Teaching methods

Introduction

Studying at Manchester will equip you with all the knowledge and skills you'll need for your future career. Our programme will provide you with a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of Computer Science, reinforced with the practical computing, communication and team-working skills essential for today's highly competitive jobs market.

How has your teaching been rated?

Our undergraduate programmes, in addition to being accredited to both the BCS and IET, were rated "excellent" (the highest possible grade) in the most recent HEFCE teaching assessment exercise.

How will I learn?

Studying Computer Science with us will give you the chance to follow your academic curiosity and explore a fascinating subject. A significant amount of your work will be project-based team work of a practical nature, tackling real-world challenges and scenarios. You will see how Computer Science is directly applicable to solving problems, and the combination of fundamental principles and practical skills you will learn will equip you to apply your knowledge to a broad range of areas.

The emphasis throughout our programmes is on independent learning guided by regular contact with members of our world-class academic staff. For example, all First Year students meet weekly with their personal tutor to discuss their team project. In laboratories you will receive practical help and guidance from experienced staff and postgraduates, with leading experts guiding your learning and stimulating your interest. This approach is combined with conventional lectures and comprehensive on-line learning resources.

There is a strong emphasis in our programmes on the development of the practical skills that are highly valued by industry. Most course units are reinforced by laboratory sessions where, under the guidance of academic staff and postgraduate researchers, you undertake challenging exercises to reinforce and develop your learning. Employers have remarked on the high level of technical skill exhibited by our students on year-out placement and after graduation, and their in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles. We provide excellent facilities, including specialist laboratories to support areas such as computer architectures and chip design.

All third year students undertake a major personal project in their final year. This is an individual piece of work, often involving the construction of a significant piece of software or hardware. Each student is supervised by a member of academic staff whom they meet every week. Examples of previous third year projects can be found here.

How will I be assessed?

Unseen examinations account for about 60% of your assessment. These assess your abilities in the selection and application of knowledge, problem solving, and in design and evaluation of software or hardware.

Other assessment is mainly through laboratory-based coursework that provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of computer science by tackling specific problems on a more realistic scale, both individually and in groups. The remaining assessment is through presentations and essays where, in particular, you demonstrate the transferable skills that you have developed. In the third and final years, the non-examination assessment is mainly associated with the practical project.

How will I be supported?

As part of the weekly tutorials with your personal tutor you undertake team-based activities, to help you prepare you for your future career, where your ability to independently study and learn, combined with strong team-working skills, will be key to your success.

Your studies are also helped through Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS). These involve a second or third-year student acting as mentor to a group of first-year students. The student mentor assists new students with their studies and helps them adjust to university life. This enhances the quality, quantity and diversity of student learning, but also provides an extra supportive environment outside of a tutor group where academic and possibly other issues can be addressed. PASS makes a real difference to the performance and confidence of the first-year students involved. Also, PASS leaders find that they gain improved confidence and transferable skills to enhance their CV.

What skills will I develop?

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