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April 25, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:01am

10 UK IoT degree courses covering UI, AI & machine learning

List: Skills like AI, machine learning and user experience design are in high demand, and these courses aim to help bring the skills gap down.

By Joao Lima

Everyone knows about the giant skills gap that is haunting the IT sector worldwide. According to IoT company PTC, it is estimated that in the next ten years more than two million IT and communication jobs will be unfulfilled.

To address this, several universities have come up with degrees that address the different skills needed in the IoT market, including user interfaces, networks, artificial intelligence, networking, and others.

CBR lists ten courses being taught in the UK institutions.


University of London: MSc Internet of Things

Tuition Fees UK/EU: £8,100
Tuition Fees Overseas: £18,300

Offering both a full time or part time (12 and 24 months respectively) course, University of London’s Royal Holloway has built a degree based on computer science, technology and engineering.

The degree is designed to teach students how to operate the generation of networks of connected devices that are being created today.

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This includes notions of data analysis, storage and processing, distributed and networked systems (covering areas such as algorithms for distributed coordination, time-synchronisation, scalable storage, virtualisation and cloud computing technologies), and information security.

Taught through the Faculty of Science, students have access to laboratories with cloud computing testbeds and data generation platforms such as Hadoop and MongoDB.

Core modules include data analysis, advanced distributed systems, wireless, sensor and actuator networks, embedded-systems security, and a final individual project.

Elective course units include disciplines such as machine learning, semantic web, network security, introduction to cryptography, large-scale data storage and processing, computer security and others.

Prospective students have to have obtained a 2:1 UK honours degree or overseas equivalent in computer science or engineering, or other subjects that contain a strong element of mathematics or computing to be admitted.


University of Oxford: Data Science for the Internet of Things (certification)

Tuition Fees: £995

The University of Oxford has put together a data science course for developers targeting the IoT space based on statistics suggesting that one in five developers are targeting IoT for upcoming projects.

The course duration overall is six months with the first three months being conducted mainly online with a few face-to-face lessons taught at the university’s campus in Oxford. Following this, students have three months of coding exercises and learning consolidation activities.

The four key areas of the course include the IoT ecosystem, data science (including time series data), programming and problem solving, and online engagement and programming exercises.

The University of Oxford says participants are expected to have "a mindset of exploration" to be able to address real world problems with data science.

The course requires students to have a good grasp of mathematics and will use IoT databases, large-scale IoT datasets, specific case studies and commercial data products like MapR, Numenta and MongoDB.

To run the course, the university is also working with IoT companies and organisations such as Hyper/Cat, FlexEye, Microsoft, Siemens and MongoD.


Staffordshire University: Telecommunication Engineering MEng

Tuition Fees UK/EU: £9,000
Tuition Fees Overseas: £10,500

Telecommunication is a main part of the IoT ecosystem, without it ‘things’ would not communicate. To address the need of more telco professionals, Staffordshire University has put together a degree that lasts four years and trains students across a range of telco topics.

Aiming at getting students in companies like BT, Virgin Media, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Nortel, Vodafone, O2 and EE, as well as IT consultancy providers such as Accenture and IBM, the degree teaches engineering application, instrumentation and measurement, digital design and embedded software, wireless communications engineering apps, voice and data over broadband network and others.

With the degree representing an important arm of the IoT – telecommunications -, the course creators have also included a specific module on wireless sensor networks (WSN) and the IoT that addresses nano, pico, micro and macro cellular environments and challenges, homogenous and heterogeneous connectivity of devices, and other topics.

The degree gives students an opportunity to use wireless and network hardware and software equipment for hands-on experience with modelling telecommunications.

Other tools used during teaching sessions include Mentum Planet software package for cellular network planning, Qualnet Discrete Event Simulator used for simulation the behaviour of real-time (person to person) and non-real-time (person to machine and M2M) traffic across wired/wireless networks at the protocol and physical levels.

Entry requirements are 320 UCAS points, ABB or BBC plus C at AS, a must have A level in mathematics, physics or a related engineering subject.



Kingston University: User Experience Design MSc

Tuition Fees UK/EU: £6,300 (FT); £3,465 (PT)
Tuition Fees Overseas: £12,900 (FT); £7,095 (PT)

User experience design is one of the key skills IoT companies are increasingly looking for. Responsible for making websites, apps and other platforms easy to interact with, these designers effectively build a company’s facade.

Targeting this space, Kingston University has put together a degree that wants to equip graduates with the behavioural theory, design practice and technology know-how that is necessary for a career as interaction designer, usability engineer, user researcher, or head of user experience.

It focuses upon the analysis, design, prototyping and evaluation of multimedia, multi-modal, and multi-platform user interfaces that are easy to use and support a great user experience.

The course was developed in consultation with an industry panel, which includes Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, DreamWorks and Samsung Design Europe, and is accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), The Chartered Institute for IT.

Students have access to technical facilities that include a Tobii eye tracker, Noldus FaceReader and Morae usability testing software, editing suites, moving-image studios and 3D workshops.

The course has two different lengths, a full-time and a part-time duration, each lasting one year or two to three years respectively.

