Computer Networks - Foundation/BSc - BSc (Hons) *

UCAS Code:
I12B
Attendance:
Full Time (4 years)
Starting:
September 2018
Campus:
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Our BSc in Computer Networks will equip you to take the revolution in communications technology to the next level in our modern, mobile, connected society.

About the Foundation Year

The Foundation Year course option enables you to study for our BSc (Hons) degree over an extended full-time duration of four years by including a Foundation Certificate (year one of four). The Foundation Certificate provides a broad study programme that underpins the follow-on degree. In order to progress to the next year of your degree, it is necessary to achieve a pass in all of the modules of the Foundation Certificate.

What's covered in the course?

Our course takes a practice-led approach, making use of equipment and tools found in the workplace to give you the best preparation for employment.  We prioritise the practical skills sought by industry, backing them up with a thorough understanding of theory.  You will explore the latest in computing, network, and cloud and server technologies, and have the opportunity to gain additional accreditation from Microsoft, Cisco Systems and the Linux Professional Institute.

You will study a well-rounded curriculum in computer network engineering, programming, server systems and practice, as well as develop management-level skills such as project and change management to maximise your career potential.

Upon graduation you could progress into a career as a network administrator, network services engineer, network architect, network support analyst, data centre engineer, storage and virtualisation analyst, technical infrastructure architect, Linux network administrator, field network technician, service desk analyst, solutions architect, and IT infrastructure specialist.

My placement involved being an intern for a year, doing everything a full engineer would do, everything from configuration to documentation to eating lunch with the rest of the guys. Phil Bridges (Network Consulting Engineer at Cisco Systems)

Why Choose Us?

  • We are home to a Cisco Systems and the Microsoft Academy Centre – one of Microsoft’s top UK university-based academies – and we are a member of the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance. We are also a Cisco ASC (Academy Support Centre) and Cisco Instructor Training Centre (ITC) – one of only 10 such instructor training centres in the UK.
  • We are recognised for our excellent research capabilities and extensive industry partnerships.
  • Our course has our course has been designed in line with the requirements of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), in order to prepare you to gain Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.
  • You will work with industry-standard software development and simulation tools.
  • You have the opportunity to undertake an industry placement and gain professional qualifications from vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft and Linux Professional Institute.
  • In 2017, we spent £6.5 million on improvements to our Millennium Point facilities so you’ll have even more access to dedicated, industry-standard equipment.

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Cisco
  • Interactive Intelligence

And in jobs such as:

  • Technical associate
  • Associates System Engineer

 

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place in 2018. Register your interest and we'll let you know details as soon as they are available.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

School of Computing and Digital Technology

Discover the School of Computing and Digital Technology

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

We are members of:

WISE member logo2 WISE members inspire girls to choose maths, physics and computing.

Accreditations:

Accreditations shall be renewed in accordance with the accreditor’s standard review process and subject to the University maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

This course is accredited by:

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Subject to approval

The content of this course has been refreshed and updated to make sure you graduate with the skills employers need in an ever-changing job market.

Our quality control experts are currently reviewing the content and we anticipate receiving formal approval shortly.

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

At the point of application, you must have achieved or be working towards, GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be considered.

80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2018/19
GCE A Level/ AS Level BB at A Level or 80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels, at least one from a Science, Technology, Mathematics or Computing subject.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 , including a minimum of 12 credits achieved from any Technology units awarded at Merit or Distinction
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 80 UCAS points. In a Technology, Science, Mathematics or Computing related subject.
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) MMP - 80 UCAS points. In a Technology, Science, Mathematics or Computing related subject.
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 80 UCAS points
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Pass with a 50% average overall
International Baccalaureate Diploma

1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 10 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.

2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two High Level subjects will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates

Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level)
AND
English Group A - Grade 4 or above, 
OR
English Group B and Ab Initio - Grade 5

Irish Leaving Certificate Passes in six subjects at the higher grade including mathematics.
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher Passes in five subjects at the higher grade including mathematics.
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 80 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2018/19
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 10 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.

2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two High Level subjects will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates

Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level)
AND
English Group A - Grade 4 or above, 
OR
English Group B and Ab Initio - Grade 5

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

International Students

Entry requirements here

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2018 FT 4 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2018 FT 4 years £12,000 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Sorry, this course is not available part-time

Foundation year

Computer Technology Context
Fundamental Maths
Academic & Professional Development 1
Academic & Professional Development 2
Computing Skills in Practice

Year one

Computer Systems
20 credits

Within the Computer Systems module, you will gain knowledge and experience of computers and computer hardware. This module presents a holistic view of how computer systems work and provides the underpinning knowledge required for the design of computer architecture, to show how software interacts with hardware, to apply electronics principles, and to use number systems for computer technology.

