MSc Artificial Intelligence - Edinburgh vs St Andrews vs Southampton Watch

Zuse
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#1
Hi there,

I decided early during my undergraduate studies that I, in order to prepare myself better for a subsequent PhD, would get myself an MSc in AI, come hell or high water. My initial fear regarding my chances of being accepted by a reasonably reputable university in the UK quickly vanished after I wasn't rejected by any of my top choices, which didn't surprise anyone as much as me.

I now have to decide between the University of Edinburgh, the University of St Andrews and the University of Southampton, all of which offer a specific postgraduate programme in artificial intelligence and all of which offer course combinations which I would be more than happy to spend a year of studying with. This excludes the easiest way to differentiate between programs.

So, at the end of the day, it comes down to reputation. (Primarily due to the MSc being intended to act as a stepping stone to a PhD.) From what I gathered, the main difference is that Edinburgh and Southampton fare better in international rankings and are better known for their computer science departments, whereas St Andrews gains the advantage in national rankings and, while being very prestigious overall, is less known as a stronghold of computing. (I don't really trust the league tables in that they catapulted computer science at St Andrews from #15 to #4 from last year's ranking.)

To be honest, Edinburgh and St Andrews are prettier cities to study in, so Southampton already has a slight disadvantage. (St Andrew's tininess, however, is not a problem as I like small towns and prefer a lonely walk and a cosy pub with a couple of fellow students over a club with loud music every day of the week. That is, of course, entirely a matter of personal taste.)

I'm thankful for any opinion regarding differences in how those three universities are seen, both in general and for computer science. As the Continental chap that I am, I unfortunately lack the implicit insight into the UK's higher education landscape, so all help is welcome.
0
reply
Misovlogos
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#2
Report 3 years ago
#2
(Original post by Zuse)
Hi there,

I decided early during my undergraduate studies that I, in order to prepare myself better for a subsequent PhD, would get myself an MSc in AI, come hell or high water. My initial fear regarding my chances of being accepted by a reasonably reputable university in the UK quickly vanished after I wasn't rejected by any of my top choices, which didn't surprise anyone as much as me.

I now have to decide between the University of Edinburgh, the University of St Andrews and the University of Southampton, all of which offer a specific postgraduate programme in artificial intelligence and all of which offer course combinations which I would be more than happy to spend a year of studying with. This excludes the easiest way to differentiate between programs.

So, at the end of the day, it comes down to reputation. (Primarily due to the MSc being intended to act as a stepping stone to a PhD.) From what I gathered, the main difference is that Edinburgh and Southampton fare better in international rankings and are better known for their computer science departments, whereas St Andrews gains the advantage in national rankings and, while being very prestigious overall, is less known as a stronghold of computing. (I don't really trust the league tables in that they catapulted computer science at St Andrews from #15 to #4 from last year's ranking.)

To be honest, Edinburgh and St Andrews are prettier cities to study in, so Southampton already has a slight disadvantage. (St Andrew's tininess, however, is not a problem as I like small towns and prefer a lonely walk and a cosy pub with a couple of fellow students over a club with loud music every day of the week. That is, of course, entirely a matter of personal taste.)

I'm thankful for any opinion regarding differences in how those three universities are seen, both in general and for computer science. As the Continental chap that I am, I unfortunately lack the implicit insight into the UK's higher education landscape, so all help is welcome.
Edinburgh probably, by a slight margin over St Andrews, has the better general reputation (certainly for a PhD), and has a world-leading CS department. It's also, IMO, the best of the three places to live. All that being so, I think it's a pretty straightforward decision.
0
reply
Blutooth
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#3
Report 3 years ago
#3
Edinburgh has the best reputation in AI of the three, it has done for many years. It is also in my opinion the most magnificent city in the UK, now if only those Scots weren't so cantankerous.

My dad was into AI research and when i was considering a master's in the field he assured me that it was very well known. Also, if you look at the courses they offer, they probably have a great many more electives than the other two universities.

No brainer.
0
reply
kka25
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#4
Report 3 years ago
#4
(Original post by Zuse)
To be honest, Edinburgh and St Andrews are prettier cities to study in, so Southampton already has a slight disadvantage. (St Andrew's tininess, however, is not a problem as I like small towns and prefer a lonely walk and a cosy pub with a couple of fellow students over a club with loud music every day of the week. That is, of course, entirely a matter of personal taste.)
I love both cities and I did apply for AI in Edinburgh but didn't go for it and when I visited St. Andrews I absolutely regretted not visiting the place first! Such a pretty town!

