BSc Computer Science / Physics

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

In choosing to study a Computer Science and Physics Degree at Aberystwyth University, you will be immersed in the fundamentals of computer science and the very latest scientific developments and technological innovations. With a thorough grounding in the core principles of each scientific discipline, the structure of the Computer Science and Physics Degree allows you to develop the skills needed to solve complex problems that include analysis, design, solution choice and implementation. You will develop the skills and capabilities sought by the main employers in these disciplines, and on completion of your Computer Science and Physics Degree you will graduate with the competences necessary to undertake the career you choose. Expand the sections below to discover more...

Overview

This BSc joint honours degree programme in Computer Science and Physics offers a stimulating combination of two highly complementary scientific and technological disciplines, balancing theoretical study alongside practical application.

Why study Computer Science and Physics at Aberystwyth?

Our computer science courses are accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS) on behalf of the Engineering Council, which means that they meet industry standards and requirements, giving you a head start when you enter the competitive jobs market.

The Department of Computer Science is also designated a Centre of Excellence by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (2014), 100% of research impact assessed was rated as being world-leading or internationally excellent.

95% of our 2014 Computer Science graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, a 7 percentage point increase on the previous year. 92% were in professional work or graduate level education, compared with a UK average of 70% (DLHE 2014). This reflects our investment in innovative and strategic, student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results show overall satisfaction rates, at 86% with the quality of the teaching they received and their access to IT resources, four percentage points higher than the UK average for the subject.

Many of our Computer Science staff are working at the frontiers of their disciplines and have significant experience in industry, often working in co-operation with major international companies, so you can confident that you will be learning the very latest concepts and working with cutting-edge technologies.

As you would expect from a major research department, the facilities available to you are excellent. As well as teaching laboratories equipped with high-performance multimedia workstations supported by powerful central servers and a Digital Systems laboratory, the Department of Computer Science has an extensive range of equipment used primarily for research, which is available to final year students who choose to undertake projects in these research areas. These include industrial robots, experimental mobile robots, a number of vision and motion tracking systems and many pieces of specialist software such as virtual reality environments.

Physics has been taught at Aberystwyth since the foundation of the university in 1872, making the university the first in Wales to teach the subjects. Our Physics courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics (IoP), a leading scientific society which engages with policymakers and the general public to advance physics education, research and application, giving you a head start when you enter the competitive jobs market.

100% of our 2014 Physics graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, an increase of more than 10 percentage points on the previous year and 7 percentage points higher than the UK subject average. This reflects our investment in innovative and strategic student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic Institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results also show that 91% of our Physics students reported high levels of satisfaction with quality of the teaching and learning resources, including access to specialised equipment and facilities.

Our Physics lecturers are also researchers working at the cutting edge of their respective fields, so you can be confident that your learning experience will be informed by the latest specialist knowledge along with advanced instrumentation, modelling and techniques. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (2014) 95% of research submitted by the university was rated as being internationally recognised.

Our Staff

Almost all of the Department of Computer Science Lecturers and Teaching Fellows are qualified to PhD level, and those who are not have considerable research or industrial experience. All new Lecturers and Teaching Fellows are required to obtain the PGCTHE, and hence are Senior Fellows or Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. The department also employs a number of part time demonstrators and tutors and some student demonstrators, who are selected from our undergraduate and postgraduate students. Research fellows and research assistants (mostly PhD qualified) may also be involved in delivering occasional teaching when it is appropriate.

Department of Physics Lecturers are all qualified to PhD level and have a track record of research in their fields of specialisation.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) Computer Science Joint Honours. Students must take 60 credits of core and optional computer science modules in Part 1. The following modules are core

Semester 1

Introduction To Computer Infrastructure CS10220

Introduction To Programming CS12020

Semester 2

Programming Using An Object-oriented Language CS12320

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) Students must take the following Physics modules. You may choose a Welsh medium (FG or MT) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (MA, MP) module:

Semester 1

Calculus MA10610

Classical Dynamics MP14010

Algebra And Differential Equations PH16210

Semester 2

Further Algebra And Calculus MA11010

Modern Physics PH14310

Laboratory Physics PH15510

Year 1 Options Welsh medium alternative modules:

Semester 1

Algebra A Hafaliadau Differol FG16210

Calcwlws MT10610

Dynameg Glasurol MT14010

Semester 2

Ffiseg Labordy FG15510

Algebra A Chalcwlws Pellach MT11010

Year 2 Core (60 Credits) Students must take the following core Physics modules. You may choose a Welsh medium (FG) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (MP) module:

Semester 1

Mathematical Physics MP26020

Thermal Physics PH21510

Semester 2

Electricity And Magnetism PH22510

Quantum Mechanics 1 PH23720

Year 2 Core (40 Credits) Computer Science Joint Honours: The following modules are core in year 2.

