Advanced Computer Science: Artificial Intelligence [MSc]

Degree awarded: MSc

Duration: 12 Months. [Full-Time, September-September only]

Entry requirements:

We require a First or strong Upper Second class honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in computer science, or in a joint degree with at least 50% computer science content. Applicants with extensive computer science industrial experience and a good honours degree, or its overseas equivalent, may also be considered for admission.

Thus we assume that all students on the course have a good background in computer science, reflected, for example, in solid programing and software development skills.

Course fees: For entry in the academic year beginning September 2018, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £10,500
    International students (per annum): £22,000
  • MSc (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £5,250
    International students (per annum): £11,000

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Contact email:

Contact telephone: 44 (0)161 275 6181

How to apply:

You may apply for all postgraduate courses using our  online application system  .

Dates and deadlines

Overseas Applicants:

Please note that due to the high volume of applications received this year, the School of Computer Science has introduced an application deadline for overseas applicants of  Friday 17 November 2017 , by which all applications for 2018 entry must be submitted via our  online application system . Any applications received beyond this date will only be considered under exceptional circumstances.

UK/EU Applicants:

We will continue to accept and consider applications from UK/EU students beyond 17 November 2017 due to the nature of the typical application window within the UK and Europe.

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course description

Artificial Intelligence is a well-established, exciting branch of computer science concerned with methods to make computers, or machines in general, intelligent - so that they are able to learn from experience, to derive implicit knowledge from the one given explicitly, to understand natural languages such as English, Arabic, or Urdu, to determine the content of images, to work collaboratively together, etc. The techniques used in AI are as diverse as the problems tackled: they range from classical logic to statistical approaches to simulate brains.

This pathway reflects the diversity of AI in that it freely combines a number of themes related to AI techniques, namely Making Sense of Complex Data, Learning from Data, Reasoning and Optimisation, and Advanced Web Technologies.

Additional course fees information

Accrediting organisations

This programme is CEng accredited and fulfils the educational requirements for registration as a Chartered Engineer when presented with CEng accredited Bachelors programme.

Academic entry qualification overview:

We require a First or strong Upper Second class honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in computer science, or in a joint degree with at least 50% computer science content. Applicants with extensive computer science industrial experience and a good honours degree, or its overseas equivalent, may also be considered for admission.

Thus we assume that all students on the course have a good background in computer science, reflected, for example, in solid programing and software development skills.

English language:

All students are required to be proficient in spoken and written English. In order to be accepted onto an MSc programme in the School of Computer Science applicants need to provide evidence of having achieved the required level in one of the following english language qualifications:

  • IELTS score of 6.5 minimum with 6 in all sub-categories
  • Internet based TOEFL 100 ibt with no less than 23 in individual components
  • Cambridge Proficiency Grade 'C'
  • Pearson English overall 59 (writing 51)
  • India: Central Board of Secondary Education Senior School Certificate Year XII (GPA >80)
  • West Africa Education Certificate (WAEC) Grade B2
  • Nigerian Education Council Certificate (NECO) Grade B2

If you envisage any difficulties in satisfying our English language requirements then please do let us know. The University offer a number of excellent pre-sessional English courses designed specifically to help international students meet our requirements prior to the start of their courses.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Teaching and learning

Computational thinking is becoming increasingly pervasive and is informing our understanding of phenomena across a range of areas; from engineering and physical sciences, to business and society. This is reflected in the way the Manchester course is taught, with students able to choose from an extremely broad range of units that not only cover core computer science topics, but that draw on our interdisciplinary research strengths in areas such as Medical and Health Sciences, Life Sciences and Humanities.

Progression and assessment

Lectures and seminars are supported by practical exercises that impart skills as well as knowledge. These skills are augmented through an MSc project that enables students to put into practice the techniques they have been taught throughout the course.


  • Newly refurbished computing labs furnished with modern desktop computers
  • Access to world leading academic staff
  • Collaborative working labs complete with specialist computing and audio visual equipment to support group working.
  • Over 300 Computers in the School dedicated exclusively for the use of our students.
  • An Advanced Interfaces Laboratory to explore real time collaborative working;
  • A Nanotechnology Centre for the fabrication of new generation electronic devices;
  • An e-Science Centre and Access Grid facility for world wide collaboration over the internet.
  • Access to a range of Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)
  • Specialist electronic system design and computer engineering tools.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:

Career opportunities

Students following the Artificial Intelligence pathway have all the career choices and options as described for general Advanced Computer Science.

In addition, students of this pathway are ideally placed to work in positions requiring an understanding of modern AI formalism and technologies such as Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Semantic Technologies.  This includes the obvious positions in the games industry, but also positions in finance, commerce, and scientific research, and many more.

We maintain close relationships with potential employers and run various activities throughout the year, including career fairs, guest lectures, and projects run jointly with partners from industry. This is managed by our Employability Tutor; see the School of Computer Science's employability pages for more information.

Course units and themes

This pathway reflects the diversity of AI in that it freely combines a number of themes related to AI techniques, namely Making Sense of Complex Data, Learning from Data, Reasoning and Optimisation, and Advanced Web Technologies.

Biohealth Informatics

The life and health sciences provide important applications for many, if not most, parts of computer science. This theme introduces the challenges to computer science that result from the capture, interpretation and analysis of biological data, and uses this understanding of digital biology as a foundation for the study of health informatics and electronic patient records.