Why AI OP?
0
reply
Zuse
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#5
Misovlogos & Blutooth: Thank you very much for you input. It's true that Edinburgh offers more flexibility and a larger variety of courses, but my proposed curricula would, at least more or less, look the same at all three universities. I guess I wouldn't hurt my chances for a PhD much with any of them, but I have to concur; Edinburgh would most probably be the best choice.

If you'd have to rank them, would St Andrews or Southampton get the 2nd place?

(Original post by kka25)
I love both cities and I did apply for AI in Edinburgh but didn't go for it [...]

Why AI OP?
If you didn't accept Edinburgh's offer for AI, where did you go instead? As for myself, I already steered in the direction of applied AI during my undergraduate studies, with my bachelor's dissertation dealing with an evolutionary computation-based approach to portfolio optimisation.

I'd like to keep investigating in that field as I really enjoy it, but I feel that I need bit more taught education on the matter in order to do meaningful PhD-level research.
0
reply
kka25
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#6
Report 3 years ago
#6
(Original post by Zuse)
If you didn't accept Edinburgh's offer for AI, where did you go instead? As for myself, I already steered in the direction of applied AI during my undergraduate studies, with my bachelor's dissertation dealing with an evolutionary computation-based approach to portfolio optimisation.

I'd like to keep investigating in that field as I really enjoy it, but I feel that I need bit more taught education on the matter in order to do meaningful PhD-level research.
Somewhere totally opposite of St. Andrews!

I did something in AI as well during my dissertation. I still have some interest in AI but not really much any longer; the proofs are quite horrendous :eek:
0
reply
poohat
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#7
Report 3 years ago
#7
Out of those, Edinburgh is the most prestigious university, with arguably the best compsci department, and is located in the best city

shouldnt even be a question
0
reply
poohat
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#8
Report 3 years ago
#8
(Original post by Zuse)
St Andrews gains the advantage in national rankings and, while being very prestigious overall, is less known as a stronghold of computing. (I don't really trust the league tables in that they catapulted computer science at St Andrews from #15 to #4 from last year's ranking.)
No table has St Andrews #4 for computer science unless you are talking about silly undergrad rankings. Its a good university and quite prestigious for undergrad, but very small and hence not comparable to places like Edinburgh when it comes to research output and international reputation.

go with either the RAE2008/REF2014 results, or international tables. Edinburgh is clearly the best out of those 3 for compsci (and is one of the top 5 departments in the UK), southampton lags slightly behind, and st andrews is good but very small

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/download?ac=26897
http://www.theguardian.com/education...nd-informatics
http://www.topuniversities.com/unive...=false+search=
http://www.shanghairanking.com/SubjectCS2014.html

If you'd have to rank them, would St Andrews or Southampton get the 2nd place?
Forget 2nd place, go to Edinburgh. If you want to do a PhD then you want to be in the best department possible - Edinburgh CS is one of the best in the UK, is very large, and has a lot of money. Universities often recruit their own MSc students for PhDs students since the staff already know them.
0
reply
Zuse
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#9
(Original post by poohat)
Forget 2nd place, go to Edinburgh. [...] Universities often recruit their own MSc students for PhDs students since the staff already know them.
I intend to change the country (or continent) again for my PhD, so that's not a concern. I might, however, have to rank them anyway for non-academic reasons.
0
reply
Okorange
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#10
Report 3 years ago
#10
Edinburgh > St Andrews > Southampton is the way I would rank them. Edinburgh is pretty much world renowned for CS especially AI and St Andrews has a good CS department as well. I don't know too much about Southampton apart from its strength in Engineering, but overall its a much lower rated uni and I know for certain that Edinburgh is the best choice out of the three.
1
reply
Zuse
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#11
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#11
(Original post by Okorange)
Edinburgh > St Andrews > Southampton is the way I would rank them. Edinburgh is pretty much world renowned for CS especially AI [...] and I know for certain that Edinburgh is the best choice out of the three.
In the end, everything worked out and I will be joining the MSc AI programme at the University of Edinburgh this fall.

