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Applied Software Engineering (BSc)

Entry year

This innovative and new degree is based at the freshly-established National Software Academy.

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Course overview

The BSc Applied Software Engineering aims to make you a highly employable software engineer with the skills, knowledge and hands-on experience required by potential employers. The course aims to develop your ability for creating software-based solutions to real problems in a dynamic, tech start-up atmosphere.

This innovative degree is taught at the recently established National Software Academy in Newport, where you will gain experience in hands-on software development using current commercial tools and techniques coupled with direct industrial involvement.

The course syllabus has been designed in close collaboration with industry. We focus on cloud, mobile and web development, with an emphasis on technology and standard industry practices.

Distinctive features

A key distinguishing feature of this degree is that all theory, teaching and learning is explored through real world software development projects.  Students work individually and in teams to manage, design, code, test and maintain high quality software.

Working alongside fellow students and staff, you will be at the centre of a teaching network which includes industry mentors and industrial experts, each of whom will offer their insight into how software engineering works in practice. Software developed as part of the course will be presented back to real business customers.

You will learn and apply skills in an environment that feels less like a lecture theatre or laboratory and more like a software development company.  From the earliest days on the course, you will be immersed in a project environment where communication, planning and teamwork skills will be developed and where you will learn how to make effective use of your skills and your time to deliver value.

Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 200 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives around 1,200 applications.

Entry requirements

AAB - ABB. You will not need to achieve these from any specific subjects but please note General Studies will not be accepted. 

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Computer Science & Informatics admissions criteria pages.

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.

You will require GCSE Maths at grade C or grade 4 and GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDeposit

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 (2018/19)

Tuition feeDeposit

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.

Additional costs


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

The course is structured as a full-time degree, taught over three years with two semesters per year.  The course is delivered exclusively from the National Software Academy premises.

This three-year course starts by building core analytical and coding skills that will underpin your studies and your future career. Mobile and web development projects in year one are followed by more substantial projects in year two, when you apply new skills and knowledge to implement enterprise-scale software systems. Meanwhile, you will take on a larger role in business meetings, building your workplace confidence and communication skills.

In year three, you will learn about emerging technologies and combine them with your core skills to produce an innovative product with real market potential.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018.

Year one

In year one you learn to think like a programmer and begin to code in a professional manner. You will work primarily with languages such as JavaScript, Java and Python to design, develop and deploy mobile and web applications according to the needs of customers. You will learn how to use the same industry-standard tools that are used by real-world developers, following best-practice to develop quality software.

You will begin to develop your professional skills including communication and project management and the principles of agile development.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Introduction to Web DevelopmentCM611220 credits
Software Development Skills 1CM611320 credits
Computational ThinkingCM611420 credits
Fundamentals of Computing with JavaCM612120 credits
Mobile Development with AndroidCM612220 credits
Software Development Skills 2CM612320 credits

Year two

In year two, you will work on larger, more complex and technically difficult projects. You will expand your knowledge in areas such as performance and scalability, databases, security and DevOps. This will be necessary to support the scale, resilience and security needs of your cloud-based enterprise solutions. At this point you are expected to be leading project meetings to plan and manage development work for a team, and regularly holding meetings with customers.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Database SystemsCM621120 credits
DevOpsCM621220 credits
Commercial Applications with JavaCM621320 credits
Performance and ScalabilityCM622220 credits
Agile Project ManagementCM622320 credits
Cyber SecurityCM622420 credits

Year three

In the final year you will learn about emerging trends, and use them to develop a product of real commercial value. You will collaborate with other development teams and lead customer meetings. By the end of the course you will have developed your knowledge of key programming languages, techniques and technologies. Project reflection is encouraged to develop pragmatism and judgement as students enter the workplace.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Commercial Frameworks, Languages and ToolsCM631120 credits
Adopting TechnologyCM631220 credits
Emerging TechnologiesCM632120 credits
Large Team ProjectCM633140 credits
Managing ChangeCM633320 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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The National Software Academy, a part of the School of Computer Science & Informatics, has a strong and active industrial focus, which informs and directs all teaching. We are committed to providing students with teaching of the highest standard. BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, will be asked to review this new degree course which could lead to accreditation.

Key skills are taught through lecturer-led sessions typically with a high proportion of hands-on, practical learning, using current commercial tools and techniques.  You will be given a set of concepts and examples, and are then challenged with one or more problems on which you can apply your new skills.  You will often work together to apply your knowledge to achieve solutions to real world problems - a problem-based learning approach. Ample time for mentoring is provided in the timetable which complements the expected (and significant) self-study that is required. 

