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Choosing external options

Single honours students are encouraged to choose up to 20 credits (10 credits per semester in Years 2 and 3) of approved course units from outside the School of Computer Science.

Studying aspects of disciplines outside of Computer Science brings breadth of knowledge and perspective. As well as being healthy in itself, it may be beneficial in securing a job or later in your life. Do keep in mind that part of the value of studying courses from other disciplines is that they exercise different skills from those that you use in your Computer Science courses and so you should think very carefully about the choice that you make.

There are two kinds of external course units:

1) PRE-APPROVED UNITS

External course units pre-approved by the School of Computer Science for you to take. My Manchester will let you choose up to 20 credits (per year) of the pre-approved external course units. Pre-approved external course units can be viewed within each programme's options.

What exactly do I need to do to choose my external course unit?

  1. Check the timetabling of the external course unit. If there are clashes with your CS courses we strongly advise you to select a different external course unit. Timetable clashes should be avoided and cannot be considered as mitigating circumstances at a later date. Whilst we attempt to provide a timetable which will work with the most popular external choices it is not possible to deliver a clash free timetable for every conceivable set of options. Therefore, if you are considering an external course unit it is important that you check whether the timetable is viable. This is particularly important for Single Honours students for whom there are a large number of external choices.
  2. Check you meet the pre-requisites for the unit.
  3. If you meet all the requirements, enrol yourself in MyManchester.

2) UNITS THAT ARE NOT PRE-APPROVED

If you would like to study a course unit that has not been pre-approved by the School of Computer Science then you will need to ensure you meet the requirements detailed below and have permission from Your Year Tutor.

What exactly do I need to do to choose my external course unit?

  1. If you are in your 2nd year, the unit must be Level 1 or Level 2; if you are in your 3rd year, the unit must be Level 2 or above.
  2. Check with the external School that they are happy for you to do their course unit.
  3. Check you meet the pre-requisites for the unit.
  4. For language course units, the level of course must be appropriate to your experience and ability. For example, if you are a native speaker of Spanish, you will not be permitted to take a Spanish language course. Or, you have already been studying Japanese for some years, it would not be permissible to take an Introductory Japanese course.
  5. Check the timetabling of the external course unit. If there are clashes with your CS courses we strongly advise you to select a different external course unit. Timetable clashes should be avoided and cannot be considered as mitigating circumstances at a later date.
  6. Make sure you meet the requirements for your programme i.e. you are enrolled on mandatory units, you are enrolled on the correct number of credits from each option pool and you meet the theme requirements.

If you meet all the requirements, enrol yourself in MyManchester. Please note that some Schools (e.g. Languages) have different enrolment procedures which are explained on their intranet pages. Once enrolled you will then receive an e-mail asking you to confirm to your Year Tutor that you meet all the requirements. They will then confirm if you are permitted to remain on the unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find a list of external course units? There is no single list of possible external course units. The University College for Interdisciplinary Learning offers a range of courses specifically intended for students to take external to their main degrees. You can also look on the websites of various Schools which you think look interesting. You can also search for course unit information on MyManchester.

If I do a 20-credit, two-semester course, can I change midway through, if something goes wrong? No, that is almost certainly not possible. If you choose a 20-credit two-semester course unit, you cannot change to another course unit if something goes wrong: you must do the entire two-semester course. So be very sure about any 20-credit two-semester course you choose. Note that many language courses are 20-credit courses.

I REALLY want to do an external course unit but all its lectures clash with my CS timetable. We will almost certainly insist that you give priority to your CS courses -- you are doing Computer Science, after all! However if the clash is purely with a timetabled laboratory here, we may be able to move you to a different lab group. Please ask your Year Tutor.

I am a CSBM/CM/HCI student. Can I take external course units? In general, the CM/CSBM/HCI programmes don't have room in their curricula for external units, although it may be possible for CSBM students to take 10 credits and CM students can enrol on either MCEL30031 or MCEL30032. Please ask your Year Tutor.

Will it be easier than Computer Science? Courses from outside Computer Science are often assessed using different techniques. For example, humanities courses will often require you to write essays to a high standard. Make sure you are comfortable with whatever assessment methods the course uses as they may be very different to what you are used to and accomplished at. External courses are certainly not an "easy option", make sure you understand what you're getting into.

Will it be worth it? Yes! We encourage students to educate themselves broadly while at University.