School of Computing and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Computer Science

Want to know how computer systems really work? Our award-winning degree gives you the skills, insight and technical know-how to become a creative, versatile professional shaping the way people live and work tomorrow. Engage with current industry trends and emerging technologies. Master software development and programming across a range of languages and systems. Gain a solid grasp of the business, social, legal and ethical factors at play – so you’re perfectly primed for your first job.

UCAS tariff
UCAS course code
Institution code
3 years
(+ optional placement)
Start date
September 2014
Course type

Key features

  • Distinguish yourself with a degree that’s accredited by the BCS (The Chartered Institute for IT) and won a 2013 Guardian University Award for Teaching Excellence.
  • 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, 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 maths. We’ve structured the curriculum to accurately reflect the industry and its many areas of specialisation – so you’ll study both software and database development, as well as being introduced to programming techniques and the role of the 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
    • AINT101 Computer Science Workshop

      In this module we’ve selected topics that will inspire you, showcasing computing and providing hands-on involvement in both a lecture and practical setting. The topics reflect our staff’s interests and passions, and reflect the various aspects of the computing discipline.

    • CNET111 Computer Systems

      This module provides a basic understanding of the operation of the hardware components of computer systems and networks, enabling you to evaluate hardware and perform dimensioning estimations. It also covers the role of the operating system, relating it to the facilities needed by users, administrators and programmers.

    • ISAD131 Database Development

      This module introduces the analysis, design and development of information systems including the principles of data flow modelling, data organisation and analysis, the use of Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools and database prototyping.

    • CNET115 Introduction to Computer and Information Security

      An introduction to the main principles of security for IT and networked systems, this module looks at the key security areas, beginning with underlying concepts and threats. You’ll then move on to address specific issues and technologies that relate to host systems and networked environments, as well as issues relating to security design.

    • SOFT140 Principles of Programming Structures & Algorithms

      Whatever language they’re written in, computer programme often use the same underlying methods to achieve their aims. These methods can be split into data structures (for holding data) and algorithms (for manipulating data). This module looks at data structures and algorithms from a general perspective, outside of any particular programming language.

    • ISAD140 Software Development

      This module introduces you to the range of elements found within a software development project. Particular emphasis is placed upon specification and modelling of requirements. The module also provides you with knowledge and skills relating to personal development (PDP), professional issues, employability, and the mathematical underpinnings for the subject.

    • SOFT144 Software Engineering for Games Development

      This module gives an introduction to software engineering, including programme design, fundamental programming techniques and the development of more advanced programming skills. Practical work is orientated around games development.

    • BPIE100 Stage 1 Placement Preparation

      Focusing on assisting you in your search for a placement, this module will also help prepare you for the placement itself.

  • 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. A collaborative project drawing on many areas of your study so far will further your practical development, as well the opportunity to develop a mobile app.
    Core modules
    • AINT205 Alternative Computing Paradigms

      This module gives you an overview of a range of different paradigms for computing and computing theory.

    • AINT208 Computational Intelligence

      This module provides a theoretical and practical overview of computational intelligence, including the most recent artificial intelligence methods and approaches such as: evolutionary computation, artificial neural networks, fuzzy logic, artificial life and cognitive robotics.

    • PRCS205 Computer Science Integrating Project

      This project gives you the opportunity to draw together many of the threads of the Computer Science course in preparation for your final year. You’ll work in teams to manage and complete a project for a given scenario. You’ll also have the chance to design and develop an application for a mobile device.

    • SOFT237 CPD Software Development

    • ISAD211 Databases

      In this module, you’ll be introduced to the concepts and issues concerning multi-user, networked relational databases in a practical environment. You’ll also acquire a solid foundation in SQL.

    • ELEC228 Embedded Systems

      Embedded systems (very small programmable devices, the hidden computers which control everyday objects) are everywhere. This module makes use of industry-standard development tools to design and build embedded systems, as well as create the software to control them.

    • ISAD223 Human-Computer Interaction

      This module enables you to appreciate your role as designers of environments which will be inhabited by humans.

    • ISAD213 Information Retrieval

      This module considers the organisation, storage and retrieval of unstructured information based on its content. World Wide Web search engines are used extensively – both as a source of material and for demonstration purposes. It also addresses current issues in the information industry.

    • ISAD229 IT Legislation and Ethics

      Considering the wider issues facing the IT professional, this module also develops your awareness of the issues of legislation, ethics and professionalism that affect the industry.

    • SOFT236 Object-Oriented Software Engineering with Design Patterns

      This module aims to develop object-oriented software engineering, using language such as C++ or Java as the vehicle for implementation. It will also introduce issues such as progression from analysis to design and the use of design patterns to enhance software development.

    • CNET225 Server Administration

      Developing your expertise in individual workstation support, and your knowledge of communications principles, this module builds the know-how and skills needed in first-line support and administration of small computer networks and web servers. It also identifies possible career paths in these areas, and assists in your professional development.

    • BPIE200 Stage 2 Placement Preparation

      Building on the year one module (BPIE100), this module continues supporting you with your search for a placement and your preparation for the placement itself.

  • 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.
    Optional 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 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 chosen modules – again allowing you to pursue areas applicable to your intended career path.
    Core modules
    • PRCO303 Computing Project

      The computing project gives you an opportunity to tackle a major practical, problem-solving project in an approved area of computing relevant to the course of study.

    Optional modules
    • ISAD330 Advanced Databases and Their Applications

      This module considers advanced aspects of database systems and their application in the business context.

    • ISAD334 Advanced Web Technologies

      Giving you a sound understanding of the fundamental principles of distributed software development using web technologies, this module will help you identify the appropriate use of technologies to fulfil business needs.

    • SOFT338 API Software Development

      Building your understanding of the variety of third party APIs for distributed cross-platform application development, this module develops your skills in critically evaluating and selecting appropriate third party software libraries for implementation. You’ll also develop the professional skills needed for successfully implementing and distributing your own API.

    • AINT307 Brain-inspired Cognitive Systems

      This 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 performance levels.

    • SOFT336 Cross Platform Application Development in C++

      This module develops your skills in cross-platform software engineering using the C++ language and a cross-platform framework.

    • CNET335 Cybercrime and Forensic Investigation

      Considering issues relating to computer crime and abuse – including the common threats facing IT systems and the impacts that these have upon individuals and organisations – this module also examines techniques that can be used to investigate a cybercrime incident.

    • CNET343 Distributed Systems

      Exploring issues around the design and implementation of heterogeneous distributed electronic information systems, this module explores the methods that link computing systems together physically or functionally – integrating hardware, software, networking and telecommunications components and enabling them to interact seamlessly.

    • AINT301 Evolutionary Computation and Artificial Life

      This module covers the theoretical bases of evolutionary computation and artificial life. It will focus on (a) the genetic algorithm and its application in search and machine learning and (b) artificial life methods and applications in adaptive behaviour, robotics and arts. You’ll also learn about the practical implementation of evolutionary and artificial life algorithms.

    • SOFT333 Graphics

      Exploring the 3D representation of models, their manipulation (such as scaling and perspective), rendering and lighting, you’ll also learn about image processing and some applied algorithms.

    • 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.

    • ROCO318 Mobile and Humanoid Robots

      This module examines the technology, control and modelling of mobile and humanoid robot systems. Mathematical analysis and computational algorithms underpin practical considerations and case studies.

    • AINT303 Neural Computation

      Exploring the theoretical basis of artificial neural network models, this module also looks at the practical application of neural networks in pattern recognition, functional mapping and path planning. The practical implementation of a variety of neural network architectures and learning algorithms is also covered.

    • SOFT339 Parallel Computation and Distributed Systems

      This module will help you develop your skills in understanding and programming parallel and distributed computer systems. Introducing different parallel architectures, programming techniques and methodologies, it will also give you practical training in GPGPU architectures and programming techniques.

    • SOFT323 Programming for Entertainment Systems

      An introduction to software development using Microsoft DirectX, this module is mainly concerned with high performance real-time graphics. You can also investigate other aspects of DirectX.

    • ISAD341 Software Development and Project Management

      This module develops your critical understanding of the issues associated with software development and project management.

    • SOFT337 Software Management

      This module develops your understanding of current issues around developing and managing software.

    • CNET341 Voice and Video over IP

      This module introduces the principles of operating multimedia services, such as voice/video over IP and IPTV (with a focus on VoIP). Multimedia compression, transport, control, and signalling protocols, along with an understanding of key Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms, are also covered.

    • ISAD347 Work-based Learning Experience in Computing Education

      If you want to embark on a teaching career in computing, this module will give you the teaching experience you need. You’ll work as a student-tutor with teachers in an assigned educational environment.

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

300 points including two A levels. Remaining points can be made up as you wish. One technical subject preferred. All subjects except general studies and Key Skills considered.

30 points from an International Baccalaureate.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDM in a related subject*.

All Access courses: Pass a named Access to HE Diploma - computing/IT/science/humanities/engineering, at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction to include 12 credits at level 3 in maths with merit.

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

GCSE grade C at mathematics is acceptable for applicants who have already obtained this. Anybody sitting GCSE mathematics from 2013 onwards (current year 11) we will ask for a grade B as part of your offer.   A level students re-taking GCSE mathematics – we will accept a grade C.

English language requirements

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

*Acceptable subjects:  IT, humanities, engineering, software development, IT practitioners, business, computing, science.

Fees & funding

Home/EU £9,000 International £11,500 Home/EU part time £750 per 10 credits
For more information about our fees and funding please visit

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. 

Apply for this course on the UCAS website.

For more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.


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Open days

A number of open day events are held each year, welcoming you to the campus to find out more about the University, accommodation, facilities and study opportunities.

Find out more from our open days section or register to come and see us using a short open day registration form.

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 mini

You will receive an Apple iPad mini to give you access to additional resources to support your modules, and to enable you to participate in interactive activities such as in-class voting and feedback.

Receive an Apple iPad mini to support your learning.

Free eBooks

Free eBooks (worth over £300) for all first-year undergraduates on computing courses.

The eBook package covers core first year modules and can be downloaded to computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone, Android phone or Android 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.

Sam Gunaratne - graduate profile

The course also offers the opportunity to do a year’s paid work placement. I have been working as a Software Engineer at IBM's largest software development site in Europe - Hursley.
Find out more about Sam Gunaratne

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.