To be accepted, students will need to have a 2:1 from a UK university (or equivalent from an overseas institution) in art and design, computer science, or humanities.


King College London: Internet of Things (certification)

Tuition Fees UK/EU: Free
Tuition Fees Overseas: Free

Designed for practising engineers, industrialists, researchers and entrepreneurs who are interested in the fundamentals, impact and potentials of the IoT, this online free course by Kings College aims to expanding general knowledge o the emerging world of ‘things’.

The course will explore different sides of the IoT, including the entrepreneurial landscape as well as what experts call Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution.

Security, privacy, business insights for personal IoT business projects and an understanding of what is needed to build an IOT prototype are also explored.

Lasting up to four weeks, the course is taught by Professor Misha Dohler, head of the centre for telecommunications research at Kings, co-founder of Worldsensing, and fellow of the IEEE. He has also been involved in the development of 5G networks in the UK.

Those interested to take part in the course will need to have some basic knowledge of technology, wireless communications and how markets function.


Imperial College London: Computing (Machine Learning) MSc

Tuition Fees UK/EU: £28,200
Tuition Fees Overseas: £28,200

Targeting the IoT machine learning space, Imperial College London has set out a degree that aims to give students a critical understanding of emerging trends and research, as well as an awareness of how these techniques can be adapted in industrial applications.

Taught through the Department of Computing of the institution’s Engineering Faculty, the course teaches students programming skills including Prolog and Matlab, software engineering, and computing trends and their applications in industrial scenarios.

Specific modules include artificial intelligence, computational management science, distributed systems, machine learning, visual information processing and software engineering.

Students interested in applying to the course are expected to possess the equivalent of a first-class UK degree, and to have taken computing courses that equate to two years of a computer science undergraduate programme.


University of Manchester: Artificial Intelligence BSc

Tuition Fees UK/EU: £9,000
Tuition Fees Overseas: £20,000

With a duration of three years, Manchester University is one of the few in the country that already has a full AI degree in its course portfolio.

The course addresses one of the main areas of the future of IoT and the robotics industry by combining the study of AI and traditional computing techniques with an understanding from psychology of how humans learn.

Related topics covered include techniques for representing and reasoning about knowledge, including approaches in machine learning in which general patterns are learned from examples.

Taught through the School of Computer Science, the AI degree covers specific themes like computer architecture, information systems in business, mobile computing and networks, system-on-chip, programming and algorithms, learning and search in AI, and others.

The honours degree program is recognised by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the British Computer Society (BCS). Students interested in applying have to have an A-level mathematics or equivalent.


University of Edinburgh: Artificial Intelligence MSc

Tuition Fees UK/EU: £11,600
Tuition Fees Overseas: £25,900

The University of Edinburgh claims it runs the UK’s longest established centre for AI, through which the AI masters is taught.

The Department of Artificial Intelligence (DAI) was incorporated into the School of Informatics in 1998, along with the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute (AIAI), the Centre for Cognitive Science, and the Department of Computer Science.

Compulsory courses of the AI masters include informatics research review, informatics research proposal, introduction to java programming, and a final dissertation. Specialist areas for choice are intelligent robotics, agents, knowledge and data, machine learning, natural language processing.

The university says the minimum entry requirement is a UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in informatics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, electrical engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics or psychology, plus experience in computer programming.

All applicants must have a sufficient mathematical and informatics background for their chosen area of study.



University College of London: Machine Learning MSc

Tuition Fees UK/EU: £11,090 (FT); £5,725 (PT)
Tuition Fees Overseas: £23,440 (FT); £11,670 (PT)

UCL’s machine learning masters has been designed to let students develop an understanding of the principles underlying the development and application of new techniques in this area.

Students are also expected to develop an awareness of, and ability to analyse, the range and scope of algorithms and approaches available, and design, develop and evaluate appropriate algorithms and methods for new problems and applications.

Core modules of the course include supervised learning and either graphical models or probabilistic and unsupervised learning. Optional modules include machine vision, bioinformatics, information retrieval and data mining, inverse problems in imaging, affective computing and human-robot interaction, and others.

Some of the main career paths master holders have perused include software developer, software engineer, and machine learning specialist.

Entry requirements include a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in a highly quantitative subject such as computer science, mathematics, electrical engineering or the physical sciences, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The university also says that relevant work experience may also be taken into account, and additionally, candidates must be comfortable with undergraduate mathematics in areas such as linear algebra and calculus.


University of London: BSc Creative Computing

Tuition Fees UK/EU: £9,000
Tuition Fees Overseas: £13,750

University of London’s public research arm Goldsmiths offer s a bachelor degree in creative computing to give students an edge into the software industry that requires creative individuals for the creation of computational systems in arts, music, film, digital media, and other areas which require intelligent systems that react to real time data.

The course gives undergraduate students skills in designing computer applications as well as using them.

Modules include web and applications programming, numerical maths, creative computing practice, digital media, databases networks in the web, and others.

Entry levels are lower than in other universities, with prospective students being required on A and two Bs in their A-levels.

If the applicant does not have a science or mathematics-based A-level, it should have at least Grade B at GCSE Mathematics, the university stipulates.

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