You will put into practice the learning done through reading, video lecturers, skills building labs and problem based learning for the acquisition of new knowledge and core practical competencies.

Module content and assessment encourages realisation of multi-disciplinary computing, and it will challenge you to interface with the environment by configuring Internet of Things devices and systems for collecting data for the proposed solution.  

Mathematics for Computing
20 credits

The module gives you the opportunity to learn mathematical concepts and methods and critically reflect on how they relate to computing and communication systems.

You will develop core mathematical and statistical skills which are fundamental in computing and technical work in general. You will be expected to solve mathematical and statistical problems on paper and on a computer.

Teaching consists of lecture sessions to introduce basic mathematical principles and knowledge which are employable in the area of computing and communication systems, and laboratory and seminar sessions to practice the mathematical techniques and skills relevant to the problems driven from computing and communication technologies. 

Computer Programming
20 credits

Programming is an engineering tool that plays a vital role to drive most of the modern technologies surrounding us, including devices for communication, transportation and entertainment. Moreover, businesses increasingly rely on computers and the software that runs on them.

This introductory computer programming module provides the underpinning knowledge and practice needed to design, build and test software components.  You will learn the key skills of programming and how this relates to technology and communications. 

Module content and assessment will enable you to acquire programming skills in a modern imperative language. Practical sessions will allow you to apply programming principles and constructs to creatively solve problems by developing small programs.  

Network Fundamentals
20 credits

The module gives you the opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills required in building and designing a basic network and the requirements within a network infrastructure, building on the knowledge and underpinning theory of networking systems.

Teaching consists of subject-specific lectures and laboratory sessions to introduce knowledge and skills relevant to network and information systems, and to introduce principles and techniques for effective information communication within a network.

This will help you to develop the ability to find practical solutions to problems, to evaluate and respond to the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary approaches to the realisation of a task, and to respond flexibly and imaginatively to a brief within a fixed timescale. 

Applied Operating Systems
20 credits

In this module, you will learn how modern operating systems are the glue that bind computer hardware and networks together and how they manage the user experience for individual computers and wider networks. 

We will build on learning from your networking, programming and computer systems modules, enhancing and extending skills in all these areas.  You will make heavy use of Open Source Software, demonstrating what can be achieved with this huge publicly shareable resource on a very limited budget.

The module will be delivered via hands-on labs, interactive seminars and an integral project-based assessment.  This project is designed to mirror that found in the workplace to ensure you build transferable skills alongside technical excellence.

Innovation Project
20 credits

This project allows you to develop and cultivate a creative mindset through collaborative innovative practice, bringing together knowledge and imagination to construct a viable product. You will work in inter-disciplinary project teams supported by innovation mentors, advisers and academics, culminating in you exhibiting your work to an international panel of experts.

You will be encouraged to demonstrate deep thinking (research, thought and action) of your ideas and constructs through the development of an extensive speculative project plan that will encourage you to innovate further. 

The module is semi-structured using lectures, workshops and innovation labs within the student teams, and you will be supported and encouraged to continuously progress your projects for assessment.

Year two

Smart Systems
20 credits

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of connected computing, electromechanical and digital devices, with the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

This module will provide knowledge and skills for the research, synthesis and evaluation of solutions incorporating internet communication systems and devices that can be used to make informed and wise decisions.

Teaching consists of subject-specific lectures and laboratory sessions introducing you to the knowledge and skills relevant to internet-connected sensors and the wider Internet of Things, practical laboratory sessions to apply the knowledge gained and solve networking-related programming problems, and project-based group learning activities, supported by academic staff.

Server Systems
20 credits

In this module, you will learn that servers are the engines that deliver the data of the worldwide internet and cloud revolution.  You will learn how to design, configure and troubleshoot servers to provide both the data and network services required in modern networks.  You will spend a lot of time actually configuring and troubleshooting servers in order to gain the hands on skills required by industry.  Practical activities will be backed up by theory delivered via videos, reading and short lectures.

The hands-on nature of the teaching and the project based group assessment mirror the kind of environment you will be exposed to in industry, further building your key skills.

