Hacking Computer Science and Engineering programme

When talking about what I study, the conversation usually ends with, “Oh, Computer Science, that’s cool.” But what does a CSE student really study? Let’s hack it together in this blog.
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Overview of CSE programme

Master’s programme in Computer Science and Engineering has three study options, namely Artificial Intelligence (AI), Applied Computing (AC) and Computer Engineering (CE).

After being admitted to the programme, it’s up to every student to decide their own study option in the orientation week (the first two weeks). Different study options include various compulsory courses (about 60 credits), although some mandatory courses are shared among the study options.

For the optional courses (about 30 credits), you are free to take courses from other study options and other faculties to build up your portfolio.

You may think that CSE students only need to programme, but we learn more than that. For example, the evaluation methods of many courses include both theoretical and implementation phases. On the other hand, many other courses include human-centred design and other topics.

If you are a student from other background but interested in technology, this blog may be interesting because I recommend some courses that will help you get started with programming.

3 study options

Let’s take a closer look at the course structure of the study options. The courses are closely related to the research at the university.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) focuses on AI technology and includes different aspects, including Machine Vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP), etc.

Applied Computing (AC) focuses on some new technologies, for example, Virtual Reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT) and applying technology to solve real-life problems.

Computer Engineering (CE) is both hardware and software oriented, covering communication systems, embedded systems, software development, etc.

Interested in taking some CSE courses?

If you are from other faculties and interested in learning programming or taking courses offered by Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE) faculty, please keep reading because I will recommend some courses for you!

Programming has many applications in other disciplines as well. If you are interested in learning how to programme, please check out this course: 521141P Elementary Programming (5ECTS). This course has a summer course and can be done entirely online. All the course materials are provided in both English and Finnish. The course will start from the most fundamental programming concepts, such as functions and in the end, you will be able to build something yourself. One of the course projects is to implement a well-known game, Minesweeper, which is interesting!

Some courses don’t require programming at all. For example, 812651S ICT and Behaviour Change (5ECTS) discusses the societal impact of technology. In 521044A Social Computing (5ECTS) course, you’ve got to prototype and evaluate your own social application based on your interest.

Our team developed a social application for Oulu Botanical Garden.

521042S Creative Design (5ECTS) doesn’t involve any programming either. Instead, it requires creativity, designing skills, sketching, and hands-on ability to solve real-life problems. The most thrilling part for me in the course was to use a laser-cutter from FabLab to implement my own design.

The course is interesting and flexible, but it can be challenging as the instructions given are so few that sometimes you may not know how to start. For example: “the project is to implement a device that’s both effective and interactive”.

Here is my project, the screen will show faces with different expressions after pressing blue/red buttons.

There are many other courses provided by ITEE faculty that intend to attract students from various disciplines apart from technological backgrounds. If you are interested in multidisciplinary studies, there will be many suitable courses for you from our faculty.

I hope this blog has helped you hack the mysterious Computer Science and Engineering programme and get some inspiration about what courses or study options you may want to take.

About the author

Peng Zuojia is from China and is currently pursuing her master's degree in Computer Science and Engineering. She was an exchange student last year and decided to stay because she enjoys the student life at the University of Oulu. As a language and sports lover, she finds Oulu has a lot to offer!