Why did you originally apply to do your chosen course at Birmingham?

I came across this course at one of the University’s Postgraduate Open Days during the final year of my undergraduate degree and thought how unusual it was to find an MSc degree that does not require previous knowledge of the subject! As I hadn’t studied Maths since taking my GCSE’s, I tentatively applied to the course with other back-up plans in mind, as I was not confident I would get a place on it. My application was successful which proves that this course is genuinely designed for students with absolutely no background in Computer Science, if they are ready and willing to learn! The course has provided me with new skills that complement those I gained from my BA degree; it has also opened up entirely new industries for me to work in too.

What do you think are the best points of your course?

One of the best points of the course has been the amount of support offered by all the teaching staff on the course. Every lecturer has scheduled office hours, and at least once a day, the teaching assistants run drop-in sessions on Zoom where you can share your screen and ask for advice. The teaching assistants are also available every Friday in the lab to offer face-to-face guidance. Labs are scheduled on a weekly basis to ensure we are utilising and practising our coding skills. I have also found that, regardless of what time it is, there is always a teaching assistant in the lab who is happy to answer questions; this has been particularly important to me as someone who doesn’t come from a STEM background.
The other thing I love about the course is the social aspect (as I initially didn’t expect to make many friends), however it’s been designed to allow students to get to know their peers. My favourite module so far has been ‘Building Useable Software’ which involves working as a group to design and pitch a software application. This entailed assessing the requirements of the software, performing software modelling and testing, and ultimately creating a prototype. We thoroughly enjoyed supporting each other and working as a group, and we ended up achieving a good grade whilst having fun.

What’s the best thing about studying at the University of Birmingham?

My favourite thing about the University of Birmingham is the synergy between our beautiful green campus, and the large city centre which is only 7 minutes away by train. This means students benefit from a university community with academic buildings close to each other, without being cut off from the city. Birmingham is also well connected via train to most places in the UK, meaning it is extremely easy to visit other cities or to return home after term. We are also surrounded by lots of lovely high streets such as Harborne and Bourneville which are all within walking distance from campus and are full of great places to take friends and family if they come to visit. A special acknowledgement must also go to Old Joe, our clocktower!

What’s your highlight of your time at the University?

The highlight of my time at the University absolutely has to be all the friends I have made through plucking up the courage to join societies. I have been lucky enough to be a UoB student for the past 4 years, and I have been on the committee of three societies, and a member of many more. University is a unique time when you are surrounded by lots of students (many of whom live within walking distance from you) who are bound to have similar interests and hobbies to you, and it is really special to foster friendships that you know will last far beyond graduation.

What advice would you give to students thinking about studying on the course?

I would advise anyone that doesn’t come from a STEM background but is thinking about applying to this course to go for it!

Is there anything extra students thinking about studying on the course should know?

For anyone thinking about studying a master’s course at Birmingham, it is a great idea to engage with the Postgraduate Society, which hosts lots of free socials. The society is great for getting to know like-minded people with similar workloads.
I would also advise anyone thinking about studying this course to get a job with Worklink (the on-campus student employment agency) which offers a vast number of roles so that you can earn money whilst not jeopardising your studies.