School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Computer Science

Do you want to understand how a computer really works? You'll gain technical skills in computational theory, software development on a variety of devices and platforms, database development, computer hardware and networking. In addition to the technical content, you'll acquire an awareness of social, legal and ethical aspects of the IT industry, ensuring that you are primed for the workplace.

In the 2016 National Student Survey, 76 per cent of students felt staff on this course were good at explaining things and 76 per cent felt that the staff made the subject interesting.

Key features

  • Benefit from outstanding teaching: in the 2016 National Student Survey 76 per cent of our final year students said that “Staff are good at explaining things”.
  • Distinguish yourself with a degree that’s accredited by and entitles membership of the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT (MBCS) and won a 2013 Guardian University Award for Teaching Excellence. You may also gain registration as a Chartered IT Professional (CITP) and will partially meet the educational requirements for Chartered Engineering (CEng) registration.
  • Be inspired by the creativity that our practical, hands-on course nurtures. Our ‘learning through doing’ ethos means you’ll quickly achieve – several of our second year students are already publishing mobile apps for both the Apple and Android markets, including a paid app featured in the Guardian newspaper.
  • Learn from dedicated teaching staff, who are engaged in internationally significant research, are actively creating and developing applications, and have a wealth of industry contacts.
  • Lay strong foundations for a successful career, using our extensive industry links to secure a one-year work placement – giving you the vital industry experience and connections you’ll need when you graduate.
  • Receive an iPad mini and over £300 worth of free electronic textbooks, so you can join our interactive sessions and access a host of additional resource material.
  • Discover the many collaboration opportunities, which mirror the teamwork at the heart of the industry. In the second year, you’ll work in a team of developers on our integrating project, to create a complete system from concept to delivery – honing your professional and communication skills.
  • Immerse yourself in the very latest technology and software – from Java to Microsoft to Apple – in our specialist laboratories, which we regularly update and refurbish. As a member of the Oracle Academy, you’ll also enjoy access to the most current Oracle software. 
  • Benefit from our focused and relevant research, we work closely with our Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research which pushes the frontiers of computer science and means we’re continually updating our curriculum. The latest Research Assessment Exercise judged 100% of our research to be of international repute, with 25% of that recognised as ‘world-leading value’.
  • Ensure you have the business, communication and personal skills employers are looking for, with our teaching programme that reflects the strong entrepreneurial spirit driving the computer industry.
  • Choose the subjects that interest you the most and are best suited to your career goals – whether it’s artificial intelligence or quantum computing. Our extensive range of modules currently includes computer security, software engineering for games development, graphics and mobile and humanoid robots.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll engage with the foundations of computer science from programming to algorithms and mathematics. We’ve structured the curriculum to accurately reflect the industry and its many areas of specialisation. You’ll study programming techniques, database development, how to capture requirements and what happens inside a computing operating system. A hands-on course from the outset, you’ll benefit from a number of practical workshops as well as preparing for your third year work placement.
    Core modules
    • ISAD151 Databases: Analysis, Design and Development

      An introduction to the analysis, design and implementation of a Database System. Design concepts and procedures are covered in detail in order to develop real and useful design skills. The module will explore principles of Business Rules, specifying Requirements, Data Modelling, Relational Modelling and SQL.

    • SOFT152 Software Engineering

      Provides an intensive introduction to Software Engineering for those studying Computer Science or related courses where programming is a core and necessary component. The module includes coverage of problem solving involving abstraction and problem decomposition. At the outset implementation uses an imperative / structured programming approach, before moving onto Object Oriented and Event-driven methodologies.

    • SOFT155 Computer Science Immersive Introduction

      This module provides an intensive introduction to the concepts, modes of study technical content that students studying BSc (Hons) Computer Science will need for the remainder of their Stage 1 studies. And last, but not least, this module aims to get students enthused about their chosen course.

    • SOFT153 Algorithms, Data Structures and Mathematics

      Data structures and algorithms lie at the heart of Computer Science as they are the basis for the efficient solution of programming tasks. In this module, students will study core algorithms and data structures, as well as being given an introduction to algorithm analysis and basic Mathematics for Computer Science.