Semester 1

Scientific Python CS24400

Semester 2

Software Engineering CS22120

Scientific Python CS24420

Year 2 Options Computer Science Joint Honours: You MUST choose 20 credits from the following (or as approved by the advisor)

Semester 1

Program Design, Data Structures And Algorithms CS21120

Modelling Persistent Data CS27020

Year 2 Options Welsh medium alternative modules:

Semester 1

Ffiseg Mathemategol FG26020

Final Year Core (50 Credits) Students take the following core Physics modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH) module:

Semester 1

Concepts In Condensed Matter Physics PH32410

Experimental Physics (10 Credits) PH35410

Semester 2

Probing Atoms And Molecules PH32710

Project (20 Credits) PH35620

Final Year Core (30 Credits) Computer Science Joint Honours: The following modules are core in the final year. CS39620 must be passed.

Semester 1

Agile Methodologies CS31310

Semester 2

Minor Project CS39620

Final Year Options Students take a further Physics Level-3 10-credit module subject to pre-requisites, timetable and approval by Degree Scheme Coordinator

Final Year Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Ffiseg Arbrofol (10 Credyd) FG35410

Semester 2

Prosiect (20 Credyd) FG35620

Final Year Options Computer Science Joint Honours: Students should choose 30 credits from approved CS modules as options.

Employability

Career prospects

A degree in Computer Science and Physics will be particularly valuable in employment situations which require specialist numerical skills and logical and analytical thought. The Computer Science component will prepare you for a variety of careers in software design, communications and networking, computer applications, web development, IT consultancy and management, systems analysis and development, computer sales and marketing. The Physics component will prepare you for such career destinations as medical physicist, scientific laboratory technician, radiation protection practitioner, and research scientist. Other career paths may include systems developer, product development scientist, technical author, meteorologist, or research and development.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Computer Science and Physics will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• research and data analysis skills
• enhanced mathematical and computational skills
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
• the facility to deal with abstract concepts
• a thorough grounding in information technology skills
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

Year in Employment scheme (YES)
The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organization in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

GO Wales
GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

In this joint honours Computer Science and Physics degree course, you will divide your time equally between each subject.

In the first year you will take core modules in software development, programming, communications and telematics, classical dynamics, algebra and calculus, modern and laboratory physics. Your numerical and computational skills are easily transferable between the two disciplines.

In the second year you will explore program design, data structures and algorithms. All students participate in the Software Development Lifecycle module which includes a group project where, taking one of the roles which exist in industry, such as project manager, designer, or quality assurance manager, you will produce a working software product, following best current industrial practice at every stage. You will also study mathematical and thermal physics alongside quantum mechanics and your choice of optional modules from both departments.

In the third year your core modules include agile methodologies, condensed matter, electromagnetism, and atoms and molecules. You will also undertake projects in which you will develop and implement a piece of software, and investigate a problem of an experimental, theoretical, data analysis, instrumentation or computer modelling nature under the supervision of a member of the academic staff.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a complementary set of teaching and learning methods and approaches, ranging from formal lectures, seminars and tutorials to workshops, practicals and individual and group-based project work.

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, practicals, presentations, workshops, lab reports, lab diaries, and examinations.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

Computer Science is a very engaging and diverse subject with emphasis on a wide range of subjects for example: software engineering, web development, networking and career planning. The course is very enjoyable and can be tailored to anyone's preferences and abilities. Oliver Roe

Everyday Physics enhances your understanding of the universe and everything we experience. Passionate scientists inform you of their contributions to science at the forefront of physics. Your time is split between gaining hands-on laboratory experience using exciting equipment including lasers, oscilloscopes and spectrometers, and lectures that will inspire and interest you. Each module challenges your intelligence and allows you to gain knowledge that most people benefit from but do not know exists. Students achieve excellence, and stretch their minds. It requires time and effort, but the skills and understanding you gain are second to none. Sarah Chandler

Key Information Set