skip to content

Taking a Special Topic is only possible in Lent term 2024

This is a module borrowed from another Masters level programme which is of equal weighting to an M.Phil in Advanced Computer Science module.

In response to individual needs of a student as identified in September preceding Michaelmas term. Special Topics modules are not routine options, but available in exceptional circumstances, which must be individually reviewed by the Course Advisor, Course Director, Chair of the Examiners, Postgraduate Administrator and Postgraduate Education Committee. A Special Topic will only be approved where it is expected that the student will achieve good results in graduate study toward a research qualification in the special topic. As guidance, students and assessors should confirm that the student already has a track record of exceptional achievement in the necessary background material during their undergraduate studies, or equivalent research experience. The special topic route is not generally appropriate for casual interest, or to gain supplementary training in a completely new field.


Students may only take a Special Topic if they have sufficient background. The supervisor has the responsibility for determining this, with the ACS examiners being responsible for formal approval of the arrangement.


Requests to substitute a Special Topic for one of the ACS modules will be considered in consultation with the department teaching the proposed special topic course. Considerations include (but are not limited to):

  • compatibility of timetable with ACS
  • available resource in the providing department
  • gaining permission from the department providing the module
  • appropriate workload
  • arrangements for examination

Note that examination standards vary considerably, especially in fields that CS students may be unfamiliar, and this may place students at a disadvantage in their final grades.

In some cases, students may be required to attend a sit down written exam. Some of the assessment may need to be done by the Department's approved supervisor.

Students are only allowed to take one 'Special Topic' in an academic year.

Only MPhil students are allowed to take a 'Special Topic' - the option is NOT available to CST, Part III students.