Twitter | Contact Details |

Home > Postgraduate Programme > Computer Science

MSc International Innovation (Computer Science)

35 industry-focussed 2 year MScs with £16,000 bursary and 6 months in China

The Computer Science pathway provides a unique blend of broad, contemporary academic modules and the professional training and practical experience needed to succeed in industrial and academic careers.

As on all other pathways on this programme, you have the opportunity to practise the knowledge and skills you have learned through organised industrial placements and projects.

Year 1


Michaelmas Term: October-December

After Welcome Wee, MSc International Innovation (Computer Science) students take the following core modules:

Elements of Distributed Systems

This module will equip students with the ability to develop and apply an understanding of fundamental principles, techniques and technologies that underpin today’s global IT infrastructure. Students will learn to assess new systems technologies, to know where technologies fit in a comprehensive schema, and to know what to read in order to develop a deeper level of understanding.

Students will focus on the properties of system components, and will become familiar with the strengths, weaknesses, scalability and bottlenecks of systems components, with the aim to make intelligent and well-reasoned trade-offs between fundamental building blocks of distributed systems in today’s IT infrastructure. The techniques and principles element of the modules addresses caching, tiering, replication, synchronisation, failure and reliability, whilst the technologies section covers topics such as interaction paradigms in distributed systems, peer-to-peer architecture and scalable and high-performance networking.

Advanced Human Computer Interaction I

This module explores advanced topics in experimental Human-Computer Intercation (HCI), such as understanding users and their requirements, investigating design spaces and prototyping and developing innovative interaction techniques. The module offers increased experience in HCI literature and design methods both with and without users, as well as practical experience of using supporting tools. Students will learn about modelling techniques and design space techniques as part of the module.

Upon completition of the module, students will have the knowledge to conduct experiemental HCI research and have the motivation, experience and tools for understanding users and their requirements for interaction. The module helps to develop scientific writing skills and analytical thinking and prepares students for further postgraduate study, or for a successful career in IT or computing.

Data Mining

This module provides a comprehensive coverage of the problems related to data representation, storage, manipulation and processing in terms of extracting information from the data, including big data.

Practical laboratory sessions will offer students an opportunity to gain a fundamental theoretical level of knowledge and skills in computer science. Students will then apply their working understanding to the data primer, data processing and classification. The module will enhance students’ familiarity with dynamic data space partitioning, using evolving, clustering and data clouds, and monitoring the quality of the self-learning system online.

Further skills provided on this module include the ability to develop software scripts that implement advanced data representation and processing and demonstrate their impact on the performance, as well as a working knowledge in listing, explaining and generalising the trade-offs of performance and complexity in designing practical solutions for problems of data representation and processing in terms of storage, time and computing power. Transferrable skills include development in time management and effective report writing.

You also take a module in design where you will be studying with students from the other programme pathways:

Design-driven Innovation

This module introduces design-driven innovation as a mind-set that has the ability to close the innovation loop, from user-centred research to commercially viable innovations. It presents a variety of frameworks that help you to gain a comprehensive understanding of design thinking, methods and concepts and of how these can be applied to design-driven innovation. Theoretical material delivered in lectures and seminars is tested and evaluated through workshops. These will be aligned to appropriate external drivers, such as competition briefs or 'live' projects, allowing you to put theories and methods into practice in order to address a real-world design problem.

Lent Term: January-March

You take another three core specialist modules:

Systems Architecture and Integration

This module introduces a range of architectural approaches, techniques and technologies that underpin today's global IT infrastructure and particularly large-scale enterprise IT systems. It is designed to enhance students’ knowledge of how building blocks are composed to create systems of systems.

Students will gain a detailed understanding and an ability to critique contemporary systems’ architecture in terms of scalability, resilience, performance and other shortcomings.

The principal ethos of this module is to focus on the principles, emergent properties and the application of systems elements as used in large-scale and high performance systems. Detailed studies and invited industrial speakers will be used to provide supporting real-world context and a basis for seminar discussions. Students are also offered ‘hands-on’ measurement-based coursework that focuses on the scalability of a significant technology.

