Computer Science Master’s Entry Requirements

Studying a Computer Science Master’s can be a great way of levelling up your knowledge, pursuing more specific areas of interest in the field, and preparing for a career in a range of industries. However, Master’s degrees in Computer Science are typically very competitive, and it is essential that applicants meet the minimum entry requirements in order to have a realistic chance of securing a place.

This guide goes through the different types of Computer Science Master’s there are, what their academic entry requirements are, and other entry requirements you’ll need to consider before applying.

 

Advanced Computer Science courses

 

Many universities offer Master’s courses in Advanced Computer Science. These courses typically cover advanced material in both theoretical and practical areas of Computer Science as well as postgraduate research methods.

Universities usually require applicants to have a good undergraduate degree in Computer Science or a highly quantitative field to apply for MPhil/MSc Computer Science courses. They may also require applicants to have achieved a certain grade in relevant undergraduate modules and/or have experience using particular programming languages. The table below shows the entry requirements for the top UK universities for Computer Science that offer MSc/MPhil (Advanced) Computer Science.

UniversityCourseEntry requirements
University of CambridgeMPhil Advanced Computer Science1st class honours degree in Computer Science (or equivalent). Alternatively, a degree of equal status in Engineering, Science, Mathematics, or another quantitative degree where the applicant can demonstrate significant relevant preparation for the course.
University of OxfordMSc Advanced Computer Science1st class honours degree in Computer Science or Mathematics (or equivalent). Applicants should have carried out some programming projects either in employment or study.
University of WarwickMSc Computer Science1st class or high 2:1 honours degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, or another relevant quantitative degree (or equivalent).
University of St AndrewsMSc Computer Science2:1 honours degree in Computer Science or strongly related discipline (or equivalent). Applicants should also be competent programmers with prior practical experience in a programming language such as Java, C, Python, C++ or JavaScript.
University of ManchesterMSc Computer Science1st class honours degree (70% average) in a Computer Science degree with a minimum of 50% Computer Science content (or equivalent). Applicants should have a strong background in Computer Science reflected, for example, in solid programming and software development skills.
University of SouthamptonMSc Computer Science1st class degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or a closely related subject.
You must also have an upper 2:1 score in the following modules:

  • 2 modern object-oriented or functional programming language modules (e.g. Java, C++, C#, Visual Basic)
  • 1 Maths module
  • 2 Computing modules (e.g. Cryptography, Software, Data Structures, Databases, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Web, Networks, Operating Systems)
King’s College LondonMSc Advanced ComputingHigh 2:1 honours degree in Computer Science or a relevant quantitative discipline (such as Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, etc.), with a final mark of at least 65% or above.
Applicants should also be competent in computer programming to the level expected at the end of the first year of a BSc honours degree in Computer Science.

 

Computer Science conversion courses

 

Some universities offer Computer Science conversion courses instead of, or as well as, advanced and specialised courses. Conversion courses allow students from non-Computer Science backgrounds to study the subject at postgraduate level.

Although these courses do not require applicants to have a degree in the subject, they do typically require some existing analytical and computational thinking skills, as well as strong mathematical skills. The table below shows some universities that offer Computer Science conversion Master’s and their entry requirements.

UniversityCourseEntry requirements
Imperial College LondonMSc Computing1st class honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject other than Computing.
University College London (UCL)MSc Computer Science2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a subject other than Computer Science or Information Technology. This course is intended for those new to Computer Science. Applicants should demonstrate suitable mathematical skills (to at least Mathematics A standard), analytical skills, and standard 2 computational thinking skills, as programming is a core part of the programme.
University of BathMSc Computer Science1st or strong 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject. The course may not be suitable for those who have studied Computer Science before due to significant content overlap. Applicants must demonstrate evidence of relevant quantitative skills (especially algebra and calculus) either through your degree study or by alternative means.
University of BristolMSc Computer Science (conversion)2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject other than Computer Science or a Computer Science related subject (such as Information Technology). Applicants should demonstrate competence in Mathematics and have at least a B grade in GCSE Mathematics or equivalent university level experience.
Newcastle UniversityMSc Computer Science2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject except those related to Computer Science. Graduates of subjects related to Computer Science should apply for Newcastle’s ‘MSc Advanced Computer Science’ course instead.

 

Specialist courses in the field of Computer Science

 

Some universities offer a range of specialist courses in specific areas of the Computer Science field. These will not be named as Master’s in ‘Computer Science’, but they will typically be part of the Computer Science Department and require existing skills and knowledge of the subject. Some common examples of areas covered include: Scientific Computing, Data Analysis, Data Science, Big Data, Business Analytics, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence (AI technologies, AI systems and AI development), and more.

Typically, specialised Computer Science courses require applicants to have a good undergraduate degree in Computer Science or a highly quantitative field. The table below shows some examples of these Master’s courses and what their entry requirements are.

UniversityCourseEntry requirements
Durham UniversityMSc in Scientific Computing and Data Analysis (MISCADA)
Specialisations available:

  • Financial Technology
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Astrophysics
1st class or 2:1 honours degree (BSc) in Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Engineering, or any Natural Sciences course with a strong quantitative element.
It is strongly recommended that students sign up for a specialisation area that they already have a strong background in. Graduate level programming knowledge in both C and Python is required.
University of BristolMSc Data Science2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science, Engineering, or another highly mathematical subject.
London School of Economics (LSE)MSc Data Science2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline that includes a substantial amount of Mathematics.
Imperial College LondonMSc Artificial Intelligence1st class degree in Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or other degree with substantial Mathematics content.
King’s College LondonMSc Artificial IntelligenceHigh 2:1 honours degree (with a final mark of at least 65% or above) in Computer Science or another relevant quantitative discipline (such as Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, etc.). Applicants should also have a sound background in basic Mathematics, including concepts of calculus, trigonometry, linear algebra, vectors and matrix mathematics. In addition, applicants should be competent in undergraduate level computer programming.
City, University of LondonMSc Cyber Security2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science or a related discipline with some mathematical content. Relevant industrial experience may also be considered for entry to this course.

 

English Language requirements

 

If you are applying to study a Computer Science Master’s course at a UK university and have not previously studied in the English language, you will be required to take an English language test. The most common and widely preferred test is the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The table below shows the minimum scores you will need to achieve in order to qualify for entry to some of the UK’s top universities.

UniversityIELTS Score
University of Cambridge7.5 overall and at least 7.0 in every individual element.
University of Oxford7.5 overall and at least 7.0 in every individual element.
Imperial College London7.0 overall and at least 6.5 in every individual element.
King’s College London7.0 overall with at least 6.5 in every individual element.
University of St Andrews7.0 overall with at least 6.0 in every individual element.
University of Manchester7.0 overall with at least 6.5 in every individual element.
UCL7.0 overall with at least 6.5 in every individual element.
University of Southampton6.5 overall and at least 6.0 in every individual element.
City, University of London6.5 overall and at least 6.0 in every individual element.
University of Warwick6.5 overall and at least 6.0 in every individual element.

For more information about the IELTS, check the IELTS website or get in touch with The Profs’ experienced IELTS tutors. Our experts can help you prepare for the test and reach the increasing minimum scores required by top universities.

 

Further resources

 

There are other requirements that you will need to meet in order to get into a postgraduate Computer Science course in the UK. Most importantly, you must complete the application process for each of your chosen universities. This will typically include writing a Master’s personal statement detailing your motivations for studying Computer Science and any relevant experience and skills that make you an excellent candidate. You may also need to attend an interview with your chosen universities as part of the admissions process.

For more information on these stages of the Master’s application process, read our postgraduate admissions guides:

If you need help securing a 1st class or 2:1 degree and any other entry requirements to study a Master’s in Computer Science, our team of experts can help. The Profs’ Computer Science tutors have many years of experience tutoring a wide range of topics at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

In fact, 100% of our tutors have at least 2 years’ teaching experience and more than 90% have postgraduate qualifications, meaning you’ll be getting the best quality tuition to maximise your chance of receiving an offer. Get in touch today for a free discovery call from our team.

 

FAQs

 

Is it worth doing a Master’s in Computer Science?

A Master’s course in Computer Science can provide great benefits to your academic and professional career. Advanced and specialised Computer Science courses allow you to grow your existing knowledge and skills and go into greater depth in areas you are particularly interested in, such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Financial Technology, Cyber Security, and more. Master’s level Computer Science conversion courses can allow students from other disciplines to enhance their Computer Science knowledge, opening doors to further study and technological career paths.

Tuition fees for Computer Science Master’s courses in the UK typically cost between £20,000 to £40,000 for international students and between £12,000 to £18,000 for home students. Whether this is a worthy financial investment will depend on your current skills, your goals, and desired career path. According to data from Payscale, the average yearly base salary for MSc Computer Science graduates in the UK is £43,000.

Is a Master’s in Computer Science difficult?

The difficulty of a Computer Science Master’s course depends on what type of course it is (advanced, specialised or conversion) and which university it’s at. Conversion courses have the most overlap with undergraduate Computer Science content, but are designed for graduates with little to no background in the subject.

On the other hand, Advanced Computer Science Masters, as the name suggests, cover more advanced content and require an existing university level understanding of many topics and programming languages. Similarly, specialised Master’s courses such as MSc Artificial Intelligence and MSc Cyber Security build on existing Computer Science knowledge to allow students to go into greater depth in one particular area of interest.

Generally, the most competitive Computer Science master’s courses are offered by the highest-ranked universities in the UK, such as Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Imperial College, and others.

Is a Master’s in Computer Science better than a Bachelor’s?

A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science is an undergraduate level qualification. This means that you can study it after completing A levels or an equivalent qualification at school or college. These courses typically take three years to complete on a full-time basis.

A Master’s degree in Computer Science, on the other hand, is a postgraduate level qualification. This means that you will require an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification in order to study an MSc Computer Science course. Master’s in Computer Science are typically more advanced and can be more intensive, taking one year to complete on a full-time basis.

Whether a Master’s is better than a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science depends on what your academic and professional goals are. A Bachelor’s degree opens many career paths and Computer Science graduates are in high demand. On the other hand, a Master’s degree may allow you to pursue more specialised careers and opens up the possibility of further study at PhD level.

How long does a Master’s in Computer Science take?

Most Master’s courses in Computer Science take one academic year to complete on a full-time basis. Some universities may allow students to study MSc Computer Science on a part-time basis over two academic years, but this is not always an option.