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Master of Science Information Technology

General information

Master of Science
Master of Science Information Technology
University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
MSc (Science Faculty)
Information Technology
School of Computer Science
Faculty of Science
12 months (1 year)
See the School of Computer Science website at

For general QAA information on academic infrastructure see

For subject specific benchmarking see: (Information Technology)

Educational aims

This programme will involve study of Information Technology at an advanced, research-led level in which students will gain an understanding of how knowledge is created, advanced and renewed. The programme will encourage in all students a desire to pursue independent learning with curiosity, integrity, accuracy and intellectual rigour.

Programme structure

This is a 12-month programme of study leading to the degree of Master of Science. As with all St Andrews programmes, it is made up of credit bearing modules. Students must earn 180 credits over the duration of the programme, with 120 credits normally earned each academic year. Typically, the first two years of study include core modules specific to the programme as well as other modules chosen from a range of options (in some cases, including modules from a different Faculty). The remaining years offer advanced research-led learning through modules that provide a programme-specific curriculum.

For information about core and optional modules for each programme, please consult the Programme Requirements, which can be found at

These requirements describe the detailed structure of the course and link to the contents of all the modules that can be included in the programme. Teaching, learning and assessment are progressive, with both the content and methods of delivery changing to suit the increasing level of complexity in the material, and independence of students, as they work through the programme.

Distinctive features

Among the distinctive features of this programme are laboratory-based learning, and the
opportunity to engage with a cutting edge dissertation topic in computer science, supervised by an
expert in the field. This programme offers society the resource of individuals equipped with the
intellectual skills and knowledge relevant in an age of rapidly growing software technologies. Postgraduates
will be prepared to enter employment in a wide range of environments in the competitive
software industry or to embark on further research. The course will be of interest to students who
wish to broaden their perspective and who are attracted by St Andrews and the reputation and
expertise of our staff.

Programme outcomes/graduate attributes

In the course of this programme students will develop programme-specific skills. On completing the programme students should be able to demonstrate the graduate attributes outlined below.

Demonstrate original thought
Construct a coherent argument or debate by demonstrating logical processing of (complex) information and deductive reasoning
Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to solve complex problems
Test hypotheses, theories, methods and evidence within their proper contexts
Reason from the particular to the general
Identify relevant techniques and concepts to solve advanced and complex problems
Demonstrate use of an appropriate range of resources to the task at hand
Evaluate relevant best practices for the task at hand
Engage directly with current research, developments and skills in the discipline
Engage with primary and secondary material and differentiate between them
Demonstrate active learning
Demonstrate reflective learning, including the ability to engage with and learn from feedback
Demonstrate creativity and curiosity
Demonstrate independence of thought and reasoning
Demonstrate skills in time management, self-discipline and self-motivation
Demonstrate quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis
Work independently
Work as part of a team
Communicate with clarity and accuracy, orally (including presentation) and in writing
Engage with the views and opinions of others
Present work and findings in a professional manner, with attention to detail
Learn and use research skills

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

a) Teaching and learning delivery

Students will engage with independent and group study in a supportive framework of teaching and learning. The strategy is to use methods of teaching and assessment that will facilitate learning appropriate to the aims of the degree programme. The following methods will be employed where appropriate to the level of study and the particular content of each module in the programme.

Small group discussions / tutorials
Autonomous learning groups
Independent study activities (supervised and unsupervised)
Laboratory based teaching and problem solving
One-to-one discussions / supervision
Project work
Practical work
Practice exercises
Group work

b) Material submitted for assessment

Assessment can be a blend of diagnostic work to determine student needs, formative work submitted for assessment and feedback (but not necessarily for academic credit) or summative work submitted for academic credit.

Dissertations / projects
Unseen written examinations
Portfolio of independent work
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
Short Answer Questions (SAQ)
Lab reports
Group assignments

c) Learning and teaching support

Students' scholarship skills (in, for example, academic writing, information gathering and academic conduct) will be supported and developed through this programme. The following will be available, where appropriate to the level of study and the particular content of each module in the programme.

Handouts / handbooks
Web based and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) resources
Library support and resources
Reading lists
Training in Good Academic Practice
Access to computer classrooms
Reading parties
Student services support (available on application. Individual support will be available for students with disabilities registered with the University)
Study skills support (CAPOD) (available on application)
Mathematics and statistics support (available on application)