Postgraduate Course

MSc Artificial Intelligence

MSc Artificial Intelligence


The details
Artificial Intelligence
October 2021
1 year
TWI - Cambridge

This unique course is based at TWI in Cambridge and gives you a rare opportunity to gain a more practical postgraduate degree experience. By studying within the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) facility at TWI, where you will receive an industry-based experience, as you will be located within a company, rather than on a university campus. TWI is well-known internationally for contribution to industry research and will offer you a very different experience to what you can currently access at our Colchester Campus. You will have access to industry-led projects with real-life application as well as TWI Industrial members companies.

Artificial intelligence deals with the theory, design, application, and development of biologically, socially and linguistically motivated computational paradigms.

The course will focus on linking artificial intelligence techniques to real-world applications and projects, including artificial intelligence in business and financial applications, artificial intelligence in games, artificial intelligence in biological sciences and medicine, and artificial intelligence in industrial control.

Our course covers the theoretical, applied and practical aspects of artificial intelligence, with an emphasis on:

  • Genetic algorithms
  • Evolutionary programming
  • Fuzzy systems
  • Neural networks
  • Connectionist systems
  • Hybrid intelligent systems

Our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering 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. We are home to many of the world’s top scientists, and our work is driven by creativity and imagination as well as technical excellence. More than two-thirds of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent (REF 2014).

On this course you will have access to discussion forums, which will enable you to chat about course content with other students. Lectures will be recorded and uploaded to our ListenAgain service, so that if you miss a lecture for any reason or just want to catch-up, you can do this easily online. Our clear and well-structured course material will all be shared with you via Moodle, and you will also be able to use Moodle to access e-textbooks and academic journals.

The University will be seeking accreditation with both the IET and BCS after the graduation of the first cohort. If accreditation is approved, it will be backdated to this first cohort.

Why we're great.
  • This applied artificial intelligence course is one-of-a-kind in the UK
  • Based at engineering-consultancy company TWI, you will receive a practical and industry-focused experience
  • Upon graduation, you will be well positioned to launch your career in artificial intelligence
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Placement year

Although this isn’t technically a course with a placement, you will be based in a company in Cambridge, TWI, so you will benefit from working with their experts, have access to library facilities, and will be able to network with staff and other students on-site. Ultimately, this course is a more applied and practical version of the MSc Artificial Intelligence course based at our Colchester Campus.

Our expert staff

You will be taught by leading University of Essex academics in the area of artificial intelligence, including Professor Hani Hagras (intelligent systems), Professor Luca Citi (machine learning) and Dr Yunfei Long (natural language engineering). The research areas of almost more than half of the academic staff in our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering relate to artificial intelligence and its applications.

Our lecturers will provide you with the support you need to be successful on this course via out-of-classroom appointments (through Zoom) and email. There will also be Q&A sessions at different points throughout the course with your tutors.

You will also have industrial supervisors from TWI, where there is a dedicated team. The team at TWI will have regular meetings with you, and will be in contact with staff at Essex and your academic supervisors, to make sure you are on track with your studies. The supervision you receive from both Essex and TWI ensures you receive a simultaneous academic and industrial experience.

Specialist facilities

This unique postgraduate course is based at TWI in Cambridge.

Who are TWI?

TWI is one of the world’s foremost independent research and technology organisations, with expertise in materials joining and engineering processes. They are a company that provides engineering consultancy to its members and stakeholders with authoritative and impartial expert advice, knowhow and safety assurance related to engineering, materials and joining technologies.

TWI established the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) in 2012, which carries out industry-led, postgraduate research. TWI also hosts a growing number of Innovation Centres in the UK and overseas, established in partnership with leading universities, including the University of Essex, which leverage knowledge, secure grant funding and accelerate research to achieve technology excellence and meet socio-economic and environmental challenges.

With their collective technology focus encompassing robotics and autonomous systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning, internet of things (IoT), advanced non-destructive testing, renewable energy systems, structural integrity, joining 4.0, materials, additive manufacturing and more, the Innovation Centres are creating a substantial impact on the future of UK engineering.

What will you benefit from based at TWI in Cambridge?

You will have access to NSIRC and TWI’s facilities, including their unique library. There are also dedicated student spaces in the building and will have access to both a quiet room and a conference centre.

NSIRC also has a students’ social committee and a social activity club which you will be able to join. These groups provide you with support by organising social, welcome events and provide a space for you to feel comfortable in the industrial work-based environment in which you’ll be studying.

What benefits will you receive from the Colchester Campus?

