BSc Computer Science

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

A lecturer talking about image processing

In choosing to study a Computer Science Degree at Aberystwyth University, you will be immersed in both the fundamentals of computer science and the very latest technological innovations. With core coverage that includes operating systems, telecommunications, database management, HCI, Agile methodologies and object orientation, the structure of this degree in Computer Science allows you to develop the skills needed to solve complex problems that include analysis, design, solution choice and implementation. You will develop skills and capabilities sought by the main employers in the discipline and you will graduate with the competences necessary to undertake the career you choose.

Top 15 in the UK for student satisfaction for Computer Science subject area (NSS 2016)

Department of Computer Science: 91% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

93% of undergraduates from the Department of Computer Science who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

Overview

Computers pervade practically every sphere of modern life and Computer Science seeks out the new ideas that lie at the heart of computer hardware and software. By following this course you will learn to program, and how to design and develop new computer systems and software.

Why study Computer Science at Aberystwyth?

This degree is the most flexible of all the Computing degrees at Aberystwyth. Each year you spend at least 2/3 of your time taking modules in the Computer Science department, including the basic core of modules, such as programming, database, software design, software engineering, and a group and individual project. The flexibility, however, allows you to explore your interest in all the specialist subjects: Artificial Intelligence, robotics, graphics, networking and business, while the option exists to take modules from other departments. 

Graduates of Computer Science are able to work in many places in the IT industry and beyond at a range of technical positions.

Computer Science at Aberystwyth

Our computer science degrees are accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS) on behalf of the Engineering Council, which means that they meet industry standards and requirements, giving you a head start when you enter the competitive jobs market.

The Department is also designated a Centre of Excellence by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks and in the most recent Research Excellence Framework comparison (REF2014) the Department produced more world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) research than any other university in Wales. REF 2014 also assessed the impact of research on society, industry and government policy and the Department delivered 100% of its research impact at the top 3* and 4* level, demonstrating that our research makes a real difference in the world outside academia.

We are particularly proud that Times Higher Education (THE) ranked the Aberystwyth Computer Science department as 11th in the UK and 1st in Wales based on an analysis that takes into account both the research quality profile and the proportion of staff submitted. This is a good indicator of the research activity in a department irrespective of its size and with 99% of eligible staff submitted, this indicates that you will be taught by staff who are working at the frontiers of their disciplines. Many staff also have significant experience in industry, often working in co-operation with major international companies, so you can be confident that you will be learning the very latest concepts and working with cutting-edge technologies.

As you would expect from a major research department, you have access to excellent facilities. In addition to Windows PCs across campus for everyone, students in our department have access to dedicated Linux and Mac OS X laboratories and central servers. The Department has a range of equipment and simulation environments used primarily for research, which are available to final year students who choose projects in these areas. These include mobile and aerial robots, vision and motion tracking systems, micro-controller systems and laser scanners.

The department also prides itself on the employability of our graduates. Students may take a year in industry as part of their course. All students participate in a fun-packed activity weekend away from Aberystwyth in the first year which helps to develop important team-building and team-working skills. This will not only make you more attractive to employers, but will also pave the way for working on group projects later in your course.

Our Staff

Almost all of the Department of Computer Science Lecturers and Teaching Fellows are qualified to PhD level, and those who are not have considerable research or industrial experience. All new Lecturers and Teaching Fellows are required to obtain the PGCTHE, and hence are Senior Fellows or Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. The department also employs a number of part time demonstrators and tutors and some student demonstrators, who are selected from our undergraduate and postgraduate students. Research fellows and research assistants (mostly PhD qualified) may also be involved in delivering occasional teaching when it is appropriate.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) The following modules are core

Semester 1

Introduction To Computer Infrastructure CS10220

Semester 2

Problems And Solutions CS10720

Web Development Tools CS15020

Year 1 Options You MUST take one of the following modules

Semester 1

Datblygiad Proffesiynol A Phersonol CC18010

Professional And Personal Development CS18010

Year 1 Options You MUST take one of the following modules

Semester 2

Rhaglennu Gan Ddefnyddio Iaith Gwrthrych-gyfeiriadol CC12320

Programming Using An Object-oriented Language CS12320

Year 1 Options You MUST take one of the following modules

Semester 1

Cyflwyniad I Raglennu CC12020

Introduction To Programming CS12020

Year 1 Electives Up to 10 credits as advised by the Department.

Semester 1

The Mathematics Driving License For Computer Science CS10410

Functional Programming CS12510

Computational Thinking CS12910

Chaos, Communications And Consciousness PH19510

Year 2 Core (20 Credits)

Semester 1

Modelling Persistent Data CS27020

Year 2 Options You MUST take ONE of the following modules

Semester 1

Dylunio Rhaglen, Strwythurau Data A Algorithmau CC21120

Program Design, Data Structures And Algorithms CS21120

Year 2 Options You MUST take ONE of the following modules

Semester 2

Cylch Bywyd Datblygiad Meddalwedd CC22120

Software Engineering CS22120

Year 2 Options 20 credits as advised by the Computer Science Department.

