Frequently asked questions

Pratical Questions

Which degree is best for me?

What about innovation?

How do I apply?

Whether a UK student, or an international student, you should apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions System. See the University's Applications page and also the UCAS site where applications are actually made.

What financial support can I get?

Please see our pages on the scholarships that are available to support you. Also see the University's finance pages.

Is there a course brochure?

View a pdf of our Undergraduate brochure. Please note that this brochure has not yet been updated to reflect the new courses offered from 2018 entry onwards.

Can I be admitted to the second year?

Yes for Computer Science and Software Engineering (and its variants); No for Major in Computer Science.

If you are sufficiently well qualified, we may be able to grant direct admission to the second year of Computer Science or Software Engineering. Typical entrants are students who have passed the first year of a BSc programme with at least 60% overall, or those with good HND grades, covering topics similar to those taught here.

At what time of the year can I begin study?

All of our BSc degree programmes start in October.

What is the teaching like at Leicester?

Apart from our BCS Accreditation (which we plan to extend to our updated and newly introduced degrees) and excellent QAA report (which praised the high standards of our student project work, and the overall levels of student attainment) there are many other reasons for studying with us.

You will find very friendly staff, who will treat you as an individual. We try to get to know you, and hope that you will get to know us. We feel that this helps us to deliver high quality teaching. You will also find staff who are very well educated, having studied at highly regarded and internationally renowned universities. We typically admit around 160 students per year, but splits students into smaller groups for lab sessions. This means that you will have plenty of friends taking your subject, but classes and lectures are not so large as to be intimidating.

You will also find that the City of Leicester is large enough to be dynamic, providing a very good range of entertainment opportunities, but small enough for you to easily find your way around, and feel welcome and "at home".

What are the main differences between Computer Science, Major in Computer Science, and Software Engineering?

The reason we offer more than one degree is that, like in many other areas, one-size-fits-all does not really apply to our discipline! The professions in IT are multiple, reflecting the increasing role that IT is having in all the sectors of the economy and society.

We can distinguish between profiles or classes of activities that IT professionals are normally called to perform, which can be reflected in different degrees that add to a general common background training in areas that are particularly relevant for that profile. The three degrees that we are offering address three different broad profiles as explained below.

We should add that one cannot say that one degree is "easier" or "better" than another. The difference between our degrees is not one of quality or difficulty, but a mere consequence of the fact that there is more than one profession in IT and that not everyone enjoys doing or learning the same sort of things!

A Major in Computer Science combined with a Minor in Management Studies responds directly to the need for IT professionals that, besides having essential skills in computing, are also knowledgeable about the role that software systems play in companies and organisations, the way they need to reflect and support organisational structures (and their evolution), and the potential that they offer to innovate products, services, and business processes.

Software Engineering is being offered for students who are interested in following a career in IT but not necessarily in technical areas that require a deeper understanding of the science underlying IT systems. You will become familiar with a variety of programming languages, and have a solid understanding of the use of computer systems in analysing, managing, processing and communicating information, including large organisations. You will learn the methods and techniques through which software can be developed following rigorous engineering practices, meeting required levels of quality.

Computer Science comprises in addition the study of the foundations of computational phenomena (why and how do programming languages work) and of the processes and techniques through which new software systems can be built (how do we make sure that programmers will get systems implemented in the way we want them to operate?). This is why you will be offered modules that require more mathematical maturity, which will allow you to learn the underlying principles of and experiment with different programming paradigms (imperative, functional and logic), formal methods for specification, verification and validation of software, as well as dominate areas which, like cryptography, require a deeper knowledge of algorithms.

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Do you require A-level mathematics?

In short: No. Provided you have passed GCSE mathematics, we will consider your application. We will teach you the mathematics that you need to know during the degree programme. Many of our students do very well, even though they enter with only GCSE level mathematics.

You should keep in mind that mathematics is the language of the sciences (both traditional ones such as physics and chemistry, as well as very new ones, such as computing). All of the degrees run by good universities will have at least one or two mathematics modules, and provide you with the proper foundations with which to study and understand computing. These foundations will stay with you during your lifetime, even though "practical" computing will change and advance rapidly.

