What Will You Do?
The Computing Science courses you will take in the four or five years of your programme will usually combine some lectures, practical tutorials and formal laboratory sessions. In general, theoretical course content will be backed up by practical exercises that you will go over with your tutor in the tutorials and that you will solve in the labs. Tutorials and labs will typically be carried out in a group of 10-15 students with a permanently-assigned tutor for each course.
In years three and four, you will undertake large scale projects, running throughout the year, that will involve developing software and/or undertaking investigations of computing phenomena. In the third year this project will be carried out in a group of five students while in the fourth year you will do your project on your own. In both cases, you will be supported by a member of academic staff who will meet with you regularly to provide supervision and advice. Previous projects by our students have won several national awards. They address very diverse topics ranging from 3D evacuation simulations for sports stadiums to applications for mobile phones through to scheduling systems for healthcare applications.
Find out more about our courses in the Course Catalogue, including detailed aims and intended learning outcomes.
Access to labs
Each year group has its own laboratory. All labs are located on levels 6 and 7 of the Boyd Orr Building. You will be expected to attend timetabled lab sessions in your year’s laboratory. In year 1, there is one two-hour Computing Science lab session each week.
In addition, you will be allowed to use the machines in your year’s lab any time that they are open during the week and on weekends. Typically, the lab is open during the week until 9pm. It is also open on Saturdays. The software and hardware is upgraded on a rolling basis to ensure that you have access to up to date systems and programming environments.
In level 1 you will learn to program in Python, a popular modern multi-purpose language. Lab workstations run the Windows operating system.
In level 2, we teach you how to program using Java. The focus in level 2 is on object-oriented programming techniques. You will continue to use Windows workstations in the lab.
In level 3, you will learn the C programming language and, perhaps, another programming language via your team project. All work in level 3 is carried out using the Linux operating system.
By the end of level 3, you should be able to pick up a new programming language or operating system that you haven't seen before and become sufficiently skilled to be a productive user of it in a couple of weeks.
In levels 4 and 5, you will use a variety of programming languages in your elective course and in your individual project. Amongst the languages you might use are Haskell, C#, C++, Objective C, and Smalltalk. In addition, it is expected that you will gain experience of an additional operating system, such as Android.