Although you will be accessing resources, lectures, classes and members of staff based at Colchester remotely, you will have full access of all the necessary software that campus-based students will receive and will also use the Essex Virtual Lab, which we have used extensively in 2020 due to remote and home working arrangements that have been in place.

If you require papers or books which are not available at the TWI Library, you will still benefit from access to the University of Essex’s Albert Sloman Library (which enables you to access to both physical and online books and other resources).

Your future

Our course opens up employment opportunities designing intelligent software – in banks and businesses designing prediction systems, in computer games companies designing adaptive games, in pharmaceutical companies designing intelligent systems that model a given drug and its various interactions, and in heavy industries designing control systems.

Our recent graduates have progressed to a variety of senior positions in industry and academia. Some of the companies and organisations where our former graduates are now employed include:

  • Electronic Data Systems
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
  • Bank of Mexico
  • Visa International
  • Hyperknowledge (Cambridge)
  • Hellenic Air Force
  • ICSS (Beijing)
  • United Microelectronic Corporation (Taiwan)

We also work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Whilst studying at TWI, you will also have the opportunity to participate in an annual conference where you will meet industrial experts and have the chance to network with industry professionals. The conference is an opportunity to help you find and secure a future career.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A 2.2 degree, or international equivalent, in: Computer Science; Computer Engineering; Computer Networks; Computer Games; Computing; Software Engineering, Electronic Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Telecommunication Engineering; Information Engineering; Automation; Mechatronic Engineering; Mathematics or Physics.

Graduates of Computer Science; Computer Engineering; Computer Networks; Computer Games; Computing; Software Engineering must have studied :

  • ONE programming module (e.g. C, C#, C++, Java, Python, Object Oriented programming, Advanced Programming)
  • ONE maths module (e.g.Mathematics; Calculus; Algebra; Differential Equations).
  • and ONE other computing related module (e.g. Database, Web development, Software engineering, Operating system, Computer architecture; Computer systems etc.).

Graduates of Electronic Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Telecommunication Engineering; Automation; Mechatronic Engineering; Mathematics; Physics must have studied:

  • ONE programming module (e.g. C, C#, C++, Java, Python, Object Oriented programming, Advanced Programming).
  • ONE maths module (e.g.Mathematics; Calculus; Algebra; Differential Equations).
  • and ONE other math module (e.g. Mathematics, Calculus, Algebra, Differential Equations, Probability and statistics, Signals and systems, Control theory, Control systems, Computer systems, Embedded systems, Microprocessors).

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 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.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.


Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

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.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Intelligent Systems and Robotics

This module gives an introduction to intelligent systems and robotics. It goes on to consider the essential hardware for sensing and manipulating the real world, and their properties and characteristics. The programming of intelligent systems and real-world robots are explored in the context of localisation, mapping, and fuzzy logic control.

View Intelligent Systems and Robotics on our Module Directory

Neural Networks and Deep Learning

The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the role of artificial neural networks (ANNs) in computer science and artificial intelligence. This will allow the student to build computers and intelligent machines which are able to have an artificial brain which will allow them to learn and adapt in a human like fashion.

View Neural Networks and Deep Learning on our Module Directory

MSc Project and Dissertation

What fascinates you? Apply your learning in computer science or engineering to solve a problem. Design, implement and evaluate a solution, producing a dissertation on your investigation and giving an oral presentation of your work. Test your knowledge, while gaining practical experience and building your project management skills.

View MSc Project and Dissertation on our Module Directory

Professional Practice and Research Methodology

This module aims to prepare students for conducting an independent research project leading to a dissertation and to provide them with an appreciation of research and business skills related to their professional career. As a precursor to their project students, individually select an area of Computer Science, or Electronic Engineering, or Computational Finance and perform the necessary background research to define a topic and prepare a project proposal under the guidance of a supervisor. The module guides them by a) introducing common research methods b) creating an understanding of basic statistics for describing and making conclusions from data c) helping to write a strong proposal including learning how to perform literature search and evaluation and d) giving an in-depth view into the business enterprise, financial and management accounting and investment appraisal.

View Professional Practice and Research Methodology on our Module Directory

Group Project

Teamwork skills are essential for employability. The aim of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to apply their specialised knowledge to a realistic problem and gain practical experience of the processes involved in the team-based production of software. Wherever possible, teams are organised on the basis of shared interest, and the problem is designed to exercise their understanding of their area of specialised study. Starting from an outline description of a realistic problem, each team is required to develop a fully implemented software solution using appropriate engineering and project management techniques.

