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Avoid Like The Plague

Posted By ilack

University : University of Teesside
Course title : MSc Computer Science
Year of graduation : 2010

1 out of 10
Overall opinion

This is a University which, in relation to computing, has completely sold out. The MSc contained less work than the average A Level and the staff were ill-informed of current developments. I understand that the average student from the Middle East pays around £14,000 in fees and, seeing as the course was about 90% composed of them, it is clear that the University actively targets Middle Eastern students, and supplies a course which is (below) the bare minimum required. No written exams are taken and everything is done on 'research projects'. Many of the 'projects' I saw passed were nothing but waffle or plagarised projects passed off as the students' own work. It was quite shocking and, I suspect, quite depressing for the one or two tutors that really did want to instil some knowledge in their breed. I should say one more thing too. Post-graduate 'halls' (actually former council terrace houses) are situated slap bang in the middle of Middlesbrough's red light district. Male students walking to and from campus are frequently accosted by prostitutes looking for business. This is not something that happens once per month; it is an almost daily occurrence. You can tell just how bad the University is by realising it actually commissions an American company to design and provide its external and internal web pages. If it had even one half-competent technician, it could provide those itself! You won't find any of this information in the flashy advertisements the University distributes or commissions of course. I'd say avoid this University like the plague... unless the idea of a year learning nothing really appeals. Even then, you're likely to find the frustrations of its communication methods (read lack of) will take their toll.

3 out of 10
Quality of course and lecturers

The course is split into 9 contact hours per week, and therefore three compulsory subjects are taught for 3 hours each (1 60 minute lecture and 1 120 minute tutorial). However, 3 hours each week in the first semester were devoted to general research methodologies, which really is generic and has no place on a specifically computer-based course. The lecturers are generally quite poor, with little or no knowledge of computer programming. Some lectures are unashamedly ripped from the Internet, right down to Powerpoint slides being in Spanish which the lecturers jump over with excuses about how they "didn't have time to prepare properly". Some lecturers do not have English as a first language and are difficult to understand. One lecturer told me (in confidence) that "what's going on in the School of Computing is nobody's business".

7 out of 10
University facilities

The library is large and offers almost 24 hour access. The gymnasium and sports facilities are ok, and the fees to use them are more than reasonable. There is a nice, modern student bar with a cafeteria housed next door and a cash machine around the corner.

NA not rated
Student union

No comment

2 out of 10
University societies and clubs

I can only speak for the drama society which I joined. I found it ridiculously staid in comparison to my A Level Theatre Studies and Performing Arts classes. There was no chance to play improvisation games or to collaborate on producing plays. The drama society did not even meet in a room with a stage - but in a lecture theatre, where the organiser would discuss 'ideas' from a pulpit. Because the organisation "had no money", members were 'encouraged' not to vote for plays that were recent enough to warrant fees to Samuel French et al, which meant The Importance of Being Earnest was chosen as play number 1, and a play which was genuinely awful, but written by the organiser, as play number2. Vision was lacking.

6 out of 10
University life

There are lots of pubs and nightclubs in the area and they are very, very cheap to visit. It is very lively!

NA not rated

No comment

2 out of 10
Job prospects and careers service

In relation to this course, I found job prospects to be virtually non-existent as I graduated knowing nothing more than I did when I enrolled. Two modules in Network Management taught the theory of networking, but when we were let loose to connect up a real network, this was not supervised and no-one knew what to do. The lecturer came around and did it once, explaining how this related to the theory. Then set an assignment that involved copying huge chunks of notes she had already given to us. Many of the students on the MSc Computer Science course were from Middle Eastern countries and spoke very poor English. They needed to have their eventual MSc certified by their foreign embassy. Apparently, so many Libyan students visited their embassy complaining that the course had been diabolical that the embassy told them that they will be advising the 2011 intake of Libyans not to 'study' at Teesside University as they are now very dubious as to the academic content of the courses.

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