Computer Science with Security and Forensics with a Year in Industry (BSc)
This four year degree programme 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.
The BSc Computer Science with Security and Forensics degree aims to give you a dynamic, theory-based and practical understanding of computer science with a strong information security theme. Students on this course will develop transferable technical, analytical and professional skills, supported by a broad awareness of current technology trends, particularly in the field of computer security. The course covers a mixture of core techniques and concepts and evolving, technology-based subject matter.
Thinking like a computer scientist involves modelling real world problems on appropriate levels of abstraction, and developing elegant, efficient and practical solutions based on established mathematical and engineering principles.
Business use of web applications and rising cases of cybercrime has fundamentally changed the nature of information security. As a concern for big business economies and consumers alike, graduates with an understanding of computer security and forensics are exceptionally valuable to many employers.
Graduates are able to objectively analyse problems and develop appropriate computational solutions. Your detailed understanding of technology computer security and digital forensics will make you suitable for a range of professional careers and sought-after by employers.
The course does not require any prior knowledge or experience of computer science or computer security. You will begin your studies with a month-long module which establishes core concepts and competencies and supports the transition to studying at a university. You will develop your understanding of computer science, information security and digital forensics through project work and module options. A dedicated cybersecurity and digital forensics teaching laboratory supports this study.
Our approach to security and forensics is that they should be considered first from a business needs and requirements perspective, then follow a systematic implementation into corporate environments via risk assessment, security policy, and finally technical implementation of security techniques.
This degree offers the opportunity to take an industrial placement between taught years two and three.
|Next intake||September 2017|
|Mode||Full time with sandwich year|
|Accreditations||"BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT"|
|Typical places available||The School typically has around 120 places available.|
|Typical applications received||The School typically receives around 1,000 applications.|
|Typical A level offer||ABB-AAB from three A Level subjects.|
|Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offer||WBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above), excluding Mathematics where required.|
|Typical International Baccalaureate offer||33 points.|
|Alternative qualifications||Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Computer Science & Informatics admissions criteria pages.|
|English Language requirements||If you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.|
|Other requirements||Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online.|
We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2017 and this page will be updated by end of October 2017 to reflect the changes.
This four-year course begins by introducing 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 new skills and knowledge to design and implement a software system. You will spend year three undertaking a salaried placement. In year four, you will focus on emerging technologies and undertake an individual project centred on your own interests.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2017.
Modules taught in the first two semesters will introduce fundamental computing skills and concepts that form the basis of your degree. This includes the programming of algorithms using languages such as Python and Java™, an understanding of Internet and web technologies, computer architecture and operating systems, software engineering principles and mathematics for computer science. You will be expected to develop new technical and professional skills, and to demonstrate individual creativity and originality throughout the year.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Computational Thinking||CM1101||20 credits|
|Web Applications||CM1102||20 credits|
|Problem Solving with Python||CM1103||20 credits|
|Developing Quality Software||CM1202||20 credits|
|Architecture and Operating Systems||CM1205||10 credits|
|Maths for Computer Science||CM1208||10 credits|
|Object Oriented Java Programming||CM1210||20 credits|
Core modules taught in year two introduce advanced topics; some choice is introduced into the degree through optional modules. The structure and processing of data is further explored and simple algorithms are expanded into applications that are able to communicate via networks. Skills developed so far are applied during a team project to professionally design and implement a software system with an information security element.
Year three: Sandwich year
If you choose to take our Year in Industry option as part of your degree, preparation begins during year two when you will be supported by a dedicated Placement Officer and other university services to help you secure an appropriate salaried post, and ensure you have access to a broad variety of relevant placement opportunities. The School will also provide support and guidance during your placement year in year three, in which you will be given the opportunity to enhance your CV and boost your employment prospects by gaining the valuable experience and skills that employers require.
In year four you will focus on emerging technologies and advanced topics which are often informed by the School’s research. There are a number of optional modules to choose from depending on your specific interests. You will practise professional aspects of forensic computer analysis and gain first-hand knowledge at lectures delivered by experts in computer security and computer forensics. Your understanding of computer security will be demonstrated in completing an individual project.
