Computer Science with Security and Forensics (BSc)

This three year degree programme at Cardiff will provide you with a firm understanding of the principles, tools and technologies needed to ensure that an organisation's investment in Information and Communications Technology meets its needs in a secure manner.

Computer science researcher

An increase in the business use of Internet-based applications and the rise in computer based crime, together with the impact of applications such as Facebook and Twitter, has changed the nature of security risks making Security and Forensics of real value to employers.

The exciting and dynamic world of computer science is at the heart of many aspects of modern life, and the BSc Computer Science at Cardiff will give you both the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to become a part of that world.

The Computer Science BSc degree will equip you with transferable technical, analytical and professional skills backed by a broad awareness of current technology trends. Through your studies you will gain the expertise necessary to analyse problems and program appropriate computer-based solutions.

Key facts

UCAS CodeG4F4
Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
Typical places availableThe School typically has around 120 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives around 1,000 applications
Typical A level offerABB-AAB from three A Level subjects.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above), excluding Mathematics where required.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer33 points
Other qualificationsPlease find here further information about admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

Computing

Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Jianhua Shao, Admissions Tutor

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

This three-year programme starts by introducing the basic computing skills and concepts which will underpin your degree.

Short projects in year one are followed by a substantial team project in year two, when you will use your new skills and knowledge to design and implement a software system. In year three, you will focus on emerging technologies and undertake an individual project centred on your own interests.

The facilities at Cardiff are outstanding and all staff are tremendously helpful. The relationship between students and staff means you know who to approach at any point in your university career, whether it be for an academic or personal issue. We have 17 libraries across campus and in the department specifically, there is 24/7 access to IT labs in addition to a host of other learning spaces in the Students' Union.

Elliot Howells, Undergraduate Student

Year one

In year one you will follow the same structure as the Computer Science BSc degree programme. This provides an introduction to the necessary skills required to understand computing as a discipline. You will develop an understanding of how computers work, through studying programming languages such as Python and Java™ and exploring how computers solve complex problems. You will also start to address areas in which organisations share and gather important information, using Web technologies.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Web ApplicationsCM110220 credits
Object Oriented Java ProgrammingCM120910 credits
Maths for Computer ScienceCM120810 credits
Architecture and Operating SystemsCM120510 credits
Problem Solving With PythonCM110320 credits
Computational ThinkingCM110120 credits
Developing Quality SoftwareCM120220 credits
Professional SkillsCM120110 credits

Year two

In year two more advanced modules will be introduced, expanding your understanding and skills. You will explore the structure and processing of data and create network-aware applications. These more focussed sessions will help you develop an understanding of database systems and also further progress your programming skills.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Algorithms and Data StructuresCM230320 credits
Database SystemsCM210210 credits
Human Computer InteractionCM210110 credits
Communication Networks and Pervasive ComputingCM230220 credits
Group ProjectCM230520 credits
Object Oriented ApplicationsCM220110 credits

Module titleModule codeCredits
InformaticsCM220310 credits
Data Processing and VisualisationCM210510 credits
Computational MathematicsCM210410 credits
Scientific ComputingCM220810 credits
Introduction to the Theory of ComputationCM220710 credits

Year three

In the final year of your degree you will choose to study core computer science topics like the management of information and knowledge (using industry standard products such as Oracle™) and artificial intelligence. You will focus your degree by following modules that investigate the development and application of effective information security technologies. You will also practice professional aspects of forensic computer analysis. You will have the opportunity to gain first hand knowledge by attending lectures given by experts in the field of computer security and computer forensics.

You will demonstrate your understanding of computer security whilst completing an individual project under the supervision of one of our academic staff.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Emerging TechnologiesCM320220 credits
Large-Scale DatabasesCM310420 credits
One Semester Individual Project - 40CM320340 credits
ForensicsCM311110 credits
SecurityCM311010 credits

Module titleModule codeCredits
Knowledge ManagementCM310720 credits
Artificial IntelligenceCM311210 credits
Combinatorial OptimisationCM310910 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

The School of Computer Science & Informatics has a strong and active research culture which informs and directs our teaching. We are committed to providing teaching of the very highest standard and received an excellent report in the most recent Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) review. The BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT regularly reviews our single honours undergraduate degree programmes.

