School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Computing and Software Development

Study computing and software development, and attain skills that employers want. The degree is based on three core areas: foundations of computer science, principles of software engineering and core aspects of information systems. There is a clear emphasis on employability; with our close links to industry you develop your technical skills in web and mobile development, your problem-solving skills, along with vital professional skills to understand the way technology is applied to real life.

In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to spend a full year working in the IT industry, providing invaluable real-world experience and greatly enhancing your subsequent employability.

Opportunities available...

A course specific scholarship scheme is available: for more information see the 'Fees, costs and funding' section below.

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Excellence Schemes:  we may make you a personalised offer if you are a strong candidate - visit our webpage for details.

Careers with this subject

Graduates have found positions as mobile developers, web application developers, software developers, project managers, systems analysts, software engineers, network administrators and computer games developers. Increasing numbers of graduates are choosing a career in research and education.

Key features

  • Benefit from our close links with local industry by taking part in local meetups, conferences such as Agile on the Beach, and networking events across the South West such as Tech Exeter, Digital Plymouth. 
  • Distinguish yourself with a degree that’s accredited by, and entitles membership of, British Computer Society, BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT (subject to approval). 
  • 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 a desirable applicant for employers. 
  • 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.
  • Enjoy guest lectures on cutting edge computing from the experts in industry such as Red Hat and Goss Interactive.
  • 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 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 with. In our specialist labs you will get to use the Microsoft and Apple industry standard software, which we regularly update and refurbish. 

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.

    • COMP1000 Software engineering 1
    • COMP1001 Computer systems
    • COMP1002 Cyber security and networks
    • COMP1003 Algorithms and data structures
    • COMP1004 Computing practice
    • BPIE111 Stage 1 computing placement preparation

    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.

    • COMP1000 Software Engineering 1

      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.

    • COMP1001 Computer Systems

      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.

    • COMP1002 Cyber Security & Networks

      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.

    • COMP1003 Algorithms, Data Structures and Mathematics

      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.

    • COMP1004 Computing Practice

      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.

    • COMP2000 Software engineering 2
    • COMP2001 Information management and retrieval
    • COMP2002 Artificial intelligence
    • COMP2003 Computing group project
    • COMP2005 Software development tools and practices
    • BPIE211 Stage 2 computing placement preparation

    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.

    • COMP2000 Software Engineering 2

      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.

    • COMP2001 Information Management & Retrieval

      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.

    • COMP2002 Artificial Intelligence

      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.

    • COMP2003 Computing Group Project

      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).

    • COMP2005 Software Development Tools and Practices

      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 Goss Interactive, Vualto, Software Cornwall consortium as well as IBM and Microsoft.

    • BPIE330 Computing placement

    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
  • 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.

    • COMP3000 Computing individual project
    • COMP3005 Software project management
    • COMP3006 Full stack development
    • COMP3007 HCI, usability and visualisation
    • COMP3008 Big data analytics

    Core modules
    • COMP3000 Computing Project

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

    • COMP3005 Software Project Management

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

    • COMP3006 Full-Stack Development

      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.

    • COMP3007 HCI, Usability and Visualization

      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.

    • COMP3008 Big Data Analytics

      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.

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

112 - 120

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

GCSE: English C/4 

2020 entry - GCSE Grade C/4 in Mathematics

2021 entry onwards - GCSE B/5 in Mathematics

A levels: A typical offer is 112-20 points from a minimum of 2 A levels in any subject. Excluding general studies.

International Baccalaureate: 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.

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

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU N/A £9,250
International N/A £13,800
Part time (Home/EU) N/A £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.

The Plymouth Computing Scholarship

Up to £1,000.

Students can obtain a computing scholarship of up to £500 by gaining two A grades at A level. This is awarded to home/EU applicants who put us as their firm choice before the 1 August 2020. The computing scholarship can also be obtained by students who have put us as their first choice and have acquired three D* 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.

Student view: Laura Haddy

"My first year studying computing has been very enjoyable, as well as a challenge. 

I have specifically enjoyed being able to learn programming languages such as C# from scratch, and being able to expand my knowledge of this alongside other people on the course. I also have more knowledge about web and app development, which is something I hadn't done much of before.

Personally, I've gained a lot from my first year studying computing, all of the modules we have been taught have all been extremely beneficial and I am looking forward to starting my second year."

Well-equipped specialist laboratories

The laboratories are equipped with specialist software including Oracle, Microsoft Visual Studio, Java, the Adobe Creative Suite and many other key products.

The main corporate operating system is Microsoft Windows, but many laboratories have dual boot systems into other operating systems such as Mac OS X.

Find out more about the specialist laboratories

Work placements

A ‘placement year’ is an excellent way to gain a competitive edge. It will set you up for when the graduate schemes launch and help you make better career decisions.

Kate Uzar gained important skills and career-defining experiences working for Nestle as a computer programmer.

Read more about Kate's journey

Find out more about computing placements

Graduate view: watch our short film

Hear the views of one of our graduates and see some of our facilities.

Find out what it's 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.

Meet some of your lecturers