School of Engineering, Computing 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.

This degree has a strong emphasis on practical skills which are extremely useful in the workplace. This provides an opportunity to accelerate your career. An optional, but strongly recommended, placement year is an opportunity to gain industrial experience and enhance your CV. Recent placement providers for our students include: the BBC, the Met Office, Microsoft, the National Physical Laboratory and Nestlé.

Opportunities available...

  • A course-specific scholarship scheme is available: for more information, see the 'Fees, costs and funding' section, below.
  • Excellence schemes: we may make you a personalised offer if you are a strong candidate – visit our webpage for details.
Register in advance for Clearing

We'll give you a call on A level results day to discuss your place at Plymouth, meaning there's one less thing to worry about.

Find out more about Clearing

Key features

  • We have strong connections with industry, including links with Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Intel, Apple, Nvidia and many more. We are a member of Microsoft Imagine (formerly DreamSpark) which enable our students to acquire free software to support their studies.
  • Distinguish yourself with a degree that’s accredited by and entitles membership of the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT (Subject to approval). 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 expertise.
  • 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.
  • 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 our modern and well equipped labs, which run industry standard developer tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio, NetBeans, Android Studio, Apple X-Code (Apple labs only) and much more. The labs are regularly updated and refurbished and they all have free, unlimited and very fast Internet access.
  • Benefit from our focused and relevant research, we work closely with our Big Data Group and our Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems, which conducts leading research reputation in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, big data and robotics.  You will be offered practical and theoretical modules ranging from Machine Learning, computational theory and AI through to computer vision and parallel computing. You will have access to current AI and robotics platforms for final year projects on topics such as deep learning, cognitive robotics and big data.
  • 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.

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

    • Stage 1 Computing Placement Preparation (BPIE111)

      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.

    • Software Engineering 1 (COMP1000)

      This module exposes students to the principles of software design and construction. The basics of constructing source code to solve a problem will be introduced, exposing students to common control structures alongside concepts such as types and generics. Major programming paradigms such as object orientation and functional programming are introduced. Additionally, key software development tools and methods are explored.

    • Computer Systems (COMP1001)

      This module provides students with an underpinning knowledge of how computers work. Topics include low-level systems and representation of data, operating systems, and an introduction to subjects such as virtualisation, parallelism, state and communications. Students will learn how operating systems manage processes and scheduling, and how memory management works.

    • Cyber Security & Networks (COMP1002)

      Modern computing relies upon networking and robust cyber security. This module provides an appreciation of their core enabling technologies, discussing how they can be applied. Key networking topics include routing and switching, as well as wireless networks. Key areas of security include underlying concepts and threats, and exploring security technologies that can be applied to enable defence in depth.

    • Algorithms, Data Structures and Mathematics (COMP1003)

      Data structures and algorithms lie at the heart of Computer Science as they are the basis for an 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.

    • Computing Practice (COMP1004)

      This module applies problem-based learning to provide students with the ability to identify problems and derive appropriate and considered solutions. A focus will be given to the early stages of the software development lifecycle to develop the skills of eliciting requirements whilst considering operational and technical trade-offs. The module will culminate in the creation of a simple yet complete software solution.

  • 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. Students will explore artificial intelligence and machine learning. You will learn how to navigate different processor architectures with low level programming for IoT devices. 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

    • Stage 2 Computing Placement Preparation (BPIE211)

      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.

    • Software Engineering 2 (COMP2000)

      Students’ understanding of software engineering is expanded by introducing a range of topics that instil best practice. Students will learn how to implement faster software using parallelism and consider aspects of human-computer interaction. Object-orientation and functional programming are revisited, while event-driven programming is introduced. Common design patterns used in the construction of software are introduced.

    • Information Management & Retrieval (COMP2001)

      This module introduces students to the fundamental concepts for graphical representation, information management, database systems and data modelling. The capture, digitisation, representation, organisation, transformation and presentation of information is explored using conceptual and physical data models.

    • Artificial Intelligence (COMP2002)

      This module provides students with an introduction to the principles of artificial intelligence and the methods used in that field. Topics covered include search and optimisation, knowledge representation and reasoning, and machine learning. Students will gain experience of modelling and simulation, and will apply analytical tools to evaluating results, and will consider the ethical implications of the introduction of AI.

    • Computing Group Project (COMP2003)

      Knowledge gained in earlier stages of the computing programmes is consolidated and integrated into a substantial project. Students work in teams, champion professional roles, design and develop a software solution for a given scenario. The project integrates and expands upon software development stages covered on the course (project management, analysis, design, construction, communication, security and/or networking).

    • Embedded Programming and the Internet of Things (COMP2004)

      Students learn about embedded microcontrollers, working with different processor architectures via a simulator, and develop embedded software. The use of hardware peripherals, interrupts, multi-tasking and defensive programming techniques will be explored. Students will optimize the execution time, energy consumption and memory size of their programs. The use of embedded programming within IoT applications is considered.

  • 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

    • Computing Related Placement (Generic) (BPIE330)

      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. Students will explore computational problem solving with GP-GPUs and expand upon machine learning knowledge to analyse real datasets and control real-time systems. Cloud computing is examined to understand the deployment and performance of Internet services.

    Core modules

    • Computing Project (COMP3000)

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

    • Parallel Computing (COMP3001)

      This module develops an understanding of problems in Computer Science which take advantage of general-purpose computing on GPUs. It provides practical methodologies to reformulate problems in terms of hardware architecture, graphics primitives and high-performance computing concepts, as supported by the most recent GPUs. It develops the skills to implement parallel solutions with common GP-GPU computing languages.

    • Alternative Paradigms (COMP3002)

      Imperative programming and related “classic” machines like finite state or Turing machines dominate the field of computing. This module aims to expose students to ways of thinking about computational problems that go beyond mainstream imperative styles (e.g., functional and declarative programming) and to ideas and workings of and behind unconventional and upcoming computing paradigms (e.g. quantum or neural computing).

    • Machine Learning (COMP3003)

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

    • Advanced Computing and Networking Infrastructures (COMP3004)

      This module introduces the infrastructures of the future Internet and cloud, both moving towards virtualisation and softwarisation, and describes how they underpin the development and deployment of multimedia Internet applications and services. Topics include virtualisation and cloud; services and applications; Software Defined Networking, and Network Function Virtualisation; load balancing, performance and resilience.

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 Hons Computer Science Programme Specification_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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

112 - 120

Applicants exceeding our entry requirements may be eligible for an offer under our Computing Excellence Scheme.

GCSE: English C/4 and mathematics grade B/5. If you have a grade C/4 in mathematics please contact admissions team.

A levels
: A typical offer is 112-120 points from minimum of 2 A levels in any subject. Excluding general studies. 

International Baccalaureate: 27-30 overall 

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DMM-DDM – science related subjects: IT, Humanities, Engineering, Software Development, IT Practitioners, Business, Computing, Science (GCSE English C/4 and mathematics grade B/5. If you have a grade C/4 in mathematics please contact admissions team).

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 a minimum of GCSE English and Mathematics grade C/4. 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.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted 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

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021 2022
Home £9,250 To be confirmed
International £14,200 To be confirmed
Part time (Home) £770 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

The Plymouth Computing Scholarship

Students can obtain a Computing Scholarship of up to £1,000 by gaining two A grades at A level - that is £500 for each of the two A grades at A level. This is awarded to home applicants who put us as their firm choice before 1 August 2021. The full Computing Scholarship can also be obtained by students who have put us as their first choice by that date and have acquired three D* grades at BTEC level (this needs to be an IT and Computing-related BTEC). The scholarship is paid during the first semester of the first year.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork and equipment costs.

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.

Connecting the theory to digital practice

Johnathan Mawdsley, BSc (Hons) Computer Science student

In this ever-expanding, constantly changing industry, there is always something new going on.

I run a student team that aims to connect students to mentors in the South-West digital tech industry. As a director of Industry Buddies, we have designed and developed a web-app that allows students and mentors to sign up and connect with each other.

Get to know Johnathan and how he is connecting people through ideas

Computer science students Dan Scott and Craig Banyard reflect on their stage 2 project

Pizza Heaven – making a pizza delivery system

Dan and Craig were tasked to create a fully integrated system for a made up pizza company, complete with mobile app for a delivery driver, desktop application for an administrator to add pizzas, drinks and sides to the website, a desktop application for a chef (to see when orders come through and monitor the status of the orders), and a website for customers to place their orders. 

A part of the brief was to also use an API (Application Programmable Interface) accessible via the web and to have all of the applications discussed in the video talk to the API to update the database, rather than the database directly. Primarily based in Java, Dan and Craig made their website in Java Server Pages, Desktop apps were both in Java, mobile app was done with Android and the API had to be created in ASP.NET as specified by the brief.

Dan Scott and Craig Banyard discuss their pizza delivery system

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

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 computing and engineering.

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

Successful applicants will receive:

  • £3,000 towards living costs per year of study
  • £1,500 course fee waiver per year of study
  • one-to-one mentoring from an industry expert.

Athena Swan Bronze

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze award in October 2020 which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.

Meet some of your lecturers

*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Discover Uni is updated annually in September.