Published: 24 April 2020

Meet the Department of Computer Science

Dr Tom Thorne and Dr Ioana Boureanu, the Directors of Postgraduate Programmes in the Department of Computer Science, tell us why postgraduate students should choose Surrey… 

Why should I choose this Department? 

“We’ve always been a department that teaches with employability in mind and studying for a masters degree in computer science at Surrey will open the door to a world of job opportunities. The key study areas we offer give postgraduate students an in-depth understanding of topics at the forefront of emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, database systems, cryptography, artificial intelligence and machine learning. These prepare students for the challenges faced in industry today. 

“The Department of Computer Science at Surrey also encompasses two acclaimed research centres, the Nature Inspired Computing and Engineering (NICE) Group and the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS). The research here directly informs our teaching, as cutting-edge knowledge from globally recognised academics at these centres feeds straight into lecture theatres.”

Our research has also been recognised as world-leading and internationally-excellent, we recently ranked 7th in the UK for our research outputs in computer science and informatics according to the latest Research Excellent Framework (REF) 2021.

What’s it like to study here? 

“You’ll be joining a thriving community of 700 students and you’ll be learning in an environment that has been awarded a Gold Standard in the Teaching Excellence Framework ratings. 

“Our Data Science MSc allows students to focus on collecting, managing and analysing data, which is essential across many sectors – from finance to politics, and advertising to healthcare. Our Information Security MSc is fully certified by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and it equips students with the theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience needed to pursue a career in information security. 

“Distinguished guests regularly deliver talks to our masters students, too. Most recently, John Abel, a Technical Director at Google, visited to discuss how artificial intelligence and data science are influencing our lives. 

“Masters students also have the opportunity to study abroad, with locations at our partner institutions in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. Finally, you’ll be allocated a personal tutor, who’ll support you during your time here.” 

What are the facilities like? 

“In 2019, the University invested £1.7million in a new 200-seat Computer Science Laboratory, which also has state-of-the-art audio visual equipment. Other key facilities include: 

* Six open-access PC labs and four dedicated specialist labs 

* Specialist desktop solutions, including development software, research packages and dedicated printing

* A High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster 

* An Access Grid Node (AGN), which provides a 6m screen for video conferencing, presentation sharing and software demonstration, with interactive whiteboard capabilities 

* Free software and free wireless network 

* Two common rooms, one of which is for quiet study, available for students to use 24 hours a day.”

What are the key areas of academic research in the Department?

“The NICE Research Group focuses on six main areas: 

* Computer vision

* Explainable and trustworthy AI

* Human-like and neural computing

* Machine learning and reasoning

* Optimisation algorithms

* Systems biology and bioinformatics


“The SCCS focuses on:

* Cyber security and cryptography

* Wireless and mobile security  

* Trusted computing

* Hardware security

Privacy and authentication

Secure communications

* Formal methods for security

* Multimedia security and forensics

“We also play an active part in the Digital World Research Centre, a collaborative and international project with several other universities, which carries out new media innovation projects with a social and cultural benefit.” 

What is Surrey’s record on employability? 

“Our masters courses are designed to address the globally increasing commercial demand for specific IT skills in data analysis and gathering, and cyber security. Studying with us opens up a huge range of career opportunities in these areas. Recent graduates of our MSc courses have gone on to companies such as Bosch, Ernst & Young, IBM UK and RGA Consulting.

“Surrey also boasts an award-winning Employability and Careers team, which offers careers information and guidance throughout your time as a student and up to three years after you graduate. An average of 95% of our undergraduates are employed or in further study within six months of leaving their course. As a postgraduate, you’ll have more specific skills and a greater depth of knowledge to offer potential employers.”

What’s life like as a student at Surrey? 

“Life as a postgraduate student isn’t just all about study. Away from the lecture theatres, there’s a thriving campus of 17,000 students with around 140 different clubs and societies, ranging from Mixed Martial Arts to the Surrey Video Gaming Society. Computer Science students also started a society called HackSurrey, which organises events with participants from all over Europe, and they’ve launched their own Information Security Society. 

“Nearby is Surrey Sports Park, a £36 million facility, which offers training for the elite and the casual athlete. Leafy Guildford, meanwhile, is a bustling market town on the edge of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a wide range of bars and restaurants. It’s also a 34-minute train journey from London if you fancy time in the city.” 

Found out more about Postgraduate Courses in the Department of Computer Science.

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