Machester or Warwick for Computer Science Watch

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AT82
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#41
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#41
The reason I disagree with your reading is you just seem to far right, its like you're saying anybody who dosn't have AAAA is thick. Trust me there a lot of AAAA people who have been turned down for Manchester. It just means in some cases people with lesser grades me struggle more, but that dosn't affect the standard of the degree.

I do agree with what you're saying kind off, but just think you're slightly over the top.
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Leekey
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#42
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(Original post by amazingtrade)
Trust me there a lot of AAAA people who have been turned down for Manchester.
I know 2 guys who were rejected for comp sci with AAA and AABB at AS. The selection of candidates does play a part in the lowering of average grades but Im pretty sure that the uni would not want to screw its ratings too much by getting overly selective on the PS's and extra curr's.
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J.S.
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#43
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(Original post by Leekey)
I still feel that the quality of teaching is more important, perticularly with subjects such an engineering, computing or other "vocationally academic" (hope that makes sense ) subject. Admittely for subjects such as Hitory, English etc... it will be better to be surrounded by students of the same academic calibre because the importance of others input in developing your own ideas is key. However in computing there is only a limited scope for such things, therefore the importance of being surrounded by people with equivalent grades is reduced and the significance of the teaching quality is greatly enhanced.
This is a good point. It shows the biased nature of my comments, i.e. Socsci student. Although, I'm not sure about the limited scope for discussion though, I still think it would matter a great deal, although not be the one and only academic concern. I would imagine that for Engineering and the like the technical resources are probably quite important (not so sure about Compsci). Ohhh and one more thing, a word of advice more than anything, you know the teaching assessment, I think it can be very deceptive. The ratings appear almost random, I've come across departments rated 24/24 and in many ways they could hardly have been any worse in their teaching standards.

I guess to the applicant to make an informed decision based on a wide variety of factors, oh of course I'm not denying that.


Manchester does have a long way to go before it catches up with Warwick, York, Notts etc... overall but it does have a very good computing department. I think we should probably stop talking about 24 as a bad score to get at A-Level as well, the average is about 13 for the country so student who achieve 24 are still doing very well!!!

Agree with the first part, although one musn't work on the assumption that it will catch up, or is indeed closing the gap without any support for this point (btw I'm not suggesting it's not!).

As for 24 being a bad score, well this is relative. The original poster was asking for a comparison with a deparment which had a far higher score, i.e. 28.5. Overall, even taking into account what I've just said about there being far more to university choice than a/v A level grades, I would be VERY reluctant to go for a university/department where the a/v grades were lower than my own; I would advise anybody to do the same.
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Leekey
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#44
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(Original post by J.S.)
Ohhh and one more thing, a word of advice more than anything, you know the teaching assessment, I think it can be very deceptive. The ratings appear almost random, I've come across departments rated 24/24 and in many ways they could hardly have been any worse in their teaching standards.
It really doesn't help that the last assesements for comp sci were made in 1993-1995 or something stupid like that. Trying to get a feel for the teaching standards just from a departmental open day is very difficult. The research ratings are also very old which means that to ensure that you are going to graduate from a 5* department, you have to take a calculated risk and asses what you think will happen in 2006 (although this is not too important for undergrads).

(Original post by J.S.)
I guess to the applicant to make an informed decision based on a wide variety of factors, oh of course I'm not denying that.
Amen!!!

