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BSc Computer Science (Human Computer Interaction) with Industrial Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course description

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1st Year Team Projects - Computer Science UoM

Computer Science - and more specifically Human Computer Interaction (HCI) - is radically changing the way in which we experience our world through the development of new applications in science, engineering and business. HCI is concerned with optimising the interaction between computer systems and their human users, at the intersection of computer science, behavioural sciences and social science. Here at Manchester we equip you with the skills needed to contribute to this exciting and rapidly evolving field. We provide you with the highest level of education in understanding and improving future generations of user interfaces and interactions, up to and including specialisation in advanced topics. Our course attempts to delve much deeper than other HCI related courses, in that key course units are delivered by specialists in their field, from neurophysiology to advanced social network analysis, from complex software engineering and application development to qualitative research design and methods - and everything in between.

Your first year will give you a comprehensive, broad-based foundation from which to choose your area of specialisation. You will gain not only knowledge and practical experience of the latest technologies, but also a grounding in the underlying principles of the subject. CS(HCI) is a flexible programme, allowing you to choose course units to reflect your developing and changing interests. Furthermore, a wide range of themes from across the discipline allow you to specialise in your final year. It is this combination of skills that enable our graduates to keep pace with this fast moving subject, and secure rewarding careers that can be pursued almost anywhere in the world.

Aims

The aim of the course is to give you a deep understanding of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) from neurophysiology to advanced social network analysis, from technically complex software engineering and application development to qualitative research design & methods - and everything in between. More specifically you will learn of the tools, techniques, and the mindset necessary to approach highly challenging HCI work; or move on to advanced research, be that in a commercial R&D division, as part of a skunkworks project, or within academia.

We aim to instill not just a theoretical knowledge of HCI as a science and engineering discipline, but also a solid base of practical skills, an understanding of design, comprehension of the commercial world and competence in transferable skills  such as problem solving, team working, and creativity.

Special features

Caroline Jay, Lecturer

Graduates from the HCI programme will not only come out with the fantastic technical skills which all of our Computer Science graduates have, they will also have the scientific skills that they need to understand people.

They will be able to monitor, observe and analyse human behaviour as people interact with systems and then use this knowledge to feed back into the software development process essential details into how the system should behave.

Caroline Jay / Lecturer
  • Allows you to plan, design, develop, and evaluate all aspects of interactive systems, device interfaces, and interaction scenarios.
  • All topics are taught by experts in their field, and students attend course units from Neuroscience, Social Science, and the Statistics Unit giving them cross-disciplinary experience.
  • All required Advanced Mathematics is taught as part of the course.
  • Course units and themes of relevance to Human computer Interaction include: Fundamental to Advanced Human Computer Interaction, HCI Methodology, Software Engineering and Agile Design, Statistics and Advanced Statistical Analysis, Advanced Social Network Analysis, Human Motor and Sensory Systems, Human Learning, Memory and Cognition.
  • You have access to all the core Software Engineering units and all the additional HCI specific units only available to specialist HCI students
  • You can  specialise very quickly allowing a more detailed view of HCI than on other courses.
  • The course equips you with skills that are in high demand from industry

Teaching and learning

At Manchester you will be taught by academic staff who are leading experts in computer science, in a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Teaching and Learning will be delivered using a variety of methods, including:

  • Lectures 
  • Tutorial classes 
  • Practical laboratory sessions 
  • Group activities
  • PASS sessions and peer mentoring 

Some activities will be delivered face-to-face and others online, following a blended learning approach.

The course contains strong practical elements: a year-long group project focused on the design and development of a web application in Year 1; development of software engineering skills through engagement with industrial mentors in Year 2; and a year-long individual project in Year 3. Each year aims to progressively build your skills, knowledge, and confidence in practical computer science.

A typical week in your first year of study will comprise 40 hours of activity, of which approximately 20 hours will be timetabled study and 20 hours will be independent or self-directed study. The timetabled study is a mix of practical and theoretical sessions.

As you progress through the course an increasing emphasis will be placed on independent study, and this reflects you applying your knowledge and skills in substantial individual and group projects. In your third year of study, between 25 and 30 hours each week will typically be independent study. You will be supported by staff through all of your independent study, and this transition to being able to explore your own ideas through project work is an important attribute of a graduate computer scientist. 

PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring

We're proud of our innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring scheme. The PASS scheme provides additional support around the current week's tutorial. It's entirely voluntary and consists of second, third and fourth-year current students helping first years to tackle problems defined by the content of the current tutorial. The emphasis is on showing students how to think about the problems, how to develop problem-solving skills and how to get the most from the educational resources available.  

More about blended learning  

Some of your activity will be synchronous, where you learn live with your lecturer / peers and can interact as appropriate, helping you get support and feel part of a community. At other times it will be asynchronous, where you access materials like presentations, video content, online discussion boards or collaborative documents in your own time (within a framework provided by your programme).   

We believe this blended approach will help each individual study in a way that works best for them and will ensure students receive the best student-experience.

Coursework and assessment

The course is assessed by a variety of methods, each appropriate to the topic being assessed. These methods include practical exercises, presentations, practical demonstrations, and written and online examinations. You will also have opportunities to monitor your progress using online quizzes and tutorial exercises.

Course unit details

Over the three years, all students follow the same course and reach the same level of study, thus providing the grounding for careers in industry and for postgraduate study. The first year establishes a strategic overview of the main areas of Human Computer Interaction and introduces the underlying science and mathematics. Second and third years develop the key knowledge and understanding necessary to enter industry, or postgraduate study.