If you are keen on mathematics, we advise you to choose our BSc/MComp in Computer Science. There are optional modules that will be of special interest to you, and core modules that will provide you a good background in the more fundamental aspects of computer science.

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Should I apply if I want to study hardware?

Our programmes concentrate on all aspects of computing software, but we do teach the fundamental principles of hardware. If you really wish to study only hardware, electronics and related topics, you may be better off applying for a different degree programme. However, we will teach you all about the structure of a modern computer, and everything that concerns the lower levels of software and how they relate to the hardware.

Can I switch between the 3 different classes of degrees (Computer Science, Major in Computer Science, Software Engineering)?

The short answer is YES for switches between Computer Science and Software Engineering, but NO for switches from or to the Major in Computer Science. Computer Science and Software Engineering have a common first semester in the first year, and you can request to transfer from one program to the other after that semester.Top

Can I switch between the different variants (Standard, Abroad and Industry) within the same degree?

Yes, you will be able to change between the three variants until the second year without any penalty. If you enter on the MComp Computer Science degree, you can also change to the BSc degree, and vice-versa, throughout the first two years of the degree.

What is "computational thinking" anyway?

"Computational Thinking" is an expression coined by Jeannette Wing from Carnegie-Mellon University (USA), which is becoming a way of calling the attention and interest of the general public for the intellectual adventure that there is in Computer Science:

Computational thinking is a way humans solve problems; it is not trying to get humans to think like computers. Computers are dull and boring; humans are clever and imaginative. We humans make computers exciting. Equipped with computing devices, we use our cleverness to tackle problems we would not dare take on before the age of computing and build systems with functionality limited only by our imaginations.

 

How will these degrees help me develop skills for innovation?

According to NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), the following skills are key for developing your potential to innovate and succeed in the most challenging (and profitable) markets: creativity, problem-solving, imagination, resourcefulness, and flexibility. These are ways in which our degrees can help you develop them:

  • creativity: Developing software is very much a creative activity as it requires something new to be produced that will "make the difference". Many stages of software production are accomplished mechanically (like compiling into machine code), but finding the best algorithm for the problem at hand, the right interface for the intended user, or the architecture that will best fit the business goals of your organisation are examples of activities that require a creative (and informed) mind. During your studies, you will be given the opportunity to exercise and learn how to channel your creativity in developing projects, both individually and in teams.
  • problem-solving: A lot of programming is about getting a computer to solve a problem (could be that of a customer or one that you set yourself!)! But there is more to IT besides learning how to program. For a start, how do you formulate the problem? How do you break the complexity of your problem and devise a plan for the development of your software (including outsourcing the development of parts of your solution)? What is the best language to program your solution (or your part of the solution)? Finally, how can you make sure that your system solves the problem (or convince others that it does)?
  • imagination: If anything, you will have to learn how to control your imagination and learn that not all that you think a computer can do is actually possible to program! You will also learn methods and techniques that will allow you to model and test solutions that you conceptualise before they are put into production.
  • resourcefulness: Software professionals are expected to be able to build, contribute to and know how to draw from libraries or repositories of algorithms or components (solutions). You will learn methods and techniques (for instance, inheritance in object-oriented programming) through which software can be reused, developed in product families, customised to different domains, or re-engineered to run on new platforms.
  • flexibility: A skill that you will acquire for a lifetime is certainly the capacity to adapt to future advances and changes in technology. The main difference between a university degree like ours and a shorter vocational training course is that you will learn far beyond the usage of a particular language or platform (which would quickly become obsolete). It is not the number of languages and systems that will make you stand out but your ability to learn and work with the ones that come into the market or that you find at your new employer.

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Contact Us

Admissions Enquiries:
BSc: +44 (0) 116 252 5280
MSc: +44 (0) 116 252 2265
E: BSc  seadmissions@le.ac.uk
E: MSc  pgadmissions@le.ac.uk

Departmental Enquiries:
T: +44 (0) 116 252 2129/3887
F: +44 (0) 116 252 3604
E: csadmin@mcs.le.ac.uk

Dept of Informatics
University of Leicester
Leicester, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

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