Advanced Computer Human Interaction II

Building on the first term's module in this area, this module covers advanced topics in experimental Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) with an emphasis on experimental design, evaluation methodologies, statistical analysis and result interpretation. Whilst engaging with a number of key topics, students will be asked to explore the evaluation process. Students will learn how to recognise when HCI is required and which forms of evalusation are necessary in a given situation, for example making appropriate selections from systems vs user and qualitative vs quantitative evaluations.

Practical sessions will enable students to develop skills with statistical analysis packages. They will also receive guidance on the application of appropriate tests and result reporting.

Applied Data Mining

This module provides up-to-date information on current applications of data in both industry and research. Students will gain a more detailed level of understanding about how data is processed and applied on a large scale across a variety of different areas.

Students will develop knowledge in different areas of science and will recognise their relation to big data, in addition to understanding how large-scale challenges are being addresses with current state-of-the-art techniques. The module will provide recommendations on the Social Web and their roots in social network theory and analysis, in addition their adaptation and extension to large-scale problems, by focusing on primer, user-generated content and crowd-sourced data, social networks (theories, analysis), recommendation (collaborative filtering, content recommendation challenges, and friend recommendation / link prediction).

On completion of this module, students will be able to create scalable solutions to problems involving data from semantic, social and scientific web, in addition to abilities gained in processing networks and performing of network analysis in order to identify key factors in information flow.

You also take the following entrepreneurship module:

Corporate Entrepreneurship

This module illuminates the entrepreneurial strategies of large companies. This includes the challenges of setting up and managing corporate spin-offs as well as 'intrapreneurship' strategies where employees are empowered and enabled to act as entrepreneurs within the company in pursuit of competitive edge and new business fields.

Summer Term: April-July

During this term you apply your knowledge and skills to the first of your company projects:

UK Project

Students will work on behalf of an industry partner or partners in the UK. The projects are likely to take a variety of forms, but will involve collaborative R&D and commercialisation to support the development of new ventures, products, services or business processes. Working either individually or as part of a cross-disciplinary team, you will take in several projects, involving businesses in the UK.

Non-Chinese speakers will also take the following module:

Chinese Language and Culture for Business

This module is designed as a breakthrough into Mandarin Chinese in its standardised spoken form and in simplified characters as used in mainland China, particularly the language used in the business context, for beginners with no or little knowledge of Chinese. The intensive mode of learning on the module, in the short term, provides an immersive learning environment for preparing students linguistically and culturally for their half-year industrial project in China, while the long-term goal of the module is to raise students’ awareness of cultural diversity and Chinese-Western cultural differences and to develop their linguistic and intercultural competence of communicating with the Chinese appropriately and effectively in their future career.

Those already fluent in Chinese will take the following modules:

Chinese Culture for Business

Students will examine Chinese culture, particularly that of business, from a Western perspective. The long-term goal of the module is to raise students’ awareness of cultural diversity and Chinese-Western cultural differences

Business Ethics and Society I & II

The objective of this course is to attempt to develop moral sensibility and practical reasoning in the context of managerial everyday action in organisations. The course will be concerned with morality in action, as it happens, rather than a removed reflection on codes and principles of ethics. The course will aim to show that ethics in action is diffused and difficult. Nevertheless, managers and employees have a responsibility to ‘work it out’ for themselves. It is this ‘how to work it out’ that the course will keep as its focus. The course will use a number of case studies as a basis to develop this moral sensibility so that managers will be able to act in a morally appropriate manner as part of their ongoing organisational action.

Year 2

Michaelmas & Lent Terms: October-March

You will spend six months working in China on an in-depth project for an industry partner. It is anticipated that most of the projects will be based in or around the city of Guangzhou. This project work provides a great chance for you to put your skills to use in genuine business situations, learn first-hand practical lessons about the business world, and exchange ideas with entrepreneurs and business leaders. The projects are likely to take a variety of forms, but will involve collaborative R&D and commercialisation to support the development of new ventures, products, services or business processes. Working either individually or as part of a cross-disciplinary team, you will take in several projects, involving businesses in both the UK and China.

See company projects for more detail

Summer Term: April-July

During this term students return to Lancaster University to write up their company project assignment, reflect on their experiences in China and may attend career-focused seminars and workshops.

More information

To find out more about the department delivering this pathway please visit: