What is accreditation?
In almost every profession, one of the things that the professional bodies which regulate that profession do is check the quality of relevant degree programmes, and then accredit those programmes that meet their criteria. In computing, these activities are run by the British Computer Society (BCS), who accredit degree programmes as meeting the educational requirements for the various professional qualifications that they can subsequently award. Each of these qualifications also has requirements for professional experience, to be achieved once you have graduated, but knowing that your degree would meet the relevant educational requirements provides you with a guarantee that the degree programme is of high quality.
Which professional qualifications are relevant?
The BCS can award any of the following three professional qualifications.
- Chartered Information Technology Professional, which is the broadest one of the three, and is awarded by the BCS itself. This qualification entitles you to put the letters CITP after your name.
- Chartered Engineer, which the BCS awards on behalf of the Engineering Council to those who are working in areas such as software engineering. This qualification entitles you to put the letters CEng after your name.
- Chartered Scientist, which the BCS awards on behalf of the Science Council to those who are working in scientific applications of computing. This qualification entitles you to put the letters CSci after your name.
Accreditation of Our Courses
The accreditation of our MSc programmes is only fully applicable to students if their undergraduate degree course also has an appropriate level of accreditation. This does not have to be in the UK or from the BCS, as there are international agreements regarding the recognition of accreditations for engineering or computing courses in other countries. The BCS also has an individual case procedure, which can consider whether an unaccredited undergraduate degree meets their requirements for the holder of an accredited MSc to be awarded the relevant professional qualifications.
As part of the accreditation process, an accreditation panel from the BCS visits the Department of Computer Science on a periodic basis. The most recent such visit was in November 2012, to review the accreditation of our degrees for the next five years. The panel was very impressed with the general quality of our courses, and with the examples of student work that they examined, and so the BCS accredited our MSc programmes as detailed below.
Note that accreditation can be given at two different levels. Simplifying slightly, some degrees are considered to partially meet the educational requirements for accreditation, and others to fully meet those requirements.
- MSc in Software Systems and Internet Technology
The above course is accredited as partially meeting the educational requirements for CITP.
- MSc in Advanced Software Engineering
- MSc in Advanced Computer Science
- MSc in Computer Science with Speech and Language Processing
The above courses are accredited as fully meeting the educational requirements for CITP (Further Learning), and partially meeting the educational requirements for CEng and CSci registration.
Click here for the British Computer Society web site.