the report.

Assessment Details

Coursework (100%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. COMSM3201).