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MSc ADVICE: Imperial Adv Computing vs. St. Andrews Digital Health?

Hi guys,
Just looking for a bit of advice - any insight or opinions you can lend will help drastically. I know you can't make the decision for me but I could be doing with some advice :smile:

So the situation is that I am just about to graduate from BSc Computer Science at the University of St Andrews, and I have 2 potential Masters offers: MSc Advanced Computing at Imperial College London, and MSc Digital Health at St. Andrews. I'm really struggling to choose between the two, and it doesn't help that I haven't visited London since I was 12, so don't remember it at all.

Here's a little discussion about the two options. Both of them I have won scholarships for, but the criteria differ slightly:

St. Andrews:
- Digital Health is a brand new Masters, which has never been run before. It is an interdisciplinary subject between the schools of Computer Science and Medicine.
- I'm really excited by the topic of Digital Health. I did my dissertation on a related subject and loved it. My friends asked what I wish to do in the future and my answer was to 'be a CTO of a Digital Health company', so it is exciting to have the opportunity to study this.
- The coursework is quite unconventional. Instead of heavy programming, there will be a lot of interpersonal and teaching skills required; podcasts, posters, presentations...etc.
- According to the program director, the class size will be very small, at most 18 people, and probably will more likely be around the 5-10 student mark.
- I will most likely be the youngest in the class. I'm freshly 21 and have no medical experience. It seems as though most students on this course will be medical industry professionals who are being sponsored by their company to study this degree. This will be beneficial in terms of the amount of knowledge I can acquire from the other students, but I really am worried about making friends and being able to relate to the other students, if they are all married & with kids for example.
- I have won a scholarship to cover the full fee cost at St. Andrews, however, still have to take on the cost of living myself.
- I know the town, which is good and bad. It means reduced anxieties about the MSc program but also it's not that exciting.
- The big thing (I know it shouldn't be at all, but it is) is the fact that my ex may come back for a masters in St. Andrews (I know he won't go to ICL, he is a 2:1/2:2 quality student) and we had a horrific breakup this past year. It really ruined St. Andrews for me and I constantly felt like I couldn't go out, couldn't go to the gym and definitely couldn't go to the labs without bumping into him. It really ruined St. A for me and I was super excited to go back until I heard there was a possibility of him being there. I know I should never base a decision on a guy, but I do of course worry about yet another year of learning being ruined by this.

Imperial College London
- The course is Advanced Computer Science, and I won't lie, my undergraduate didn't tooootally excite me. There are some areas of CS that I loved, but I looked at the ICL module choices and they do seem quite bland.
- That being said, ICL is 9th in the world and St. A is 92nd, so are some bland modules worth this difference?
- I have won a scholarship which will pay full fees, and 14,000 living costs (so nearly 30,000 in total). This is the biggest opportunity of my life in the respect that I come from a very disadvantaged background and my family cannot pay any of my university costs. Without this scholarship, I would never have even dreamed of going to ICL...that doesn't happen to people like me.
- However, the scholarship is funded by ScottishPower, meaning that they require you to do your dissertation on renewable energy, and I think you're kind of expected to work for them for 2 years on the graduate program afterward...which I don't really envision for myself. I either saw myself going into Digital Health or going to somewhere like J.P.Morgan as a springboard for my career. I don't think it's contractual that you NEED to go to the grad program, but I think it will be frowned upon if you don't, which is fair. They are investing a lot.
- I have heard ICL has a really bad work/life balance, and the support is not the best. I see myself as a person who can do very well academically but also I do really need friends to keep my spirits high. I am quite worried about making friends there.
- Have heard making friends is hard, especially for pgts who aren't living in halls. I'll know no one down south so this is a big thing for me.
- Obviously research quality here will be stellar. I don't doubt for a second that the teaching will be impeccable.


So really, my dilemma is that:
St. A = course is cool and new, the cohort will be tiny and not my age, might bump into ex, I already know the place, might cost most as scholarship is less

ICL = course isn't as interesting (since I've done a CS BSc), I don't know London, worried about making friends, worried about having to do a dissertation in renewable energy but it's the opportunity to attend a world top 10 uni which otherwise would be completely financially not possible.

So it's course vs. university name. I also need to consider how COVID-19 will impact learning. If the first term had to be online I would feel comfortable with that at St. A as I've just completed my degree online, but I'd be worried about ICL because that would mean we don't have freshers and it'll be likely more difficult to make friends when I actually can move down to London.

Sorry for such a long post!!! Any advice will be greatly appreciated :smile:
Original post by Anonymous
Hi guys,
Just looking for a bit of advice - any insight or opinions you can lend will help drastically. I know you can't make the decision for me but I could be doing with some advice :smile:

So the situation is that I am just about to graduate from BSc Computer Science at the University of St Andrews, and I have 2 potential Masters offers: MSc Advanced Computing at Imperial College London, and MSc Digital Health at St. Andrews. I'm really struggling to choose between the two, and it doesn't help that I haven't visited London since I was 12, so don't remember it at all.

Here's a little discussion about the two options. Both of them I have won scholarships for, but the criteria differ slightly:

St. Andrews:
- Digital Health is a brand new Masters, which has never been run before. It is an interdisciplinary subject between the schools of Computer Science and Medicine.
- I'm really excited by the topic of Digital Health. I did my dissertation on a related subject and loved it. My friends asked what I wish to do in the future and my answer was to 'be a CTO of a Digital Health company', so it is exciting to have the opportunity to study this.
- The coursework is quite unconventional. Instead of heavy programming, there will be a lot of interpersonal and teaching skills required; podcasts, posters, presentations...etc.
- According to the program director, the class size will be very small, at most 18 people, and probably will more likely be around the 5-10 student mark.
- I will most likely be the youngest in the class. I'm freshly 21 and have no medical experience. It seems as though most students on this course will be medical industry professionals who are being sponsored by their company to study this degree. This will be beneficial in terms of the amount of knowledge I can acquire from the other students, but I really am worried about making friends and being able to relate to the other students, if they are all married & with kids for example.
- I have won a scholarship to cover the full fee cost at St. Andrews, however, still have to take on the cost of living myself.
- I know the town, which is good and bad. It means reduced anxieties about the MSc program but also it's not that exciting.
- The big thing (I know it shouldn't be at all, but it is) is the fact that my ex may come back for a masters in St. Andrews (I know he won't go to ICL, he is a 2:1/2:2 quality student) and we had a horrific breakup this past year. It really ruined St. Andrews for me and I constantly felt like I couldn't go out, couldn't go to the gym and definitely couldn't go to the labs without bumping into him. It really ruined St. A for me and I was super excited to go back until I heard there was a possibility of him being there. I know I should never base a decision on a guy, but I do of course worry about yet another year of learning being ruined by this.

Imperial College London
- The course is Advanced Computer Science, and I won't lie, my undergraduate didn't tooootally excite me. There are some areas of CS that I loved, but I looked at the ICL module choices and they do seem quite bland.
- That being said, ICL is 9th in the world and St. A is 92nd, so are some bland modules worth this difference?
- I have won a scholarship which will pay full fees, and 14,000 living costs (so nearly 30,000 in total). This is the biggest opportunity of my life in the respect that I come from a very disadvantaged background and my family cannot pay any of my university costs. Without this scholarship, I would never have even dreamed of going to ICL...that doesn't happen to people like me.
- However, the scholarship is funded by ScottishPower, meaning that they require you to do your dissertation on renewable energy, and I think you're kind of expected to work for them for 2 years on the graduate program afterward...which I don't really envision for myself. I either saw myself going into Digital Health or going to somewhere like J.P.Morgan as a springboard for my career. I don't think it's contractual that you NEED to go to the grad program, but I think it will be frowned upon if you don't, which is fair. They are investing a lot.
- I have heard ICL has a really bad work/life balance, and the support is not the best. I see myself as a person who can do very well academically but also I do really need friends to keep my spirits high. I am quite worried about making friends there.
- Have heard making friends is hard, especially for pgts who aren't living in halls. I'll know no one down south so this is a big thing for me.
- Obviously research quality here will be stellar. I don't doubt for a second that the teaching will be impeccable.


So really, my dilemma is that:
St. A = course is cool and new, the cohort will be tiny and not my age, might bump into ex, I already know the place, might cost most as scholarship is less

ICL = course isn't as interesting (since I've done a CS BSc), I don't know London, worried about making friends, worried about having to do a dissertation in renewable energy but it's the opportunity to attend a world top 10 uni which otherwise would be completely financially not possible.

So it's course vs. university name. I also need to consider how COVID-19 will impact learning. If the first term had to be online I would feel comfortable with that at St. A as I've just completed my degree online, but I'd be worried about ICL because that would mean we don't have freshers and it'll be likely more difficult to make friends when I actually can move down to London.

Sorry for such a long post!!! Any advice will be greatly appreciated :smile:

Hi, I'm doing the same course at St A just wanted to know if you're still considering it.
Original post by missskurazak
Hi, I'm doing the same course at St A just wanted to know if you're still considering it.

I ended up going to Imperial!
Original post by username5299900
I ended up going to Imperial!

Cool.
I currently applied for Scottish Power and I feel a little anxious. I have no idea what to expect

Please, can you fill me in? That way I’ll be more prepared for their interview and assessments

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