Information for New Students
Whether you are waiting for your application to be processed, or have already enrolled – the below information will help you get set up while you wait for the teaching semester to start.
Scheduling and Time Planning
You will receive an official timetable in the week prior to semester start. The below is some general information in order to help you get organized ahead of time.
Approximate Time Commitment
You will have 5 modules per semester in the first year. In the second year, you will have fewer modules but you will put more work into your dissertation project. In order to proceed to the next year/graduate (whichever is applicable), you need to pass all modules.
In terms of time commitment, you should expect to treat your studies as a full-time job. This means that in order to keep up with the content and get the best learning experience, you should plan to attend all scheduled classes, tutorials and labs. In addition, you will need to work by yourself outside of scheduled classes, and commonly in groups with other students.
The sample semester below indicates what you can expect in terms of hours per week (subject to change). However, for more technical aspects of the programme, including learning how to program in Java and Python, you likely need to invest more time than listed in those tables.
MSc Software Development: International Systems
SE DEVELOPMENT PARADIGMS
PHILOSOPHY OF RESEARCH
LANGUAGE ENGINEERING AND TRANSLATION TECHNOLOGY
BEST PRACTICE SOFTWARE INTERNATIONALISATION
Time planning/keeping on top of work
Starting something new can be challenging, and in challenging situations it is easy to give in to the impulse to prioritize easier or more pleasurable things rather than pushing through the work that needs to be done. In addition, it can feel like there is too much to do. This is where having a good system for prioritizing important work and then getting it done is important. A nice side effect is that if you can be certain that you have completed the most important tasks first, and have completed your day’s work as planned, it is easier to relax and have clear boundaries that allow you to spend time with family and friends or pursue hobbies, rather than feeling like you always “should” be doing something for your studies.
You can find some additional thoughts on what to prioritize and how to do well in your studies in our blog post “How to succeed at your studies“.
If you don’t already have a reliable system and are looking for inspiration, two very helpful systems for prioritizing work, and beating procrastination are Getting Things Done by David Allen , for which you can also find a lot of short introductions on YouTube. A great system for staying focused is The Pomodoro Technique.
Setting up your PC and organization systems
You are likely already a pro at keeping yourself organised and keeping procrastination at bay from previous experience with study and work. However, you might still find the following useful:
Note taking and organising your material
It is a good idea to put some thought into how you will keep notes during your studies and how you will make sure you keep those organised. This can help avoid overwhelm later in the semester and will set you up for success when it comes to assignments and exams. At a minimum we suggest:
- Come up with a folder structure on your PC/cloud-based storage that will allow you to quickly find material again. You might want to create a folder per module, and then sub-folders that might include module information, assignments and material (slides, reading etc.) provided to you. Alternatively, you could also replicate a similar structure in a note-taking program like Evernote or MS OneNote.
- Decide on a way of keeping your email and other important information organized.
- Decide on a note-taking method. The first question to answer is where you will take your notes. Will you use a notepad and pen, a tablet or maybe your laptop and a note-taking app or Word documents? How will you keep your notes organised to ensure you can find what you are looking for quickly? Some people also find using a specific note-taking technique such as the Cornell Note-Taking Method helpful.
- Decide on a central calendar or diary to keep important deadlines and your course schedule in.
Software to install
There is no expectation that you have software installed when teaching starts in week 1, and you will also have access to on-campus labs with the software required installed. The below is not an exhaustive list of technology used in your degree, but if you do want to get ahead of the game, you can already install some of the following on your personal laptop/PC:
- The Python IDE Spyder available through the Anaconda distribution, with Python 3 (any version). You can also install the packages NLTK, Spacy and BeautifulSoup.
- JUnit5 with Eclipse
- BlueJ IDE (or any other Java IDE) with the latest version of Java
If you run a Mac, you might also want to learn how to set up a virtual machine, for example on Microsoft Azure.
Getting a head start on your learning
Maybe you are keen to get started on your learning or would like to “learn how to learn”. Here are some resources to help you do this:
Coursera video that explains “What is a programming language?“
Paul Ford on “What is code“
Finally, many concepts you will learn over the next 1 or 2 years are likely going to be quite unfamiliar, and require a new approach to studying and practicing new skills. The Coursera course Learning How to Learn provides some useful techniques for learning new concepts.