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Computer Science (BSc)

  • UCAS code: G400
  • Next intake: September 2021
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Full time

Entry Year

Why study this course

Our flagship course is informed by industry needs and gives students a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of Computer Science, as well as professional skills in problem-solving and project work.

Computer Science is an exciting and dynamic field, full of open problems and opportunities for creative discovery and invention that touch almost all areas of life. It is about understanding computer systems and networks and how they work from theoretical, mathematical and applied perspectives. Because computers solve problems to serve people, there is also a significant human element to the subject. It's a good choice if you like problem-solving and logic, or if you want to specialise in fields such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Cybersecurity and Forensics. 

The course covers a mixture of core concepts and evolving, technology-based subject matter. Not only will you develop the technical, analytical and professional skills that graduate employers are looking for, you will also be able to analyse problems objectively to develop appropriate computational solutions.

Industry projects and summer placements are a key component of this degree and will help you gain valuable experience in the workplace. Our students have completed exciting placements in companies such as:

  • Admiral
  • Airbus
  • CERN
  • GSK
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Red Bull Racing

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad.

Distinctive features

No prior knowledge required - No prior knowledge or experience of computer science is required to take this course. You will begin your studies with a month-long module in computational thinking to establish core concepts and competencies and support your transition from school to university.

Specialise your degree - Alongside learning core topics, you have the opportunity to specialise your degree through project work and a range of optional modules. You can develop your interests in areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, computer graphics and large scale databases.

Flexible courses –  In most cases, you're free to switch between degrees at the end of year one if your interests change. You will also have the option to complete a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad as part of your degree.

Careers Support - We will encourage you to seek summer work placements to help you develop your professional skills. Our Careers and Employability Service are able to assist with planning and organising a placement for you.

Accreditations

Where you'll study

School of Computer Science and Informatics

Our degree programmes are shaped by multidisciplinary research, making them relevant to today's employers and well placed to take advantage of tomorrow's developments.

Entry requirements

ABB-BBB. You will not need to achieve these grades from any specific subjects. Please note that General Studies is not accepted for entry.  

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.

DDM - DMM in BTEC Information Technology (or Information Communication Technology), Computing and Engineering.

32-30 points or 655 in 3 Higher Level subjects.

Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.

Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.

Find out about our Schools' admissions criteria, offer guarantee scheme, changes to programmes and translating your documents.

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Interview or selection process

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 (2021/22)

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year. Fees for the previous year were £9,000.

Students from outside the EU (2021/22)

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year.

Additional costs

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 and all the software needed to undertake the taught modules.

Accommodation

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

Course structure

This three-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. In year three, you focus on emerging technologies and research-led options, 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 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

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.

Your choice of optional modules in year two will allow you to begin to specialise your skills, focusing on either a ‘theoretical computer science’ pathway, an ‘applied/data analysis’ pathway or a ‘systems’ pathway. 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
Distributed and Enterprise ArchitecturesCM221010 credits

Year three

In year three you will focus on emerging technologies and advanced topics in computer science. The pathways chosen during year two will be continued and enhanced according to your specific interests, alongside a choice of additional research informed optional modules. Contemporary topics include computer security and forensics investigation, high performance computing, artificial intelligence, computer vision, graphics, and multimedia. You will complete an individual project under staff supervision, driven by your interests.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Emerging TechnologiesCM320220 credits
One Semester Individual Project - 40CM320340 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
High Performance ComputingCM310320 credits
Large-Scale DatabasesCM310420 credits
MultimediaCM310620 credits
Knowledge ManagementCM310720 credits
Combinatorial OptimisationCM310910 credits
SecurityCM311010 credits
ForensicsCM311110 credits
Artificial IntelligenceCM311210 credits
Computer VisionCM311310 credits
GraphicsCM311410 credits
Project ManagementCM311510 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

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 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 three 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 three 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

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 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.

Year 1

Written exams

29%

Practical exams

13%

Coursework

58%

Year 2

Written exams

53%

Practical exams

0%

Coursework

47%

Year 3

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

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
  • 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

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

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 transferable skills that open doors to careers in many sectors.

In recent years, more than 89% 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.

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