Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module COMP51915: Professional Skills

Department: Computer Science

COMP51915: Professional Skills

Type Tied Level 5 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2018/19 Module Cap



Excluded Combination of Modules


  • Provide training in essential subject-specific professional skills: software quality management, project management, report writing, documentation, testing, and usage of established black-box software
  • Provide training in essential wider professional skills: entrepreneurship, intellectual property, etc.
  • Provide transferable skills training: communicating novel ideas in science, problem solving, and application of scientific methods and techniques to real-world problems


  • Software development and usage workshops
  • Entrepreneuership, Research Ethics (Intellectual Property, e.g.), Academic Writing, Basic Project Planning and Timetabling
  • Communicating Science, Philosophy and Ethics of Data Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • understanding and critical reflection of legal and ethical principles underpinning the application of computational methods and data science in economical and societal context
  • fundamental entrepreneural/project management and implementation skills
Subject-specific Skills:
  • competent management of software projects, understanding of versioning and techniques for quality control, verification and validation of alogirthms and software
  • competent management and handling of state-of-the-art software (such as visualisation tools or linear algebra packages)
Key Skills:
  • responsible research
  • productive research

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

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop: Agile, Collaborative and Responsible Code Development 1 1 week; 5 days 3 hours per day 15
Workshop: Communicating Science 1 1 week; 5 days 3 hours per day 15
Workshop: Entrepreneurial Thinking (mini-MBA) 1 2 weeks; 10 days 7 hours per day 70
Self-study (preparation and wrap-up in other weeks) 50

Summative Assessment

Component: Presentation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Presentation (wrapping up one workshop) 20 minutes 25%
Presentation (wrapping up one workshop) 20 minutes 25%
Presentation (wrapping up one workshop) 50%

Formative Assessment:

The successful participation in professional and transferable skills training as well as the entrepeneurial training will be assessed formatively through individual and/or group presentations. Alternatively, the lecturer may ask for a short essay. They are indirectly assessed (project planning, presentation and communication skills, source code handling) with formative feedback by each individual coursework.

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