FAQ

Some testimonials of students (various languages incl Chinese, German and English)

  • How can I collaborate with industry? Do you collaborate with industry at all if you are a (rather pure) science course?
    Our prime goal first of all is to get the fundamentals right. We do however collaborate with industry when it comes to the dissertation. Terms 1 and 2 are reserved for fundamental skills and techniques as well as for the specialisation. In term 3, many students opt for a project together with an industry partner, while others prefer a more academic route to become prepared for a future PhD. See our example routes through the course (scroll all the way own) or the info about selected projects.
  • I am not interested in physics or another specialisation, but in data analysis in … Can I do the course without the specialisation?
    No, you can’t. If you are not interested in the specialisations at all, then this is likely the wrong course for you! We used to have the option for students in the first year to drop the specialisation and to focus on term 2’s methodological lectures. This was too much for many students (workload) and does not fit to the course philosophy, so we do not offer this option anymore. Please note that the course core regulations might be updated pretty late throughout the cycle and thus show old options that are not available anymore.
  • How big is the student cohort?
    It is always hard to predict the bums on seats, but we are heading for a class of around 20+ students.
  • Is there a reading list for astro- or particle-physics for non-physics students?
    The curriculum tab on the top unfolds and you find some information about the different specialisations. They also comprise reading lists.
  • Is technique/software XYZ covered in submodule Core …? Do we use … (insert MySQL, TensorFlow, Python or whatever you want) in submodule … (insert whatever you want)?
    You might find information on the University’s webpages whether this particular topic has been covered in the previous year and/or used a particular technique. Usually however, these questions lead into the wrong direction. MISCADA covers fundamental concepts behind scientific computing and data analysis, i.e. behind the scenes, and from there illustrates how they are applied in state-of-the-art algorithms/software and the specialisation area. As MISCADA heads for a University degree, it is primarily about understanding concepts and methods rather than particular pieces of software or particular techniques. They might be outdated by the time you graduate. Your skills and knowledge will not. Therefore, we also change the toolset used in the course from year to year. Wherever we use specialised tools, we will introduce them throughout the course. What you need is:
  • What is the most important skill I need to have (and to revise)?
    Programming in C and Python. If you are not “fluent” in these programming languages (both of them!) you will struggle (see the Prerequisites rubric under Curriculum in the menu). Fluent for us means you have to be able write proper, working code for complex challenges. But you don’t need knowledge in software engineering, object-oriented programming, or the development of large software packages. This is not a software engineering degree. So they don’t harm, but you don’t need them. Ah: You also need maths. A lot of it! Finally, particular specialisation areas recommend that you bring in some particular knowledge already. See specialisation rubrics.
  • Do you teach remotely?
    We don’t know yet what will happen in the academic year 20/21. Yet: All of our lecturers are recorded, and we will provide extensive real chats with the lecturers if it should happen that students can’t be on campus. For our labs, we’ll realise them mainly through online servers anyway (see next item) and will provide extensive online support for these labs.
  • What hardware requirements are there?
    If you study in Durham, you have access to our labs and our library which are equipped with all computer resources that you’ll need. Most of our teaching however is based upon online servers and particular supercomputers, i.e. you don’t have to own specialist equipment – you just need a proper browser and an internet connection. We’ll take care for the right resources under the hood.
  • to¬† be continued …