There will be various induction sessions in orientation week; see the orientation calendar for details. Attendance at all relevant sessions, including the briefing on good academic practice, is compulsory.

Masters Programmes

The School offers a number of MSc programmes in Computer Science and in Information Technology. Students are registered for one of these programmes, but it is sometimes possible to move between programmes: contact the appropriate MSc Adviser for more information.

The School also offers the European Masters in Dependable Software Systems, in which students spend one year studying in the School, and another year at another institution. Students take a total of 120 credits in the School, including a 45 credit dissertation module.

The School also offers the MSci, which is a 5-year integrated Masters undergraduate programme.

Masters Structure

The information in this section does not apply to the Erasmus Mundus MSc programme.

Each MSc programme is in two parts. In the taught phase (semesters one and two), a number of modules are taken, for a total of 120 credits. In the dissertation phase, students complete an individual or group dissertation project for 60 credits.

A student who is not allowed to, or who does not wish to, proceed to the dissertation part may be eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in the corresponding subject.


Masters students may use any of the School’s laboratories, though the John Honey Teaching Laboratory is sometimes scheduled exclusively for teaching.

Each individual piece of coursework has its own deadline defined in MMS. After this deadline, lateness penalties apply, and work may not receive formative feedback.

As already described, failure to achieve an overall coursework average of at least 4, taking into account lateness penalties, will result in failing a module without right to reassessment.

See also target feedback timescales.

External Examiner

The School’s External Examiner for Masters is Professor Matt Jones of Swansea University.

Residency Rules

All Masters students must be resident in St Andrews or its immediate vicinity for the entire duration of the programme, including the dissertation (source policy). Exceptions will only be made where there is a genuine academic requirement for working elsewhere.

Distinguished Lecture Series

All students on programmes in Computer Science (Advanced Computer Science, Computer Science and IT, AI, HCI, Computer Communication Systems, Software Engineering, Erasmus Mundus DESEM) are required to attend all lectures in the Distinguished Lecture Series, as a compulsory element of modules CS5098, CS5099, CS5199 and CS5899. Failure to attend is penalised by a deduction of one grade point from the final dissertation grade, for each day of distinguished lectures missed. Students on other programmes are also welcome to attend.

Masters Dissertations

Masters Group Dissertations

The following are general guidelines, which may be varied by permission of the supervisor and the projects coordinator.

Members of a group MSc dissertation project should deliver two separate parts of the dissertation:

  • An agreed common group report on the overall project. This should be around 5000-7000 words, summarising all aspects of the project. It should include a motivation for the overall work, a short related work/literature review, a discussion reflecting on the project as a whole, with a critical appraisal of the different parts and how they contribute to the overall work.

  • An individual dissertation of around 5000-10000 words. This will deal with one or two specific sub-areas of the project, for example, implementation and design, or evaluation and data analysis, or empirical investigation. The individual dissertation must be readable itself, but it can reference the group report. The individual dissertation should contain:

    • an introduction, motivating the specific chosen area of the project
    • its own related work/literature review section, focusing on papers and previous work relevant to the specific sub-topic
    • its own discussion centred on the success and design aspects of the sub-topic
    • a separate section clearly describing the contribution to the overall project, and reflecting on the overall success and working style of the group

Note that although all members of the group could have contributed to a sub-topic, it is the person who writes the dissertation about that particular sub-topic who has the responsibility to report the details, and to explain clearly the contributions made by the different members in that sub-area.

Classification of PGT Masters Degrees

PGT Masters Degree Classification is on the basis of the award of Pass, Merit, and Distinction where:

  • Pass is awarded on the basis of acquiring 180 credits (of which at least 150 are 5000 level, depending on programme requirements).

  • Merit is awarded on the basis of both fulfilling the criteria for a Pass, as well as achieving a credit weighted mean ranging 13.5 – 16.4 across all taught and dissertation credits.

  • Distinction is awarded on the basis of fulfilling the criteria for a Pass, as well as achieving a credit weighted mean ranging 16.5 – 20.0 across all taught and dissertation credits.

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Last Published: 13 May 2019.