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Old 31-10-2004, 05:33 PM   #25
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 180
Here's my second degree:

1. Title: MSc in Distributed Systems Engineering
2. Place: Lancaster University, UK
3. Duration: 1 year full-time / 2 years part-time
4. Mode: On campus or part-time
5. Offered: Part time is UK only

My thoughts on the course
More practical than theoractical. The modules on Advanced Distributed Systems and Systems Engineering are the best. ADS teaches advanced middleware technologies like CORBA and even Lancaster's own system REMMOC, very practical and useful in programming. Systems Engineering is taught by the man himself, Prof. Ian Sommerville. Very good lecturer, clear, precise and very traditional in his teaching (the no nonsence type, step off the line and u noe it!) Modules are scheduled on a block mode basis. For those not in the know, 1 week is spent teaching a subject, then we get 2 weeks off to do assignments, project work, sleep, etc. The summer holidays are spent on doing our dissertations, but we get assigned our topics in January. Good way to prepare in advance.

Teaching standard
Generally good. Then again there are a few lecturers who are not bothered at all in teaching, let alone supervising dissertations! Advise: asked around (discretely) as to who is a good supervisor and who is crap. For one, mine is a good supervisor. Another advise: U have to motivated to do your dissertation so pick a topic wisely, 'cos they expect u to contribute your own ideas, not simply do what u are told.

Oh btw, exams are held only once a year so everything gets thrown in at the end of summer term.

Research standard
Rated 5 by RAE. Lancaster's Computing Department, IMO, is best when you want to study in areas like mobile computing, ubiquitous computing and software engineering.

Lancaster Uni is basically a campus that takes after the college system of Cambridge, Oxford and Durham unis. 90% of student accomodation is integrated with the departments. So u could jolly well be living just above your lecture room! Quality of rooms at Graduate College is good. But there are some like those in Grizdale which are absolutely bad (brick walls that aren't even plastered). Nevertheless Lancaster is going through a major redevelopment of all its buildings and facilities. All rooms are connected to the campus network, so Internet access is very fast, sets you back 60 quid a year.

Food wise, every college is self-catering. Catered food is available but you must go down to a building in the middle of the campus, pay a subscription (quite expensive) and they said quality is bad! So learn how to cook!

U can spend most of your time on campus and not even head into town. Each college has its own bar... on campus bar crawls are a feature of this uni, 9 colleges in total. There is decent public transport from the underpass to town. 5 bus numbers in total. For those with cars, parking is available but do apply for a pass early. A pint cost 1.55 and cask ales cost anywhere from 1.60 to 2.10.
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