    • BPIE111 Stage 1 Computing Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • NET103 Principles of Infrastructure

      This module is intended to provide a basic understanding of the operation of the hardware components of computer systems and networks (including how data is represented), enabling students to evaluate hardware and perform dimensioning estimations. The role of a typical multi-tasking operating system is also covered, relating it to the facilities required by users, administrators and programmers.

    Optional modules
    • AINT153PP Intelligent Systems

      Topics covered within this module are selected to be inspirational demonstrators that showcase research topics in the field of Intelligent Systems and provide `hands-on¿ involvement in a lecture/practical setting. This module is suitable both for students form technical degrees (e.g. computer science, robotics, mathematics) and for students from psychology, business and social sciences.

    • MATH1607PP The Quantum Universe

      This course is for non-science specialists who have an interest in understanding our Universe. We will investigate our evolving view of the Universe from ancient times to the recent exciting discoveries such as dark matter and energy. The module will also highlight the phenomena of the Quantum World and will develop a basic understanding of quantum effects and their applications.

    • ELEC137PP Electronic Design and Build

      This module will introduce the students to practical skills needed to design and build an electronic system. A number of hands-on tutorials on specific topics will provide the necessary knowledge. Most of the module will be organized around practical design-and-build exercises combining analogue, digital and software.

    • DAT406PP Digital Making

      This module introduces students to a key set of digital technologies that are core to the production of current digital artwork. This will include exposure to a wide range of software, hardware and networking components commonly used by digital artists and designers. This is a Plymouth Plus module.

    • ROCO103PP Robot Design and Build

      This module will introduce the students to practical skills needed to design and build a small robot. A number of hands-on tutorials on specific topics will provide the necessary knowledge. Most of the module will be organized around practical design-and-build exercises framed in the context of a robot competition.

    • SEC102PP Cybersecurity Essentials

      This module provides an introduction to core principles of cybersecurity applicable to the protection of individuals and organisations. The coverage addresses technical and human perspectives, considering the fundamental threats and safeguards that concern both personal and workplace contexts. Candidates will emerge with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure informed decisions when protecting IT systems and data.

    • SOFT156PP Developing E-commerce Applications

      This module introduces students to the range of issues surrounding the rapid development of an e-commerce application through the use of appropriate frameworks.

  • Year 2
  • In the second year, you’ll build on the knowledge you’ve already acquired, engaging with new subjects that will help you identify possible career paths. We’ll continue to focus on your employability, introducing you to the wider issues faced by IT professionals and the legislation and ethics that guide the industry. An integrating project combines all the skills you have learnt so far, and allows you to undergo a full software lifecycle, starting with a concept and ending with a product.
    Core modules
    • SOFT253 Embedded Programming, Compilers, Languages and Grammars

      This module aims to lift the lid of a computer and show how computers really work. A simple embedded microcontroller is used because such devices are simple enough to really understand how they work. The process of how source code is converted into executable machine code (compilers), and the structure of language and grammar is examined.

    • PRCS251 Computer Science Integrating Project

      This project provides an opportunity for students to draw together many of the threads of the Computing programme in preparation for their industrial placement and final year. Students work in teams to manage and complete a substantial project for a given scenario.

    • AINT252 Computation Theory and Artificial Intelligence

      This module provides students with an overview of a range of different paradigms for computing and computing theory and an introduction to theoretical principles and methods in artificial intelligence.

    • SOFT252 Object-oriented Software Engineering with Design Patterns

      This module aims to develop object-oriented software engineering principles and practices in including encapsulation, abstraction, aggregation and inheritance. It will introduce issues such as progression from analysis to design, implementation, testing and documentation and it includes the use of design patterns (proven solutions to common problems) and software quality principles for enhanced software development.

    • ISAD260 User-Centred Interface Design

      This module aims to introduce students to the HCI principles, user-centred methodologies and ethical issues required for the design and evaluation of user-centred interfaces.

    • BPIE211 Stage 2 Computing Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed build on the Level 1 module (BPIE111) and to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • ISAD251 Database Applications Development

      To introduce students to the concepts and issues concerning server-side applications interfacing multi-user, networked, relational databases and to providing a solid foundation in SQL.

  • Optional placement year
  • This year you’ll do your industry placement – which you’ve been preparing for over the past two years – aided by our network of industry contacts. This extensive training period allows you to learn within a professional context, giving you the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in the real world, as well as learning from those around you. Over 48 weeks you’ll gain experience and confidence, as well as a host of contacts – all essential in readying you for employment on graduation.
    Core modules
    • BPIE330 Computing Related Placement (Generic)

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich course, undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for you to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two years of study and to prepare for the final year and employment after graduation. Please note this placement is optional but strongly recommended.

  • Final year
  • You’ll now be ready to demonstrate all that you’ve learned over the past three years by undertaking a substantial problem-solving individual project focused on a specific area of personal interest, or one that relates to your intended career. You’ll spend the rest of your time studying your optional modules, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, programming for games development, high performance computing, and how to process big data.
    Core modules
    • PRCO304 Computing Project

      The Computing Project gives an opportunity to tackle a major computing related problem in an approved topic area relevant to the programme of study.

    Optional modules
    • PRCO307 Work-based Learning in Computing Education

      This module is primarily aimed at students who would like to embark on a teaching career in Computing. The key aim of this module is to allow students from Computing degree programmes to acquire relevant experience in teaching within the computing subject area by working as `student-tutors¿ with qualified teachers in selected suitable schools or educational establishments.

    • PRCO308 Work-based Learning

      With a view to improving student employability, this module provides the opportunity for students to apply their knowledge to a real world IT problem within an existing IT company or client organisation.

    • AINT355 Industry Engagement

      The module provides a contextual framework for developers seeking to release games, APPs, software products or compete in national events. Topics include creating and protecting intellectual property, product placement, revenue models and licensing, investment, social enterprise, and due diligence. The module includes industry case studies, a guest speaker program and opportunities for individual mentoring.

    • AINT308 Machine Vision and Behavioural Computing

      Providing an advanced knowledge of artificial vision systems for interactive systems guidance and control, this module is underpinned by current theoretical understanding of animal vision systems.

    • AINT351 Machine Learning

      This module introduces machine learning, covering unsupervised, supervised and reinforcement learning from Bayesian, Information Theoretic and decision making perspectives. This includes theory behind a range of learning techniques and how to apply these to build representations of data in systems that make decisions and predictions.

    • AINT352 Computational Intelligence

      Computational intelligence is the approach within artificial intelligence that covers nature-inspired computational methodologies such as evolutionary computation, neural computation and fuzzy logic. This module provides an in-depth introduction and discussion of the main theoretical and methodological approaches to computational intelligence with practical lab sessions.

    • AINT353 Brain-inspired Cognitive Systems

      The module develops an understanding at a systems level of how the brain performs the functions of vision, hearing and movement control, and how novel artificial cognitive systems might use brain-inspired sensory and motor mechanisms to achieve human-like levels of performance.

    • NET302 Distributed Systems

      Distributed systems represent the type of networked computer applications that modern users rely on daily. They are characterised by running on multiple heterogeneous devices subject to failure, yet performing speedily and robustly and scaling to substantial size.

    • ISAD351 Software Project Management

      To enable students to acquire a critical understanding of the management and methodological issues associated with software development.

    • ISAD353 Advanced Databases and Data Management

      SHORT MODULE DESCRIPTOR This module considers the challenges of and solutions for managing, processing, analysing and interpreting large amounts of unstructured data within relational and non-relational database environments.

    • SOFT351 Programming for Entertainment Systems

      This module introduces the concepts and programming techniques for high performance real-time graphics using an graphical API such as DirectX or OpenGL. The module has a very bottom-up view of graphical programming; it is not about the use of game engines and high-level prototyping tools. Students also learn many highly transferrable software engineering skills, e.g. programming in an un-managed environment.

    • SOFT354 Parallel Computation and Distributed Systems

      The module aims to develop skills in understanding and programming parallel and distributed computer system. It will provide an introduction to different parallel architectures, programming techniques and methodologies. Practical training will focus on HPC cluster and GPGPU architectures and programming techniques.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Computer Science 3429 Programme Specification September 2016 3429

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

A levels: from minimum of 2 A levels. Excluding general studies. GCSE mathematics grade B/6. If you have a grade C/4 in mathematics please contact admissions.

International Baccalaureate: 30 overall – English and mathematics must be included. 

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDM.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All Access courses: 33 credits at merit and/or distinction and to include at least 12 level 3 credits in mathematics with merit. Including GCSE English and mathematics grade C /4 or above or equivalent. If mathematics not included please contact the admissions team at admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Other qualifications will be considered individually; please contact us for information.

GCSE: English language grade C, mathematics grade B. If you have a grade C in mathematics please contact us.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Note:
 we will accept students onto year 2 or year 4.  Please contact us for further information.

Fees, costs and funding

New students 2017-18

Full time Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £9,250 tbc £9,250
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £9,250 tbc £9,250
Science and Engineering - Year Zero

(Classroom based)
£9,250 tbc £9,250
Science and Engineering - Year Zero

(Laboratory based)
£9,250 tbc £9,250
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero tbc tbc £9,250
2 year fast-track £9,250 tbc £9,250
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £9,250 tbc £9,250
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £9,250 tbc £9,250
Master of Architecture (MArch) £9,250 tbc £9,250
PGCE £9,250 tbc £9,250
Management Practice (Online) (First year - part time) tbc tbc tbc

Part time (per 10 credits) Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £770 tbc £770
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £770 tbc £770
Science and Engineering - Year Zero (Classroom based) £770 tbc £770
Science and Engineering - Year Zero (Laboratory based) £770 tbc £770
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero tbc tbc tbc
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £770 tbc £770
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £770 tbc £770
PGCE £770 tbc £770

*The tuition fee for UK students transferring to Plymouth University from a partner institution is £9,000.
**Please refer to the policy for capping of international student tuition fees.

***‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Continuing students

Please note some fees for continuing students may differ slightly.

For a full listing please visit our fees for continuing students 2017-18 page.

Further information

Download our fees brochure

Read our Student Fee Policy for the Ordinary Degree route

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Careers in computer science

Do you want to design your own mobile apps? Or are you determined to work as a web developer?

Whatever your career goals, we’ll work with you to give you the support you need, preparing you to make a real impact in the computing and IT industry

Find out more about how we prepare you for your career

Facilities and resources

Our high-specification laboratories means you’ll enjoy access to a wide range of facilities across diverse specialisations – from networking to games development.

You’ll also benefit from your own iPad mini and eBook library – so your resources match your needs and ambitions.

Find out more about our facilities and resources

Free iPad and eBooks

You'll receive an Apple iPad mini to give you access to additional resources to support your modules, such as podcasts, videos, eBooks and our iTunes U content.

Your eBook package worth over £300 covers core first year modules and can be downloaded to computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone and Android phone or tablet.

Optional work placement year

The placement provides you with an opportunity to embed skills and knowledge developed during the first two years of the degree.

Many of our graduates say the work placement year was invaluable in helping them launch their careers.

Jake Evans - placement profile

From this placement I gained invaluable industry experience and developed programming, interpersonal and life skills which could not have been gained through education alone.

Jake spent a placement year at Pythagoras Communications Ltd. He returned to the final year with a job offer and new skills and experience.

Find out more about Jake Evans

Studying computing at Plymouth

Hear the views of a student and see some of our facilities.

This short film can help you discover what it is like to study computing at Plymouth.

The Tamar Engineering Project

Funding and mentoring for high achievers who might not otherwise consider higher education as a route to a career in engineering.

Learn if you are eligible for this scholarship to study engineering at Plymouth University through the Tamar Engineering Project.

Successful applicants will receive:

  • £5,000 towards living costs per year of study
  • £1,500 course fee waiver per year of study
  • one-to-one mentoring from an industry expert.
Read more about the Tamar Engineering Project.

Meet some of your lecturers