School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Computer Systems and Networks

Modern life relies on computer networks and our degree gives you the know-how and practical skills to become a creative and resourceful network professional, shaping how people live and work in the future. Understand how networking fits in to the wider IT industry by working with servers, datacentres and the cloud. Get hands on with our industry-standard, Cisco-equipped network laboratory. And examine large modern systems like Google, so you’re all set for a successful career in IT.

You will lay strong foundations for a successful career with industry-recognised Cisco training embedded within the first two years of the course. You’ll leverage your sought-after Cisco training to secure a one-year work placement using our extensive industry links. You’ll gain confidence and vital industry experience, and maybe even a job offer - several students who have won placements with Cisco then gained full time positions in the company.

Other courses like Computer Systems and Networks...

Key features

  • Benefit from outstanding teaching: in the 2017 National Student Survey 90% of our students felt that the staff have made the subject interesting and that the course was intellectually interesting.*
  • Lay strong foundations for a successful career with industry-recognised Cisco training embedded within the first two years of the course. 
  • Put your skills into practice in our high-specification network laboratory. Learn how to cable and configure routers and switches, as well as other systems such as phones, video cameras and wireless devices.
  • Leverage your sought-after Cisco training to secure a one-year work placement using our extensive industry links. Gain confidence and vital industry experience, and maybe even a job offer - several students who have won placements with Cisco then gained full time positions in the company.
  • Understand how the network is used in the modern IT industry by studying the way global systems – like Google, Amazon and Facebook – operate. You’ll combine your practical networking experience with sound knowledge of the software running on the servers, giving you the invaluable insight employers are looking for.
  • Prepare for your first job by demonstrating to employers your core competency in networking along with your ability to contribute to the other parts of a large IT system.
  • Benefit from our active research through the Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research (CSCAN), providing you with the security knowledge essential for network professionals. The latest Research Assessment Exercise judged 100 per cent of our research to be of international repute, with 25 per cent of that recognised as world leading.
  • Have confidence in a degree accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.*
  • Receive electronic textbooks covering core first year modules that can be downloaded to computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone and Android phone or tablet.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, we’ll introduce you to networks and information systems. You’ll engage with the principles underlying computing technologies, as well as the relevant areas of programming, mathematics, statistics and business. Hands-on from the start, you’ll build your practical skills with our Cisco-associated curriculum, which will continue in your second year.
    Core modules
    • 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.

    • ISAD156 Databases: Analysis, Design and Development

      An introduction to the analysis and design concepts that are essential for developing and implementing database systems. The module will explore design concepts and procedures, such as principles of business rules, specifying requirements, data modelling, relational data modelling and SQL

    • NET106 Fundamentals of Computer Networking

      Networking is at the heart of modern life, providing the infrastructure for all types of communication. This module introduces the students to the fundamental technology of networks and the underlying concepts and protocols. The module has a balanced mix of theory and practice, with the theoretical concepts discussed in the lectures matched by scenarios to design, implement, configure and troubleshoot in the labs.

    • NET109 Computer Architecture and Mathematics

      This module is intended to provide a basic understanding of the operation of the hardware components of computer systems, including some low-level programming. Also an introduction to basic Mathematics for Computer Science.

    • SEC103 Security and Computer Networks

      An introduction to the subject areas of Computer Networks and Computer Security covering the conceptual underpinnings and building foundations in practical networking and security techniques. The networking presentation follows the initial part of the Cisco curriculum. Key areas of security include the underlying concepts and threats, as well as specific issues in security design of host systems and networks.

    • SOFT151 Introduction to Object-oriented Programming

      A comprehensive introduction to Software Engineering (SE) begins with coverage of the core building blocks prior to covering more advanced skills including Object-Oriented Programming. Front-end software development is tackled using interface components with the final part of the module integrating all aspects of SE practice into an individually programmed, moderately sized application.

    • SOFT165 Programme Introduction and Web Development

      This module provides an introduction for students to the concepts, modes of study and technical content relevant to their programme of study. It also provides a grounding in the basics of web development.

  • Year 2
  • This year, you’ll deepen your understanding of issues associated with networking and its supporting technologies, including security and databases. We’ll continue to focus on your employability, complementing your studies by introducing you to other aspects of computing, as well as industry-relevant studies in business and law. A group project integrating all the material up to this point will develop your practical skills further, getting you ready for your placement year.
    Core modules
    • 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.

    • NET201 Enterprise Networks

      This module introduces the students to concepts related to LAN and WAN design, including advanced IP routing and LAN switching principles and protocols, network security considerations, and to develop awareness of the range of technologies and protocols used within WANs.

    • NET205 Wireless Technologies and Network Programming

      Devices at the edge of the network are commonly attached using wireless technologies. The module introduces WiFi, mobile and satellite telecommunications as well as other wireless technologies. The module also deepens students understanding of network programming using a common object-oriented language.

    • NET206 Servers, Datacentres and Cloud

      Modern hardware and software infrastructure has been evolving rapidly and this module describes the present state both within and outside the enterprise by following themes of hardware; services; maintenance, configuration and monitoring; virtualisation and cloud; and finally performance and resilience.

    • NET207 Integrating Project

      This module consolidates and integrates knowledge gained in earlier stages of the BSc Computer Networks programme. Students will work in groups to design, develop and evaluate all aspects (including networking, security, choice of OS and servers) of a simple, but practical distributed information system.

    • SEC202 Secure Systems Architectures and Mechanisms

      System security addresses protection mechanisms appropriate to various IT systems and architectures, focusing upon technologies that are appropriate regardless of whether a system is implemented as part of a network. These mechanisms and cryptographic protocols help to provide confidentiality, integrity of data as well as authentication and authorisation.

  • Optional work placement year
  • Year 3 consists of an industry placement, with the assistance of our industry contacts. You’ll spend 48 weeks working with a suitable organisation in the UK or abroad, applying the skills and knowledge you’ve gained over the last two years in the real world. You’ll immerse yourself in, and learn from, a professional networking environment. You’ll gain experience and confidence, and make plenty of contacts – all invaluable when it comes to securing 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
  • The core of your final year consists of distributed systems and advanced networking which build on the foundation of the first two years along with the industry experience to develop a wide awareness of the whole IT industry. Specialise in the area you want to take your career – whether it’s network monitoring, security or server administration. You’ll distinguish yourself through a honours project of your choice, developing expertise that will ensure you’re fully prepared for your first job.
    Core modules
    • NET301 Advanced Routing and Switching

      This module covers advanced networking mechanisms relevant to larger more complex networks than those treated in earlier modules. Topics will include commonly used core networking technologies as well as approaches that are new or specific to scenarios such as datacentre networking. Large realistic systems and troubleshooting will be considered.

    • 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.

    • 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
    • NET303 Multimedia Networking

      Multimedia Networking refers to transmission of multimedia contents (e.g. voice and video) over IP networks, such as VoIP (e.g. Skype) and video streaming (e.g. YouTube). This module will cover principles involving a media delivery chain from media generation, transport to consumption. These will include voice/video compression, transport (RTP/RTCP), signalling (e.g. SIP/SDP), QoS/QoE, VoIP security and NGN/IMS.

    • SEC301 Information Security Management and Governance

      This module looks at the issues surrounding the management and governance of information security within an organisational context. Consideration is given to the need for related policy, analysis of risk, and the management of organisational assets. Coverage also includes legal and personnel aspects of security, giving an overview of the wide range of laws and regulations governing systems & information security.

    • SEC303 Intrusion Analysis and Incident Management

      This module will examine the field of intrusion prevention, detection and response and the role it plays within modern information security systems. It will introduce key concepts in the analysis of network traffic for signs of intrusions, as well as the process of responding to computer incidents.

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 Systems And Networks programme specification 0746

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

UCAS tariff

116 - 120

A levels: A typical offer is 120 points from minimum of 2 A levels. Excluding general studies. GCSE English C/4 and mathematics grade B/6-5 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 a minimum of GCSE English and Mathematics grade C/4. If mathematics not included please contact the admissions team at

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

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

No graduates of this course will be accepted onto the Plymouth University MSc Network Systems Engineering programme.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,000 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of 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.

Romanian Scholarship Scheme

Romanian nationals applying for an eligible undergraduate computing course starting in Sept 2018 will be awarded one of the following scholarships if they meet the conditions below:

  • Applicants scoring 9.5 in their Romanian Baccalaureate - one scholarship offering  20 per cent off the standard fee for three years, subject to maintain a minimum 60 per cent average during each stage of the course
  • Applicants scoring 9.0 in their Romanian Baccalaureate - five scholarships offering 10 per cent off  the standard fee for three years, subject to maintain a minimum 60 per cent average during each stage of the course

These awards are only open to Romanian nationals who have applied and received an offer from Plymouth by 15 May 2018

Applicants must also satisfy the English Language requirements which are either “3 elements at B2 standard and the other two at B1 from their English score in the Romanian Baccalaureate ” or an IELTS score of 6.0.

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

Work placement year

In your third year you’ll get the opportunity to spend 48 weeks gaining invaluable experience in the computer networking industry. You’ll apply the skills you’ve learnt in real-life situations, while learning from those around you.

Graduate Tom Fincher was able to spend a year working with Blackberry at their 24 hour network operations centre.

Find out more about how a placement can benefit your career

Networking laboratory

Our dedicated Cisco-equipped network laboratory houses more than 50 enterprise level network switches and routers. We have specialised hardware to support server virtualisation and the laboratory hosts a variety of wireless and VoIP devices.

Our high-specification laboratory means you have access to all the equipment you need to build substantial and complex networks.

Find out more about our networking laboratory

Facilities and resources

Our high-specification laboratories mean you have access to a wide range of facilities catering to different specialisations, from networking to web application development. You’ll also benefit from your own ebook library.

Besides the network laboratory, there are many other specialist facilities to support your course.

Find out more about our facilities and resources

Juniper training

In January 2018 students from all years participated in on-line Juniper training and learned about the JUNOS operating system for Juniper switches, routers and firewalls. They received vouchers entitling them to take the certification exam and we expect these students to have even better employment prospects. We started the week in the network lab as several students who have undertaken placements with Juniper were available to help.

Visit to HP Enterprise

Our students regularly visit tech companies and most recently a group were invited to HP Enterprise near London. The placement students (two of whom were from Plymouth) described these opportunities and the graduate scheme was explained. 

The group found out about the new structure of HP and learned about new products. The image shows them disassembling blade servers.

Studying computer systems and networks at Plymouth

Staff and students discuss what it’s like to study here and show you some of our facilities.

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

Free eBooks

Your eBook package will cover first year modules and can be downloaded to the computer, iPad, iPhone and Android phone or tablet.

This is in addition to an annual library investment of £100,000 in online access to dedicated materials for computing, electronics and mathematics students.

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 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.
Read more about the Tamar Engineering Project.

Potential High Achievers Scheme

In the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics we recognise that our students are the future of the growing computing and electronics industry. We know that our applicants will thrive in the hands-on environment we can provide, and we want to ensure our best applicants become our future.

The scheme is now open for students who have applied to study, from September 2018, a range of full-time undergraduate courses within the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics. We will be contacting applicants who are not only on course to achieve top marks but who have an outstanding personal statement, in order to offer them a chance to receive an unconditional offer immediately.

Find out more about the scheme.

Meet some of your lecturers

  • Lecturer in Networks and Cloud Computing
    Programme Manager and Cloud Computing Lecturer
  • Associate Professor
    Network monitoring
  • Lecturer in Information Systems and Big Data
    Admissions Tutor and Databases Lecturer
  • Associate Professor in Multimedia Comms and Networks
    Stage 2 Tutor, VOIP Lecturer
  • Associate Professor in Information Systems (Education)
    Databases Lecturer

*The BCS accreditation renewal process took place during 2017-18 academic year and the outcome will be confirmed during 2018.