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Computer Science and Information Systems (MPhil)

Course Description

The research programme leads to either an MPhil or PhD degree. Both research degrees involve individual study of a specific research problem. To be awarded a PhD, your research work must result in a significant original contribution to the field of study (although this is not a requirement of the MPhil). You initially register for an MPhil degree, with transfer to PhD after satisfactorily completing an initial period of study and if it seems likely that your thesis will contain significant original work.

Students who successfully complete this MPhil or PhD degree will have gained expert knowledge in their chosen research area and the ability to perform research-led activities in a broader context. In addition, students who successfully complete the PhD degree will have gained the ability to identify and solve complex problems arising in their chosen research area, and will have made a substantial original contribution to this area.

Our research focuses on data science, theoretical computer science, algorithms, internet of things, data mining and machine learning, knowledge representation and reasoning, logic and artificial intelligence, semantic web technologies, search engines, mobile and ubiquitous computing, computer vision, bio-inspired computing and social networks.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

The Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Birkbeck is one of the longest-established computing departments in the UK, having celebrated our 58th anniversary in 2015.
Our research dates back to the late 1940s when one of the first electronic computers was developed in the then Computing Laboratory at Birkbeck by Dr Andrew Booth. The Department was formally established in 1957 as the Department of Numerical Automation, one of the first computer science departments in the world.
The Department provides a stimulating teaching and research environment for both part-time and full-time students.

Visit the Computer Science and Information Systems (MPhil) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Mark Bridge

4091.jpg 'The course was very challenging, but working hard and keeping up with the fantastic teachers and researchers at Birkbeck gave me the breadth and depth of knowledge, practical skill and confidence to hit the ground running as a software engineer in an intensely competitive field.

'I started as a contractor at AT&T working on what turned out to be one of two winning bids for a multi-billion dollar government contract managing phone services and quickly moved on to work on designs and prototypes for a j2ee electronic delivery verification application at the US Postal Service - one of the world's largest IT/web service infrastructures.

'Later working on image processing and secure content delivery for a small startup in internet magazine publishing, I built on what I'd learned about the java api's, learning about the pdf manipulation and cryptography, and built on what I'd learned about C/C> at Birkbeck by working on open-gl based image manipulation software. I also took part in building out and supporting the hardware infrastructure, utilising what I had learned about operating systems and scripting to add dedicated image processing servers to the data-centre in this very hands on role.

'Following this I moved on to work on the Playstation Network at Sony and built on my java skills - in my first year I successfully architected, developed and oversaw the deployment of a highly scalable and reliable service-oriented java ee software system serving millions globally in a strategically key area and then moved on to help re-write the legacy customer account management and registration system there.

'I am now bringing to bear what I learned about databases working with and developing hugely data intensive Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG) applications and solutions in Cancer Translational Informatics at a major medical teaching school - using IT to deliver personalised treatments tailored to the genetic profile of the cancer disease as manifested in the individual.

'Birkbeck laid strong foundations for a professional career in the industry and the challenges it presents. Doing the course was one of the best decisions I've made and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make it in the IT industry.'

(Student Profile)

Adrian McMenamin

4107.jpg 'Birkbeck has a very good reputation; it’s part of the University of London, has an international reputation, and is very well known. I had friends and colleagues who had attended Birkbeck and told me that the student experience was a good one.

'My first degree was a BSc Astrophysics from about 25 years ago, but I felt that I could do more academically and so I enrolled on the MSc Computer Science at Birkbeck.

'I already had skills and knowledge in my area of study, but I wanted a formal qualification to show to employers. I felt as though I was getting on in life and that I wanted to learn new things and I wanted the personal challenge of studying for a formal qualification.

'It was absolutely essential for me that I was able to study for the degree part-time; I needed to work to be able to pay the mortgage and support my family. Although the degree was a big part of my life, I didn’t want to give up work and my career. To be able to study at a College of the University of London which was fully geared up to working with part-time students was very important. I never had a sense at Birkbeck that I was an ‘add-on’ as a part-time student.

'One of the things I came to enjoy most about the degree was the fact that it required hard study, it provided structure and goals that you had to reach, and you had to set yourself targets. It was a bigger challenge than I thought it would be but that made it more interesting. I was exploring open questions in research that had been unanswered for 20-30 years.

'I gained more from my time at Birkbeck than I initially thought I would. I knew I would get a formal qualification which would look good on my CV and impress employers, but I actually gained an understanding that I can do more, that there are things I can learn, new challenges I can face in life, and gained confidence from tackling important scientific questions and making a contribution. I got a lot more out of it than just a formal qualification.


Postgraduate Support Scheme for final-year undergraduates (full-time) - 20+ Awards

We are pleased to announce that, for October 2015 entry, Birkbeck has a limited number of new £10,000 postgraduate scholarships. These scholarships are for students progressing from a full-time undergraduate degree to a part-time Master’s degree starting in 2015/16.

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible for the scholarship you must be:Starting a 2-year part-time taught Master’s degree in 2015/16
Domiciled in the UK/EU
Progressing from an undergraduate course for which you were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13)
Studying at postgraduate Master’s level for the first time

Application Procedure

If you want to apply for this support, you must follow these steps:Submit an application for your intended course
Submit an application for the Postgraduate Support Scheme

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A Master's or upper second-class degree in computer science. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 2187 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 4121 pa

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