(Original post by J.S.)
Agree with the first part, although one musn't work on the assumption that it will catch up, or is indeed closing the gap without any support for this point (btw I'm not suggesting it's not!).
Give it a couple of years after the merger and they will have the resources and ability to compete with the very best in the country. This is why I had a such a hard time chosing between Notts and Manc!!!
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J.S.
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#45
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(Original post by Leekey)
Give it a couple of years after the merger and they will have the resources and ability to compete with the very best in the country. This is why I had a such a hard time chosing between Notts and Manc!!!
This is interesting, I hope you've done your research on the matter to be able to say that. I couldn't really comment either way, although I will say that a great deal more than resources are required in the successful functioning of any organisation. One mustn't assume that this thing is going to be successful due to their being greater resources available after the merger, as via such logic you could quite easily conclude that any merger of absolutely any find would succeed, i.e. by defition it would lead to greater resources. Incidentally, I have been told that the Comp. department will not merge? I didn't realise till then that the merger was going to be 'selective' in that sense. Anyway, as I was saying, I am not impying that it's going to lead to failure, before Amazingtrade jumps on me!
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Leekey
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#46
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(Original post by J.S.)
Incidentally, I have been told that the Comp. department will not merge?
Nope, its staying seperate for another year due to the UMIST requirements only being around BBB. UMIST also don't ask for maths which UofM does so it would have been an admin nightmare to sort that out fairly this year!!!

About me wanting the merger to go well...I have little / interest now because I will be working my ass off in Nottingham in that lovely new campus....ahhh....shiney....
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BossLady
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#47
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(Original post by chaoscomplex)
:-)

Hi all

I have offers from Imperial (Computer Science with Maths), Manchester and Warwick (for Computer Science). Imperial is definatly my first choice, so I'm going to put that down as a Firm Accpetance. I have to choose between Manchester and Warwick for my insurance offer. The courses seem pretty equal, can anyone at either university say what life is like?

I know one person at Warwick doing CompSci, from talking to him it seems Warwick is quite 'geeky', though that might be biased. How does Manchester compare?

(-: Thanks :-)
Warwicks offer was AAB? That's a pretty high insurance, although I dug the place when i visited, it was certainly one of my main choices, the department is great...and they were talking about chess engines yay! Uni rep is very good too, better than Manc? definatley!
However, as an insurance that is HORRIBLY high, you gotta be pretty confident if you're usuing that as one...thinking about it, does Manc's comp sci do clearing?
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Leekey
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#48
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#48
(Original post by BossLady)
does Manc's comp sci do clearing?
The only comp sci courses that I have never known / heard of ANYONE going through clearing to get onto are Oxford and Cambridge (before someone asks, yes, that does include Imperial and York who don't advertise places in clearing but have previously accepted people on results day with very good grades).
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xaxa
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#49
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(Original post by J.S.)
Incidentally, I have been told that the Comp. department will not merge? I didn't realise till then that the merger was going to be 'selective' in that sense.
IIRC, on the open day they told us it would make no difference to us. The Manchester department would go on to become the Department of Computer Science, and the UMIST one the School of Computing.

(Original post by BossLady)
Warwicks offer was AAB? That's a pretty high insurance, although I dug the place when i visited, it was certainly one of my main choices, the department is great...and they were talking about chess engines yay! Uni rep is very good too, better than Manc? definatley!
However, as an insurance that is HORRIBLY high, you gotta be pretty confident if you're usuing that as one...thinking about it, does Manc's comp sci do clearing?
That's the same offer as from Manchester, too. I also have a higher offer from Durham (AAA) though after visiting the place I decided it wasn't for me (and I didn't get the college I wanted ["full"] even though I applied in mid-september).

I'm taking 4 a-levels, maths, further maths, physics, chemistry. I'm confident of an A in physics, and I know if I work hard (well, revise hard) I can get 2 As for maths. Chemistry is just a matter of learning and regurgitating, which I utterly, utterly hate, but I'll do my best. I have very little motivation for chemistry however, it's so dull compared to AS-level. The teacher says "Chemsitry has maintained the rigour that most other subjects have lost" which is clearly untrue, but does seem to mean they love learning facts and regurgitating them on request. Compared with Physics, which seems to be more about problem-solving, IMO.

Maths, of course, is wonderful

So yeah, the imperial offer specifies As in physics, maths and f.m., but since the others don't specify any restriction (other than 'not general studies') I think I'm OK with an AAB insurance. And I don't have any choice anyway!
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fishpaste
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#50
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(Original post by J.S.)
Ahhh but that doesn't matter! Of course in certain instances it may prefer applicants with slightly lower grades on the strength of the personal statement, as would any other university. However, overall there is no massive campaign at the university to recruit students with lower grades.

