Why Computer Science and why study at UCD? Computer Science is the study, design, development and evaluation of computer systems, software and algorithms. The course at UCD covers both theory and practice. Students learn how to develop algorithms (sequences of abstract instructions) to process information and solve computational problems. Working individually and in teams, students design and develop computer programs using state-of-the-art tools and technologies.
Do you need language to think? Why the eye is not like a camera? How do search engines, Skype, Facebook, Internet banking or computer games work? If you are interested in finding the answers to these questions and are a logical thinker who likes problem solving, a degree in Computer Science could be for you.
Bachelor in Computer Science
Below are some of the highlights from each Stage of the degree. For a complete list of modules visit the MyUCD Computer Science page.
- Stage 1 - Stage 1 in Computer Science gives students an insight into life in Computer Science. Here they will be shown a diverse range of subjects and will be given your first experience of programming using Python and the C language.
Modules such as Algorithmic Problem Solving will giving you an insight into algorithms; a core concept in programming. Software Engineering Project gives students the ability to put what they learn into practice and participate in groups.
Computer Science in Practice will then show students an insight into the different aspects of Computer Science with a different guest speaker giving a talk each week in their specific work or research. Visits from different companies such as Google, IBM and Microsoft will also give more of an understanding to students.
Semester 1 will comprise a 15-week "immersion" experience where students take only Computer Science and some Mathematics tailored to the needs of Computer Science.
- Stage 2 - In addition to continuing to build upon the basic programming and logical reasoning skills established in Stage 1,
our Data Structures and Algorithms module will introduce you to object oriented programming and the design and analysis of efficient algorithms. Using the Java programming language you gain an insight into the challenges inherent in software development.
- Stage 2 will allow you to explore fields as diverse as Computer Forensics, Web Design and Cognitive Science as electives. Computer Forensics will allow you to understand viruses and hacking. Using software developed by researchers at the UCD Centre for Cybercrime Investigation you will witness the real-time detection of cybercrime on the Internet.
- Stages 3 & 4 - For the remaining 2 stages of your degree you will have the opportunity to specialise in different application areas such as Computer Graphics, Parallel Computing, Wireless Networking and Data Mining. Another popular area of specialisation is Artificial Intelligence. Examples of AI applications include systems capable of recommending products to customers, automatically translating from one language to another or robots that can play football and find their way out of a maze.
Our Networks and Internet Systems module will explain how all modern communications are designed and implemented for example email, web browsing, mobile phones, file sharing and social networking applications. A project in the module involves building your own e-mail client.
"The programming and operating systems skills I developed in UCD Computer Science enabled me to become a Quality Assurance engineer for the Solaris operating system which is used by telecommunication companies and government agencies worldwide. Training and instructing in the UCD Taekwon-Do Club helped me develop the teamwork and teaching skills that I use in my occasional role as a trainer for new engineers in our Dublin, Prague and San Francisco Offices."
Chris Quinn, a UCD Computer Science graduate and Team Leader in Sun Microsystems
"Studying Computer Science is a great way to learn how to solve problems in a logical and innovative way. You can apply these skills to develop new business ideas or to work within existing companies in areas as diverse as search engine design or bioinformatics where computers are used to speed up the development of new drugs in the pharmaceutical industry."
Dr Maurice Coyle, a UCD Computer Science graduate and entrepreneur for the company HeyStaks.
"UCD Computer Science gave me an excellent grounding in the skills I use daily as a software developer. Knowing millions of people around the world are using mobile phone software that I helped develop gives me a huge sense of satisfaction, and travelling to work with international clients on location was an added bonus."
Derry O'Sullivan, a UCD Computer Science graduate and employee of Amdocs Interactive.
Do I need Higher Level mathematics?
No. The minimum requirement is a B3 in Ordinary Level Mathematics. A lot of students beginning in first year do not have higher level maths, although it is strongly advised that you do. In your first year, there are a lot of courses focused on giving you the foundation in mathematics that is required.
Where can I get the opportunity to meet lecturers and other people connected to Computer Science?
All UCD Science events are listed here. In particular, UCD Computer Science attend the Higher Options Career Fair in the RDS each year where you can have the opportunity to talk to lecturers, students and other people connected to UCD.
UCD Computer Science also holds a Open Evening where there is a number of talks from Computer Science lecturers and also the opportunity for students to talk to lecturers and students. Also UCD Science host a UCD Open Evening where you can talk to lecturers from Computer Science.
A CS Summer School run during the Summer to allow students entering 6th year an opportunity to gain an insight into Computer Science in UCD and also student life on campus.
Shadowing day allows 5th and 6th year secondary school students to get an opportunity to spend the morning with a current Science undergraduate student and attend lectures and tutorials. After lunch, there will be a tour of the undergraduate labs and facilities. There will be a small charge for this day which will include lunch.
What programming languages will I learn?
You will overcome challenging problems in these areas using tools including:
- Programming Languages - C , C++, Java, Python, Ruby;
- Database Software – MS Access, Oracle;
- Graphics Languages – OpenGL, VRML;
- Operating Systems – Linux/UNIX, Windows.
I don't understand what module and stage mean?
A module is a self-contained unit of learning, which is studied over a semester. Each module has a credit value. A 5 credit module will require 100 to 125 hours of work. This includes classes, self study and assessment.
Core Modules are modules which are mandatory for your degree programme.
Option modules are a group of specified modules within a given programme, some of which must be taken by a student on that programme according to the programme structure.
Elective modules are modules which you can pick from anywhere across the UCD curriculum. In UCD, most undergraduate modules are allocated 5 credits. (You may find some large modules, allocated 10, 15 or 20 credits, in the later stages of your degree programme.) The normal workload is therefore 12 modules in a year or 6 in each semester. Some variation on this may be allowed – see the detailed regulations or visit the Programme Office for more information.
Your degree programme is divided into Stages, which generally correspond to years for full-time students. Each Stage consists of modules at an appropriate level, which amount to 60 credits. Normally, you will complete each Stage (pass all the modules, earn 60 credits) before moving on to the next Stage. Students should note that for entry into Stage 4 a qualifying GPA (≥2.48) must be achieved in Stage 3.
What if I need help in an assignment?
All the lecturers are approachable and willing to help. Also the lab environment is a place where students can meet and discuss various assignments and on top of that. Outside of lab time there is the Computer Science Support Centre.
For any problems people have with mathematics there is also a Mathematic Support Centre.
What will the academic year be?
The academic year timetable can be found here
When will there be exams?
The year is divided into two semesters. There will be exams at the end of each semester, which is generally mid-December for Semester 1 and early May for Semester 2.
Will my exams be worth 100% of the result?
A lot of the time in Computer Science, exams only make up a percentage of the final grade, percentages will also go for continuous assessment such as assignments or class tests, depending on the module (subject). Some modules such as Software Engineering in Stage 1, 2 and 3 are based fully on a group project.
What happens if I fail a module?
If you fail a module you may repeat or substitute where permissible. Additional information relating to exam results and a comprehensive list of FAQs is available here
What jobs can I get once I finish this degree?
- Download DN201 Computer Science brochure (pdf) for more information on the types of careers for graduates.
- Visit the UCD Science Careers page for more testimonials.
Are there any opportunities for internships or studying abroad?
In Stages 3 or 4 we hope to arrange internships with major companies for at least the top 25% of students in companies such as Google, Microsoft or IBM. UCD also has strong ties to Universities in Europe, China and the USA and there are study abroad options in Stage 3. Other possibilities are found here