If you have ever wondered how to build an AI system like Siri or Cortana which can understand human language and carry out conversations with people, or how to build an interactive robot that can speak with humans, then this programme will provide all the knowledge and skills you need.
You will learn about Natural Language Processing, machine learning, spoken dialogue systems, multimodal interfaces, and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). You will gain deep knowledge of spoken language understanding systems, and Natural Language Generation methods, as well as state-of-the-art dialogue management techniques. The programme also covers experimental design for the evaluation of conversational interfaces and by the end of it you will have developed and tested your own Conversational Agent, possibly by using one of our robots (e.g. Pepper, Nao, FurHat, or iCub).
The MSc project can be carried out in collaboration with an outside industrial or academic organisation. Computer Science at Heriot-Watt is ranked 6th in Scotland by The Complete University league tables (2021).
- MSc: 12 months (full-time), 24 months (part-time)
- PG Diploma: 9 months
The full-time programme starts in September.
The MSc programme is accredited by the British Computer Society.
Full-time students take 4 courses each semester and must normally take all core courses.
- Conversational Agents and Spoken Language Processing
- Data Mining and Machine Learning
- Research Methods and Project Planning
- Statistical Modelling and Analysis
- Masters project and dissertation
- 3D Graphics and Animation
- Advanced Interaction Design
- Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Agents
- Big Data Management
- Biologically Inspired Computation
- Computer Games Programming
- Data Visualisation and Analytics
- Distributed and Parallel Technologies
- Industrial Programming
After semester 2, students continue full-time on the MSc project.
Further details are available here
In the third semester (May-August) students undertake a specialist MSc project which is written up as a 15000 word dissertation. This project enables further development and consolidation of skills introduced in the taught courses, applying them to a challenging practical problem in this subject area.
Admission requires a good honours degree that includes a substantial component of computing or IT. Candidates holding less than a good honours degree, or its equivalent, but with compensating qualifications or experience may be admitted to the Postgraduate Diploma programme. Transfer to the MSc will be possible later on if exam and course work are at MSc level.
English language requirements
Important: If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability.
The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 (with no component under 5.5), we also accept TOEFL (scores of 90 and higher).
We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master’s programme:
- 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
- 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
- 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)
- Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
- Fee per course (module). Refer to the Course Content to see how many courses comprise the full programme.
- Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.
Scholarships and bursaries
We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.
View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.