Postgraduate study

Computer Science MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Computer Science

Edinburgh's expertise in core computer science is recognised internationally, and spans the range from computer architecture through theoretical computer science. This MSc offers you the opportunity to obtain specialist knowledge in the design, analysis, implementation, and use of computer systems ranging from the components of a single processor to computer networks as vast as the Internet. You can also pursue a more theoretical direction by choosing courses in areas such as algorithms, programming languages, or cryptography.

The programme provides a solid foundation in theoretical understanding and a wide variety of practical techniques applicable in many career settings.

You will follow two taught semesters of lectures, tutorials, project work and written assignments. During this time you will also learn research methods to prepare for your final project and dissertation, which is completed during the summer.

Compulsory courses:

  • Informatics Research Review
  • Informatics Project Proposal
  • Dissertation

In addition, about half your taught course credits must be chosen from areas in core computer science (foundations and systems). Course offerings follow the main research areas of our staff, which include parallelism and distributed systems, security and privacy, theoretical computer science, and programming languages. Example courses offered recently in computer science foundations and systems include:

  • Advanced Databases
  • Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers
  • Computational Complexity
  • Computer Networking
  • Distributed Systems
  • Internet of Things: Systems, Security, and the Cloud
  • Introduction to Quantum Computing
  • Parallel Programming Languages and Systems
  • Secure Programming

For your remaining courses, you may choose further options from foundations and systems or from a wide range of courses offered in other areas of Informatics, including artificial intelligence, software engineering, and social and biological computation. Guidance is provided to help you choose a set of courses that work well together, giving you specialised expertise in your chosen area.

Please note: This degree has flexible course options. Students are only admitted onto the degree if they will have a viable set of options, but not all courses on offer are appropriate for all admitted students. The School of Informatics offers a wide selection of courses, but not all optional courses are guaranteed to run every year, and a few high-demand courses may limit enrolment to students on the most relevant degree(s).

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScComputer Science1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScComputer Science2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScComputer Science3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Through this programme you will develop specialist, advanced skills in the development, construction and management of advanced computer systems. You will gain practical experience and a thorough theoretical understanding of the field making you attractive to a wide range of employers or preparing you for further academic study.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in informatics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, electrical engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics or psychology.

Entry to this programme is competitive. A typical offer will normally require a UK first class honours degree.

Competent programming skills are essential. During your degree you must have completed a programming course in at least one of the following: C/C++, Java, Python, R, Matlab, Haskell, ML.

During your degree you must have completed the equivalent to 60 credits of mathematics that have typically covered the following subjects/topics: calculus (differentiation and integration), linear algebra (vectors and multi-dimensional matrices), discrete mathematics and mathematical reasoning (e.g. induction and reasoning, graph theoretic models, proofs), and probability (concepts in discrete and continuous probabilities, Markov chains etc.)

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fee deposit

Applicants receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 within 28 days to secure their place on the programme.

Any applicants who are required to pay will receive an offer with full details. (If there is no information on your offer about the deposit, then you are not required to pay.)

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScComputer Science1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScComputer Science2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScComputer Science3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5194
  • Contact: ito@inf.ed.ac.uk
  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE
Programme start date Application deadline
14 September 2020 31 March 2020

Due to high demand, this programme operates an application deadline. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the advertised deadline. Decisions will be made as soon as possible once the deadline has passed.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5194
  • Contact: ito@inf.ed.ac.uk
  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE