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Masters News 2018-2019

(see previous years' issues here)

Sent to all postgraduate students in the School of Computer Science at The University of Manchester,
from Norman Paton, Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Period one unit surveys • Tuesday 23 October 2018

Feedback on course units in period one.

The period one unit surveys are open, and run until 11th November 2018. Please give us your feedback!

Instructions on how to access the surveys can be found here:


Masters News • Tuesday 23 October 2018

A newsletter for PGT

Masters News - Contents

1. Masters News

Masters News

Monday network outage

Apologies for the major network outage yesterday morning. Normal service should now have been resumed. If this caused any major issues with your work, please contact the relevant course unit supervisor.

Period one unit surveys

The period one unit surveys run from 22nd October until 11th November. Please give us your feedback! Instructions for how to access the surveys can be found here:

Open Access Week 22 - 28 October 2018

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship is being screened on Wednesday 24 October at 2.30pm in the Samuel Alexander Theatre. The documentary focuses on the need for Open Access to research and science. Come and enjoy some complementary popcorn and interesting insights. Read more and register your interest here.

Open Research Forum

The University’s second Open Research Forum (ORF) will take place on Monday, 5 November. It is supported by Vice President for Research, Professor Colette Fagan. The theme for this Forum is: How can openness can improve the research environment? It will feature academics from across the University sharing case studies on how they’ve incorporated openness into their research practise.

Book your place now…

Caroline Jay


Masters News • Tuesday 2 October 2018

Newsletter for MSc students.

Hopefully you are now settled into Manchester, and your first week of study has gone well. This newsletter contains information relevant to your studies, and events happening around the University. 

Examination information

Information about exams at the University can be found here:

Examinations and religious observance

The University will make every effort, in its timetabling of examinations, to avoid holding examinations on religious days or festivals which occur during examination periods for those students whose commitment to the observance of their faith would otherwise cause them to miss the examination. If this affects you, you must fill in the Examination and Religious Observance form from the Student Services Centre by 26th October for first semester exams, and 15th February for second semester exams.

Changes to exam format

This year, all exams will contain only compulsory questions. This makes things straightforward for students: it simply means that in every exam, you answer all the questions. We're letting you know about this change because past exam papers, which are available for most course units, may contain optional questions. Course unit leaders will give you further information about exams, and how the questions this year relate to those in past papers.

Enjoy your year safely

We want all of you to enjoy every aspect of your student life here at Manchester and that includes keeping you and your belongings safe. Unfortunately - at this time of year especially - criminals see lots of new people with expensive equipment, entering a city which they may be unfamiliar with, as an opportunity to catch them off guard and take a laptop or a phone. Please don’t let that be you.

Keep your bag with you at all times and try not to have expensive items on view, especially when walking in the street. Remember to keep yourself safe too by staying in groups when out and about the city, plus secure your home by keepings windows shut and valuables out of sight.

• See more tips on staying safe, from My Manchester

Celebrating Black History Month

‘Brilliant and BAME: Celebrating Black History Month’ which is taking place at the University on Wednesday 3 October, 12pm-3.30pm. This exciting University-wide event will consist of guest speakers, an exhibition of stands showcasing different organisations and opportunities, live music, street food and art and is open to staff, students and the local community.

Cyber security...hands on!

If you have been bitten by the cyber security bug of enthusiasm or wonder if you'd like to be...then get on to Immersive Labs ( who offer exactly the right kind of progressive on-line cyber security learning experience to complement our studies. Your University of Manchester of Manchester will get you a free registration.

And what's more, every time you complete a lab, you earn points for the University in an International league table! (In August we ranked 68 out of 365 institutions.) Enjoy. Learn. Develop the skills...let's make the connected world a safer place for all.

All I ask is an occasional e-mail to let me know how you're getting on. (


End of a Year • Thursday 6 September 2018

Submission and Graduation...

Submission and Graduation

For full-time students, the year in Manchester is now essentially over.  Hopefully your dissertations have come together well and in time, and you are now looking forward to some time off.  I hope you have had an enjoyable and useful year on our taught masters programmes.

Results will be available in early November, and we hope to see many of you at the graduation in December.


Masters News • Sunday 15 April 2018

I hope you have had some enjoyable leisure time during the vacation ... and not completely forgotten about your project!

I hope you have had some enjoyable leisure time during the vacation ... and not completely forgotten about your project!


Podcasts for most of your units should be available at:

Please let the student support office know if you have problems accessing them.

Academic Writing Tutorial Service

University Language Centre’s Academic Writing Tutorial Service: this provision is free to students at the University of Manchester.

These one to one sessions last approximately one hour and give students the opportunity to receive expert help in improving their written academic work. To apply, please fill out a request form: and email with a recent sample of your writing. Your sample must be 900 - 1500 words in length (you can submit a longer document if you wish but highlight areas of it, so the highlighted sections add up to around 1500 words).

Click on this link for further information:

PTES Survey - Free Byte Cafe Vouchers

The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) is still open and if you haven’t had your say yet, we still want to hear from you!

You can complete your survey by logging into My Manchester.

The University takes part in PTES to make sure that we understand the differing experience of students as they undertake their Master’s. However, we need as many of you as possible to complete the survey to give us the clearest possible picture of what is working, and just as importantly what isn’t.

If you haven't yet completed the survey, as recognition for doing so, the school will give a 5 pound voucher for the Byte Cafe to everyone who brings confirmation of completion of the PTES (screenshot is probably the best) to SSO.

Manchester University Student Image Competition 2018

Capture research through your eyes and take part to win £150.

To enter you must be registered as postgraduate taught student at the University of Manchester.  Full details are available at

Take your photo and submit it online at

Deadline for entries is Monday 14th May 2018


Industrial Action • Saturday 24 March 2018

Message from Head of School on Strike Action

Friday 16 March was the last day of the current round of strikes that have affected some of your scheduled classes. You are probably aware that the dispute is not yet resolved, so it is possible, but by no means certain, that there will be more strikes later in the year. We know that this is a difficult time for you and other students, but do be reassured that the University has processes to deal with assessments affected by such circumstances.

I am meeting with senior colleagues early this week to review the information that we have collected about the number of classes that have been affected by the strikes. Only when we have done this can we decide precisely what actions are appropriate to help you catch up on missed learning and how to account for any effects on assessments.
I’ll be in touch later in the Semester when I have more to report. In the meantime, do raise any questions with your tutors and supervisors and, of course, through the your reps on the Staff Student Liaison Committees. It remains for me to thank you all for your patience and understanding.


Robert Stevens
Head of School


Masters News • Friday 2 March 2018

PTES The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) is a national survey, that focuses on students' experience of their academic programme and associated resources.


The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) is a national survey, that focuses on students' experience of their academic programme and associated resources.

This survey provides us with useful information, so to encourage you to complete it, there will be free pizza at the following times in the Masters Breakout Area (Kilburn 2.11):

Tuesday 6th March: 14:00 – 15:00
Wednesday 7th March: 13:00 – 14:00
Friday 9th March: 13:00 – 14:00

Please complete PTES and bring along a photo or printout of the completion screen / submission number.  

Exam Results

Most of the exam results from January are now available.  Most people have done well; with most of the results in, only 10 people were in line to have to resit units in the summer.  If we have concerns about your results, your Programme Director will be in touch; if you have anything you would like to discuss, please contact your Programme Director.  This may also be a suitable time to become familiar with the regulations around the assessment of masters programmes, which are outlined in the Handbook (


Masters News • Monday 19 February 2018

Easter Vacation Opening Hours 29th January - 23rd March 2018: Normal term-time access to MSc labs from 08.00 - 18.00 hrs 24th March - 15th April 2018:  Easter Vacation.

Easter Vacation Opening Hours

29th January - 23rd March 2018: Normal term-time access to MSc labs from 08.00 - 18.00 hrs

24th March - 15th April 2018:  Easter Vacation. Access into the School will only be permitted to those students able to show a valid out-of-hours pass.

• LF31, Tootill and1.8 are open 08.00-23.30 each day

• MSc labs are open 08.00-18.00 on weekdays (excluding Bank Holidays).

16th April - 8th June 2018:    Normal term-time access to MSc labs apart from 5th - 7th May & 26th - 28th May when a valid out-of-hours pass is required to use LF31, Tootill and 1.8 Labs only.

Malawi Award and 2018 Project

The Project Malawi team of staff and students from the School were “Highly Commended” for their outstanding public engagement initiative in bringing Computer Science education to remote parts of central Africa. There were many very good projects across the Faculty in the highly competitive "Bettter World” awards ceremony. So congratulations to the team: Dave Ames, Karen Corless, Jo Hodge, Carol Murray, David Rydeheard, Sarah Zaman, Mihai-Dan Garbur, Razvan Lacatusu and Teo Taylor, and to Nikki Luxford and Ripple Africa for hosting the team in Africa. This year we are putting together a new team to revisit Malawi and we need student volunteers. To be a volunteer, you must have had some experience in teaching or involvement with activities for schoolchildren. You will be expected to raise funds for your visit, but support will be provided for this. Contact David Rydeheard.

Monday Careers Service

Alex Jones is a new Careers Service consultant to the School, and will be available on Monday afternoons 12:00-15:00 in Room LF6, opposite the Byte Cafe. There’s no need to make an appointment; just drop in with a CV, application, or any careers query. Keep up to date with Alex on Facebook.

Women in Computer Science

Next Weds 28 Feb, 14:00-15:00 the School is running a small focus group exploring why women chose to study Computer Science at Manchester.  In the UK, women are under-represented in Computer Science, and your views will directly support our aims to increase female numbers in the School. Participants will be awarded an Athena SWAN open badge and there will also be free tea and cakes! Please email Ruth Whelan, our Recruitment & Admissions Manager, to express your interest.

Volunteering Week

The School is holding a Thank You event this Friday 23 Feb in IT407 from 11:00-12:00 for all the current Student Volunteers we know about. This is part of of the University’s Student Volunteering Week 2018, 19-25 February. So if you’re a Student rep, Mentor, registered for MLP or the Volunteer Hub, PASS leader, Schools outreach ambassador, CSSoc committee member or Wellbeing Champion please do come along.


Masters News • Friday 26 January 2018

I hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing break, and that the exams seem to have gone smoothly.

I hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing break, and that the exams seem to have gone smoothly.

Meet Your Programme Directors

Now that the first semester has completed, and work is about to start on the second semester and the dissertation, we would like to provide a chance for students to discuss how things are going with their programme directors.  To enable this, we have the following sessions:

Wednesday 7 February

• ACS: 15:00 – 15:30, 2.19 KB

• ACSwITM: 15:00 – 15:30, 2.15 KB

These will be followed from 15:30 – 16:00 by cake and soft drinks in the PGT break out room (in 2.25A/B). Part time students and MRes students are invited to discuss any issues 1:1 with their Programme Directors.

Out of Hours Passes

From Monday 29 Jan, out-of-hours access for the Kilburn Building will be with an activated University ID card only: separate paper out-of-hours passes will no longer be issued. Students issued with a paper out-of-hours pass during Semester 1 (September 2017 – January 2018) must return it in person to SSO (room LF21) between Mon 29 January and Weds 28 February so that your University ID card can be updated for Semester 2 access. If you don’t return your paper pass by the end of February 2018, your University ID card will deactivate and you will lose your out-of-hours access. Any queries, please email SSO.

Social Events

Would you be interested in a social event for masters students in the school?  If so, please send me your suggestions and/or discuss ideas with your class representatives.

Staff Student Consultative Committee

The minutes of the first formal meeting of your class representatives with staff are in the Student Representation section of the CS-PGT-Community area on Blackboard.

Distinguished Achievement Award

Congratulations to Rory Devonport, an MSc in Advanced Computer Science, who won the university Distinguished Achievement Award, which was presented at the graduation in December.

Rory Devonport has a first degree in Civil Engineering, and having discipline-hopped to take an MSc in Advanced Computer Science, obtained the highest overall average (across the taught and research elements) from a class of 144 students.

Rory particularly distinguished himself in the dissertation. His dissertation focused on the automatic detection of sarcasm in tweets. The external examiner on the programme says: “The quality of work would not look out of place in a very good PhD thesis and the volume of work, given the time available to project students is quite extraordinary. [He] has collected data, had the data labelled, and built and evaluated several non-trivial classification systems. The level of experimental and statistical rigor is excellent”.

Mitigating Circumstances

If you want to tell us about any mitigating circumstances for the Semester 1 exam period, the deadline is Mon 29 Jan 2018. If you have any queries, please talk to your Programme Director.

Academic Writing Tutorial Service

This service is free to students at the University of Manchester.  These one to one sessions last approximately one hour and give students the opportunity to receive expert help in improving their written academic work. To apply, please fill out a request form and email with a recent sample of your writing (it must be 900 - 1500 words in length): this could be part of an essay, dissertation, research proposal or project.

Click on this link for further information:

Volunteer Days

The University organises a range of Volunteer Days with partner organisations across the city on a regular basis.  These give you the opportunity to spend a half or full day working as part of a team with other students to get a specific task done.  Activities include, for example, tea parties for older people, fundraising and supporting environmental projects in local parks.

In many cases a member of university staff is there on the day and transport to and from campus is provided.

To find out more go to and click to enter Volunteer Hub. This is the University’s database of volunteering opportunities. Refine your search by filtering the opportunity type to ‘fixed/short term’ and look for the opportunities where the organisation is listed as ‘The University of Manchester Volunteering Team’.