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C Programming

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This course will provide an introduction to the C programming language and its usage.

After attending this course a student will have acquired the basic skills in programming in C.

Topics covered in this introductory course include:

  • data types
  • arithmetic operators
  • comparison operators
  • use of conditional and iterative control statements
  • formatting of output
  • use of functions from the C library
  • creation of user defined functions
  • functions
  • introduction to pointers
  • introduction to arrays
  • accessing arrays using both subscripts and pointers
  • use of standard input/output library functions
  • use of text and random access files
  • use of C pre-processor directives
  • manipulation of data structures
  • use of make files.

Assessed work will include the writing of C programs. No programming experience is required.

This course is ideal for the student who wants a good general introduction to computer programming.

Learning and teaching

This module includes a mix of traditional lectures and laboratory sessions. Each meeting starts with a lecture and finishes with a laboratory session.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects. During the course, you will be given assignments to be submitted to the course tutor. At the end of the course, there will be a class test.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.


  • Sizes and names of different data types in the C programming language
  • Difference between signed and unsigned numeric variables
  • Arithmetic operators and evaluation of expressions using mixed numeric data types
  • Comparison operators and use of if then else statement
  • Use of while, do and for loops
  • Use of standard library functions and creation of user defined functions
  • Use of #include and #define C preprocessor directives
  • Logical operators and bitwise operators
  • Creation of an array and accessing an array using both subscripts and pointers
  • Character and line input from the keyboard
  • Use of command line arguments and string functions
  • Reading and writing to a text file and the use of the perror function
  • Creating and reading a file of fixed length records by using the struct statement
  • Use of the fseek and ftell functions to access records randomly

Reading suggestions

  • Kernighan, B.W. and Ritchie, D.M. (1988) C Programming Language. Prentice Hall.

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.