Computer Science with Security and Forensics with a Year in Industry (BSc)

Entry year


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.

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Course overview

This accredited degree provides both the theoretical and practical knowledge required to become a part of the exciting and dynamic world of computer science which lies at the heart of almost all aspects of modern life, with a strong information security theme.

On this course you 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.

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 year in industry will give you the opportunity to broaden your experience, strengthen your transferable skills, and apply your knowledge to real-world problems.

Distinctive features

  • This degree requires no prior knowledge or experience of computer science. You will begin your studies with a month-long module which establishes core concepts and competencies and supports the transition from school to university.
  • Opportunity to develop your interest in specialist areas of computer science through project work and module options as you progress. 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.
  • Strong emphasis on employability with insight and feedback from successful figures from industry and academia.
  • Opportunity to study within internationally recognised strong and active research culture which informs and directs teaching.

 

Accreditations

UCAS codeGKF4
Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration4 years
ModeFull time with sandwich year
Typical places availableThe School typically has around 200 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives around 1,200 applications.

Entry requirements

ABB-AAB

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.

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.

GCSE requirements (other than standard Grade C in English): Minimum Grade B in GCSE Mathematics.

  • Typical European Bacc offer: Diploma with average of 7.7
  • Typical BTEC Extended Diploma offer: D*D*D*
Typical offers for other qualifications (inc Scottish Highers, Irish Leaving Certificate, Cambridge Pre-U, etc.):
  • Scottish Higher: AAABB
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: AAABBB
  English Language Requirements for non-UK applicants: Typical IELTS offer: 6.5 including a minimum of 5.5 in each sub area. Typical TOEFL iBT offer: 90 Typical offers for other qualifications: Standard qualifications accepted by Cardiff University – see http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/international/english-language-requirements

Selection

All applications for a place on any of the Computer Science degree programmes must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) application service. Applications can be made either in the English or the Welsh language. We recognise that if you are a Welsh speaker, you may feel more comfortable speaking to a Welsh speaking personal tutor. Provided there are Welsh speaking members of staff available, every effort will be made to allocate a Welsh speaker to you at any point in the application.

The School of Computer Science & Informatics assesses applications throughout the cycle. Each application is assessed by the admissions tutor who makes the decision whether or not to accept an applicant. After we have received and considered your application, we may invite you to visit the School some time during the period November to early March. This will include a guided tour of the School, Students’ Union and campus. You will meet students and staff, providing us with the opportunity of getting to know more about you and enabling you to find out what life is like as a computing student at Cardiff University.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000None

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

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
£19,950None

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 and Medical and Dental courses. 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.

Additional costs

There may be additional costs associated with the year in industry such as travel or accommodation, which will need to be covered by the student. These are typically offset by the salary received from the placement.

Course specific equipment

What the student should provide:

You will need to provide a calculator that satisfies Cardiff University examination regulations.

What the University will provide:

Computer laboratories equipped with modern computers. All software needed to undertake the taught modules at Cardiff University will be provided on these computers

Accommodation

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

Course structure

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 2018 and this page will be updated by end of October 2018 to reflect the changes.

This four-year course begins by introducing basic computing skills and concepts which will underpin the degree. Short projects in year one are followed by a substantial team project in year two, when you use new skills and knowledge to design and implement a software system.  You will spend year three undertaking a salaried work placement. In year four, you focus on emerging technologies and research-led options, and undertake an individual project demonstrating your understanding of computer security.

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

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 titleModule codeCredits
Computational ThinkingCM110120 credits
Web ApplicationsCM110220 credits
Problem Solving with PythonCM110320 credits
Developing Quality SoftwareCM120220 credits
Architecture and Operating SystemsCM120510 credits
Maths for Computer ScienceCM120810 credits
Object Oriented Java ProgrammingCM121020 credits

Year two

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. At the same time, your future career, employability or entrepreneurship and professional skills will be enhanced as you begin to look towards life after University.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Human Computer InteractionCM210110 credits
Database SystemsCM210210 credits
Enhancing your EmployabilityCM210610 credits
Group ProjectCM230520 credits
Communication NetworksCM230620 credits
Object Orientation, Algorithms and Data StructuresCM230720 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Computational MathematicsCM210410 credits
Data Processing and VisualisationCM210510 credits
Systems ModellingCM210710 credits
InformaticsCM220310 credits
Introduction to the Theory of ComputationCM220710 credits
Scientific ComputingCM220810 credits
Enterprise Architecture and ImplementationCM220910 credits

Year three: Sandwich year

Preparation begins during year two when you will be supported by our dedicated Placement Officer and other university services to help 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.

