Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), University of Southampton

Electronics and Computer Science (ECS)

MSc Web Science

Develop the skills to enable you to analyse the impact of the web on business, government, law and science itself.


Professors Dame Wendy Hall and Sir Nigel Shadbolt explore Web Science as a field of study.

Web Science uses multidisciplinary techniques to explore the impact of the web on all aspects of human society, from the individual right through to national and global scales.

This programme addresses two aspects of the web:

  • engineering techniques and technologies that are used to build it
  • analytical techniques from economics, psychology, law and sociology that are used to understand how it is changing society

Since the inception of the web, there have been two major developments: social and collaborative applications, and the semantic web. You will explore these through core modules, web technology and your own social and collaborative websites.

You will have the opportunity to study web technologies, such as data and knowledge representations, e-business, agents and information system design, in the context of economic theory, legal practice, linguistic analysis and sociological evaluation.

To Apply

You can apply for the programme through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. For more background and detailed information, see How to Apply

Programme Structure

Twelve months, full-time.

The programme has been designed to maximise student choice by allowing you to tailor the structure to suit your own interests. You can choose areas that reflect your personal interests and work on an individual project. You will however, also take a number of compulsory modules to ensure you are exposed to key topics in all areas.

Key Facts

  • We are in the top 10% in the UK for the volume and quality of our Computer Science research (REF 2014)
  • 100% of our Computer Science research impact is world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014)
  • We are ranked in the UK top ten for Computer Sciences by the 2016 Guardian and Times / Sunday Times Good University Guides
  • Southampton is ranked in the top 51-100 universities for Computer Science in the 2015 QS World Rankings
  • Southampton University has pioneered many of the most important advances in computer science and web technology of the past 10 years

Entry requirements

Honours Degree:

Our normal entry requirement is an upper second-class honours degree or higher (or equivalent) in any of computer science, information technology, mathematics, a social science or the humanities.

English Language Requirements:

If English is not your first language, you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each competency. For information on other accepted English language tests, please visit www.southampton.ac.uk/admissions_language.

International Qualifications:

We welcome applications from international students. For information on applying, visit the International Office website.

Selection Process:

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy. Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Disability Office to assess their needs. The programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (eg hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly the practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.


Year 1

Modules not in Semesters

Compulsory Modules


To Apply

You can apply for the programme through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. For more background and detailed information, see How to Apply

Related programmes

Career opportunities

This programme provides an excellent platform for further research in either industry, the digital economy or academia.

Chris Phethean
Web Science PhD Student

"The Web is such a prevalent part of everyday life that it was obvious that it was a great opportunity to really start to understand the effect it is having, which will be a unique expertise that I can take forward into my future career.”

Graduates from our MSc programme are employed worldwide in leading companies at the forefront of technology.  ECS runs a dedicated careers hub which is affiliated with over 100 renowned companies like IBM, ARM, Microsoft Research, Imagination Technologies, Nvidia, Samsung and Google to name a few.  Visit our careers hub for more information.

Pre-course reading lists

The Web Science curriculum does not expect you to have specific programming skills, and the course teaching will directly address the construction and use of the Web in its various forms. However, digital literacy (the use of information management tools such as databases) is expected.

We do not require you to have any prior knowledge of Web Science itself, but relevant background reading includes the following texts:

The following popular texts are also relevant, and provide interesting perspectives for understanding the Web.