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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. External course units pre-approved by the School of Computer Science for you to take. Campus Solutions 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.
  2. 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 discuss your choices with your CS Year Tutor in order to do those course units. Provided that your choices are of an appropriate level and do not present significant timetable issues then the Year Tutor will enable you to select them in Campus Solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

  1. If you are in your 2nd year, your external course unit must be Level 1 or Level 2; if you are in your 3rd year, your external course 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 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.
  4. If the external course unit is not been pre-approved, you must obtain permission from your Year Tutor.
  5. If your external course unit is a pre-approved one, or if you have been given permission to take an unapproved course unit, record this in Campus Solutions.

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. Start at this main University page.

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! We would insist that you choose a different external course unit, which does not give you timetable clashes. 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.

My friend has been given permission to take external course unit X. So can I take it too? Maybe. Each student's case is considered individually. 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 CM students do either, or both, of MCEL30031 or MCEL30032. Please ask your Year Tutor.