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STEM Degrees Boost At Magee

9 June 2010

The University of Ulster is expanding science and technology education at Magee.

Two new degrees will open up fresh career options for undergraduates and help build student numbers at the campus. 

For the first time at Magee, students will be able to take a degree in information and communications technology (ICT), an option with high industry and student demand because it offers high paying careers vital to economic growth.  

A new degree in creative computing will further strengthen and extend existing multimedia provision within the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems. It will blend science and technology in an innovative course that equips students with the expertise to stay ahead of fast-evolving trends in the fields of both multimedia computer games and multimedia design. 

The degrees reflect a key element of the University’s strategic development plan for Magee. It envisages a wider range of courses, two new research institutes and an expanding student population in a campus that will double in physical size.

Professor Liam Maguire, Head of School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, said: “The School has received University approval for two new courses –  BSc Hons Information Communications Technology and BSc Hons Creative Computing.

“They will increase the number of students studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects on this campus, in line with the Magee Development Plan.”

The University, government and industry have identified STEM education as a cornerstone of economic recovery and growth. The aim is to nurture skills in a new generation of  ‘knowledge workers’ who will deliver success in the complex and competitive world of computing.

Professor Deirdre Heenan, Acting Provost and Dean of Academic Development at Magee, said the degrees would add a significant new dimension to Magee’s portfolio of courses. “They build on its internationally acknowledged computing, creative technologies and business strengths and on the expertise of academics and research staff across all the campuses,” she said.

“They are a further demonstration of the University’s determination to grow STEM education at Magee, which is good for Northern Ireland as a whole and the North West in particular.”

The Faculty of Computing and Engineering at Jordanstown has offered a similar ICT course for a number of years. It has seen continuous growth and over-subscription for places.  

The Magee course will expand the Faculty’s provision of ICT on the campus and draw on expertise from the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems existing BSc Hons Computer Science course. The new ICT course will have a significant hands-on learning element that will help to meet a market demand in the North West.   

“It will produce graduates equipped to apply best practice in the application of computing and information systems in organisations, “ Professor Maguire said. 

He added: “The BSc Hons Creative Computing programme is offered in collaboration with the School of Creative Arts and addresses the requirements of both multimedia design and multimedia computer games students. It will provide two pathways specific to Design and effectively streamlines the School’s provision in the area of Multimedia.

“ The course provides the opportunity for students to specialise in Multimedia Computer Games Design (the Games stream) or in Multimedia Design (the Design stream) and aims to prepare students for a career in their chosen creative discipline.

“The degree will enhance the School’s provision in these areas, formerly addressed in the BSc Hons Multimedia Computer Games and the BSc Hons Multimedia Computing and Design courses.”