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.
- Letters: The shame of this ‘gated intellectual community’ (guardian.co.uk)
- New antibiotics a step closer with discovery of bacterial protein structure (eurekalert.org)