View Group Project on our Module Directory

Text Analytics (optional)

We live in an era in which the amount of information available in textual form - whether of scientific or commercial interest - greatly exceeds the capability of any man to read or even skim. Text analytics is the area of artificial intelligence concerned with making such vast amounts of textual information manageable - by classifying documents as relevant or not, by extracting relevant information from document collections, and/or by summarizing the content of multiple documents. In this module we cover all three types of techniques.

View Text Analytics (optional) on our Module Directory

Game Artificial Intelligence (optional)

This module covers a range of Artificial Intelligence techniques employed in games, and teaches how games are and can be used for research in Artificial Intelligence. The module explores algorithms for creating agents that play classical board games (such as chess or checkers) and real-time games (Mario or PacMan), including single agents able to play multiple games. The course also covers Procedural Content Generation, and explores the techniques used to simulate intelligence in the latest videogames.

View Game Artificial Intelligence (optional) on our Module Directory

Physics-Based Games (optional)

Many of today’s best computer games rely on realistic physics at the core of their gameplay. In this course, students are taught how these physics engines work, and how to create physics-based games of their own. Students create a physics engine from scratch, and also learn how to use existing industry-standard open-source 2-D and 3-D physics engines. The necessary principles of physics and mathematics are taught, assuming very little prior knowledge. Vectors, matrices, and numerical integration are taught on a need-to-know basis, with code examples to illustrate the methods. Each lecture is followed by a lab session, where the new techniques are programmed by each student. Almost immediately, students will create scenarios where objects are moving and bouncing around the screen realistically. Each lab session ends in creating a small physics-based game. The course is assessed through tests, and a larger game-programming assignment.

View Physics-Based Games (optional) on our Module Directory

Natural Language Engineering (optional)

As humans we are adept in understanding the meaning of texts and conversations. We can also perform tasks such as summarize a set of documents to focus on key information, answer questions based on a text, and when bilingual, translate a text from one language into fluent text in another language. Natural Language Engineering (NLE) aims to create computer programs that perform language tasks with similar proficiency. This course provides a strong foundation to understand the fundamental problems in NLE and also equips students with the practical skills to build small-scale NLE systems. Students are introduced to three core ideas of NLE: a) gaining an understanding the core elements of language--- the structure and grammar of words, sentences and full documents, and how NLE problems are related to defining and learning such structures, b) identify the computational complexity that naturally exists in language tasks and the unique problems that humans easily solve but are incredibly hard for computers to do, and c) gain expertise in developing intelligent computing techniques which can overcome these challenges.

View Natural Language Engineering (optional) on our Module Directory

Data Science and Decision Making (optional)

The aim of this module is to familiarise students with the whole pipeline of processing, analysing, presenting and making decision using data. This module blends data analysis, decision making and visualisation with practical python programming. Students will need a reasonable programming background as they will be expected to develop a complete end-to-end data science application.

View Data Science and Decision Making (optional) on our Module Directory

Creating and Growing a New Business Venture (optional)

Acquire critical and transferable skills associated with the creation and growth of new business ventures. You focus on the development process from start up to early stage growth of new ventures, new small businesses spin offs from large firms, and especially innovative, technology-based firms. You study opportunity identification, self-efficacy, ideas generation, bricolage and bootstrapping, developing business models, networking, marketing, and finance.

View Creating and Growing a New Business Venture (optional) on our Module Directory

Computational Models in Economics and Finance (optional)

The modules introduces students to computational thinking in economics and finance by looking at different relevant models and theories, such as agent-based modelling and game theory. Students will also be introduced to various applications, such as financial forecasting, automated bargaining and mechanism design.

View Computational Models in Economics and Finance (optional) on our Module Directory


You will be based at TWI in Cambridge, but will be taught remotely by our expert University of Essex academic staff. Not only will you be working alongside other students at TWI, you will also have the opportunity to remotely liaise with students on the same course based in Colchester.

You will be part of a ‘classroom’ at TWI with other students and attend all Essex modules remotely. You will attend virtual lectures at the same time as your Colchester Campus-based peers.

Teaching sessions will include lectures, lab-work and classes. Lectures provide a means for teachers to demonstrate required skills through examples and applications, and for you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the content of the modules.

You can prepare for the teaching sessions by reading, interpreting and evaluating relevant material including literature for your dissertation. You also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through participation in activities.


Modules will be assessed by coursework and exams. Your lecturers will provide written and/or verbal feedback on your work through comments and discussion.


You will complete a dissertation which will be the final piece of assessed work you produce.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee


International fee


EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold 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 and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.


You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.

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.


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.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of 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. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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