This also applies to Leeky, I just think the bottom line is that if you're a serious academic student and are going to accept an offer on a course where the a/v is around 24 points, you will very seriously suffer. This is far too low, if given the choice, I would never recommend going for such a department/university. Naturally any department at a traditional university is going to attract straight A students, but don't you see if this were to be true of a university with a low average overall then that just means those with even lower than the average are also being accepted?

Personally, I can understand how you think that I am overstating the case here for a/v grades, but once you're at university perhaps you'll see why I have been doing this. The gap between Warwick and Manchester is just too much to ignore...and not only for Computing but for pretty much everything else.
I understand what you're saying, but I'm arguing that once you get to the 3 A stage, you're not seeing a particularly big difference between the AAB kids and AAAA kids. You need to be getting like 8 Alevels before you become exceptional again. To say that the academic prospects, the nurturing your brain will get at Manchester is leagues below that of Warwick is just wrong. Both places are full of almost equally brilliant people, and you're talking like Manchester will be a stagnant uninteresting decaying hole.
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Leekey
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#51
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(Original post by fishpaste)
I understand what you're saying, but I'm arguing that once you get to the 3 A stage, you're not seeing a particularly big difference between the AAB kids and AAAA kids. You need to be getting like 8 Alevels before you become exceptional again. To say that the academic prospects, the nurturing your brain will get at Manchester is leagues below that of Warwick is just wrong. Both places are full of almost equally brilliant people, and you're talking like Manchester will be a stagnant uninteresting decaying hole.
Couldn't agree more!!!
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AT82
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#52
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(Original post by fishpaste)
I understand what you're saying, but I'm arguing that once you get to the 3 A stage, you're not seeing a particularly big difference between the AAB kids and AAAA kids. You need to be getting like 8 Alevels before you become exceptional again. To say that the academic prospects, the nurturing your brain will get at Manchester is leagues below that of Warwick is just wrong. Both places are full of almost equally brilliant people, and you're talking like Manchester will be a stagnant uninteresting decaying hole.
This exactly what I was trying to say but it probably didn't come right.
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J.S.
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#53
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(Original post by fishpaste)
I understand what you're saying, but I'm arguing that once you get to the 3 A stage, you're not seeing a particularly big difference between the AAB kids and AAAA kids. You need to be getting like 8 Alevels before you become exceptional again. To say that the academic prospects, the nurturing your brain will get at Manchester is leagues below that of Warwick is just wrong. Both places are full of almost equally brilliant people, and you're talking like Manchester will be a stagnant uninteresting decaying hole.

I agree with all of this actually, and I'd have even gone for the same figures, i.e. AAB onwards. I wasn't going overboard in this, I never suggested that any department which cannot maintain an exceptionally high a/v is useless. It's just that the difference between CompSci at Warwick n Man is 28 (AAB) V. 24 (BBB), which I believe is highly significant. Overall, I think 24 is to be avoided if possible, 26 is sufficient and anything above 28 is the ideal. I'm not sure if you've any university experience, cause these statistics may seem insignificant but I really don't think they are. That's why Oxbridge is so fantastic, there's a relatively high degree of mutual respect between people as they're all high achievers.

Oh and I don't think I really did make Manchester out to be that bad, aside from some of my more semi serious comments
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Leekey
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#54
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(Original post by Pencil Queen)
Looking at the most recent A level average data for Comp Sci Warwick's intake got an average of 110/120, Manchester 100/120. ie Warwicks students averaged A/B while Manchesters averaged Bs overall. (note this is *not* going to correspond well with last years data as averages have gone from averaging the best 3 score to averaging over *all* a levels (so all those Cs and Ds at general studies will drag the scores down ) although compared to last year it would appear that Warwick's average has dropped slightly while manchester have maintained the same score)
How much important do you consider entry grades to be when comparing individual departments as opposed to being used as an overall indicator for the university? Are there many departments in the UK that ask for VERY different entry grades than those of the overall average (I mean excluding law, med etc...)?
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Leekey
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#55
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(Original post by J.S.)
I agree with all of this actually, and I'd have even gone for the same figures, i.e. AAB onwards. I wasn't going overboard in this, I never suggested that any department which cannot maintain an exceptionally high a/v is useless. It's just that the difference between CompSci at Warwick n Man is 28 (AAB) V. 24 (BBB), which I believe is highly significant. Overall, I think 24 is to be avoided if possible, 26 is sufficient and anything above 28 is the ideal.
Just a few thought on what that could mean for some of the more well know departments in the UK.

