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    MSc
    2024 start September 

    Advanced Computer Science

    Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering

    This MSc keeps you at the cutting edge of developments in computer science and software engineering. You'll have a diverse range of modules to choose from, which are informed by the department's wide-ranging research interests.
    Computer Science postgraduates using 3D computer graphics

    Course description

    Turn your fascination with how things work into a successful career in business or industry. We’ll give you an advanced education in the most up-to-date aspects of computer science and software engineering, informed by our wide-ranging research interests. Innovative project work will teach you how to apply your knowledge in the real world.

    Applying for this course

    We use a staged admissions process to assess applications for this course. You'll still apply for this course in the usual way, using our Postgraduate Online Application Form.

    Accreditation

    This course is accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS). The course partially meets the requirements for Chartered Information Technology Professional (CITP) and partially meets the requirements for Chartered Engineer (CEng).

    Modules

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Team Software Project

    The Team Project provides the opportunity for you to engage in industry-inspired research work. It is undertaken in groups. You will form groups and together choose a project which interests you, then refine the scope of the research by conducting a thorough analysis of the topic area and formulating a solution, with the help of your supervisor; the project is developed under strong supervision. Your group will present your project overview within the first few weeks of the semester and submit a report on the work at the end of semester. Guest speakers from industry help to ensure the projects remain current and industry-relevant.

    15 credits
    Object Oriented Programming and Software Design

    This module presents the object-oriented approach to building large software systems from components in the Java Programming Language. It assumes prior knowledge of imperative programming. Large scale program design and implementation issues are covered, using the Java Application Programmer's Interface, including the AWT, Swing and the Java Collections Framework. Topics include: data and procedural abstraction, collection interfaces and implementations, the event-driven model of computation, user interface components, streams and files, documentation styles with the Unified Modelling Language (UML).

    15 credits
    Professional Issues

    This module aims to promote an awareness of the wider social, legal and ethical issues of computing. It describes the relationship between technological change, society and the law, emphasising the powerful role that computers and computer professionals play in a technological society. It also introduces the legal areas which are specific and relevant to the discipline of computing (e.g., intellectual property, liability for defective software, computer misuse, etc) and aims to provide an understanding of ethical concepts that are important to computer professionals, and experience of considering ethical dilemmas.

    15 credits
    Dissertation Project

    This is a research-led project that is supervised by a member of staff. In order to ensure best use of the summer study period, project preparation and planning is carried out in semester 2, which is separately assessed. Project activities take place during the summer period using Departmental facilities and you are exposed to the latest methods and ideas in the area of your project. There is scope for you to demonstrate your critical skills and topic-related knowledge to a high level.

    60 credits

    Optional modules - examples include:

    Modelling and Simulation of Natural Systems

    This module will provide a practical introduction to techniques used for modelling and simulating dynamic natural systems. Many natural systems can be modelled appropriately using differential equations, or individual based methods. In this module, you will explore and understand both modelling approaches. You will gain knowledge of the assumptions underlying these models, their limitations, and how they are derived. You will learn how to simulate and explore the dynamics of computational models, using a variety of examples mostly drawn from natural systems.  At the end of the module, we will introduce basic recurrent neural networks as examples of dynamical systems with multiple timescales. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this course.

    15 credits
    Text Processing

    This module introduces fundamental concepts and ideas in natural language text processing, covers techniques for handling text corpora, and examines representative systems that require the automated processing of large volumes of text. The module focusses on modern quantitative techniques for text analysis and explores important models for representing and acquiring information from texts. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this course 

    15 credits
    Theory of Distributed Systems

    The aim of this module is to set out a strong theoretical basis for the analysis and design of concurrent, distributed and mobile systems. We will use the process calculi to model and reason about complex systems, studying both its formal semantics and its many uses, via a number of examples. You should be aware there are limited places on this course.

