Birkbeck College
Image by Matt From London via Flickr

I get a lot of people coming to the site clearly considering whether it is worth their while taking up their offer of a place to do an MSc in Computer Science at Birkbeck. So, I want to say that they should, but they should think about:

  • Have they got the time – for a part-timer this can mean three evenings a week of three-hour’s worth lectures: you can get away with missing some (as I had to because I was out of the country) but you will suffer as a result.
  • Have they got the right mental attitude – I have to say I was a bit iffy on this in the first year (until the shock of the exams), as I thought it was all C++ (been there, done that) and a bit of ‘A’ level maths – turned out to be a bit harder than that after all!

It’s quite hard work in the end – especially the very end, with the project – your friends and relations will think that because you have passed the exams it must be a doddle from this part on, when it actually gets worse. You can think of it as passing the exams meaning you have reached the level of a graduate, you then have to complete the project to earn the Masters – so three years in two years (or one if you are full-timer) and then another year in three months!

But it’s also great, an intellectual stretch and a gateway to lots of other things.

If you do take it up, try and read up some stuff in advance – I really wish I had done that in my first year – I have a few recommendations here, but there are lots of other books to read.

3 thoughts on “Birkbeck

  1. I did the course full time and it has quite literally changed my life. However you are right to point out it is a lot of work. Particularly all those C++ assignments from Roger!

  2. Ha! I actually had no problem with Roger’s C++ assignments, and that lulled me into complacency with the C++ exam: guess it’s my development style to use a lot of online help which isn’t available in an exam 🙂

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