This course provides a broad education in computer science with a particular focus on software systems development.
This course is offered at the Magee campus by the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment. If you are interested in computer software design, how computers communicate and how they actually perform their tasks, then this course is for you. This course will equip you with a varied computer science education based upon the development and improvement of your programming skills throughout. You will also learn to apply best practice in all areas of software development. After you complete this course you will have the skills necessary to pursue a career in computing in a wide range of commercial and industrial organisations.
Sign up for course updates
Sign up to receive regular updates, news and information on courses, events and developments at Ulster University.
We’ll not share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Our vision is aligned to the strategic growth plan for the city and regionWatch the video
About this course
In this section
The Computer Science (Software Systems Development) course covers all the necessary skills you will need to be a computing professional, from idea generation to system implementation.
During the half of the course, you will advance your programming skills and develop the necessary capabilities to design, build, operate and maintain complex computer systems. The modules within the course provide an excellent platform for skill development through practical application.
During the second half of the course, you will get exposed to more advanced topics to consolidate your knowledge and understanding of software systems development. Through your Final Year Project, you will also gain practical experience in the planning, development and implementation of a computing system, which can be used to showcase your skill set to future employers.
Members of the teaching team are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy and Members of the industry professional body - the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. Through their research, knowledge transfer and placement activities, teaching staff are also actively engaged with the local software and IT industry, and many modules on the course are directly informed by staff research activities.
This course is part-time. Part-time students are taught alongside full-time students, and modules are scheduled to accommodate day-release from employment.
Each student must complete between 40 and 80 credits (usually two to four modules) in each academic year. Modules are taught on campus on a single day per module basis and are web-supplemented.
- September 2019
Teaching and learning assessment
Lectures are used to present theory and concepts and are supported through a combination of tutorial discussion and practical, laboratory exercises.
Modules are either assessed by coursework only or by a combination of coursework and formal examinations (January and May). Coursework assessment is carried out using any combination of written assignments, class tests, presentations, and group assignments as appropriate to meet the learning outcomes of each module.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
Mathematics for Computing
This module is designed to give the student an appreciation of the mathematical concepts required for computer science. This module provides fundamental topics necessary for developing student competencies in the essential mathematics that forms an integral part of an undergraduate honours degree in computing.
Software Development I
This module provides students of computing with an initial competence in the development of software through the medium of a modern programming language with facilities for both structured and object-oriented programming
Software Development II
This module is a direct follow-on to Software Development I. Students are introduced to more advanced features of both an algorithmic programming language and an object oriented language, and will be expected to acquire a higher level of competence in writing software.
The module covers the fundamental principles and theory of database design and provides practical experience in designing and developing database systems using a range of techniques, tools and technologies. It emphasises the important role of databases within an organisation and addresses the use of scalable and secure relational database management systems to facilitate the development of software systems involving large volumes of data and over the web.
Computer Hardware and Operating Systems
Differences in the internal structure and organisation of a computer lead to significant differences in performance and functionality, giving rise to an extraordinary range of computing devices, from hand-held computers to large-scale, high-performance machines. This module addresses the various options involved in designing a computer system, the range of design considerations, and the trade-offs involved in the design process.
Systems Analysis and Design
This module is devoted to the understanding of organisations as systems, the environment in which they operate and the processes they undertake.
It provides the student with knowledge of the tools and techniques of modern systems analysis, essential to the creation of information systems using industrial best practice.
It investigates concepts associated with business analysis, methodologies and modelling techniques in use today. The module also develops project management and communication skills.
The module will develop a student as an IT professional analysing and designing effective systems in industrial and commercial environments.
Students nurture their professional skills and learn how to work collaboratively in teams.
Computer Networks & Security
This module provides an in-depth study of computer, communications and networks. This module will introduce the concepts and principles of computer networks to guide the installation and maintenance of modern, high quality reliable networks. In addition, students will be given the opportunity to learn how to configure and test networks, deploy network based software applications and resolve network infrastructural problems. Students will have an in-depth knowledge of basic skills in networking, and an appreciation for emerging themes that could impact networking in the future
This module builds on programming foundations covered in Year 1 and provides a foundation for the Web development modules in Year 2 and 4. In addition, it offers an appreciation of user factors in application design and provides students with the tools to specify and develop high quality user interfaces.
Algorithms and Data Structures
The module builds upon the expertise acquired in Year 1 software development. Students are introduced to the classic data structures and algorithms that are used to process them, the specification of methods and classes and the measurement of algorithm performance.
This module is designed to equip students with the appropriate research and transferable skills needed to secure employment within the Computing and Engineering domain.
The module prepares students for professional work by developing knowledge of the responsibilities and obligations of employees, employers and clients as determined by codes of professional conduct. Students will have the opportunity to practise the presentation of themselves in, for example, application forms, curriculum vitae, interview, elevator pitches and aptitude tests.
The module provides an underpinning foundation of research concepts, methods and techniques necessary for project development and delivery. The students employ research skills developed during the module to gather research from a variety of sources and critically review this literature. Embedded in all these activities is the reinforcement of the need for adhering to recognised ethical standards and taking a professional approach to employability.
Object oriented Programming
This module builds on the programming foundations developed during year one and introduces students to the concepts of object-oriented design and programming. Students learn how to use OO concepts to design and implement software solution using the C++ programming language.
Web Application Development
This module concerns the basic principles underlying the creation and maintenance of dynamic, database driven web applications. The module focuses on how to build and maintain real-world, dynamic websites using open source languages including PHP and MySQL.
Mobile Application Development
This module will provide students with the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills that will equip them to mature as software developers specialising in application development for mobile technologies. Students will gain detailed knowledge of the mobile app creation process and of developing software solutions targeted at the Android environment. The knowledge gained and the solid foundation developed will equip the student with the confidence and capability to be able to extend their study to wider environments both existing and yet to emerge.
This module provides an in-depth study of secure computer systems. This module will introduce the concepts and principles of secure systems. In addition, students will be given the opportunity to learn how to configure and test application and network security, deploy secure network based software applications, configure cloud systems and resolve security problems. Students will have an in-depth knowledge of basic skills in security, and an appreciation for emerging themes that could impact secure systems in the future.
Concurrent and Distributed Systems
This module provides a theoretical foundation in the area of concurrent and distributed systems. This is an increasingly important area of computing as these types of systems are now manifest in a wide range of internet/intranet based application domains. The module first covers the key theory and design principles and then provides a learning path for software development in this exciting and evolving area of computing/engineering. As a consequence it facilitates students to develop expertise in the core skills area of multithreaded, networked and web-enabled computer systems.
Advanced Mobile Technology
This module addresses and develops understanding and knowledge of key and emerging concepts associated with mobile technologies, and fosters related mobile application software design and development principles.
This module will expose students to the world of heterogeneous enterprise computing with an emphasis on multi-tier, web enabled applications. This is an increasingly important area of computing as these systems are now manifest in a wide range of web based applications. The module will first provide an understanding of the role and function of the core technologies involved and then address the design principles required for developing enterprise computing applications. Consequently this module aims to meet the needs of today's undergraduate students who wish to equip themselves with expertise in implementing enterprise wide computing systems.
Final Year Project
Students are required to undertake a major project during the final year of the course. The module offers students an opportunity to develop a realistic and meaningful piece of work during their final year. This module allows a chosen subject area to be researched in depth and a solution developed as a consequence. Students will have the opportunity to integrate and apply the learning achieved from other modules in the course. The module runs during both semesters and allows students to develop a comprehensive approach to all aspects of working on a large project. The project encourages innovation and creative thinking in the development of the solution. It also develops the entrepreneurial mindset, which can influence the challenges undertaken and final decisions made.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
The GCE A Level requirements for this course are grades CCC.
The Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment does not accept students with Essential Skills in Application of Number as the only mathematics qualification. Please contact the Admissions Office directly on Tel: +44 (0)28 7167 5678 if you have a query concerning this matter. You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first-degree course and hold a GCSE pass in English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent). If you have other qualifications than those listed, you may be considered for admission at the discretion of the Courses’ Coordinator following an interview.
Applied General Qualifications
The requirement for this course is BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma with overall award profile of MMM to include at least 15 unit Merits. All subject areas considered.
BTEC Level 3 Diploma and Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma will be considered if presented with GCE A Level or equivalent qualifications.
The Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment accept combinations of A Levels, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Diploma. For further information on the requirements for this course please contact Faculty admissions staff:
Entry equivalences can also be viewed in the online prospectus at http://www.ulster.ac.uk/apply/entrance-requirements/equivalence.
Irish Leaving Certificate
Overall Irish Leaving Certificate Highers requirement for this course is H3,H4,H4,H4,H4 (typical grade profile) plus English and Mathematics at Grade H6 or above (HL) or Grade O4 or above (Ordinary Level) if not sitting at Higher Level is also required. All subject areas considered.
The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is grades CCCCD. All subject areas considered.
Scottish Advanced Highers
The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is grades DDD. All subject areas considered.
Overall International Baccalaureate Diploma requirement for this course is a minimum of 24 points to include 12 at Higher Level. Grade 4 in Mathematics and Grade 4 in English Language is also required in overall profile.
Access to Higher Education (HE)
Successful completion of an Ulster University validated Access Course (120 credits) with an overall mark of 60% to include a pass in NICATS Maths (level 2) or GCSE Maths at Grade C. GCSE English at Grade C is also required.
GCSE Profile to include to include minimum of Grade C or above in Mathematics and English Language.
The General Entry Requirements for English Language must be met. Please check the following link http://www.ulster.ac.uk/apply/entrance-requirements#ger.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Additional Entry Requirements
OCR/Cambridge Technical Combinations
The Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment accept a range of alternative combination of qualifications such as OCR Nationals and OCR Cambridge Technicals.
HNC requirement is overall Merit in a relevant subject area for year 1 entry only.
HND requirement is overall Merit in a relevant subject area. HND applications may be considered for year 2 entry where the curriculum sufficiently matches that of Ulster University full time year 1 course.
Ulster Foundation Degree
Pass in Foundation Degree with an overall mark of 40% and minimum 40% in all taught level 5 modules and 40% in the Mathematics module. Applicants will normally be considered for entry to an associated Honours degree (normally Year 2 entry).
For further information regarding all of the above qualifications please contact the admissions staff on:
Entry equivalences can also be viewed in the online prospectus at http://www.ulster.ac.uk/apply/entrance-requirements/equivalence.
The General Entry Requirements must also be met including English Language minimum GCSE grade C (or equivalent). Please check the following link http://www.ulster.ac.uk/apply/entrance-requirements#ger.
Exemptions and transferability
Transfer between this course and other similar courses within the Faculty of Computing and Engineering may be possible on the basis of academic performance and availability of places.
Exemption from parts may be considered based on appropriate performance in a related, designated course or other approved experiential learning (APEL).
The course has been designed to enable students who graduate with a good honours degree to apply for postgraduate study towards a PhD, MSc, MRes or other higher qualification.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
Graduates with computer science and software systems development skills will find many career opportunities available to them in developing new software. On completing this course successfully, students will be able to choose from a number of career options such as software engineer, computer programmer, computing consultant, or systems’ manager or administrator. Skills developed in the course will always be in strong demand, as virtually every modern enterprise needs increasing numbers of computer-literate graduates.
Opportunities for postgraduate study in computing, engineering or related areas are substantial. The course has been designed to enable students who graduate with a good honours degree to apply for postgraduate study towards a PhD, MSc, MRes or other higher qualification.
Accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT on behalf of the Science Council for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Scientist.
Accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Fees and funding
In this section
Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Central Admissions Magee
Course Director: Mrs Mairin Nicell
For more information visit
- The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
- Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
- If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
- The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
- The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.