    15 credits
    Computer Security and Forensics

    This module provides an introduction into computer security and forensics focussing on approaches and techniques for building secure systems and for the secure operation of systems. It aims to develop knowledge and understanding of fundamental principles of information security, develop familiarity with compromise of computer systems and what countermeasures can be adopted and provide practical experience of implementing secure systems. The module requires a solid understanding of mathematical concepts (e.g., modulo-arithmetic, complex numbers, group theory) and logic (set theory, predicate logic, natural deduction) a solid understanding of a programming language (e.g., Java, Ruby, or C), basic software engineering knowledge and an understanding of database and Web systems. Students should be aware that there are limited places available on this course.

    15 credits
    Speech Processing

    This module aims to demonstrate why computer speech processing is an important and difficult problem, to investigate the representation of speech in the articulatory, acoustic and auditory domains, and to illustrate computational approaches to speech parameter extraction. It examines both the production and perception of speech, taking a multi-disciplinary approach (drawing on linguistics, phonetics, psychoacoustics, etc.). It introduces sufficient digital signal processing (linear systems theory, Fourier transforms) to motivate speech parameter extraction techniques (e.g. pitch and formant tracking). You should be aware that there are limited places available on this course. 

    15 credits
    3D Computer Graphics

    This module is an introduction to the techniques used in modern 3D computer graphics. It deals with fundamental techniques that are the basis of work in a range of industries, e.g. entertainment and computer-aided design. Both basic and advanced topics concerned with the production of images of abstract 3D objects are covered, including: 3D representations and manipulations in graphics, light reflection models, realism techniques such as shadows and textures, ray tracing and 3D animation. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this course.

    15 credits
    The Intelligent Web

    This module is concerned with gaining knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges of the intelligent Web. We will introduce, study and apply contemporary technologies such as: 1) The basic tools of the advanced Web and their implementation; 2) Offline and multimodal interaction; 3) Client server architectures; 4) Web 3.0 and the Web of Data. Students should be aware that there are limited places available on this course.

    15 credits
    Testing and Verification in Safety-Critical Systems

    This module provides an introduction to the processes and problems of building complex software such as for use in aerospace applications. Topics covered can be split into four major groups: safety, specification languages, concepts of software engineering, different methods of software testing. A substantial amount of time will be spent on the ideas of software testing and specific testing techniques.
    a. Safety includes software and systems safety, methods of performing hazard analysis, human factors and the IEC 61508 standard.
    b. Specification languages such as Statecharts.
    c. Software engineering concepts focus on the software lifecycle, safe language subsets, software testing and maintenance.
    d. The software testing part is concerned with advanced approaches to generating software tests. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this course. 

    15 credits
    Software and Hardware Verification

    This module introduces state-of-the-art software and hardware verification techniques which are widely used in industry. They are particularly important in safety-critical applications, where system failures can not be tolerated. Designing high quality dependable computing systems is widely believed to be the main challenge in Computer Science. Particular focus is on protocol verification and hardware design verification by model checking and program verification by formalisms such as Hoare logics. These techniques presume formal system specifications and use automated tools for analysing whether a system satisfies the properties required or imposed. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this module. 

    15 credits
    Machine Learning and Adaptive Intelligence

    The module is about core technologies underpinning modern artificial intelligence. The module will introduce statistical machine learning and probabilistic modelling and their application to describing real-world phenomena. The module will give you a grounding in modern state-of-the-art algorithms that allow modern computer systems to learn from data.

    15 credits
    Software development for mobile devices

    This module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the principles of software development for mobile devices. The Android platform will be used as an example, although the modules emphasises general principles that are common across all mobile platforms. An important aim of the module is to demonstrate the real-world application of object-oriented programming principles and design patterns in software for mobile devices. You will undertake a substantial software implementation project, working in pairs. The module will be taught primarily using Java and Swift languages. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this module.

    15 credits
    Speech Technology

    This module introduces the principles of the emergent field of speech technology, studies typical applications of these principles and assesses the state of the art in this area. You will learn the prevailing techniques of automatic speech recognition (based on statistical modelling); will see how speech synthesis and text-to-speech methods are deployed in spoken language systems; and will discuss the current limitations of such devices. The module will include project work involving the implementation and assessment of a speech technology device. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this module.

