Course guide

Information on choosing your courses.

Choosing courses

Please look at our sortable course-listNote that you are normally expected to take "year 3 courses" (they may be level 9 or level 10). 

There are also some course, combinations of which are compulsory for most degrees. The System Design Project (SDP) is a group project; it is a double weight course, carrying 20 credit points. There is also the Informatics Large Practical which carries 20 credit points. Finally, there is a 10 credit point course on Professional Issues (PI), which is compulsory for fully accredited degrees. Also note that Computer security is compulsory for the CS and SE degree.

Degrees are specified via Degree Programme Tables. You should follow the constraints laid down by the relevant Degree Program table and ensure that there is no timetable clashes. Again, this is you responsibility. 

The course survey reports from previous years can be a useful resource to help in your course selection. 

Further information

You should take Year 3 courses (which may be level 9 or level 10)

The precise rules on choice of courses allow for considerable flexibility. However, the normal situation is: A CS or SE student takes 120 credits: eight technical courses (including Computer Security), the Informatics Large Practical and PI, subject to constraints on choice of technical courses

A combined honours student in CS and X takes half a CS programme and half an X programme. Typically four technical courses, plus SDP and/or Informatics Large Practical and PI. There are usually specific requirements.

A combined honours student in AI and X takes half an AI programme and half an X programme. There are specific requirements.


Follow the constraints laid down in the relevant Degree Programme Table and ensure no timetable clashes. This is your responsibility.

Look at Course Survey Reports/Course Introduction Videos  

Think ahead: check the prerequisites for fourth year courses you may want to take next year.

Look for complementary courses.

Check coursework deadlines (see individual course web pages)

Most of all, look for topics that interest you; you are more likely to do well at these.

Selecting an honours project

Selecting an Honours Project.

Course information

Full list of courses


Warning: Semester 2 has a particularly high workload due to the System Design Project which will take up a lot of your time.

Experience shows that students find UG3 very hard work. You will have to manage your time very efficiently in order to keep up with and enjoy your courses. The intended workload for each course is shown in its Course Descriptor, under 'Study Pattern'. For example, the Course Descriptor for the the Algorithms and Data Structures says:

Study Format Hours
Lectures 20
Seminar/Tutorial 8
Summative Assessment 2
Programme Level Learning and Teaching  2
Directed Learning and Independent Learning  68
Total 100

Each 10-point course nominally corresponds to 100 hours of work; the way the work is split up varies, and of course is only approximate. Lecturers do try to adhere to it, however! The key thing to notice is that the allocation to Private Study/Other is often the largest, as in this example. This includes, for example, going through your lecture notes, identifying things you didn't understand, seeking help, doing background reading, etc., as well as exam revision. You should normally expect to do some of this kind of work every week for every course. A common problem is that students neglect this kind of work, then attempt the coursework without the basic understanding of the material that it would have ensured, get stuck, and end up complaining that the coursework took too long.

Remember that the point is to learn - coursework is intended to help you learn, it is not an end in itself. Even from the perspective of maximising your degree mark, spending all your time on coursework is unwise: remember that the exam is usually worth much more than the coursework, so spending many hours on getting a few extra marks on one piece of coursework is not worthwhile if it means you don't have time to understand another section of the course.

Each course lecturer will announce at the very beginning of the course when their coursework deadlines will be. Please take this into consideration when you finalise your choice of courses, and plan your time carefully. For example, if you have several deadlines in one week, it will be especially important that you do not fall behind with the courses; you will also want to identify any pieces of work that can be done in advance.


Time management

Time management makes the difference between enjoying UG3 and not, and often between passing and failing, too.

A more general approach is here: video, pdf

Welcome slides