Programme specification postgraduate Programme

SECTION 6: Programme Design

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SECTION 6: Programme Design

Programme Design Pillars (as applied to programme design)

How and where have these incorporated into the design of programme? (Max 200 words per section)

Northumbria University Research Rich Learning, with specific reference to how the programme will:

  • Embed student engagement in critical scholarship across the programme.

  • Use research to benefit learning and teaching from the first year of undergraduate study onwards. Specifically at:

  • Level 4: Year 1 students should be introduced to the academic literacies required to perform successfully in higher education. In this formative year, it is expected that Research Rich Learning will be chiefly concerned with introductions to research methodologies and knowledge construction, gaining confidence of approaches to research and critical thinking and with sufficient guidance for students to enable them to engage in well-structured and bounded enquiry based learning.

  • Level 5: Year 2 students should be provided with bounded, but flexible, negotiated opportunities for greater critical enquiry; during this year students should be given more opportunities to operate as participants in research projects. Students should be encouraged to develop their critical thinking, and in taking responsibility for their own study, such as by defining their own research projects and literature based reviews

  • Level 6: Year 3 students will capitalise on the academic experiences of the previous years, synthesizing their learning and experience through a summative ‘capstone’ assignment which demonstrates autonomous learning, academic rigour, self-directed purpose, and intellectual ambition.

  • Level 7: Masters level students will systematically demonstrate and apply understanding and knowledge at the forefront of their discipline or professional practice. Mastery will entail the development of depth and specialism in their selected area of interest, which will generally be assessed via an independently conducted, innovative project which demonstrates and utilises appropriate techniques of inquiry, critical evaluation and synthesis. Students will demonstrate the attributes of taking responsibility of their own learning, dealing with complexity, acting with initiative, learning independently, and communicating and defending their work effectively to a wide range of audiences

The full RRL plan can be accessed at:

The degree structure is designed to support research rich learning and development of research skills throughout the programme.
You are provided with opportunities to advance skills through researching and studying topics in depth. You are expected to become increasingly creative, reflective, independent learners and researchers. The development of these skills will be supported in each module, including in the module Research Methods and Project Management. This module is designed to help you learn what is required when working at Masters’ level especially in relation to the individual project, but this can also be applied on other modules.
Through the MSc Individual Project module, you will undertake a major individual project. This provides a platform to conduct a substantial piece of research and software development into a topic in the computing discipline or professional practice. This will include the need to utilise appropriate advanced research techniques, critical evaluation and synthesis. You will also need to effectively defend their work in a demonstration and viva.
You are also invited to attend department research seminars. These provide another opportunity for exposure to research methods and contemporary research issues.

Technology Enhanced Learning, with specific reference how the TEL environment of the programme will:

  • Be driven by the pedagogy and learning opportunities that it offers.

  • Ensure that all students will benefit from an approach to TEL which is both specific to their needs and benefits from a One University approach to delivery, provision and standards.

  • Be one in which staff and students can be innovative, take risks and explore current and emerging technologies

  • Ensure students have a clear understanding of the purpose and nature of TEL as part of the programme philosophy and pedagogy and their broader learning and teaching experience.

The full TEL principles can be accesses at:

The Universities eLearning (eLP) provides remote access to module course materials. This facilitates use of materials outside as well as inside scheduled classes, supporting revision, assessment work etc. The Faculty eLearning standard specifies the content that must be included for each module on the eLP. It is expected that each module will meet or exceed this.
Where appropriate technology is used to help integrate teaching and research. Electronic reading lists support this. These allow you to quickly access relevant sources that can further inform their learning with up-to-date information, covering topics directly taught in the module as well as indicating their relevance in a wider context.
Electronic submission of and feedback on assessment further supports student learning where appropriate. This supports ease of submission and helps to promote active learning through the provision of accessible feedback. Modules may use different forms of feedback, e.g., written, audio or video as required to enhance your learning.

Northumbria Employability, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, with specific reference to how the programme will:

  • Embed employability in learning and teaching strategies through engagement with the employability framework

  • Enable all students to have the opportunity for career development learning

  • Enable all  students to have the opportunity for a work related learning experience

  • Provide opportunities for  students to have access to enterprise and entrepreneurial learning

The full EE&E plan can be accessed at:

Industry practice and subject benchmarking have strongly influenced the design of the programme. Staff research and industrial expertise informs teaching. Key knowledge and skills for the postgraduate level computing professional are developed throughout the programme that supports career development, including:

  • expert subject knowledge and skills and the ability to apply them critically

  • computational skills

  • communication, individual and team-working skills

  • planning and managing project tasks

  • researching and handling complex issues

  • forming balanced judgements

  • critically evaluating and reflecting upon practitioner experience

You will be provided information on opportunities for work related learning, including volunteering and enterprise and entrepreneurship during induction, together with other opportunities.

The Universities Careers & Employment Service provide assistance to support employment, including Career Guidance, CV checks, cover letter and application form assistance, and interview and assessment centres preparation.
A faculty employer fayre is organised to connect employers and students and to promote vacancies. Wherever possible real-world scenarios are used in modules, including in assessments and employers are invited to provide guest talks to help you relate your learning to a real-world context.

Northumbria Assessment Principles, with specific reference to how assessment and feedback strategies across the programme will:

  • Help students to clarify goals, criteria and standards before, during and after assessment

  • Encourage authentic learning

  • Provide high quality feedback to enable students “to improve”

  • Use summative assessment as a learning tool

  • Provide formative assessment opportunities

  • Develop self-assessment and reflection

  • Promote dialogue around assessment

  • Use/adopt inclusive approaches to assessment that support learning and achievement across a diverse and increasingly internationalised student body

The full Northumbria Assessment & Feedback Policy can be accessed at:

Module content and assessments are both aligned to module learning outcomes, which in turn are aligned with the programme learning outcomes. As such they are designed to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills required at postgraduate level in the computer science discipline. You will be expected to incorporate self-assessment and reflection within your learning. Wherever possible real-world scenarios are used to help promote authentic learning.

Formative assessment and feedback is incorporated into modules wherever appropriate to help develop knowledge and skills and to prepare you for summative assessment.
Assessment and marking criteria are provided for each summative assessment that distinguishes the different knowledge and skills required to guide the learner. Typically requirements will also be discussed within scheduled classes and / or further written communication is provided to aid understanding.
A range of assessment methods are used across the programme including exams, reports, presentations, individual, group and project work. Feedback is provided in a suitable format (written and / or verbal) to help you understand how they performed in relation to the assessment criteria. This includes identifying strengths and weaknesses and areas where you could improve that you can feedforward to help improve performance in future work.


If applicable, please append any mapping exercise as required by the PSRB.

This programme has been designed to meet the accreditation criteria of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional

SECTION 7: Programme Overview / Summary

Programme Title and Award

MSc Computing and Information Technology

UCAS or other Admissions Code

Northumbria Programme Code

ie SITS route code


Mode(s) of Delivery please indicate the main mode of delivery in bold


Distance Learning


Mode(s) of Attendance please indicate the main delivery




Other please specify

Location(s) of Delivery (if other than Northumbria)


Education Provision with Others / Transnational Education if applicable

Northumbria Programme Delivered:

Dual Award

Joint Award

Partner Programme leading to a Northumbria award

By the partner

With the partner

At the partner

Partner Institution(s)

Date(s) of Approval / Review

Click here to enter a date.

QAA Subject Benchmark Group

Computing 2011

PSRB accreditation if applicable

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

Admission Requirements including approved arrangements for admission with advanced standing, where appropriate.

The ability to benefit from the programme is assessed on a combination of academic and personal qualities which can be demonstrated in a number of ways. Successful completion of a Degree level study (or some other equivalent qualification) is just one way. Students, who can in other ways demonstrate their ability to benefit from the programme, in particular mature students without formal qualifications, will always be considered and will be invited to contact the Programme Leader to discuss their application. It is University policy to recognise a wide variety of evidence, and potential applicants may wish to discuss this aspect of their application with the Programme Leader.

Standard Entry Requirements

Normally successful applicants will hold a good honours degree (2:2 or above) or equivalent in a subject other than Computing, or in a subject where Computing does not have a significant supporting role, or will hold a professional qualification of equivalent standing which had a significant requirement for academic study. Applicants who are not graduates and do not hold professional qualifications of equivalent standing can also be considered for entry if they show evidence of a strong motivation and capability for academic study and personal development (e.g. evidence of attendance at short courses) and/or suitable experience of working in areas which involve a significant amount of Information Technology.

Overseas students are required to have an English Language IELTS score of 6.5, or equivalent.

Students will not be eligible to claim APEL/APL for modules on this programme.
Interviews will be held where

  • the suitability of a candidate is in doubt and further evidence is sought

  • candidates present an unusual set of qualifications taken or pending, and an appropriate conditional offer needs to be determined

  • candidates may need advice on the appropriateness of the programme, or on the appropriateness of a proposed preparatory programme of study.

Applicants invited for an interview will always be informed of its purpose. Applicants invited for an interview will always be informed of its purpose.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate evidence of subject interest or aptitude.

Application Procedure

Standard University application procedure

Variation from Assessment Regulations or the Modular Framework Provide details of any approved variations from the Assessment Regulations for Northumbria Awards (ARNA)


SECTION 8: Log of Changes
Any changes made to an approved Programme Specification (other than typographical corrections) should be logged below. Where it is not practicable to change an existing Programme Specification, a new version is required.

Brief summary of change to Programme Specification

(including section number)

Programme code(s) affected by change

Programme title(s)

Date of approval / amendment

Admin change


Change takes effect

Stage / year of programme

eg Year 3

Semester / academic year

eg S2;05/06


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