The following description may no longer apply for the 2023/24 MSc Computing programme. Please see MSc Computing for an update with the new proposed degree struture for 2023/24.

The MSc programme consists of several integrated parts:

  • an intensive introductory programming course, taught during the first two weeks of the course, covering the imperative part of the object-oriented programming language C++, and UNIX-based operating systems;
  • compulsory courses of foundational material taught during the Autumn term, supplemented by a comprehensive laboratory-based course of practical programming exercises;
  • courses selected from a set of specialist options, taught during the Spring term;
  • a selective practical group programming project course running through the Spring term;
  • an individual project containing an element of original work, undertaken during the Summer term;.
  • Students may also freely attend any of the professional skills courses offered on the Imperial Graduate School's MasterClass programme.

Each taught course is timetabled for approximately 27 hours, either in the Autumn term (October - December), or in the Spring term (January - March), and students are expected to spend up to an additional 75 hours in independent study. All taught courses are examined by courseworks and a written examination. A number of the  Spring term courses are examined at the end of the Spring term, in March. The Autumn term courses and the remainder of the Spring term courses are examined at the beginning of the Summer term, in April/May. The practical laboratory course is examined by assessment of the practical assignments, and two 2-hour programming test at the beginning of the Spring term.

The choice of optional courses and projects available to students may, to some extent, be restricted by the schedule of lectures and the availability of staff. The list of options offered may be adjusted slightly from time to time.

The individual project is started in the Summer term. The project is undertaken full-time, under the supervision of a member of the academic staff, leading to submission of a dissertation in the middle of September. The project is expected to contain some element of original work. Students have the opportunity select their project topic from a wide range of proposals, or to propose their own project subject to discussing its feasibility and appropriateness with the academic staff. It is possible for a project to involve informal collaboration with one of the many industrial organisations with whom the Department has contacts, and a period of up to three months may be spent outside the College, as long as regular contact is maintained with the project supervisor. Details must be agreed beforehand with the Course Director.


Students must satisfy the examiners separately in two components:

  • written examinations with associated coursework for the taught courses, and practical and written assessments for the laboratory programme and group project;
  • completion of a dissertation based on the individual project.

The MSc degree is awarded with Pass, Merit or Distinction.