You will be taught key skills such as programming through a combination of lectures and lab-based practical sessions for relevant modules. Further support mechanisms are used to help digest material such as example classes, tutorials and help sessions, amounting to a total of approximately 25 formal contact hours a week during Year One. The delivery mechanisms in Years Two and Three mirror that of Year One, but with fewer formal contact hours at these latter stages of the degree as the skills and insights needed to take to control of your own learning have been acquired.

Teaching is organised in modules; your progress in each module will be assessed during and/or at the end of the semester in which it is taught. All modules include assessments, methods of which vary from written examinations and assessed coursework, to a combination of both.

Feedback on assessed work will be made available to you no later than four working weeks after the assessment deadline. The feedback you receive will be most useful when you use it to identify what you did well, why you got a particular mark, and what you need to do to improve. When you have done this, you need to ensure that you use this information to improve your future work.You should be aware of the range of feedback you could receive, including the oral feedback that you will receive from staff on an ongoing basis.
The School prides itself on offering a comprehensive support structure to ensure good student/staff relationships. Every student is assigned a member of staff to act as their personal tutor, who will serve as a point of contact to advise on both academic and personal matters in an informal and confidential manner. You will see your personal tutor at least every two weeks during your first year of study. During years 2 and 3 a reduced schedule of contact sessions are used, taking account of the increasing academic and time demands as you progress. Outside of scheduled tutor sessions, senior personal tutors run an open door policy, being on hand to advise and respond to any personal matters as they arise.Dedicated professional tutors are also on hand to advise and respond to any matters and are backed up by the University's many student support services.

Teaching is organised in modules; your progress in each module will be assessed during and/or at the end of the semester in which it is taught. All modules include assessments, methods of which vary from written examinations and assessed coursework, to a combination of both.

Feedback on assessed work will be made available to you no later than four working weeks after the assessment deadline. The feedback you receive will be most useful when you use it to identify what you did well, why you got a particular mark, and what you need to do to improve. When you have done this, you need to ensure that you use this information to improve your future work.You should be aware of the range of feedback you could receive, including the oral feedback that you will receive from staff on an ongoing basis.
The School prides itself on offering a comprehensive support structure to ensure good student/staff relationships. Every student is assigned a member of staff to act as their personal tutor, who will serve as a point of contact to advise on both academic and personal matters in an informal and confidential manner. You will see your personal tutor at least every two weeks during your first year of study. During years 2 and 3 a reduced schedule of contact sessions are used, taking account of the increasing academic and time demands as you progress. Outside of scheduled tutor sessions, senior personal tutors run an open door policy, being on hand to advise and respond to any personal matters as they arise.Dedicated professional tutors are also on hand to advise and respond to any

Duration

3 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

The School admits 115 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes

Applications received

Typical applications received

570

Accreditations

QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark

Computing

What are the aims of this Programme?

The overall aim of this Programme is to give students a sound education in Computer Science with particular emphasis on Security and Forensics in preparation for a professional or research career in this rapidly changing field.

Information technology has become an integral part of many business processes and new powerful mobile devices such as smartphones are increasingly becoming access points to a wide variety of both personal and corporate information and data. Issues such as hacking, data loss and identify theft are of increasing concern and the complex factors facing today’s organisations, including globalisation, legislative constraints, customer and public requests for information and damaging data losses have all led to an increased awareness of the importance of information security. Understanding how and when things go wrong and determining the state and causes of security breaches and data losses requires a rigorous and systematic analysis of digital assets and devices and is termed Computer Forensics. This degree programme will provide a systems-wide understanding of an organisation’s security needs coupled with detailed knowledge and practical understanding of computer forensic principles and techniques. Such specialist knowledge, skills and competencies in Security and Forensics, coupled with a detailed and robust understanding of Computer Science will present a compelling mix to potential employers. 

What is expected of me?

Your obligations as a students are detailed in the Student Handbook, they include the following areas:

·   Attendance

·   Informing the School of Change of Address

·   Self-certification for illnesses and absences,

·   Attendance

·   Disclosure of Disability and/or Specific Learning Difficulty

·   Use of Mobile Phones

·   Use of Laptops

·   Recording a Lecture

Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

How is this Programme Structured?

Year 1: 120 credits core modules.

Year 2: 100 credits core modules, 20 credits optional modules.

Year 3: 100 credits core modules, 20 credits optional modules.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

No specific equipment required.

What skills will I practise and develop?

Students will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability  skills’ such as:

  • information literacy skills;
  • career development planning and lifelong learning;
  • ability to study independently
  • hands-on practical experience of computer science methods and tools through interactive lecture sessions
  • presenting emerging technical and theoretical problems to a knowledgeable audience in both written and verbal form
  • collaborating with peers to discuss, solve and present complex problems

How will I be taught?

A diverse range of teaching and learning styles are used throughout the programme. Students will attend lectures, laboratory classes, tutorials, problems classes and participate in group work.  Both communication and information literacy skills are integral parts of aspects of the course. Acquisition of practical program development is progressive, with detailed guidance being given in the early stages of core modules.

The Programme outcomes have been informed by the QAA Computing benchmark statement and also by the requirements of the BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT.

Throughout the Programme, all students have the opportunity to participate in additional University-approved courses run by the Students’ Union and the Careers Service, through which a range of transferable skills can be developed.

Projects

Students are required to undertake project work throughout the course, with the opportunity to exercise increasing independence at each Level.  At Level 1, each student is required to participate in both group and individual project work and individual project work. The tasks are well defined and enable students to put into practice knowledge and skills acquired earlier in the academic year. A number of check-points are employed in order to ensure student progress.  At Level 2, students undertake a group project: this project fosters systems design skills, inter-personal skills and presentation skills (including oral presentation), and each group is monitored by a supervisor with whom the group must keep in regular contact. The Level 3 individual projects give students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to build upon and exploit knowledge and skills gained in earlier stages of the Programme. It encourages independent study and learning, and it provides the opportunity to demonstrate performance at Honours Level in all learning outcomes. This project shall be undertaken on a topic commensurate with the specialism of this degree programme (CS with Security and Forensics).

How will I be assessed?

Assessment:

Examinations are used to test the majority of the Programme outcomes.  The format of the examinations is dependent on the Learning Outcomes of each specific module.  Examinations take place at the end of each semester, encouraging consolidation of knowledge acquired and skills developed at each stage.

The majority of modules include coursework elements for both summative and/or formative assessment.  At the start of the Programme students are shown the importance of good referencing, use of libraries and Web-based information retrieval as a prelude to critical independent study.  Assessed essays are used to encourage knowledge and understanding, critical analysis, development of reasoned argument and synthesis of conclusions.  Oral presentation skills are promoted by class discussions, group exercises and small group PowerPoint presentations. These skills are also assessed through the group and individual projects.

Practical assignments assess both programming and design skills. These typically address small, well-defined problems at the start of the Programme, and become progressively more open-ended. For example, in the Level 1 Python and Java modules emphasis is given to fundamentals such as implementation of simple algorithms, while at Level 2, students exposed to less well defined problems. Tests are also used to assess knowledge, skills and techniques which a professional may be expected to use in a time-constrained situation. Students are also assessed by means of poster presentations. 

The weighting of the various types of summative assessment alters as students progress through the three levels of this Programme, in order to reflect the students’ development. In particular, early feedback on application of practical skills is regarded as important. Students’ ability to tackle large problems should increase as they progress, hence the individual project at Level 3 forms 1/3 of the year’s assessment.

Feedback:

Formative feedback is given in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes as well as through individual written comments on coursework.

How will I be supported?

The Programme makes use of the Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard to provide course materials, additional information about the programme is provided on the School’s website. All students are allocated a personal tutor who will monitor their progress, both personal and academic, throughout their time at University. Further details can be found in the Student Handbook.

What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

·         Understand the theoretical and practical principles underpinning contemporary computing practice;

·         Describe and critically appraise current computer systems in operation;

·         Demonstrate a specialised understanding of Security and Forensics in both a theoretical and applied context;

·         Demonstrate understanding of the representation of data in structured forms and its interplay with the implementation of algorithms;

·         Critically analyse computing problems of a specified form, including those arising in aspects of Security and Forensics;

·         Sustain a critical argument, both in writing and through  presentation;

·         Understand the concepts of risk and security in computing;

·         Identify weaknesses in software and software architecture;

·         Demonstrate understanding of secure coding techniques;

·         derive algorithms expressed formally or informally to solve computing problems;

·         Select appropriate algorithms and design methodologies;

·         Apply tools and techniques appropriate to the different stages of the secure software development lifecycle;

·         Write reliable and trustworthy code;

·         Effectively communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral, written and practical means;

·         Work effectively in a team and as an individual;

.         Appreciate opportunities for career development and lifelong learning by participating in the University’s Personal and Career Development Programme.

Other information

None

Admissions tutors

Dr Jianhua Shao, Admissions Tutor


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