Studying Computing & Mathematics at University
“Computing” is much more than the machine you are using to view this web page, it is all around us and core to almost everything we do. For example, there are many computer systems in an average family car to control heating systems, automated headlights and windscreen wipers, and satellite navigation systems.
When you drive a car it is not necessary to understand the complexities of how the engine is actually working. Rather you only have to learn how to operate the “user interface”, such as the pedals and steering wheel. Learning to drive the car does not give you the skills required to design and build a formula 1 racing car! Similarly with computing.
The ability to use a computer for tasks such as searching for information on the Internet, communicating via email, using social network sites, using word processors and spreadsheets etc are now seen as at least as important as reading, writing and arithmetic.
However, studying computing at University is not an “advanced driving test” - It is not “advanced word processing”. Rather it focuses on how the technology that we use works and hence how to develop new applications for the future. For example, is there a better way to transfer information between two computers that would make the Internet faster? This may involve mathematical and technical approaches.
Computing is an ever present feature of the modern world, but mathematics is no less important. Mathematics has been described as the language of all science and engineering. It provides the concepts and methods which allow us to understand, predict, and model the world around us. Whether it be creating the hugely sophisticated mathematical and computational models which are used to predict tomorrow’s weather; running statistical tests to determine how effective a new medication is; encrypting information to allow it to be safely transferred across the internet; or modelling the financial markets, behind them all are equations, and mathematicians.
The ethos of the School of Computing and Mathematics is to offer students a supportive environment for their studies, thus providing them with the opportunity to achieve their potential. Courses are influenced by internal and external research as well as both the Professional Body and also the local profession.
Facts and Figures
The School is based on the Jordanstown campus of the University and has approximately 40 academic staff and 850 students. We offer courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including opportunities for PhD study. The School delivers courses in multimedia, mathematics, ICT, computing science (with specialisms) and software engineering.
In line with the University’s ethos of widening participation, the School also has a number of links with local Further Education institutions and welcomes students who have completed, for example, National Diploma awards and who wish to further their studies to Honours level and beyond. Applicants with Foundation Degrees will be considered for entry with advanced standing.
Research within the School focuses around two main research groups, namely the Smart Environments Research Group and Artificial Intelligence and Applications. The quality of research undertaken within the School was recognised in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, where the subject of Computing was ranked in the top 20% of UK institutions in terms of research power.