Computer Science with Distributed Systems MEng, BSc

(Full time) 2017 start


This course highlights the technical and social aspects of networking in our fully connected world, drawing on our research expertise in distributed computing and semantic-web technology.

In addition to core computer science subjects such as the basics of programming and computer architecture, you’ll specialise in areas of infrastructure and systems performance for the next generation of distributed and internet computing. You’ll learn about cloud computing and study app development and software engineering, and choose from optional modules on a range of computer science topics from web services to secure computing, big data systems and artificial intelligence.

Taught by experts in specialist facilities, you’ll gain the technical knowledge and professional skills to succeed in your future career. You’ll also apply your knowledge to project work at every stage of the process, giving you hands-on experience and allowing you to apply what you’ve learned.

You can choose to take either the four-year Integrated Masters (MEng, BSc) or the three-year Bachelor’s (BSc) degree on this course.

Find out more about the MEng, BSc and BSc

Specialist facilities

You’ll have access to specialist facilities including well-equipped labs containing Linux and Microsoft platforms.

For final-year project work you’ll also be able to make the most of our research facilities, such as a 53-megapixel powerwall display and dedicated 3D virtual reality suite, a new testbed for cloud computing and dedicated labs with high-spec, dual-display Linux workstations, iPad, Mac and Android development areas.

Course content

Our courses in Computer Science, Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science with Distributed Systems all share a common first year, which focuses on the fundamentals of programming and the mathematical principles that underpin computer science. This gives you the flexibility to switch easily between the three courses if you choose.

In the following year you’ll deepen your understanding of different areas of computer science. You’ll build your knowledge of algorithms and data structures, as well as operating systems and formal languages. You’ll also study the basics of software engineering and be introduced to topics such as artificial intelligence. A choice of optional modules will allow you to focus on topics like data mining and web app development.

Year 3 will allow you to specialise more closely in distributed systems, with core modules allowing you to study parallel computation and build skills in mobile app development. You’ll also have a wider range of choice of optional modules, allowing you to explore topics like data science, computer graphics and cryptography according to your own interests and career plans.

If you’re studying for the MEng qualification, you’ll continue into Year 4 where you’ll take modules at masters level, allowing you to work on your software engineering skills and enhance your knowledge of cloud computing. Optional modules will include topics like machine learning, big data and even bio-computation, meaning you have the chance to gain a broad base of knowledge and skills. You’ll also take part in a substantial group project on a specific engineering problem that allows you to apply everything you’ve learned during the course.


Every year of the course gives you hands-on experience of project work. This gives you the opportunity to explore your subject further as well as developing valuable skills in problem solving, communication and teamwork.

Find out more about our Projects


You’ll study computing ethics as part of your course. This is taught using real life case studies, with input from specialist ethicists as well as your tutors and lecturers. The team responsible for the ethics taught in computing has produced educational material used to stimulate debate in class about topics such as ethical hacking, open source software, and use of personal data.

Not only will this enhance your reasoning and decision making skills which are crucial to employers, but it will help you identify and respond effectively to ethical dilemmas that you will encounter in your professional life in the IT industry.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.


Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Databases 10 credits
  • Computer Architecture 10 credits
  • Computer Processors 10 credits
  • Fundamental Mathematical Concepts 10 credits
  • Introduction to Discrete Mathematics 10 credits
  • Procedural Programming 10 credits
  • Object Oriented Programming 10 credits
  • Professional Computing 20 credits
  • Programming Project 10 credits

Optional modules

  • Programming for the Web 10 credits
  • Introduction to Web Technologies 10 credits
Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Operating Systems 10 credits
  • Networks 10 credits
  • Formal Languages and Finite Automata 10 credits
  • Numerical Computation 10 credits
  • Artificial Intelligence 10 credits
  • Algorithms and Data Structures I 10 credits
  • Algorithms and Data Structures II 10 credits
  • User Interfaces 10 credits
  • Software Engineering 20 credits

Optional modules

  • Web Application Development 10 credits
  • Social and Mobile Web Application Development 10 credits
  • Data Mining 10 credits
  • Requirements Engineering 10 credits
  • Systems Thinking 10 credits
Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Distributed Systems 10 credits
  • Parallel Computation 10 credits
  • Mobile Application Development 10 credits
  • Individual Project 40 credits

Optional modules

  • Web Services and Web Data 10 credits
  • Data Science 10 credits
  • Cryptography 10 credits
  • Programming Languages and Compilation 10 credits
  • Intelligent Systems and Robotics 20 credits
  • Information Visualization 10 credits
  • User Adaptive Intelligent Systems 10 credits
  • Computer Graphics 10 credits
  • Combinatorial Optimisation 10 credits
  • Secure Computing 10 credits
  • Graph Algorithms and Complexity Theory 10 credits
  • Functional Programming 10 credits
Year 4

Compulsory modules

  • Knowledge Representation and Reasoning 15 credits
  • Group Project 30 credits
  • Cloud Computing 15 credits
  • Advanced Software Engineering 15 credits

