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Graduate Diploma Computer Science with English for Academic Purposes

Why we're great

  • Our courses provide an excellent preparation route into a wide range of Masters degrees.
  • Successful completion of our courses guarantees you entry to your chosen Masters degree.
  • Become a member of both the International Academy and the department of your subject area.

Course options2017-18

Duration: 9 months
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: International Academy
Fee (Home/EU): £4,900
Fee (International): £10,045
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
PGT fees information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719
Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

This course is for you if you need to improve your language skills and subject knowledge of computing before going on to a Masters course. You improve your English language fluency and academic vocabulary, develop your academic skills, and gain experience of western methods of teaching and learning so that you can progress onto a relevant Masters course in our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

At Essex, you can progress onto our MSc Advanced Computer Science, MSc Advanced Web Engineering, MSc Artificial Intelligence, MSc Big Data and Text Analysis, MSc Cloud Computing, MSc Embedded Systems, or MSc Intelligent Systems and Robotics.

Our International Academy offers some of the best routes for international students to enter higher education in the UK. Our innovative courses and programmes have proved very successful with international students and have also attracted UK students because of the distinctive learning environment we offer.

If you are an international student, you may find that the education system in the UK is slightly different from other countries and, sometimes, that the transition to the British system can be challenging. Our courses help you to settle in and adapt to life in the UK.

Alongside improving your academic English skills, you also develop your knowledge and skills in computer programming. Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. Today’s computer scientists are creative people who are focused and committed, yet restless and experimental.

Our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering is ranked Top 10 in the UK in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities, with more than two-thirds of our research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

Our expert staff

Our original Department of Computer Science was founded by Professor Tony Brooker, who came to Essex from Manchester where he had worked with Alan Turing. Professor Brooker invented the compiler-compiler, one of the earliest applications of a formal understanding of the nature of programming languages.

In recent years our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering has attracted many highly active research staff and we are conducting world-leading research in areas such as evolutionary computation, brain-computer interfacing, intelligent inhabited environments and financial forecasting.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our International Academy, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

You can also take advantage of our world-class computer science facilities:

  • We have six laboratories that are exclusively for computer science and electronic engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress
  • All computers run either Windows 7 or are dual boot with Linux
  • Software includes Java, Prolog, C++, Perl, Mysql, Matlab, DB2, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and Project
  • Students have access to CAD tools and simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (OPNET)
  • We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robotics, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors.

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

Want to improve your English? Keen to practise your language skills? Revise your existing understanding of English grammar and vocabulary. Extend your knowledge of academic English. Learn to deliver an effective presentation and to communicate clearly in seminars or tutorials. Develop your independent enquiry and learning skills.

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to computer programming for students with little or no previous experience. The Python language is used in the Linux environment, and students are given a comprehensive introduction to both during the module. The emphasis is on developing the practical skills necessary to write effective programs, with examples taken principally from the realm of data processing and analysis. You will learn how to manipulate and analyse data, graph them and fit models to them. Teaching takes place in workshop-style sessions in a software laboratory, so you can try things out as soon as you learn about them.

Now it’s time for a longer assignment. You will work with the support of your EAP lecturer to write a 2,500 word compare and contrast essay using academic sources. You will also develop your ability to give a presentation on an academic topic and develop your awareness of the reporting and referencing strategies needed to present a range of views while avoiding plagiarism.

Can you identify and deconstruct an argument? Or construct an argument? Build your critical thinking skills by examining the concepts involved. Learn to apply this reflection when critically evaluating work. Understand the language and discourse of academic writing, and the importance of critical thinking in an academic context.

What interests you? Undertake an in-depth investigation on a topic related to your course that you have chosen. Research, review and complete a 2,500-3,000 word assignment, that presents a balanced opinion while evaluating current knowledge. Deliver a presentation of your findings to the rest of your group.

This module introduces a number of ideas of computer security, ranging from ciphers to malicious software. After completing this module a student will be able to make a sufficiently informed judgement on most computer security issues and computer security solutions. The module includes programming coursework encouraging the students to experiment with ideas of computer security on simplified examples.

The aim of this module is to build on the foundations of data and information systems laid down in the first year, learn how to design and manage fully structured data repositories and explore the rather different principles and techniques involved in representing, organising and displaying unstructured information.

The aims of this module are to introduce students to how ICT systems can be managed, and how business applications can be integrated. Topics include business process modelling; document management and workflow systems; lifecycle and software process issues in the context of information systems; methods and techniques for assuring the quality of systems. The taught theory will be complimented by guest lecturers from industry who will set the theory into a real life context.

A bare computer is just a complex pile of electronics. What a programmer needs is much higher-level: a human-usable interface; a file system; communication with other computers. The system should be able to share itself between many users, but stop them from interfering with each other's work. It should be secure. In short, what a bare computer needs is an operating system. This module studies the functionality an operating system must provide, and the principles of how that is done.

The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the principles that underlie the design of web applications, and to provide practical experience of the technologies used in their construction.

Teaching

  • International Academy teaching consists of interactive classes, workshops and tutorials
  • There will be an emphasis on learner independence, peer and self-assessment
  • You are encouraged to attend conferences such as the IATEFL and BALEAP
  • Courses provide a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the theory, methods and applications of computer science
  • Core components combined with optional modules, to enable you to gain either in-depth specialisation or a breadth of understanding

Assessment

  • Assessed coursework within the International Academy will generally consist of essays, in-class tests, individual presentations and some exams
  • Computer science courses are assessed on the results of your written examinations, together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework

Dissertation

  • You undertake a 12,000-word supervised dissertation based on original TESOL-related research

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

This course is only available to international applicants.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

IELTS 5.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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Visit us

Open days

We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

The full procedures, rules and regulations of the University are set out in the Charter, Statues and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.