Year 2 Electives 40 credits as advised by the Computer Science Department.

Final Year Core (30 Credits) You must take the following modules:

Semester 1

Agile Methodologies CS31310

Semester 2

Professional Issues In The Computing Industry CS38220

Final Year Options You MUST take ONE of the following modules:

Semester 1

E-commerce: Implementation, Management And Security CS37420

Developing Internet-based Applications SE31520

Final Year Options You MUST take ONE of the following projects:

Semester 2

Prosiect Hir CC39440

Major Project CS39440

Final Year Options 30 credits as advised by the Computer Science Department

Employability

Career prospects

A degree in the Department of Computer Science will prepare you for a variety of careers in software design, communications and networking, computer applications, web development, IT consultancy and management, systems analysis and development, computer sales and marketing. Following further study, you could also consider teaching or research. Our computer science degrees are accredited by the BCS (the professional body of the IT industry), which means that they meet industry standards and requirements, giving you a head start when you enter the competitive jobs market.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree with us will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. Employability skills are a recurring theme during your degree. Our departmental link careers adviser works closely with us to ensure you have appropriate CV and interview skills training, careers education, and visits from employers and recent graduates to let you know what opportunities await after graduation.

Early in the first year we take our students on a weekend away to Gregynog Hall, where you'll get to know other students in your year, while working in teams to solve problems. Here we encourage communication skills, good time-management and creative thinking. These skills will be used again and again throughout your degree, but especially during your second year group project.

The second year group project provides a substantial challenge that allows you to expand your technical skills while working in teams. We ask your team for the whole process of creating software, including research and design, understanding a specification, implementation, testing and documentation. You'll take on the roles of a software team and you'll learn to manage and delegate the tasks involved. In your teams you'll need to discuss concepts, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement. You'll also have to work to a series of deadlines, just as in industry.

The final year project demonstrates your ability to work independently (under the supervision of a member of staff), and showcases your creative and technical skills. You may have to research the structure of a business, some unfamiliar code libraries, a new coding language or some new hardware. You may have to interact with an external client, communicate your ideas, and meet deadlines for delivering a prototype. You'll certainly be undertaking a new challenge in an area of your choice. Finally, you'll also need to describe your work in a final written dissertation report that presents your achievements in a professional manner.

Computing, as a subject area, does not stand still. Our students will be trained to deal with abstract underlying concepts and current information technology, so that they can cope with the rapid technological changes of the future.

Industrial Year and Year in Employment scheme (YES)

Some of our degree schemes include an Industrial Year (IY), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. For the schemes that do not include an assessed industrial year, the University operates an optional Year in Employment Scheme (YES). The IY and YES provide a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market.

Help is available from the department and the University's Careers Service to find suitable placements and to develop your interview skills and CV. Our students are in demand with employers such as IBM, HP, Gloversure and Plymouth Marine Laboratories. Industrial year employers are diverse and worldwide, including CERN, Walt Disney and GCHQ.

By the end of your second year you already have enough knowledge and understanding to make a substantial contribution at work. Most students find they return from their industrial year with much improved skills, more motivated to learn, and having a better idea of what areas of computing interest them.

GO Wales

GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of 6-10 weeks’ duration for students over the summer alongside short bespoke work shadowing of various career roles throughout the year. These give you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers. Recent placements include website, social media and interactive resource development, digital marketing, junior programmer and mobile app developer roles, IT technician and IT teaching experience.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

In the first year, you will be introduced to programming, operating systems, databases and software development, and no prior knowledge is necessary. Optional modules allow you to gain expertise in areas where you may need more background, or to explore areas which you can study in more depth in later years.

In the second and third years you will begin to specialise in your chosen subject area. All students participate in the Software Development Lifecycle module which includes a group project where, taking one of the roles which exist in industry, such as project manager, designer, or quality assurance manager, you will produce a working software product, following best current industrial practice at every stage. Other core modules incorporate database design and their implementation and usage, data structures and algorithms, and interface design.

In your final year you will study development processes, and techniques and technologies for constructing real operational software systems. You will also complete a major individual project developing a piece of software in an area of particular interest to you. For many students this is the highlight of the entire course.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught by enthusiastic staff through a complementary set of teaching and learning methods and approaches, ranging from formal lectures, seminars and tutorials to practicals and individual and group-based project work. 

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, practicals, projects, workshops and examinations.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

Computer Science is a very engaging and diverse subject with emphasis on a wide range of subjects for example: software engineering, web development, networking and career planning. The course is very enjoyable and can be tailored to anyone's preferences and abilities. Oliver Roe

I have found my course truly interesting and very rewarding. The lecturers are professional and helpful and the course provides a wide variety of subject knowledge. The first year of the course is a very nice, manageable introduction to the field of computer science. As a student who had no previous experience in the field I was rather tentative when first coming to University, but within a few weeks I had hit the ground running with the implementation of a challenging, yet rewarding project. Daniel William James Drave

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