Nottingham Computer ScienceWatch
- What is the course like?
- Are the modules interesting?
- Do you enjoy the teaching?
- What is life like at Nottingham?
- What is the social life like at Nottingham?
What is the course like?
The course is built around core modules that are 'need-to-know' computer science skills and principles (basic programming principles, underlying mathematical theory for computer science, systems and architectures, operating systems, software engineering, computer security) and modules that build upon particular themes or fields of computer science (think artificial intelligence, human computer interaction, functional programming, image processing, etc.)
For first years, all modules will be 'core' modules as they build up everyone's skillset to an equal level. I believe the modules and what they cover are available on the Computer Science site, but you'll cover basic programming in C, system architectures, object oriented & functional programming with Java and Haskell, web programming (HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL), an introduction to artificial intelligence, and software engineering fundamentals. In the following years, you'll gradually get more autonomy over your module choices.
The first semester of second year is all 'core' modules once again, but you get your first chance to explore those 'themed' modules in the second semester, where you get to choose a number of optional modules. Last year I chose Advanced Functional Programming, Image Processing, and Artificial Intelligence Methods.
As you get into third year, the number of core modules decreases to only one a semester, as you choose optionals alongside your dissertation. If carrying on in to 4th year on an integrated masters course, I believe your module choices are completely free at this point.
Are the modules interesting?
Yes. From when I was looking three years ago, Nottingham had one of the stronger first year syllabuses for Computer Science, and you'll be amazed by what you've covered in just two semesters. The pacing of most modules is right as well - so long as you get your work done and follow the advice of your lecturers, you'll do well.
Do you enjoy the teaching?
Definitely. Different lecturers bring different styles to their teaching, but for the most part the delivery of the content is very good, and engaging.
What is life like / social life like at Nottingham?
You'll probably get the impression now that I'm quite biased on this one, but Nottingham is a great place to be. It's a city that is large enough to have a rich variety of places to visit, eat, drink, dance, etc., without being somewhere too large where the sheer enormity of the place might put you off. The city has excellent transport links thanks to two long-running and reliable bus companies (Nottingham City Transport and Trentbarton) that both offer very competitive fares for students. With the introduction of the NET tram as well a few years back, you can usually find public transport to get you anywhere relatively quickly. If you end up staying on Jubilee Campus (where Computer Science is located), then there is a free hopper bus that will take you to the main campus, and you won't have any trouble meeting people in the first week. Catered accommodation offers up a 'hotel' like atmosphere where you can quickly get to know about 7 or 8 people along your corridor while still having control over your own room/space. Catered also encourages 'grouping up' as you naturally form friendship groups to sit in when you go for lunch or dinner at the canteen.
Anyway, I think I've done enough selling :P Hope that answers your questions, and in all seriousness, I love being here. If you have a gut instinct about Nottingham, I would go for it.