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    Hi

    I've been accepted to two postgraduate conversion courses to Computer Science: University of Bristol and Birkbeck, University of London. Can anyone recommend one university over the other in terms of education? (I'm also still waiting to hear back from similar programs in UCL and Imperial, either of which I would jump at.)

    The syllabi to the courses looks practically identical (C++, object oriented programming, computer architecture, project management, software design and a self-driven project). Also, the Bristol program is one year full-time, whereas Birkbeck is two years part-time.

    From what I can tell, both have good reputations. Bristol appears to be very highly ranked and the undergraduate CS program is well regarded; there's less info out there about Birkbeck, because of the nature of the college it's not included in most ranking systems.

    Any thoughts?
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    You could also look at the University of Birmingham, they offer a 1 year conversion MSc similar to those found at Bristol and Birkbeck. Just got accepted to it so am very happy. I think you can also do the Birkbeck 1 full time. It's not on most ranking systems because it's mostly a post-graduate only college but I hear it's quite well regarded although I do not know what the facilities are like.

    I hear that UCL do one as well.
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    I'm still awaiting a response top applications to several other universities, including Birmingham, UCL, Kent, Imperial and one or two others. Bristol and Birkbeck are the only two from whom I've received a response so far.

    I don't know much about British universities (I'm Irish) so the places to which I've applied are ranked (in my head) as: Imperial > UCL > everywhere else.

    Actually, I'm delighted to have been accepted to any of these courses as my academic record isn't stellar: a 2:2 in Physics. I finished my undergraduate degree nearly five years ago, so I wasn't able to get any academic references.

    At the moment I'm leaning towards thinking that the quality of teaching and services in both Birkbeck and Bristol are of a similar (high) standard, but Bristol has a "better" reputation simply because more people have heard of it.

    On the other hand, I'm interesting in applying what I learn to the world of finance (I'm a part-qualified actuary), and Birkbeck would have more focus on that sort of thing (and being in London would definitely be a plus!).
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    (Original post by tensorproduct)
    I'm still awaiting a response top applications to several other universities, including Birmingham, UCL, Kent, Imperial and one or two others. Bristol and Birkbeck are the only two from whom I've received a response so far.

    I don't know much about British universities (I'm Irish) so the places to which I've applied are ranked (in my head) as: Imperial > UCL > everywhere else.

    Actually, I'm delighted to have been accepted to any of these courses as my academic record isn't stellar: a 2:2 in Physics. I finished my undergraduate degree nearly five years ago, so I wasn't able to get any academic references.

    At the moment I'm leaning towards thinking that the quality of teaching and services in both Birkbeck and Bristol are of a similar (high) standard, but Bristol has a "better" reputation simply because more people have heard of it.

    On the other hand, I'm interesting in applying what I learn to the world of finance (I'm a part-qualified actuary), and Birkbeck would have more focus on that sort of thing (and being in London would definitely be a plus!).

    It would go something like this.

    Imperial > UCL > Bristol > Birmingham > Birkbeck > Kent

    That's correct for overall reputation at least.

    The Guardian league tables for undergraduate computer science however place Bristol and Birmingham both above UCL.

    But don't revolve your decision solely around league tables.

    I know that with this conversion course the syllabus ranges VASTLY between uni's. Imperial, UCL will do a LOT more Math based modules. The rest will be a lot more practical and applied, less theory.

    When did you apply to Birmingham? I got an email from the head of admissions saying he was recommending me for a conditional based on getting a 2:2. I am still yet to receive the official offer though. I applied on the 21st February so it's been a month but I have also still been unable to get my 2nd reference to them so that may be what the delay in the official decision is down to.

    If you're looking to apply your knowledge to finance I'd say choose Birmingham, Bristol or Birkbeck.

    If you think Birkbeck would be the better option, do take into account the living costs of London which is vastly greater compared to those of Bristol and Birmingham and will put a major strain on finances.

    Good luck with it!
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    Thanks for the detail mxr.

    I applied to Birmingham in late January, I think. I haven't heard anything back from them at all yet... that might not be a good sign. Congrats on your conditional acceptance. The course there looks interesting.

    That Birkbeck is part-time is a point in its favour. It would be far easier to live in London for a couple of years if I had a job to keep me in the manner to which I have become accustomed. From what I can tell, there's plentiful work in London for someone of my experience.

    I've already accepted both offers, and I figure that I can reject one or the other whenever I make up my mind (or both if UCL or Imperial get back to me).

    Good luck with your own studies!
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    (Original post by mxr808)
    It would go something like this.

    Imperial > UCL > Bristol > Birmingham > Birkbeck > Kent

    That's correct for overall reputation at least.

    The Guardian league tables for undergraduate computer science however place Bristol and Birmingham both above UCL.

    But don't revolve your decision solely around league tables.

    I know that with this conversion course the syllabus ranges VASTLY between uni's. Imperial, UCL will do a LOT more Math based modules. The rest will be a lot more practical and applied, less theory.

    When did you apply to Birmingham? I got an email from the head of admissions saying he was recommending me for a conditional based on getting a 2:2. (I'm currently studying at Birmingham for my bachelors.) I am still yet to receive the official offer though. I applied on the 21st February so it's been a month but I have also still been unable to get my 2nd reference to them so that may be what the delay in the official decision is down to.

    If you're looking to apply your knowledge to finance I'd say choose Birmingham, Bristol or Birkbeck.

    If you think Birkbeck would be the better option, do take into account the living costs of London which is vastly greater compared to those of Bristol and Birmingham and will put a major strain on finances.

    Good luck with it!
    I applied at Birmingham and got an offer for Advanced Computer Science, the project running during a full year with face to face supervision seems very interesting.

    (And from experience if you know which subject you want to specialize in, research project will teach you a lot more than a standard module).
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    Yeah, I actually don't know about Computer Sci, but for engineering at least, UCL isn't actually as good as one would think...

    -Kar.
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    Do take into account the actual taught material, and whether they offer a project or not.

    I suppose if you're hoping to do part time then Birkbeck will work in your favour. Although it's a big risk assuming that jobs will be plentiful in London. I wouldn't bet your entire 2 years on it if it comes down to it. Check the email you provided for correspondence from the admissions tutor, as I believe they send you an email before the official offer on the bham system. I know that if you're doing a full time course then you can expect a lot of lectures (At Birmingham I believe it's around 33 hours a week) but as this is a conversion you'll be undertaking a LOT of personal study. Some people compare it to a bachelors degree in terms of what your knowledge is at the end, which comes down to cramming 3 years of learning into 1.
 
 
 

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