Course guide

Information on course choices and concessions for deviating from the DPT.

Considerations in choosing courses

There are various considerations to take into account in choosing a set of course options which will be interesting to you. The issues you need to consider are:
  • The rules of the DPT for your individual degree, in particular the main collection (or collections) of 4th year suggestions in that DPT.  This is the most important consideration, so the first resource you should keep to hand when planning course choices is the DPT for your own degree from the DRPS.  It is sometimes possible to be allowed to take a collection of courses which do not exactly satisfy the DPT; however, concessions will be required (see below), and will require justification.
  • Two other resources to keep to hand are the Sortable List of Courses (allowing you to check "normal year taken" for interesting courses) and the Teaching Timetable (so you can verify that your set of courses have no lecture clashes).
  • You will have your own ideas about which courses most interest you.  However, to get a better idea about a course you can check out the "Course Survey Report" compiled from feedback forms submitted by previous years' students, and possibly an Introduction video for the course. This material is all available from the Course Survey Reports page.
  • If you are still unsure about what a particular course will be like, then a good decider can be to examine some past exam papers.

Time management considerations

In making your decisions you should seriously consider time management.  It will be imperative that you are able to balance work on the project with the coursework demands for your courses. The way you can best achieve this is to:
  • Aim to balance your course choices across both semesters, with 40 points in semester 1 and 40 points in semester 2.  If you have extra points in semester 1, there is the risk that you will not have enough time to properly work on developing the project.  However, if you have extra points in semester 2, this may interfere with the writing of your dissertation.  Best to aim for 40/40 if at all possible.
  • Stick to "normal year taken"=4 options (most of the courses in your "main collection of suggested year 4 options" are nyt=4).  The reason you should not deviate too much from these main collections (apart from the issue of needing concessions) is because nyt=4 courses are required to have reasonably early deadlines (before end week 10 for semester 1, and before end week 9 for semester 2) for their coursework deadlines.  The nyt=5 courses may have later deadlines, and if you have a few such courses, there will be less semester time available for dedicated project work. 
  • Do not take too many "coursework-only" courses.  The nyt=4 coursework-only courses are SLIP and QSX, but there are also some nyt=5 coursework-only courses.  Although these courses have the advantage that there is no exam, all the same they require a lot of effort during semester time.  Also their coursework deadlines may be set to happen later than the limit imposed on exam-based courses (for example SLIP has a submission date a few weeks after semester 1 ends).  If you take a few coursework-only courses, there may be little time available for project work.  

Concessions for deviating from the DPT

From time-to-time students will want to deviate from the precise structure of the DPT for year 4 of their degree.  This can be permitted (subject to permission from the School Concessions Officer (SCAO) if there are good reasons to allow flexibility.  If you want to request a concession or concessions, you must first discuss this with your Personal Tutor, who will advise you, and apply for concessions on your behalf.  Typical types of concessions requested are:

  • extra courses outside "main collection": A request to take extra courses belonging to Informatics (with nyt=4) but not belonging to the "main collection of suggested ug4 courses" for your particular degree.  This may be agreed by the SCAO officer if there are special reasons (eg, preparation for the ug4 project) to deviate from the main collection; however, you must get your PT to submit a concession form if you want to do this. 
  • extra postgraduate courses: A second likely deviation would be a request to take extra nyt=5, level=11 courses, apart from the number (usually just one 10 point course) allowed by the DPT.  In certain cases extra nyt=5 courses may be permitted, but it depends on having special reasons for the request, and on getting permission via a concession form submitted by your PT.  
  • Some other requests might be to take extra courses outside Informatics (and not in your "main collection" group(s)), or to take courses which have "levels" below level 10.  Both these kinds of requests are likely to be refused due to the particular constraints which govern the award of Honours degrees.  

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