How will I be taught?
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 highest standard. We received an excellent report in the most recent Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) review and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, regularly reviews our undergraduate degree courses.
Key skills such as programming are taught through a combination of lectures and lab-based practical sessions. Further support mechanisms are used to help digest material. These include example classes, tutorials and help sessions, amounting to a total of between 15-20 formal contact hours a week in year one.
Teaching delivery in years two and four mirrors that of year one, but there are fewer formal contact hours as you will have acquired the skills needed to take control of your own learning by these latter stages of the course.
You will undertake project work throughout the course, with the opportunity to exercise increasing independence at each level.
In year one, you will participate in short team project work. The tasks are well defined and enable you to put into practice knowledge and skills acquired earlier in the academic year. In year two, you will undertake a group project fostering systems design, interpersonal and presentation skills. Each group is monitored by a supervisor with whom the group must keep in regular contact.
Year four individual projects give you the chance to demonstrate your ability to build upon and exploit knowledge and skills gained in earlier years and will be based around the theme of computer security or digital forensics.
How will I be supported?
The course makes use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central to provide course materials, and additional information is provided online.
The School prides itself on offering a comprehensive support structure to ensure positive student/staff relationships. You will be assigned a member of staff to act as your 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 on average once a month during their first year of study. During years two and four there is a reduced schedule of contact sessions, which takes into account the increasing academic and time demands as you progress. Outside scheduled tutor sessions, senior personal tutors run an open door policy and will be available to advise and respond to any personal matters.
How will I be assessed?
Progress in each module will be assessed during or at the end of the semester in which it is taught. All modules include assessments, including written examinations or assessed coursework, or a combination of both. The format of the assessments depends on the learning outcomes of each specific module.
Most modules include coursework elements for assessment. The importance of good referencing, use of libraries and web-based information retrieval as a prelude to critical, independent study is developed. Assessed essays and reports are used to encourage knowledge and understanding, critical analysis, development of reasoned argument and synthesis of conclusions.
Practical assignments assess programming and design skills. These typically address small, well-defined problems at the start of the course, and become progressively open-ended. Tests are also used to assess knowledge, skills and techniques, which a professional may be expected to use in a time-constrained situation. You can also be assessed by poster presentation.
Feedback on assessed work will normally be made available no later than four working weeks after the assessment deadline. We recognise the importance not only of assessing the quality of the work submitted, but also of giving useful feedback which will help you in your understanding of the subject being assessed. Feedback is used to identify what has been done well, why a particular mark was given, and what can be done to improve in the future. Feedback is given in a variety of ways including oral feedback given by staff on an informal, ongoing basis; written feedback on individual submissions, and written or oral feedback given to students as a group in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes.
What skills will I practise and develop?
You will acquire both discipline specific skills and important ‘employability skills’. These include:
- information literacy skills;
- career development planning and lifelong learning;
- ability to study independently.
Skilled computer scientists are in extremely high demand. This means the employment prospects for graduates in the computing and ICT industry are very strong. You will be equipped with transferrable skills that open doors to careers in many sectors.
In recent years, approximately 90% of the School’s graduates were in employment or engaged in further study within six months of graduation.
Recent statistics show that the vast majority of our graduates are following their chosen career paths in roles such as Software Engineer, Web Developer, Computer Programmer, Associate Software Developer, Business Analyst and Systems Development Officer. They go on to work for companies including Airbus Group, Amazon, BBC, BT, Cardiff University, Capgemini, Confused.com, GCHQ, IBM, Lloyds Banking Group, MoD, Morgan Stanley, Sky, South Wales Police and Thomson Reuters. Others have chosen further study or research at Cardiff or other top universities.
UK and EU students (2017/18)
Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
Students from outside the EU (2017/18)
Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.
Costs for sandwich years
During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.
Preparation for the placement begins during year two when you will be supported by the School's dedicated Placement Officer and other university services to help you secure an appropriate salaried post, and ensure you have access to a broad variety of relevant placement opportunities. The School will also provide support and guidance during your placement year, in which you will be given the opportunity to enhance your CV and boost your employment prospects by gaining the valuable experience and skills that employers require.