Module titleModule codeCredits
PlacementCM2500120 credits

Year four

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 practice 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.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Large-Scale DatabasesCM310420 credits
SecurityCM311010 credits
ForensicsCM311110 credits
Emerging TechnologiesCM320220 credits
One Semester Individual Project - 40CM320340 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Knowledge ManagementCM310720 credits
Combinatorial OptimisationCM310910 credits
Artificial IntelligenceCM311210 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 School of Computer Science and 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 and accredits 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.

Most of your taught modules will have further information for you to study and you will be expected to work through this in your own time according to the guidance provided by the lecturer for that module

Project

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 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. 

 

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

48%

Guided independent study

52%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

45%

Guided independent study

55%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

6%

Guided independent study

13%

Placements

82%

Year 4

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

31%

Guided independent study

69%

Placements

0%

How will I be supported?

The School prides itself on offering a comprehensive support structure to ensure positive student/staff relationships.

We believe that providing suitable feedback mechanisms is crucial to ensure that the best programmes of study are available to our students. We have a student/staff panel consisting of elected student representatives and members of teaching staff who meet to discuss academic issues. In conjunction with the work of the panel, all students are provided with an opportunity to complete feedback questionnaires at the end of the Autumn and Spring semesters. These mechanisms allow the School to regularly review courses and ensure our students receive the best provision, delivered in a consistent manner, across all of our degrees.

The course makes use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central to provide course materials, and additional information is provided online.

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 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 your first year of study. There is a reduced schedule of contact sessions during the latter stages of the degree, which takes into account the increasing academic and time demands as you progress. Outside of scheduled tutor sessions, our Senior Personal Tutor runs an open-door policy, being on hand to advise and respond to any personal matters as they arise. Your Personal Tutor will monitor your academic progress and supply references in support of any job applications that you make.

During the year in industry, our Placement Officer will maintain contact with the host organisation as well as with the student. Academic staff from the School will visit, which will give you an opportunity to maintain links with the School, and raise any concerns that you might have. You will also be able to remotely access all the above support mechanisms at Cardiff University, and will maintain contact with your Personal Tutor via email and/or Skype.

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. 

Your placement will be assessed via a reflective report and a poster presentation to staff, students and employers during enrolment week of year four.

Feedback:

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.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

29%

Practical exams

13%

Coursework

58%

Year 2

Written exams

52%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

48%

Year 3

Written exams

0%

Practical exams

10%

Coursework

90%

Year 4

Written exams

47%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

53%

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the broad range of concepts, principles and theories underpinning Computer Science
  • An ability to describe computing systems and solutions to problems
  • An understanding of the representation of data in structured forms and its interplay with the implementation of algorithms
  • A specialised understanding of Security and Forensics in both a theoretical and applied context
  • An understanding of the concepts of risk and security in computing, and secure coding techniques

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An ability to critically appraise computing systems and solutions to problems, including those arising in Security and Forensics
  • An ability to objectively analyse computational problems and develop appropriate, creative solutions
  • An ability to model complex scenarios to design computer systems that meet stated requirements
  • An ability to select, derive and analyse appropriate algorithms to solve computing problems
  • An ability to recognise and specify the constraints, requirements and trade-offs in the design of computer systems
  • An ability to apply tools and techniques appropriate to secure software development
  • An ability to identify weaknesses in software and software architecture
  • An appreciation of how skills and concepts encountered in the degree are implemented and used within industry

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Awareness of relevant professional, ethical, legal and social issues that arise in the implementation of existing and future computer systems
  • An ability to pursue opportunities for career development and lifelong learning and appreciate the importance of commercial awareness

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An ability to effectively communicate ideas, principles and theories by oral, written and electronic means
  • An ability to work effectively in a team and as an individual
  • An ability to make effective use of a range of IT systems

 

 

Careers and placements

Career prospects

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, more than 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.

Placements

Between year’s two and four you will have the opportunity to undertake a salaried placement year.

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.

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