Data Engineering and Systems Governance

This theme aims to provide students with an overview and understanding of the entire data life cycle, including data creation, modelling, acquisition, representation, use, maintenance, preservation and disposal, as well as the general use of IT to secure data and information. It discusses database design, data warehousing, maintenance and analytics, data standards and data quality, as well as managing the human behaviour affecting the security of data and information systems.

Data on the Web

As the World Wide Web evolves from a web of documents to a web of documents, data and applications, standards, techniques and practices have evolved for modelling, managing and querying web data at scale. This theme explores a range of topics that have emerged from web data standards and practices, including semi-structured data management, linked open data and big data querying.

Learning from Data

The amount and complexity of data being produced and processed by modern technologies is growing rapidly. Computer applications are increasingly required to adapt and learn from these vast data resources. Manchester researchers are mining huge document collections, adaptively optimizing multi-core processors and understanding the complexity of the genome. Although these seem like very different applications, it turns out that they can all be tackled with a core set of common algorithms, drawn from the field of machine learning.

This theme will give you the chance to learn the core set of skills in this field, first studying the basics of machine learning, and quickly accelerating to the more advanced state of the art methods in high dimensional data analysis.

Making Sense of Complex Data

Intelligent life revolves around the processing of symbolic information: we are constantly attempting to recognise, interpret and create symbols. Evolution can be seen as the addition of increasingly sophisticated layers of symbolic information processing, involving such notions as perception, learning and communication, as well as notions of creativity, technology and culture.

Two major types of symbolic information are found in images (including video and medical scanner images, and 3D images), and in language (particularly in its textual form). Images and language are both highly complex and demand much of our visual or linguistic processing apparatus as we attempt to interpret their symbolic meanings: they both demonstrate an infinite variety of forms, are typically laden with ambiguity, and can involve complex interactions of events that have to be recognised. Moreover, images and text represent the great bulk of humanity's stored knowledge and it is challenging in the extreme for anyone to interact with such vast stores.

This theme explores the theory and practice of:

  • Computer Vision techniques, program computers to recognise and extract information from images, often in the face of uncertain and noisy data, when inferencing becomes critical.

  • Text Mining techniques, program computers to extract information from very large amounts of text with a view to automatically discovering previously unknown (by anyone) knowledge and to enabling sophisticated semantic search beyond the capabilities of the conventional search engine.

Both Computer Vision and Text Mining have major implications for industry, business, science and society, with many applications of their technologies, and graduates are highly sought after.

Mobile Computing

This theme aims to provide students with an overview of the current state of the art in computing to support mobility for telecommunications (mobile phones), PDAs and laptop/netbook systems. The theme discusses the example wireless systems and the different ways they work, the design of low-power hardware for battery driven applications and the way in which distribution is supported and exploited in mobile applications running on mobile operating systems.

Ontology Engineering and Automated Reasoning

Automated reasoning has a wide range of applications from proving mathematical theorems automatically to verification of hardware and software. For example, major software and hardware industries such as Microsoft and Intel use automated reasoning methods in verification of their products. Logic based reasoning and inference also provide the underpinnings of ontology languages that are being used to facilitate the move the World Wide Web from a web of documents to a web of documents, data and applications. This theme aims to bring together these two topics, marrying a practical approach to the understanding of ontologies and the W3C's ontology language OWL with theoretical foundations of automated reasoning for both propositional and first-order logic. The theme is aimed at students who are interested in automated reasoning, semantic (web) technologies, and knowledge representation, and who would like to gain a good understanding of the concepts, problems, algorithms, and tools involved.

Parallel Computing in the Multi-core Era

In the universal move to multi-core processors, microprocessor manufacturers have presented the software industry with its most serious challenge ever. Essentially all CPUs are now multi-core, and the number of cores in the CPU is increasing inexorably. The consequences of this multi-core revolution are profound because parallel computing now needs to be handled as the norm, rather than the exception; today's programmers need parallel programming skills that are currently possessed by very few.

This theme introduces students to the complexities of parallel computing by reviewing hardware developments and by providing programming techniques and tools that can alleviate the ensuing problems of correctness, reliability and performance of modern parallel systems.


The large-scale application of the Internet and telecommunication technologies routinely generates enormous amount of information that is transmitted, processed, stored and managed on networked systems on a global scale.

Information recorded electronically on a networked system is particularly vulnerable to security threats, such as: theft, manipulation or misuse of valuable or confidential information; deliberate damage to systems and services; and fraud and forgeries in e-business dealings. These threats could endanger national security, national critical infrastructure, business interests and personal privacy. The field of Security, namely the study of countermeasures to address these serious threats, is therefore of paramount importance to our quality of life.

This Security theme is aimed at introducing the technologies, standards, policies, procedures and practices that can be used to secure information and distributed systems. It embraces a range of technologies such as cryptography, and computer, network and distributed system security, and also includes risk assessment procedures and the study of how security can best be managed

Software Engineering 1

Software Engineering tools and techniques are central to computer science, underpinning systematic development and evolution of software systems. This theme provides experience of modern approaches to software engineering, with a view to enabling students to deploy agile software development practices, and to work effectively with large software systems.

Software Engineering 2

The impact of Software Engineering on everyday life is ever increasing, as software becomes all pervasive. This theme provides an introduction to an approach at the forefront of Software Engineering research: Component-based Software Development, and an approach in state-of-the-art practice: Pattern-based Software Development.

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