Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Computer Science MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Computer Science

Edinburgh's long-established expertise in core computer science is recognised internationally and spans the range from computer architecture to 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.

Those studying the 2-year part-time option take half of the taught credits in their first year, and the other half in the second year, followed by full-time work on the final project in the Summer at the end of the second year. There is also a 3-year part-time option which spreads the final project over a third year. Both options require flexibility during the Semesters: our large course offering means that taught courses have contact times at irregular hours throughout the whole week.

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
  • 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
  • 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 enrollment 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 2023/24

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.

You will be based in the School of Informatics’ main teaching building, Appleton Tower. The building provides purpose-built facilities and dedicated learning and teaching spaces, all located in the University's Central Area.

IT facilities include computer labs with more than 250 high-spec machines and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.

The Informatics Student Experience Team is based within the Student Services in Appleton Tower.

If you take courses from other Schools, these might be delivered in the Nucleus building, on the University's Kings Buildings Campus.

Take a virtual tour

Take a closer look at all our facilities on the University’s Virtual Visit site:

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

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 of 60 SCQF credits or 30 ECTS 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 B.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 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.

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 (non-MESC).

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
MScComputer Science1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScComputer Science2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScComputer Science3 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
  • 11 Crichton Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 31 March 2024

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 eight 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
09 September 31 March 31 May

(Revised 20 October 2023 to update the programme start date)

You must submit one reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • School of Informatics
  • 11 Crichton Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE