Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)


Department: Computer Science


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap
Tied to


  • Postgraduate modules to the value of 60 credits selected from those offered by the Department of Computer Science including EITHER Advanced Java Systems with UML-Based Design (COMP50915) OR Object Oriented Programming in Java and UML (COMP51815).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module is to enable the student to tackle the main design project, equipped with the appropriate skills and technical knowledge. To do this, the student must be familiar with the background of the project, and must also be confident of undertaking this using appropriate research methods and practices. Further, the student must approach the writing up in a professional manner.


  • Intensive background research, literature survey and on-line search to understand in depth the subject of the dissertation
  • The research process
  • How to plan, manage and write up the dissertation, including literature search and citation
  • Professional issues concerned with the project
  • How to establish criteria for success by which the project can be evaluated
  • Determining the requirements of the project, and the appropriate evaluation approach
  • Techniques for evaluation

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Specialist knowledge: personal research, software analysis
  • Management: planning a project within a professional and ethical framework
  • Engineering of software systems: requirements analysis and documentation
  • Professional skills: technical writing and empirical evaluation techniques
Subject-specific Skills:
    Key Skills:

      Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

      • The module comprises 10 days of lectures, tutorials, and reading, and two weeks undertaking a major laboratory assignment. The overall workload conforms to the standard SLAT requirement of 150 hours equivalent to 15 credits. The assignment report will consist of background and planning material on the project forming the first two chapters of the dissertation.

      Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

      Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
      Lectures 6 In weeks 1 and 2 2 hours 12
      Tutorials 4 In weeks 3 and 4 2 hour 8
      Formative assignment 1 30 hours 30
      Preparation and Reading 100
      Total 150

      Summative Assessment

      Component: Laboratory report Component Weighting: 100%
      Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
      Coursework 2500 words 100%

      Formative Assessment:

      Written drafts of chapters and feedback on formative assignment with written feedback.

      Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University