In September 2003 a group of 40 students at the University of Hull will become the first in the UK to study .Net at masters degree level. Dr David Grey, a lecturer at Hull University, said the one-year course is aimed at two groups. "The first is those who are currently out there in employment and who are looking to update their development skills," said Grey. "They could be from non-object-orientated development language backgrounds. The other group is recently completed science graduates who want to develop their skills." Microsoft said the university beat off competition from 120 other academic institutions worldwide to use Microsoft's Shared Source common Language Interface (CLI). If so, the situation seems to have reversed since September, when Microsoft said that of 2,300 organisations it identified as eligible to access the source code, only 150 took it up on the offer. The selected students will get an opportunity to work with code from C# as well as the CLI itself. The CLI is the European Computer Manufacturer Association (ECMA) standard that describes the core of the .Net framework. It supports FreeBSD and Microsoft Windows XP operating systems in addition to Mac OS X. Dr Stuart Nielsen-Marsh, .Net academia manager at Microsoft, explained why Hull was selected. "It was because of the innovative nature of their teaching -- that they created a curriculum based on .Net at Masters degree level. The other applications were about accessing source code for academic research." Derek Wills, head of computer science at Hull, put the .Net course in context with the other Hull computer science courses available. "We run a range of undergraduate and MSc courses," he said. "We have three at the moment and this will be the fourth. They tend to come out of specialist research areas. We have formal and informal feedback on all our courses. We have an industrial panel who review our programmes. One of the key things for industry is that they are keen to see graduates have good skills." Grey said he believes that providing our students with the inner workings of the .Net Framework and the Shared Source CLI will give them a significant edge in the skills and expertise needed to excel in the exciting Web services area. "Web services have matured and as the tools are now available to give businesses real and immediate value and return from investments, our students will be best positioned to shape the development of the future." Interviews at the University of Hull Department of Computer Science for the .Net masters degree course begin in January 2003. Microsoft is touring the UK's leading universities in a five-month roadshow demonstrating the latest Microsoft .Net developer tools to students and faculty staff.