Optional modules

  • Big Data Systems 15 credits
  • Bio-Inspired Computing 15 credits
  • Systems Programming 15 credits
  • Knowledge Representation and Machine Learning 15 credits
  • Data Mining and Text Analytics 15 credits
  • Semantic Technologies and Applications 15 credits
  • Image Analysis 15 credits
  • Scientific Visualization 15 credits
  • Software Engineering 15 credits
  • Scientific Computation 15 credits
  • Graph Theory: Structure and Algorithms 15 credits
  • Functional Programming 15 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Computer Science with Distributed Systems MEng, BSc in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Computer Science with Distributed Systems BSc in the course catalogue

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

You’ll study among academics who are leading their fields. Our research feeds directly into our teaching, meaning you’ll learn about the very latest developments in your subject while gaining the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of the IT industry.

To help you benefit from our expertise, we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, lab classes, tutorials and example classes. Together they will equip you with in-depth knowledge and key practical skills that will put you in a good position to compete in science and technology-related careers. You’ll also work with an academic supervisor on your projects.

Our personal tutorial system will provide academic and pastoral support. You will have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds. He or she will be an academic member of staff: you will have weekly academic tutorials with your tutor throughout your first year, in your tutor group (of typically 5 students), as well as one-to-one meetings twice per semester.

In addition, our excellent student support team is based close to where you’ll work and study to help with anything from academic advice to timetabling and project submission enquiries.


You’ll be assessed using various methods including formal exams, lab practicals and project reports. Throughout the year, you’ll also be assessed using coursework, worksheets, in-module tests, example sheets and presentations to develop your knowledge and allow us to monitor your progress.

Entry requirements, fees and applying

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA including Mathematics or Computing, excluding General Studies.

Where an A-Level Science subject is taken, we require a pass in the practical science element, alongside the achievement of the A-Level at the stated grade.

GCSE: English Language at grade C or above, or an appropriate English language qualification.

Other course specific tests:

Where candidates can demonstrate interest and aptitude for the subject, we may make a lower offer (usually AAB or equivalent).

  • Access to HE Diploma

    Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, 30 credits with Distinction (including Mathematics) and the remaining 15 credits with Merit or above.

  • BTEC

    D*DD including D in Further Mathematics.

  • International Baccalaureate

    35 overall (18 higher including 5 points at higher level in either Mathematics or Computing).

  • Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

    A1A1A2A2A2A2, including Mathematics and English.

  • Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

    AAAAA overall (AAA at advanced level including Mathematics or Computing).

  • Other Qualifications

    IT or Engineering Diploma: A (plus A or above in Mathematics or Computing in A-level).

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, you may be able to progress through a foundation year. We offer a BSc Studies in Science for students without a science background at A-level and an Interdisciplinary Science Foundation Year for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.

Foundation year

If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

- University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)

- Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)

- Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Next steps

Suitable applicants will be invited to an applicant day, which gives you the opportunity to meet our students, academic staff and admissions staff, and find out more about your course. You’ll take part in a practical computing activity followed by a student-led tour.

We like to interview applicants before making an offer, so the applicant day will also include an interview with one of our academics. This will give you the chance to discuss your application in more detail, check that it’s the right course for you and your career plans, have your questions answered and find out more about studying at Leeds.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Engineering Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £19,000 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2017, the fee for 2017/18 will be £9,250. 

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% for 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students starting in 2017 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans for the duration of their course. Read the full government statement

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Financial support

The School of Computing offer a range of scholarships for Home, EU and International students.

Find out more about our Scholarships

Career opportunities

The need for an intelligent, secure and dependable infrastructure arises in many different disciplines and industries. Our graduates therefore find employment in a very broad range of sectors, from the traditional IT providers to telecommunications, retail, finance, public authorities and consultancies.

90% of our recent graduates have gone on to work or further study within six months of graduating. Recent graduates from the School have found roles as software developers, software engineers, system analysts, production project managers and technology consulting analysts at organisations as diverse as BAE Systems, Barclays, BT, Deloitte, IBM, IG, Microsoft, Saudi Aramco and Toshiba Research Europe Ltd.

Read our alumni profiles to find out more about where our students are working

Careers Support

You’ll have access to our dedicated Employability team, located centrally in our Employability Suite, who will provide you with specialist face-to-face support and advice to help you find relevant work experience, internships and year-in-industry placements, as well as graduate positions.

You’ll benefit from timetabled employability sessions, ongoing support during internships and placements, and presentations and workshops delivered by employers. The team also works closely with the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.

Find out more about careers support and employability

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

With the help and support of our faculty Employability Team, you can choose to undertake a summer vacation placement at one of the 100+ companies that we work with. If you decide to undertake an industrial training year this will extend your period of study by 12 months and, on successful completion, you will be awarded the ‘industrial’ variant in your degree title to demonstrate your added experience to future employers.

As a BEng student you have the option to undertake the placement between years 2 and 3. MEng, BEng students can choose to do this either between years 2 and 3 or years 3 and 4.

Find out more about work placements

Course terms and conditions