New department launch: Computing


23rd Mar 2020


We are excited to announce the launch of our newest academic department, computing, which includes two brand new postgraduate courses: Computer Science and Cyber Security.


Why study computing?

It’s hard to go more than a few hours without using a computer in some form or another, whether it’s at work, at home or out and about on your mobile phone. And range of the functions that computers are being used for are also growing – they’re used for managing stock levels, analysing customer data, automating manufacturing and even saving lives.

As technology continues to spread further and deeper into our lives, the demand for technical professionals grows. Increasingly, people are making the career switch over to a computing role. No matter what industry you are in, or where you are in the world, the need for computing experts is sure to continue to grow.

Career prospects aside, computing is a fascinating field of study. You will be called upon to consider complex problems with many variables and to implement or create solutions. A lot of computing roles are collaborative, although there is also scope for individual working. And most excitingly, the boundaries of this field continue to expand, and in five years’ time you could be working on something thought impossible today!


What is a conversion course?

Many employers want to see proof of your skills in the area. That’s where our conversion courses come in.

Simply put, a conversion course is a postgraduate course that allows you to move into a new career sector that your previous qualifications or work experience haven’t prepared you for. The theoretical and technical knowledge you gain on these courses will make you an asset to employers above those who try to move into the field without any formal qualifications.


What are the courses?

Out of our two new programmes, our MSc Computer Science is technically driven. This course covers a broad range of topics, including Software Development Life Cycle models, network security principles and object-oriented programming. You will use our online development environment to start developing your own programmes in languages such as Python and SQL – and all the software you need will be provided as part of your tuition fee.

Meanwhile, our MSc Cyber Security addresses a more specific area within computing – how we keep our systems and data safe from breaches. Alongside the technical concerns, this cross-disciplinary course will also look into the commercial, legal and psychological issues that you will face when working in this field. You will also learn the core programming principles and practices required for this field of computing.

The courses have an indicative study duration of 2 year, and they both culminate in the completion of a final project. You will work independently on the topic of your choice, within computer science or cyber security respectively, and put your newly developed skills into practice.


What if I want something shorter?

We also offer shorter versions of both courses: the Postgraduate Certificates have an 8-month indicative duration and our Postgraduate Diplomas are 16 months. These courses are ideal for those who wish to dip their toe into computing without committing to a full degree – although it’s easy to progress onto the full course if you decide to later.


Am I eligible?

As mentioned, there’s no requirement for any prior technical knowledge or experience, as this course is intended for complete novices.

We offer two entry routes onto our courses. For our academic entry route you would need an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) from an approved institution, or a relevant professional qualification. And for our work experience entry route you need three years of relevant work experience. This can be in a low-level technical role, such as network technician, or a managerial role, and each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


What’s it like to study online?

Teaching will be delivered through our virtual learning platform, which features interactive lecturecasts, a broad eLibrary, discussion forums and access to our online development environment.

You will be supported through your modules by our academic tutors, who will run regular live seminar sessions, and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to collaborate with and learn from your fellow students, based around the world. The course is entirely assignment-based, and we are committed to providing feedback on your submissions within 7 days.

You will also receive support from your dedicated Student Support team, who will be there to guide and mentor you throughout your degree. We achieved excellence for teaching, learning and academic support in the 2023 National Student Survey.

After you complete your degree, you will be invited to attend graduation at the University of Essex Colchester campus. Your degree certificate will not indicate that you studied online – this will only be mentioned on the transcript of your final grades.


If you like the sound of either of these courses and want to know more, the next step is to download our prospectus. Or if you’re already convinced, you can go ahead and apply!