Getting started with your MSc plus other useful information.
You're a large, excellent cohort, roughly 350 students from all over the world. You should aim to learn a lot from each other, as well as from the faculty. For those without fluent English, the University offers support. Please look through the free English language support available to you — particularly whether you should take the TEAM test.
Our teaching office ("the ITO") in the sixth floor of Appleton Tower is your major source of administrative help.
This year-guide is for the MScs in Informatics, Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, Computer Science and Data Science. The specialist area groupings and course selection advice may also be of some interest to CDT and Design Informatics students. However, please consult your own course organisers for the regulations governing your programme.
Please use the list of contacts in the Taught MSc contacts page. The course organiser is happy to hear your comments, and to step in if someone else isn't replying. However, please always try to email the most appropriate contact for your query first.
You should meet with your Personal Tutor at the beginning of Semester. Please contact the ITO if you have not been assigned a Personal Tutor.
Organisation of MSc Programmes
The year has two Semesters of courses, followed by a dissertation project (presuming you obtain sufficient marks for your courses). You will choose your project in January. Part time students do one Semester's worth of work each year, followed by the project on a full-time basis (2-year option) or part-time basis (3-year option).
There is a detailed web page on courses and course selection. As explained there, courses are grouped into Specialist Areas to help you choose from the wide range of courses available on each of our MSc degree programmes. Please read this page carefully, along with the linked-to pages on the particular Specialist Area(s) of interest to you. Some of the Specialist Area pages have important information about last-minute course changes or registration information that can't easily be found elsewhere. Check these pages at the beginning of Semester!
Each course has an course descriptor in the DRPS (the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study, the University's official online guide to regulations, programmes and courses). Most courses are at least partially assessed by exams, and the course descriptor for a course tells you when to expect the course's exam: this is usually May, even for Semester 1 courses, but occasionally December. Ignore any sections of these course descriptor web pages that refer to visiting students (who may take exams in December when everyone else takes them in May).
The DRPS page for each Informatics course links to a School page for the course on course.inf.ed.ac.uk that tell you how many courseworks there will be, and when they are due. From this School page there is a link to the actual course web page maintained by the lecturer, usually containing course materials.
To set expectations: across the UK, 50% is a pass-level mark at MSc, 60% a merit-level mark, and 70% a distinction-level mark. The details of how individual course and project marks contribute to your overall degree classification are described on the Assessment page of this handbook. There are no resits.
The DRPS course catalogue pages have a "Web Timetable" link that tells you when lectures are, and lists possible timetable slots.
Except where noted, courses chosen from specialisms largely don't clash. Although do check external courses, as I haven't checked every combination. Please let us know of problems you find.
The lectures for Informatics courses can be seen at a glance on our timetable.
Tutorials (for classes that have them) usually won't be timetabled until after the class registrations have settled down.
Regulations and important procedures
The MSc handbook contains a collection of regulations, including policies on late work, extensions, and academic conduct. You need to know these policies.
If you are worried about your progress, or encounter any difficulties that may affect your studies, contact your Personal Tutor immediately to discuss.
I hope you have an amazing year! Edinburgh's a great place, so do make sure to find some time to enjoy the city and surrounding country.
It's a rewarding, but intensive course. Be organised. Stay calm. And best of luck.
Courses and timetables
FAQ for Informatics students - Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Semester dates - Key dates in the University's academic calendar.
University course timetable system - Create and bookmark your individual lecture timetable.
Course survey reports - reviews from students of Informatics courses.
Degree Programmes 2018-19 - Formal specification of all degrees offered by the School.
Past exam papers - The library archive of all past exam papers.
Informatics past exam papers - Includes sample solutions for some pre-honours courses.
Computing help pages - General Informatics computing support information and advice.
Computing Support Form - Fill this in if you have any technical issue you need to raise with support.
Societies and Social Media
Informatics Social Media Hub - Connect with our existing Informatics social media accounts
Publishing online - Informatics services for creating your own website or blog.
Compsoc -The University of Edinburgh Artificial Intelligence and Computing Society.
Hoppers - an Informatics group for female students.
Centre for Sport and Exercise - The University Gym
Informatics football - Informatics has a football team.
University departments & services
EUSA - Edinburgh University Students Association.
Accommodation Services - Find student accommodation at Edinburgh University.
Advice Place - Free professional advice from EUSA on all aspects of student life.
Career Services and Presentations - Links to the University's career service and employer presentations.
Disability Services - Providing help and guidance for students with disabilities.
Institute for Academic Development - Offers help with study skills through workshops and online learning resources.
New book suggestion form - Recommend books for purchase by the University Library
Scholarships for undergraduate students - Information on applying for a UG Scholarship.
Student administration - Information about finances, matriculation, exams, and graduation.
Informatics videos - We have several videos introducing various aspects of Informatics at Edinburgh.
Student prizes - The Informatics Student Prize Scheme aims to recognize and reward excellent performance across the curriculum.