School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Computer Science (Software Engineering)

UCAS tariff 120 - 128
UCAS course code I300
Institution code P60
Duration 3 years (+ optional placement)
Course type Full-time
Location Plymouth

Computing and software development drives many of the world’s greatest technologies, helping us to live, learn, build and even save lives. This course combines computer science, software engineering and information systems to give you the skills employers want.

You’ll learn about programming, databases, computer hardware, computer networking, and how a computer operating system works. You will then extend your knowledge in graphical representation, data modelling and artificial intelligence. You can also enhance your career prospects with a placement at industry leaders such as IBM, Microsoft, Goss Interactive and Vualto.

Computer Science (Software Engineering)
Careers with this subject

Computing and software development graduates have gained employment as:

  • mobile developers
  • web application developers
  • software developers
  • project managers
  • systems analysts
  • software engineers
  • network administrators
  • and computer games developers

Through substantial all-year projects, you will build and test tangible pieces of software that evidence your skills to potential employers, whichever profession you choose.


Key features

  • Get a head-start in the industry
    Take part in local industry meet-ups and conferences such as Agile on the Beach, and networking events such as Tech Exeter and Digital Plymouth. Enjoy guest lectures from industry experts working at companies such as Red Hat and Goss Interactive.

  • Gain professional accreditation
    Get a degree that’s accredited by, and entitles membership of, British Computer Society, BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. Graduates may also gain registration as a Chartered IT Professional (CITP) and will partially meet the educational requirements for Chartered Engineer (CEng) registration.

  • Be inspired by the creativity that our practical, hands-on course nurtures
    Our ‘learning through doing’ ethos means you build the skills to make you desirable to employers. You’ll learn from dedicated teaching staff engaged in internationally significant research, actively creating and developing applications, and have a wealth of industry contacts.

  • Collaborate and build
    Mirroring the teamwork at the heart of the industry, you’ll work in a team to develop a piece of software with a real purpose.

  • Immerse yourself in the very latest technology and software
    We use open source as well as providing access to Microsoft Imagine for software to work at home. We regularly update and refurbish our specialist labs, where you get to use Microsoft and Apple industry standard software.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • Start to develop the basic technical skills needed to become a computing professional, including: programming, databases, computer hardware, computer networking, and how a computer operating system works, with operational modules on topics. You also have the chance to put these things together in an applied project taking analysis and design through to a prototype implementation.

    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

  • Building on the first year you study software development topics in greater depth. You will extend your knowledge into graphical representation, data modelling and artificial intelligence. You learn how to capture requirements and complete a whole software life cycle, 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).

    • Software Development Tools and Practices (COMP2005)

      This module explores the current state of the art in testing tools, including static and dynamic analysis tools. It explores programming environments that automate parts of program construction processes (e.g., automated builds) and continuous integration. Software verification and validation concepts are introduced along with testing types and testing fundamentals.

  • Optional placement year

  • An optional, but strongly recommended placement gives you professional experience and significantly enhances your CV. Placement providers include IBM, Microsoft, Goss Interactive and Vualto.

    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

  • Throughout the year, you will complete a major computing project, allowing you to demonstrate to potential employers that you are ready for the challenges of real-world projects. The first semester provides supporting modules in software project management and development, and the production of dynamic web applications. In the second semester, core human computer interaction concepts are explored to inform user testing approaches, while Big Data sets the scene for state of the art data management practices.

    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.

    • Full-Stack Development (COMP3006)

      This module explores the production of dynamic web applications with a particular focus on the web environment. Key elements such as object oriented and event-based development, asynchronous client-server communication and distributed content representation are explored through practical production. The production of a working system uses dynamic web frameworks such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript/jQuery.

    • HCI, Usability and Visualization (COMP3007)

      This module has three main objectives. The first objective is to enhance the students understanding of the topic of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). The second is to emphasise the crucial role of user feedback in the software development life cycle. The final objective is to exemplify this grounding in HCI and usability evaluation using the application area of Information Visualization.

    Optional modules

    • Big Data Analytics (COMP3008)

      The key objective of this module is to familiarise the students with the most important information technologies used in manipulating, storing and analysing big data. Students will work with semi-structured datasets and choose appropriate storage structures for them. A representative of recent non-relational trends is presented—namely, graph-oriented databases.

    • Games Graphics Pipelines (COMP3015)

      This module develops core programming skills for game developers, targeting specific elements of graphics pipelines; rendering, shading and optimisation for varied platforms such as AR (mobile) VR and XR platforms. The module focuses on specific skills required to develop tools/solution for emerging game technologies.

    • Immersive Game Technologies (COMP3016)

      This module introduces the concepts and programming techniques for high performance real-time graphics using a relevant graphical API. A bottom-up view of graphical programming is taken, excluding the use of game engines and high-level prototyping tools. Students also learn transferrable skills: programming in an un-managed environment, tools programming, programming for physical interfaces and/or sensors.

    • Computing Project Management (COMP3017)

      This module provides the opportunity for students to acquire a critical understanding of the management and methodological issues associated with Software Development. 

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 Software Engineering programme specification 7395

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

120 - 128

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

GCSE: English C/4 and mathematics B/5

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

International Baccalaureate: 27-30 overall – English and mathematics must be included.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDM – science related subjects: IT, Humanities, Engineering, Software Development, IT Practitioners, Business, Computing, Science (GCSE English C/4 and mathematics grade C/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.

T level: Merit to Distinction depending on the Mathematics units studying within the T Level pathways.

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.

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 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,600 £16,300
Part time (Home) £770 £770
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. More information about fees and funding.

Scholarships for outstanding School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics applicants

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics Scholarship Scheme recognises and rewards the achievements of high achieving entrants to our undergraduate degree programmes. Scholarships of £1,000 will be automatically awarded to the highest qualified 12 new entrants from across our four disciplines - Engineering, Computing, Mathematics and Navigation. Selection will be based upon entry qualifications and strength of application. Awards will be made during first year of study.

This scheme is open to home students only. 

There are additional subject specific prizes and awards to reward outstanding achievement in later stages of study.

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 admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

  • @ We ranked 26/106 for student satisfaction in the 2022 National Student Survey
  • @ Our computing courses have all been re-accredited by the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT
  • @ In the latest REF (Research Excellence Framework) almost 90% of our research was rated internationally recognised or world leading

Meet some of your lecturers

Research-informed teaching