Thank you very much for your input. I really appreciate it.
1
reply
ViralRiver
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#12
Report 1 year ago
#12
(Original post by Zuse)
In the end, everything worked out and I will be joining the MSc AI programme at the University of Edinburgh this fall.

Thank you very much for your input. I really appreciate it.
Can you offer any insight on the course, pros and cons and the like? I'm in a similar situation to the one you were in .
0
reply
Zuse
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#13
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#13
(Original post by ViralRiver)
Can you offer any insight on the course, pros and cons and the like? I'm in a similar situation to the one you were in .
I gave an answer to a related comment of yours in another thread:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...3812245&page=2

As for cons: Having the School of Informatics exams for the whole year at the end of the second semester, instead of writing the exam of semester 1 courses in December, like sane people, is a bit nasty. Students have tried to change that for a while, but to no avail. Apart from that, I can't come up with any negative things.
0
reply
ViralRiver
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#14
Report 1 year ago
#14
(Original post by Zuse)
I gave an answer to a related comment of yours in another thread:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...3812245&page=2

As for cons: Having the School of Informatics exams for the whole year at the end of the second semester, instead of writing the exam of semester 1 courses in December, like sane people, is a bit nasty. Students have tried to change that for a while, but to no avail. Apart from that, I can't come up with any negative things.
Thanks. How does the timing work with the dissertation - is it after all the exams or during?
0
reply
xiha
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#15
Report 9 months ago
#15
(Original post by Zuse)
In the end, everything worked out and I will be joining the MSc AI programme at the University of Edinburgh this fall.

Thank you very much for your input. I really appreciate it.
Do you know how many students study in the Edinburgh(MSc AI)?
0
reply
KKBoi
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#16
Report 8 months ago
#16
(Original post by xiha)
Do you know how many students study in the Edinburgh(MSc AI)?
In 2016/2017 there has been 135 entrants to the full time MSc in AI according to the data they provide. Part time entrants were <5.
In 2015/2016 there has been 108 entrants to the full time MSc in AI. Again part time entrants were <5.
0
reply
omarbeballin
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#17
Report 7 months ago
#17
Hey Guys,I have 2 offers for AI. The first is from St Andrews for 1 year and the Second from Heriot-Watt for 2 years. I am unsure which course to accept as I do not have a background in computer science. I come from a background in Mechanical / Aero Engineering with little programming background.The course at Heriot is supposed to provide 1 preparatory year for students from other backgrounds, then the students join the regular MSc cohort the following year. But I have also noticed that they offer many modules not found at St Andrews (for example Intelligent Robotics, Bio-Inspired computation. Is heriot watt a better option than St Andrews? It seems like St Andrews has way higher ratings. Which university do you think will prepare me better for a Career in AI (although I am mainly looking to continue with a PhD)? Thanks
0
reply
ivorra
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#18
Report 7 months ago
#18
(Original post by KKBoi)
In 2016/2017 there has been 135 entrants to the full time MSc in AI according to the data they provide. Part time entrants were <5.
In 2015/2016 there has been 108 entrants to the full time MSc in AI. Again part time entrants were <5.
And does anyone know the number of students per class? I mean, around 100 students enter the MSc, but then it has several specialist areas (NLP, MLP...), which is the number of students in those?
0
reply
9629781057
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#19
Report 3 weeks ago
#19
Hola everyone,

I am torn between deciding University of Bristol and St. Andrews for Masters in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Could anyone tell me which has a better reputation for Computer Science? Both seem excellent schools for AI. Some rankings rank St Andrews better than Bristol and some rank Bristol above St Andrews.

I also wanted to know which university is more practical in its teaching style? I heard Bristol is theory intense but I may be wrong.

Thanks for helping a mate!
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • University of the Arts London
    MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery Open Day Postgraduate
    Fri, 25 Jan '19
  • Coventry University
    Undergraduate Open Day Undergraduate
    Sat, 26 Jan '19
  • Brunel University London
    Undergraduate Experience Days Undergraduate
    Sat, 26 Jan '19

Are you chained to your phone?

Yes (109)
19.57%
Yes, but I'm trying to cut back (227)
40.75%
Nope, not that interesting (221)
39.68%

Watched Threads

View All