    15 credits
    Natural Language Processing

    This module provides an introduction to the field of computer processing of written natural language, known as Natural Language Processing (NLP). We will cover standard theories, models and algorithms, discuss competing solutions to problems, describe example systems and applications, and highlight areas of open research.

    You should be aware that there are limited places available on this module. The maximum number of students allowed on the module is 160.

    15 credits
    Network Performance Analysis

    This module considers the performance of computer networks from a statistical aspect, using queuing theory. It is shown that the performance of a computer network depends heavily on the traffic flow in the network, and different models of traffic and queues are used. These include single-server queues, multiple server queues, and the concept of blocking is discussed. Although the analysis is entirely statistical, all the relevant background is provided in the lectures, such that the course is entirely self-contained. Problem sheets are provided in order to assist you with the course material. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this module.

    15 credits
    Parallel Computing with Graphical Processing Units (GPUs)

    Accelerator architectures are discrete processing units which supplement a base processor with the objective of providing advanced performance at lower energy cost. Performance is gained by a design which favours a high number of parallel compute cores at the expense of imposing significant software challenges. This module looks at accelerated computing from multi-core central processing units (CPUs) to graphics processing unit (GPU) accelerators with many TFlops of theoretical performance. The module will give insight into how to write high performance code with specific emphasis on GPU programming with NVIDIA CUDA GPUs. A key aspect of the module will be understanding what the implications of program code are on the underlying hardware so that it can be optimised. You should be aware that there are limited places available on this course. 

    15 credits
    Software Reengineering

    Software development often involves the improvement and adaptation of “legacy systems” – well-established, business-critical software systems that might have become difficult to maintain over time. This module introduces the skill-set that is required to get to grips with such systems. It teaches you how to reverse-engineer and appraise complex, unwieldy systems by implementing source code and execution analysis techniques. It also presents a range of strategies that can be used to adapt and reengineer such systems to improve their quality and viability.

    15 credits
    Data Science with Python

    This module starts in Intro Week with a rapid review of basic background mathematics and statistics, and an introduction to Python. The module will then introduce students to a range of statistical and programming techniques and give practice in their implementation and interpretation using Python. It aims to help students develop the knowledge and experience to select and use appropriate techniques for a variety of problems. The emphasis will be on practical application of techniques and knowledge of their scope rather than development of theoretical underpinnings. Areas to be covered include: exploratory data analysis, simple checks on data, density estimation, simulation, programming and optimization. Students will also learn the fundamentals of robust data management and reproducible scientific analysis.

    15 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    Find out what makes us special at our next online open day on Wednesday 17 April 2024.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours

    Duration

    1 year full-time

    Teaching

    We use lectures, tutorials and group work.

    Assessment

    Assessment is by formal examinations, coursework assignments and a dissertation.

    Department

    Department of Computer Science

    Our masters courses at the University of Sheffield cover both the strong theoretical foundations and the practical issues involved in developing software systems in a business or industrial context.

    Our graduates are highly prized by industry, and provide the opportunity for you to gain an advantage in the job market, whether in the UK or overseas.

    Although it is possible to discuss many of the practical issues involved in industrial applications in lectures and seminars, there is no substitute for first-hand experience.

    We have a unique track record in developing innovative project-based courses that provide real experience for computing students, and this experience is embodied in our MSc courses.

    Our MSc programmes last 12 months, and begin in late September. You will study taught modules during two 15-week semesters. Your work is assessed either by coursework or by formal examination. During the summer you complete an individual dissertation project, which may be based within the University or at the premises of an industrial client.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in computer science, software engineering or a closely related subject.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Apply

    We use a staged admissions process to assess applications for this course. You'll still apply for this course in the usual way, using our Postgraduate Online Application Form.

    Apply now

    Contact

    msc-compsci@sheffield.ac.uk
    +44 114 222 1800

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.