Course content for year 1

Introduces you to HCI and computer science in general, as well as software engineering. You will also gain the basic knowledge and skills that are applicable to all areas of interaction engineering such as object oriented programming, distributed systems, statistical analysis, and mathematics. Further, you will gain basic knowledge and skills that are applicable to all branches of computer science, such as: mathematics; programming; and distributed systems. You will also be introduced to the fundamental principles of Human Computer Interaction and Interactive systems.

Team-working is an important part of the first year which includes a year-long team project culminating in the demonstration and examination of a fully working team application. This project sets the context for HCI design and development and enhances your awareness of current issues.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Excitable Cells: the Foundations of Neuroscience BIOL10832 10 Mandatory
First Year Team Project COMP10120 20 Mandatory
Data Science COMP13212 10 Mandatory
Fundamentals of Computer Architecture COMP15111 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Programming 1 COMP16321 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Programming 2 COMP16412 10 Mandatory
Research Methods & Statistics PSYC10100 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Cognition PSYC10431 5 Mandatory
Brain & Behaviour PSYC11222 10 Mandatory
Sensation & Perception PSYC11322 5 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

The second year starts your detailed education in key areas of HCI. Course units in software engineering, operating systems, distributed computing, motor systems, and sensory systems provide the technical foundations for HCI project work. Units in quantitative and qualitative research design and methods, and native HCI methods provide the underlying scientific base. HCI specific tutorials link these aspects into a unified whole. You will also study databases technologies - a key aspect of most modern software systems.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Motor Systems for Human Computer Interaction BIOL22332 10 Mandatory
Sensory Systems for Human Computer Interaction BIOL22341 10 Mandatory
Database Systems COMP23111 10 Mandatory
Software Engineering 1 COMP23311 10 Mandatory
Software Engineering 2 COMP23412 10 Mandatory
Perception and Action PSYC21112 5 Mandatory
Cognitive Neuroscience PSYC21122 10 Mandatory
Cognition PSYC21181 5 Mandatory
Essentials of survey design and analysis SOST20022 20 Mandatory
Endocrinology BIOL21261 10 Optional
Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action BIOL21321 10 Optional
How to Make a Brain BIOL21451 10 Optional
Motor Systems for Human Computer Interaction BIOL22332 10 Optional
Microcontrollers COMP22712 10 Optional
Introduction to AI COMP24011 10 Optional
Machine Learning COMP24112 10 Optional
Knowledge Based AI COMP24412 10 Optional
System Architecture COMP25212 10 Optional
Programming Languages & Paradigms COMP26020 20 Optional
Introduction to Visual Computing COMP27112 10 Optional
Statistics and Data Analysis PSYC21061 10 Optional
Market Research SOST20041 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 22 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

The Industrial Experience year enables you to gain relevant industrial experience as part of your studies by spending your third year working for a company actively participating in the design and development of a computing related product or service. Besides the money that you earn during this year, you also gain practical experience that can be invaluable both in your final year project and when applying for jobs after graduating. Many students find that the experience often helps to clarify their ideas about their future career path.

The strength of the Department's links with industry means that may of our students undertake placements in some of the most prestigious companies in the world. The companies at which our students are currently placed include Credit Suisse, IBM, Google, Microsoft, GlaxoSmithKline, British Telecom, Accenture, Barclays Capital, Electronic Arts and Mercedes GP.

Course content for year 4

The third year of teaching completes the above process by introducing an integrated view of advanced HCI, with reference to applicable sciences and technologies. You are also able to take a number of optional units in the final year to further enhance your specialisation. Finally, you undertake an individual project during this year, which aims to foster your competence in research and development, as well as in professional communication.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Third Year Project Laboratory COMP30040 40 Mandatory
Agile Software Pipelines COMP33312 10 Mandatory
User Experience COMP33511 10 Mandatory
Advanced Social Network Analysis SOST30022 20 Mandatory
How to Make a Brain BIOL21451 10 Optional
Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life (E) BIOL31681 10 Optional
Learning, Memory & Cognition (E) BIOL31692 10 Optional
The Internet of Things: Architectures and Applications COMP32412 10 Optional
Cognitive Robotics COMP34212 10 Optional
Natural Language Processing COMP34711 10 Optional
Natural Language Understanding COMP34812 10 Optional
Chip Multiprocessors COMP35112 10 Optional
Graphics & Virtual Environments COMP37111 10 Optional
Advanced Distributed Systems COMP38311 10 Optional
Cyber Security COMP38412 10 Optional
Understanding Dementia: Brain and Behaviour PSYC31242 20 Optional
Emotion PSYC37111 20 Optional
Anthropology of Vision, Senses and Memory SOAN30811 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 18 course units for year 4

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Manchester is committed to attracting and supporting the very best students. We have a focus on nurturing talent and ability and we want to make sure that you have the opportunity to study here, regardless of your financial circumstances.

For information about scholarships and bursaries please visit our  undergraduate student finance pages .

Facilities

Students working in the Collabs
Students working in the Collabs
As you would expect from leaders in the field, we offer some of the most up to date facilities in the world. Amongst the wide range of facilities available to you are:
  • Newly refurbished computing labs furnished with modern desktop computers, available with Linux and Windows
  • Access to world leading academic staff
  • Collaborative working labs complete with specialist computing and audio visual equipment to support group working.
  • Over 300 Computers in the Department dedicated exclusively for the use of our students.
  • Access to a hardware library, with top of the range equipment, including drones, robots and oculus rifts.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk