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
  • cryptography
  • quantum informatics

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 (such as literature review and project planning) to prepare for your final project and dissertation, which is completed during the summer.

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, programming languages, theoretical computer science, and quantum informatics. Example courses offered recently in computer science foundations and systems include:

  • Advanced Databases Systems
  • 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 is for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

Programme Structure

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
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

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.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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

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

Competence in programming is 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.)

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass 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 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:

Deposit

If you receive an offer of admission you will need to pay a deposit to secure your place.

  • £1,500 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MSc3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

School of Informatics scholarships

You can find funding opportunities, tuition fees and costs of living for prospective UK and international postgraduate students on the University website.

You are also encouraged to undertake your own research into the range of potential scholarships and other funding outside the University for which you may be eligible.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 31 March 2022

Due to high demand on our programmes, the School of Informatics operates an application deadline of 31 March.

We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but will hold the majority of applications until the advertised deadline.

Decisions will be made as soon as possible once the deadline has passed. We expect to make the majority of decisions within six weeks of the deadline.

The deadline may be extended if there are any places remaining on the programme.

Selection Deadlines

Programme start date Application Deadline Expected Decision date
12 September 2022 31 March 2022 15 May 2022

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
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE