School of Computing, Electronics 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.

It’s not too late to apply for September 2019

If you haven’t applied to the University of Plymouth for September 2019 entry, prior to the UCAS deadline, there may still be vacancies on your chosen course.

It’s not too late to apply

Key features

  • We have strong connections with industry, including links with with Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Intel, Apple, Nvidia and many more. We are a member of Microsoft Imagine (formerly DreamSpark) and the Oracle Academy, both of 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* (MBCS). 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 – 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.
  • 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. 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, we work closely with the 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.
  • Choose the subjects that interest you the most and are best suited to your career goals – whether it’s artificial intelligence or big data analytics. 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 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
    • 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.

    • ISAD157 Analysis and Design Project

      This module provides an opportunity to apply fundamental analysis and design concepts in the context of a computing project. Skills are developed in creating a common understanding of the needs, priorities and constraints relevant to a software system. Requirements and data are modelled, described and empirically evaluated through implementation.

    • NET112 Computer Systems & Networks

      This module is intended to provide a basic understanding of the operation of the hardware components of computer systems including some assembler level programming and the core underpinning knowledge of networking. The role of a typical multi-tasking operating system is also covered.

    • SEC104 Cybersecurity and Networks

      Modern computing relies on networking and robust cybersecurity. This module is an introduction to Computer Networking and IT Security principles. Key networking concepts include routing and switching at all network levels and geographical scope, as well as wireless networks. Key areas of security include the underlying concepts and threats, as well as specific issues in security design of host systems and networks

    • SOFT152 Software Engineering

      Provides an intensive introduction to Software Engineering for those studying Computer Science or related courses where programming is a core and necessary component. The module includes coverage of problem solving involving abstraction and problem decomposition. At the outset implementation uses an imperative / structured programming approach, before moving onto Object Oriented and Event-driven methodologies.

    • SOFT153 Algorithms, Data Structures and Mathematics

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

    • SOFT166 Programme Introduction and Development Workshops

      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 iterative development, version control, testing and documentation. Workshop sessions cover the essentials towards prototype release in either Games or Web development fundamentals

  • 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. 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
    • AINT252 Computation Theory and Artificial Intelligence

      This module provides students with an overview of a range of different paradigms for computing and computing theory and an introduction to theoretical principles and methods in artificial intelligence.

    • 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.

    • PRCO204 Integrating Project

      This module consolidates and integrates knowledge gained in earlier stages of the computing BSc (Hons) degrees. Students work in teams to manage and complete a substantial project for a given scenario. The project integrates the various aspects of software development encountered on the course (project management, analysis, design, construction, security and/or networking).

    • SEC204 Computer Architecture and Low Level Programming

      This module aims to provide understanding of computer architecture, low level Assembly programming and software reverse engineering techniques. The operation of computer system components is examined, including how assembly code is generated and executed by the compiler, enabling students to decipher assembly code and understand the principles of software reverse engineering.

    • SOFT252 Object-oriented Software Engineering with Design Patterns

      This module aims to develop object-oriented software engineering principles and practices in including encapsulation, abstraction, aggregation and inheritance. It will introduce issues such as progression from analysis to design, implementation, testing and documentation and it includes the use of design patterns (proven solutions to common problems) and software quality principles for enhanced software development.

    • SOFT261 Embedded Programming and the Internet of Things

      This module aims to lift the lid of a computer and show how modern computers really work. A simple embedded microcontroller is used because such devices are simpler and feature prominently in the growing IoT sector. This includes issues relating to low level programming, multi-tasking and defensive programming techniques to mitigate against security vulnerabilities and exploits.

  • 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
    • 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 individual 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 optional modules, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, programming for games development, high performance computing, and how to process big data.
    Core modules
    • AINT357 Advanced Computing Paradigms

      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 optical computing).

    • 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
    • AINT351 Machine Learning

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

    • ISAD362 Software Project Management

      To enable students to acquire a critical understanding of the management and methodological issues associated with software development.

    • SOFT354 Parallel Computation and Distributed Systems

      The module aims to develop skills in understanding and programming parallel and distributed computer system. It will provide an introduction to different parallel architectures, programming techniques and methodologies. Practical training will focus on HPC cluster and GPGPU architectures and programming techniques.

    • SOFT355 Distributed Application 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 scripting, asynchronous client-server communication and distributed content representation are explored though practical production. The production of a working prototype uses dynamic web frameworks such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript/JQuery.

    • SOFT356 Programming for Entertainment Systems

      This module introduces the concepts and programming techniques for high performance real-time graphics using a graphical API such as DirectX or OpenGL. The module has a very bottom-up view of graphical programming; it is not about the use of game engines and high-level prototyping tools. Students also learn many highly transferrable software engineering skills, e.g. programming in an un-managed environment.

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 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.

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 – 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.

For a full list of all acceptable 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

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 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 £13,400
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.

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.

Meet some of your lecturers

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.

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 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.

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.