"To be avoided"

Sports Science at Loughborough :eek:
Law at SOAS :eek:
Physics at Bath :eek:
Engineering at Warwick :eek:
History at RH and UEA (dispite thier reputation for course excellence) :eek:
Evironmental Science pretty much ANYWERE!!! :eek:
Food Science ANYWHERE!!! :eek:
Art at ANYWHERE BUT OXFORD!!! :eek:
E&E Engineering at Cardiff and Sheffield :eek:
Classics at KCL :eek:
All undergrd educational courses :eek:
Politics at Aberystwyth :eek:
German at UCL :eek:
Aeronautical at Notts :eek:


I hope you get the point and see that using golden rules about entry grades does not really work. They are also subject to MASSIVE change, for example in 2006 (last TQA report) Manchester's average was just under 22. Surely if everyone obeyed your rules of thumb the the grades for entry would remain the same forever?!?
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AT82
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#56
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Why is the QAA rankings worthless? Is it because they are so out of date or because you can't really measure the teaching quality that well?
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AT82
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#57
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#57
(Original post by Pencil Queen)
Because the *scores* never measured quality - they measured how well a department met it's own objectives...so a dept that aimed at fabulous teaching and achieved good teaching would score less than a department that aimed mediocre and achieved mediocre.

*and* they're out of date and suffered from severe grade inflation (as departments figured out what was actually being measured and learnt to work the system).

The reports themselves are very useful though...qualitative analysis of a qualitative variable.
I think thats what happened at the old department my course was in, the head of school got the sack because he made his own objectives and as a result the depertment got very bad QAA ratings so the depertment had to merge with two with very good RAA ratings. Maybe he set them too high.

The only problem I can see with research ratings is that the better depertments (mine is 5*) tend to be so bothered about research they can fail to teach. This has been a problem on my course last year and due to weak management they just get away with it. Its just silly asking paid PhD researchers to teach though.

Wouldn't it be better if the student spend per person ratio was held in higher regard to teaching?
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J.S.
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#58
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(Original post by Leekey)
Just a few thought on what that could mean for some of the more well know departments in the UK.


I hope you get the point and see that using golden rules about entry grades does not really work. They are also subject to MASSIVE change, for example in 2006 (last TQA report) Manchester's average was just under 22. Surely if everyone obeyed your rules of thumb the the grades for entry would remain the same forever?!?
lol! We are never going to agree matey...

"To be avoided"

