Computer Science @ University of St Andrews

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Required qualifications for postgraduate applicants

Postgraduate Research (MPhil or PhD)

Entry to postgraduate research is competitive and we have a limited number of places each year. The qualifications here are therefore the minimal qualifications required and some areas may have further requirements such performance at a high-level in practical project work or evidence of mathematical ability.

We normally only accept applicants who have completed an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or in a relevant related discipline (e.g. Maths if you are interested in Computer Algebra). Ideally, you should have or expect to obtain a UK first-class honours degree (or its equivalent from non-UK institutions) but the minimal standard that we will consider is a UK upper-second class Honours degree or its equivalent.

Qualifications vary immensely across the world and we consider each case individually, taking advice from our University experts. In general, we would expect you to have As and Bs (or the equivalent numeric qualification) in most of your computer science, maths, science and engineering courses. In terms of GPA, we will consider candidates who have a GPA of at least 3.5.

The medium of instruction is English. For non native speakers, each applicant will be treated on her or his own merit. However, it is useful to applicants to have clear guidance of the level of English language we expect. Our guidance is therefore as follows, where in each case equivalent scores in other English language assessment schemes such as TOEFL will be acceptable.

  • Applicants with IELTS 7.0 or above and no individual component below 6.5 will normally have an acceptable level of English for our PhD programme.
  • Applicants with IELTS 6.5 (or IELTS 7.0 with at least one component at 6.0 or below) may not be able to meet our English requirements. We might be able to accept such applicants unconditionally, but it is likely we will make offers conditional on proof of improved English, or on attending a pre-sessional English course, or other activity.
  • Applicants with IELTS 6.0 or below will not normally be acceptable.

Postgraduate Taught Courses

Advanced MSc courses in computer science. For the MSc courses in Artificial Intelligence, Software Engineering, Networks & Distributed Systems, and Advanced Computer Science we normally only accept applicants who have a degree in Computer Science or a related discipline, such as Information Systems or Engineering. You must have significant experience in programming in a high-level language such as Java, C# or C. For the MSc in Human Computer Interaction, a Computer Science background is not required, but you should be able to demonstrate proficiency in programming. You should have at least a upper-second class Honours degree from a UK university or its equivalent from an accredited institution elsewhere.

MSc in IT, MSc in Computing & IT, and MSc in Management and IT. Applicants should normally have the equivalent of a UK upper-second class honours degree. We consider students from all backgrounds and all applications are judged on their merits. The modules assume no prior knowledge of Computer Science, IT, programming, or Management.

English language. In all cases, if English is not your first language, you will have to provide evidence that you can read, write and speak English satisfactorily. You can do this by demonstrating that your previous degree was taught in English at a UK institution or you can provide an IELTS or TOEFL certificate. We normally require the equivalent of a score of at least 7 on the IELTS scale, but will consider candidates with a score between 6.5 and 7 who are willing to commit to attending a local course to improve their English.