You will normally attend the Newport facility for three days a week between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm, subject to timetable amendments and adjustments as required/necessary.  An hour is allowed for lunch, though optional, additional learning is often provided through industrial talks or additional mentoring.

How will I be supported?

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.

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 small-group course delivery and the focus on projects means that you will receive constant support both from academic staff and also from industry professionals.  As noted above, where appropriate, industry professionals will act as mentors to students whilst they are studying on the course.

 Although the delivery of the course will take place in Newport, you will be encouraged to base yourself in Cardiff in order to take advantage of everything that Cardiff has to offer, both in terms of the University (Libraries, Halls of Residence, Student Union etc.) and the wider city. You would then only travel to Newport for your teaching and the timetable has been constructed so that you would only need to be present in Newport for 3 days in any given week.

You will also have full access to the 24-hour computing facilities in the School of Computer Science & Informatics.

You will also have access to the full range of services provided by the University’s Student Support Service:

How will I be assessed?

Teaching is organised into modules. Your progress in each module will be assessed during or at the end of the semester in which it is taught. All modules include assessments, the methods of which vary from written examinations and assessed coursework, to a combination of both.  Coursework is the preferred method on this degree with contribution to and reflection on your project work being central to this.

The project portfolio is the primary means of assessment for many modules. It consists of a sample of student work, with written explanation. This covers the entire software development lifecycle, depending on the learning objectives of the module, for example: requirement documentation, technical specifications, code, sprint plans, user stories, screenshots of products, and user feedback. You will use the project portfolios to demonstrate your understanding of all relevant theory, and how it has been applied.

The 1-day computing exercise fulfils a similar purpose, where students undertake a programming, or other software development assignment, working independently, during a single day. Assignments comprise a number of parts, creating a portfolio of work documenting their activity - effectively a 1-day practical exam, simulating a working day as a software developer.

Exams are also used to assess knowledge and understanding more directly. Towards the end of the course, you will write reflective essays, drawing on experience of project work. Presentation skills are assessed directly through student presentations.


Students have many opportunities for feedback during the contact sessions. You will be involved in giving feedback in activities such as code reviews, retrospectives and self assessment. Additionally, you will receive feedback from industry professionals and project stakeholders; providing you with experience of the real-life feedback that you may encounter when you find employment.

You should normally receive formal feedback on assessed work no later than four working weeks after the assessment deadline. Feedback will be most useful when you use it to identify what you did well, why you received a particular mark, and what you need to do to improve. When you have done this, you need to ensure the information is used to improve future work. You should try to be aware of the range of feedback received, including oral feedback given by staff in an informal, ongoing basis, and generic feedback that may apply to your cohort as a whole.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The skills developed on this course mirror the complete software lifecycle, covering everything needed for professional work. This can include

  • Meeting with customers, gathering their requirements.
  • Managing projects, timescales, working and managing software teams for the delivery of real projects.
  • Effectively communicating technical and non-technical ideas to a range of audiences, verbally and in writing.
  • Analysing requirements and applying theoretical computer science concepts and knowledge of technology to develop useful products -- and make them scalable, robust and secure.
  • Fluency in multiple industry-standard programming languages -- and confidence working with a range of operating systems.
  • Near-expert ability in industry-standard tools such as IDEs, source control etc.
  • Debugging and testing code to fix bugs and defects.
  • An intuition for software design and code quality, and an ability to make pragmatic engineering judgements and trade-offs in a fast-paced commercial environment -- how to think like a developer.
  • Reviewing code, and giving effective feedback and mentoring to colleagues.
  • Deploying and launching products and services, supporting real users.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

As a student at the National Software Academy you will get many opportunities to meet and work with companies and build your industrial contacts. Skilled software engineers are in extremely high demand. This means the employment prospects for graduates in the computing and ICT industry are superb. You will be equipped with transferable skills that open doors to careers in many sectors.

In 2015/16, 93% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or 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 a companies including Airbus Group, Amazon, BBC, BT, Cardiff University, Capgemini,, 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.

In addition to the University’s Careers and Employability Service for students, the School has a Careers Officer and a dedicated Placement Officer.


There is no year in industry option offered with this course.

However, you will be encouraged to seek summer placements during your first and second years of study. We have a wide range of companies that are engaging with the National Software Academy and many of these are interested in providing summer placements for the students on this course.

The University also advertises a range of summer placement opportunities, including the option to work or study abroad. The School’s Placement Officer will work closely with industrial partners and the Careers Service to inform students about placement opportunities. Workshops will be provided to give advice on finding and applying for a summer placement.


Next Undergraduate Open Day

Friday 5 July




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