Sports Science at Loughborough :eek: No idea what this is –specialist course, perhaps the level of demand is not so high throughout, in which case you do not have a choice anyway.
Law at SOAS :eek: Certainly, if a law school cannot maintain a high a/v, that's pathetic.
Physics at Bath :eek: Yeah, ok, go elsewhere, try Imperial, Warwick, Oxford…
Engineering at Warwick :eek: See my point on Engineering et al as a special case later on
History at RH and UEA (despite thier reputation for course excellence) :eek: History, I believe is a degree which you either study at a few select universities, or end up really struggling. There is very little demand for history, aside from the ‘elite’ universities – this is easily confirmed via the A level averages. Also, employers are not likely to be aware of the reputation of the course etc. For ANY department of history, they’ll go along with university reputation – accordingly, this is what the applicant must do also. Here the A level averages apply especially so; on the part of the applicant - poor A level grades and a History degree from a not especially highly regarded institution may lead to a fair bit of time on the dole.
Evironmental Science pretty much ANYWERE!!! :eek: Don't really know what this is.
Food Science ANYWHERE!!! :eek: Specialist course, god knows...
Art at ANYWHERE BUT OXFORD!!! :eek: I got a pathetic grade on my GCSE Art, not the best person to ask
E&E Engineering at Cardiff and Sheffield :eek: Engineering, to be fair I did point this out earlier , is a massive exception - i.e. one needs to look carefully at the resources the uni provides, high tech equipment or whatever such people prioritise...
Classics at KCL :eek: Oh god yes, it's Oxbridge or the dole, lol
All undergrd educational courses :eek: Massive shortage, teachers in this country are considered to be disposable garbage, sadly. I am working in Japan at present, here, if you're a sensei - you have an immense degree of respect, which prior to coming here I couldn't even have imagined - this isn't that the course ought to be avoided, it speaks more about the state of the profession though.
Politics at Aberystwyth :eek: Yes, certainly, it has a good research reputation, however as a department it's one of those places where a phone call during clearing gets you though - compare that with LSE/Oxford. So, who would you rather socialise amongst in the hope of learning a great deal via such interaction...those who've come via clearing or people you've achieved near perfect exam results and have battled through a rigorous interview?
German at UCL :eek: Absolutely, again...my mate was offered this via clearing, they were begging for her. Again, low level of demand, unfortunate however that's the nature of language study, particularly German in the UK.
Aeronautical at Notts :eek: Yes, this my cousin confirms...there are plenty of institutions which do have exceptionally good scores, I've been told that Imperial College is THE place to study this particular subject and that Bath is also very good.


You see what you've done, you've mostly picked out areas, which on the whole have relatively less people interested. That is why the grade average is low. However, it's relative; for Law, methinks (i.e. a field where there's a hell of a lota people applying...if you do have the choice go for an especially high A level a/v. . For the languages, or Engineering, these are areas where very many institutions are finding it difficult to recruit students- it's just the state of the nation! So, it's relative, if you're looking at a dept. of German, you compare the A level a/v amongst that cohort. Perhaps I should have been clear on this :P

Btw, It’s not that I think the A level a/v is a perfect as a measure, it’s just that I think it’s the very best and most reliable. Perhaps in my earlier post when I gave out a ‘rule of thumb’ I was guilty of being biased towards my own discipline, perhaps with those less in demand it would be a different rule you’d apply. I remember advising somebody very recently that if you are looking to study the languages or Engineering, then Oxbridge would provide an even bigger incentive. For instance, with Law or Economics – many universities are able to get ahold of exceptionally bright students to such an exent that across many highly regarded universities, there is a set of almost indistinguishable applicants who are competiting for these places. The evidence for this is that there are many people at Oxbridge on such highly competitive academic discplines who have been rejected from elsewhere. For languages, it seems that the standard away from Oxbridge really does drop – the difference here is very clearly distinguishable.
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Leekey
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#59
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(Original post by J.S.)
lol! We are never going to agree matey...
I disagree!!! :rolleyes:

I agree with your point about Engineering and such subjects being harder to apply a general rule to because of extended range of factors that applicant must consider. Why then did you not take these into account when we were comparing Manc and Warwick? Surely Comp Sci is more a kin to Engineering than History etc...

Admittely I did twist the statistics slightly to argue my case in some instances and I should have provided statistics relative to each of the repective degrees. But I would still argue that based on a/v a-levels alone a great many excellent courses would go unappreciated. The best non-engineering / comp sci examples I used were Sports Science at L'borough (its the best in the country for it) and law at SOAS (very highly reguarded and selective department).

I did think you point on History was very good!!! I think that the idea that an employer looks at the uni as a whole as opposed to an idividual department applies to almost any degree (excluding med, dentistry etc..). This is why good departments at top unis find it easier to cream off the best applicants than exceptional depatments at lesser unis. At the end of the day, an applicant will almost always prefer to study at a top uni with an average department than at a less renowned uni with a great department (IMO anyway).
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