Postgraduate study

High Performance Computing MSc, PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgDip

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: High Performance Computing

You will study at EPCC, the UK’s leading supercomputing centre and a Centre of Excellence within the University's College of Science and Engineering. EPCC is a major provider of high performance computing (HPC) training in Europe with an international reputation for excellence in HPC education and research.

HPC is the use of powerful processors, networks and parallel supercomputers to tackle problems that are very computationally or data-intensive. You will learn leading-edge HPC technologies and skills to exploit the full potential of the world’s largest supercomputers and multicore processors. This is a well-established programme that has been successful in training generations of specialists in parallel programming. Our staff have a wealth of expertise across HPC, parallel programming technologies and data science.

This is an applied and practically-focused programme where you will develop and run software using a range of programming languages and techniques. A core set of courses requires knowledge of one of C, C++, or Fortran; prior knowledge of any of these is not required as students are introduced to them at the start of the programme. Students should already be competent programmers e.g. in Java, Python, or one of the above-noted languages (see entry requirements, below), and keen to learn new programming approaches.

EPCC is the UK’s leading supercomputing centre with staff who are experienced HPC practitioners. EPCC is a major provider of HPC training in Europe with an international reputation for excellence in HPC education and research and a well-established on-campus MSc programme that has been successful in training generations of specialists in parallel programming. Students benefit from access to advanced HPC systems with recent examples including ARCHER2 (the UK national Tier 1 supercomputing service) and Cirrus, an heterogeneous system Tier-2 National HPC Facility.

For an insight into EPCC’s current, including cutting edge, systems please our website.

The MSc programme takes the form of two semesters of taught courses followed by a dissertation project.

Your studies will have a strong practical focus and you will have access to a wide range of HPC platforms and technologies. You will take six compulsory courses, which provide a broad-based coverage of the fundamentals of HPC, parallel computing and data science. The option courses focus on specialist areas relevant to computational science. Assessment is by a combination of coursework and examination.

Taught courses

Compulsory courses:

  • HPC Architectures (Semester 1)
  • Message-Passing Programming (Semester 1)
  • Programming Skills (Semester 1)
  • Threaded Programming (Semester 1)
  • Software Development (Semester 2)
  • Project Preparation (Semester 2)

Optional courses (at least 4 of):

  • Numerical Algorithms for High Performance Computing (Semester 1)
  • Design and Analysis of Parallel Algorithms (Semester 1)
  • Advanced Parallel Techniques (Semester 2)
  • Advanced Message-passing Programming (Semester 2)
  • Parallel Design Patterns (Semester 2)
  • Performance Programming (Semester 2)

Optional Extension Courses (maximum two of, access subject to enrolment availability, meeting individual course prerequisites some of which are set by the School of Informatics):

  • Fundamentals of Data Management (Semester 1)
  • Data Analytics with High Performance Computing (Semester 2)
  • Extreme Computing (Semester 1)*

The list of optional courses offered outside EPCC (denoted by *) may change (both in terms of the addition of courses or temporary unavailability/alternative Semester delivery of courses) year-on-year due to decisions outwith EPCC's control. Updates will be provided to applicants and offer holders as they become available during the cycle.

Dissertation

After completing the taught courses, students work on a three-month individual project leading to a dissertation.

Dissertation projects may be either EPCC-based or undertaken with a collaborator e.g. with an external organisation, with some, competitive, opportunities for placements in local companies.

Collaborative (including industry-based) dissertation projects

Through our strong links with both industry and academia, we offer our students the opportunity to undertake their dissertation project with one of a wide range of local, national and even international companies and academic partners.

A collaborative dissertation project can give you the opportunity to enhance your skills and employability by tackling a real-world project, gaining workplace experience, exploring potential career paths and building relationships with industrial partners.

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

Our graduates are employed across a range of commercial and academic areas, for example EPCC itself as well as sectors as diverse as software development, hardware manufacturers and distributors, finance, gaming, and HPC support. Others have gone on to PhD research in fields that use HPC technologies, including astrophysics, biology, chemistry, geosciences, informatics and materials science.

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 a relevant subject such as computer science and informatics, physics, mathematics, engineering, biology, chemistry and geosciences.

You must be a competent programmer in at least one of C, C++, Python, Fortran, or Java and should be familiar with mathematical concepts such as algebra, linear algebra and probability and statistics.

We will also consider your application if you don't have formal programming training (e.g. if you are primarily self-taught), or if you have a 2:2 honours degree with high marks in computational courses and/or additional relevant work experience. Your application should clearly demonstrate your relevant experience.

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 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 62 overall with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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:

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MSc3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgDip9 MonthsFull-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
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Programmes Manager, Ben Morse
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3398
  • Contact: msc@epcc.ed.ac.uk
  • Programme Director, Dr David Henty
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3398
  • Contact: msc@epcc.ed.ac.uk
  • EPCC
  • The Bayes Centre
  • 47 Potterrow
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9BT
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 30 June 2022

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines.

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 next published selection deadline.

We aim to make the majority of decisions within six weeks of the selection deadline.

If we have not made you an offer by a specific selection deadline this means one of two things:

  • your application has been unsuccessful, in which case we will contact you to let you know, or
  • your application is still being considered, will be carried forward for consideration in the next selection deadline and we’ll be in touch once a decision is made

Selection Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Decisions made or applications rolled to next deadline
1 31 January 15 March
2 31 March 15 May
3 30 June 15 August

You must submit one reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • Postgraduate Programmes Manager, Ben Morse
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3398
  • Contact: msc@epcc.ed.ac.uk
  • Programme Director, Dr David Henty
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3398
  • Contact: msc@epcc.ed.ac.uk
  • EPCC
  • The Bayes Centre
  • 47 Potterrow
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9BT