Master of Science by Coursework in Computer Science

  • 1. The Divisional Board of Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences, in consultation with the Faculty of Computer Science, shall elect for the supervision of the course an Organising Committee which shall have power to arrange lectures and other instruction.

    The committee shall elect a chair from its own members; the chair shall have power to approve applications on behalf of the committee. The committee shall be responsible for appointment of a supervisor for each student.

  • 2. Candidates must follow a course of instruction in Computer Science for at least three terms and a substantial part of the three subsequent vacations, as determined by the course timetable.

  • 3. The examination shall be in three parts, as follows:

    • (i) Candidates shall be assessed on six courses, including at most two from Schedule A and at least two from Schedule C, chosen from a list of topics approved by the Organising Committee by the beginning of Michaelmas Full Term in the academic year of the examination. The mode of assessment shall be either written assignment or written examination, as detailed in the Course Handbook and on the website The list of courses shall be divided into three sections: Schedule A, Schedule B and Schedule C, as detailed on the website

    • (ii) Candidates shall submit a dissertation of not more than 30,000 words, plus not more than 30 pages of diagrams, tables, listing etc., and (where applicable) the source code, on a subject selected by the candidate in consultation with the supervisor and approved by the director of the course. The associated source code is neither included in the word count nor the 30-page limit of additional material.

    • (iii) There shall be an examination viva voce, unless the candidate shall have been individually dispensed by the examiners, on the dissertation and on any of the topics for which he or she submitted a written assignment or written examination, to take place  in week minus 1 of Michaelmas Term of the following academic year. The exact date will be given in the Course Handbook.

  • 4. Every candidate must submit to the director of the course no later than the first Monday in Trinity Full Term in the year of the examination the title and a brief statement of the form and scope of his or her dissertation, together with an essay of not more than 3,000 words, describing the background of the project, its objectives and its plan of work. The submission must be approved by the person who has agreed to act as supervisor during the preparation of the dissertation.

    Candidates will be expected to demonstrate in their dissertation an understanding of the topics studied in the course.

  • 5. An electronic copy of the dissertation and, where applicable, associated source code, must be uploaded to the Assignments section of the Computer Science Weblearn site not later than the date given in the Course Handbook.

    One copy of the thesis of each successful candidate will normally be presented to the Department of Computer Science.

  • 6. By a date in each term to be specified in the Course Handbook, each candidate in consultation with their supervisor must submit for approval by the director of the course a list of topics which will be taken in that term. The choice must exclude any topics which substantially overlap the candidate's undergraduate degree or other recent academic study. Candidates are allowed to take examinations in a maximum of four courses per term. 

  • 7. For each topic, the lecturer on the course of instruction shall prescribe a schedule of practical work, tutorial exercises and a written assignment or written examination, and shall make available to the Chair of Examiners evidence showing the extent to which each candidate has pursued an adequate course of practical and class work.

  • 8. Not later than noon on a date in each term to be determined by the examiners, who are responsible for making sure candidates are aware of that date and that the date is announced at the head of the assignment sheet, the completed assignment for each topic must be delivered to the M.Sc. Examiners (Computer Science), c/o Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford. Not later than noon on the date given in the Course Handbook, practicals for all topics must be delivered to the M.Sc. Examiners (Computer Science), c/o the M.Sc Course Administrator, Department of Computer Science, Oxford. Topics to be assessed by written examination will take place in Week 0 of the following term. No candidate shall attend classes or receive any form of individual tuition in the subject of an assignment between the time when the assignment is made available to the candidate and the time fixed for the delivery of the assignment to the examiners.

  • 9. Any candidate who has not achieved an average of at least 50 in their best four courses taken during Michaelmas and Hilary Term shall be deemed to have failed the degree course and will not be permitted to submit a dissertation.

  • 10. To satisfy the examiners for the degree of MSc in Computer Science, a candidate must attain an average of at least 50 (pass) on a selection of their best six courses, including at most two courses from Schedule A and at least two courses from Schedule C, pass in the dissertation, pursue an adequate course of practical work and achieve an overall pass in practicals, and unless dispensed under cl.3 (iii) above satisfy the examiners in the viva voce examination.

  • 11. The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.

  • 12. If a candidate receives a failing mark for any of the summative assessments, they may retake the assessment (or equivalent) in the year following the initial attempt as set out in the Course Handbook.