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Advanced Systems Dependability – Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters (MSc) 2020 entry

The MSc in Advanced Systems Dependability is a two-year Erasmus Mundus programme offered by St Andrews in conjunction with Maynooth University in Ireland and Université de Lorraine Nancy in France. It provides students with the skills and in-depth technical understanding of the key concepts required to design and build dependable software systems.

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Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

  • Start date: 7 September 2020
  • End date: 30 September 2022

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

Two years full time

Entry requirements

Modules are taught in English; however, students who intend to study in France should have a minimum knowledge of French to help them in their day-to-day living. 

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

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Tuition fees

Tuition fees for this course are set by the Erasmus Mundus programme. See the Maynooth University website for information about fees.

Application deadline

See Maynooth University's apply page for application deadlines.

Application requirements

  • CV (using the European format)
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • two signed academic references (at least one from the institution you have graduated or will graduate from)
  • copy of your birth certificate or valid passport
  • proof of residence
  • personal statement
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters in Advanced Systems Dependability is a two-year taught programme run jointly by computer science departments at the University of St Andrews, Maynooth University and Université de Lorraine Nancy in France.


  • Students study at two of the three following internationally recognised universities in computer science: University of St Andrews, Maynooth University and Université de Lorraine Nancy in France.
  • Students undertake a significant project, including a wide-ranging investigation, leading to their dissertation which enables them to consolidate and extend their specialist knowledge and critical thinking.
  • Second-year students may be eligible to take on a six-month industrial or research placement (working on industrially sponsored research in a company or university research laboratory).
  • Students gain the logical reasoning and problem-solving skills needed for a career in the software industry.
  • While at St Andrews, students have 24-hour access to excellent modern laboratories, provisioned with modern dual-screen PC workstations and group working facilities.

Teaching format

Students study at two of the three partner universities. Semesters 1 and 3 normally consist of foundational topics upon which students can build their specialisations, whereas Semesters 2 and 4 normally consist of specialised modules and project work. In both universities, students complete a dissertation research project. In Semester 4, students may be eligible for an industrial or research placement.

At St Andrews, teaching methods include lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical classes. Most modules are assessed through practical coursework exercises and examinations. Class sizes typically range from 10 to 50 students.

All students will be required to complete a Post Entry Language Assessment (PELA) on arrival at the University of St Andrews. Based on their performance in this assessment, students will be advised to attend targeted support sessions during the year to improve language and academic skills. This assessment is required, but will not count towards the final degree classification.

You will also be assigned an advisor who meets with you at the start of the year to discuss module choices and is available to assist with any academic difficulties during the year. A designated member of staff provides close supervision for the MSc project and dissertation.

Summer school

Students must attend a summer school each year where they are required to present a poster and deliver a talk based on their work. The location of the summer school alternates between the three universities, more information will be provided by the organising institution once available. 

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The following are Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters modules offered by the University of St Andrews. Find out more about the specific modules offered by the other universities

The modules in the St Andrews programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2019–2020 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.

Students take the following compulsory module:

  • Object-Oriented Modelling, Design and Programming: introduces and reinforces object-oriented modelling, design and implementation to provide a common basis of skills allowing students to complete programming assignments within other MSc modules.

and then follow one of the following themes:

  • Software Engineering: on completion of this theme, students will have gained skills and experience in the application of general software engineering principles and practice, software architecture, and critical systems engineering. Students will be prepared to apply their learning in the research and development of highly dependable software systems.
  • Artificial Intelligence: on completion of this theme, students will have gained skills and experience in the application of this key, state-of-the-art topic in the field of dependable software. Students will be prepared to apply their learning into artificial intelligence in the research and development of software systems that use AI to achieve high levels of dependability in poorly specified or highly changeable environments.
  • Data Science: on completion of this theme, students will have gained skills and experience in data-intensive systems, data mining, and knowledge discovery as applied to dependable software systems. Students will be prepared to apply their learning in the research and development of highly dependable, data-intensive software systems.

Students choose either two or three optional modules from the following list (up to two of these may be taken from the second list). See the module catalogue for their descriptions.

Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development). 

Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.

Optional modules

  • Artificial Intelligence Practice
  • Artificial Intelligence Principles
  • Critical Systems Engineering
  • Data Ethics and Privacy
  • Data-Intensive Systems 
  • Information Visualisation
  • Interactive Software and Hardware
  • Knowledge Discovery and Datamining
  • Language and Computation
  • Machine Learning
  • Practice of Computer Communication Systems
  • Principles of Computer Communication Systems
  • Software Architecture
  • Software Engineering Practice
  • Software Engineering Principles

Additional optional modules

  • Constraint Programming
  • Information Visualisation
  • Logic and Software Verification

Students who do not enrol in an industrial or research project will be required to do a dissertation instead. Project work is a major aspect of this Masters programme, accounting for 33% of the total degree marks. Students complete a project at each of the two universities and submit a dissertation for examination at the end of each project. 

At St Andrews, the dissertation typically comprises:

  • a review of related work
  • the extension of existing or the development of new ideas
  • software implementation and testing
  • analysis and evaluation.

Students are required to give a presentation of their work in addition to the written dissertation.

Students in their second year may be eligible to do an industrial or research placement which accounts for 60 credits, accounting for 50% of the total degree marks. 

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date list of modules in the module catalogue.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

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Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.


Conferences and events

The School of Computer Science at St Andrews organises a regular programme of colloquia, talks and seminars by external and internal speakers from both industry and academia. The talks are aimed at bringing the diversity, excitement and impact of computer science from around the globe to staff and students within the School.

The St Andrews Computing Society (STACS) regularly organises hackathons and other events open to local and external participants, including MSc students. These are very popular events, often supported by industrial sponsors.

The Computer Science blog regularly publishes news and events.


The Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters programme hosts a number of scholarships. Typically, students must apply before 31 March to be eligible. See the Maynooth University web pages for scholarship deadline information.

After the MSc

Research degrees

In addition to the MSc, the School offers a two-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option.

The EngD programme in Computer Science is a 4-year Engineering Doctorate involving an industrial partner and incorporating a 30-week taught component and a 170-week individual research component. Students who have already completed an MSc may be able to proceed directly to the individual research component of the EngD

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews. The School of Computer Science is highly rated for its theoretical and practical research in areas such as AI, symbolic computation, networking, computer communication systems, human computer interaction, and systems engineering, and offers research opportunities leading to a PhD in Computer Science.

PhD in Computer Science


Graduates of the Erasmus Mundus MSc will be equally suited to a career in research, where they will develop new techniques for developing more dependable software, or a career in industry where they will develop dependable industrial-strength software.

Previous graduates have found employment at the following companies:

  • SAP, Ireland
  • JP Morgan, UK
  • Cigna, USA
  • Google, Ireland
  • Accenture, UK
  • Active Mind Technology, Ireland
  • IBM, Ireland
  • German Aerospace Centre (DLR).

Past students have also gone on to undertake a PhD at:

  • TU DELFT, Netherlands
  • TU München, Germany
  • University of Oxford, UK.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Contact information

School of Computer Science
University of St Andrews
Jack Cole Building
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9SX

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3253

Computer Science website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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