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BSc Computer Science & Physics

BSc Computer Science and Physics Degree Programme Table

This degree is offered in collaboration with the School of Physics; it shares the broad aims and outcomes of the Honours Physics BSc Programme. This document should be read in conjunction with the Programme Specification for that degree.

1. Awarding Institution: University of Edinburgh

2. Teaching Institution: University of Edinburgh

3. Programme Accredited By: see accreditation pages

4. Final Award: BSc Honours

5. Programme Title: BSc (Honours) Computer Science & Physics

6. UCAS Code: GF42

7. Relevant QAA subject benchmarking: Computing; Physics, astronomy & astrophysics

8. Mode of Study: Full time

9. Educational aims of programme:

In the study of physical systems, mathematical models are frequently used to explain and predict their behaviour. Even when these models are simple, their solutions are generally not. Usually, there is no analytical solution in terms of explicit mathematical formulas. In such circumstances one has to resort to numerical solution or computer simulation. The resulting calculations are some of the most computationally demanding ever conceived, running for days on powerful computers. The importance of efficient algorithms (i.e. recipes for computation) in these applications is clear. In the other direction, the physical basis for computation is under study by theoretical computer scientists, with "quantum computers" generating much interest of late.

This joint programme addresses these issues by drawing on Edinburgh's strengths in computational physics and the design and analysis of algorithms to enable students to develop a strong interdisciplinary background covering relevant topics in both Computer Science and Physics.

In Computer Science students undertake a wide variety of practical exercises and projects which reinforce and build on lecture material. The Computer Science material all falls within the scope of the QAA Computing Benchmark. Communication skills, initiative, professionalism and the ability to work with others are developed as integral parts of the learning process. In their final year students undertake a major individual practical project which is normally interdisciplinary between the two subjects.

10. Programme Outcomes

The programme provides opportunities for learners to achieve the following outcomes:

(a) Knowledge and understanding

  • have a knowledge and understanding of the principles of operation of computers from application programs down through system software to hardware
  • have a knowledge and understanding of the principles of operation of computer networks
  • understand the concept of abstraction and its importance in the design of computer based systems
  • understand the software development process
  • understand the underlying mathematical concepts which allow computer scientists to reason about computers and computer based systems
  • have an awareness of the social, professional, ethical and legal issues involved in the use of computing systems

(b) Intellectual skills

  • the ability to specify and design computer based systems
  • the ability to apply formal design procedures to the design of computer based systems
  • the ability to derive an abstract representation of a problem from from its detailed description

(c) Professional/subject/specific/practical skills

  • the ability to develop and implement computer based systems
  • the ability to use appropriate support tools during the development process
  • the ability to operate computing equipment and software systems effectively

(d) Transferable skills

  • the ability to deploy analytical and problem solving skills and to synthesise solutions
  • the ability to work effectively as part of a development team
  • the ability to communicate effectively through a variety of media including oral, visual, written, diagramatic and on-line
  • the ability to make effective use of learning materials and to aquire and apply knowledge from a variety of sources

11. Programme Structure and Features

For formal definitions, including details of compulsory and optional course choices, consult the Degree Programme Table. Consult the List of Informatics courses to discover which courses belong to which subject area.

12. Entry Requirements

Please consult the current University Undergraduate Prospectus.

13. Degree Classification

The final degree classification is based equally on performance in third and fourth years. Degrees are classified according to the University's standard marking scale with boundaries at 70%, 60%, 50%, 40%. Students who fail final year can be awarded an Ordinary Degree on the basis of their third year marks.