Once the module is complete, you will have opportunity to gain professional accreditation from the Linux Professional Institute and Microsoft which will be supported by boot-camps and revision sessions.

Programming for Network Engineers
20 credits

Building on your programming knowledge and skills developed during the Level 4 Computer Programming module, this module extends and focuses these towards the area of network engineering. 

It provides an essential skillset for network engineers to manage and develop networks/networking applications.  This aids the management of complex networks by allowing the automation of regular tasks and the potential reduction of human error when configuring multiple devices.

The module consists of subject-specific lectures and laboratory sessions to introduce knowledge and skills relevant to network programming and scripting and practical laboratory sessions to apply knowledge gained through pre/post session activities and lectures, and also to investigate and develop the skills necessary to solve network based programming problems.

Enterprise Network Systems
20 credits

The shift in operating conditions and an ever-changing business environment has led many organisations to adopt Enterprise Systems (ES) as a mechanism to gain competitive advantage, improve productivity, and facilitate real-time decision-making.

This module will develop your core skills and knowledge to support organisations in the management of ES and redesigning of the business processes, through the study of supporting theory and use of practical examples. You will also research ways to overcome the barriers to seamless systems integration within and between organisations.

A problem-based learning approach is followed to encourage you to be responsible for your own learning and reflect on your experience during academic studies.

Networking Technologies
20 credits

In this module you will have the opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills required for network technologies. This module builds your knowledge and underpinning theory for the networking modules and you will review the requirements for a small to medium scale network deployment engineering context. 

Teaching consists of lectures and laboratory sessions to introduce knowledge and skills relevant to network and information systems, along with principles and techniques for information communication within a network.

This will help you to develop the ability to find practical solutions to problems, to evaluate and respond to the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary approaches to the realisation of a task, and to respond flexibly and imaginatively to a brief within a fixed timescale. 

Enterprise Practice Project
20 credits

Forming part of the Research and Enterprise strand that runs through each programme’s curriculum, this module builds on core concepts in practice-based computing and the underpinning role innovation plays in this.

You will draw on your technical learning framework through Reflection, Evaluation, Entrepreneurialism and Management (REEM), which allows you to explore and further build on your strengths and achievements to pursue excellence in a professional context.

The module enables you to reflect on your acquired practice-based technical skills by reviewing how these have benefitted an enterprise project and their impact on your career development. You can select between either a Professional Project or an Entrepreneurial Project with the agreement of the module team.

Year three

Data Centre Systems Management
20 credits

In this module, you will learn how to research case studies, design and develop a solution to meet a business client needs, troubleshoot a solution, analyse industry-standard Data Centre systems and technologies, and present your findings.

You will be prepared for industry through guest lectures, industry talks, industrial visits and real-life case studies. The case studies and assessments have been designed in collaboration with practising IT consultants and storage architects.

Once the module is complete, you will have an opportunity to gain international professional certifications from Microsoft such as Server, Security and Client O/S. These will be supported by revision materials and, where possible, ‘boot camps’.

 

Consultancy and IT Management
20 credits

This module enables you to gain an understanding of the processes, scope and role when providing guidance or advice in a professional consulting capacity.  It will also assist you if you join a larger organisation with the aspiration to become a leader and manager.

You will gain awareness of the wider consulting profession and practice, the consulting role in computing, and the management of client relationships.  The focus will be to analyse and evaluate the frameworks, processes and techniques applied by computing consultants, managers and leaders.

Starting with the founding phases of contractual projects, you will work with life-like ambiguous scenarios, to help resolve client problems and address business objectives.

Wireless Networking Technologies
20 credits

This is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of wireless network design. The module builds on the knowledge and underpinning theory from the networking modules and reviews the requirements for a secure wireless network communication system.

Teaching consists of lectures and workshops to introduce knowledge and skills relevant to network and information security, as well as principles and techniques for secure communication within a network and ensuring security of data in transit.

In the context of the information and data communication industries, you will gain the ability to find practical solutions to problems, evaluate and respond to the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary approaches, and respond flexibly and imaginatively to a brief.

In the context of the information and data communication industries, you will gain the ability to find practical solutions to problems, evaluate and respond to the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary approaches, and respond flexibly and imaginatively to a brief.

IT Infrastructure
20 credits

In this module, you will learn how to research case studies, design and develop a solution to meet a business client needs, troubleshoot a solution, analyse modern infrastructure technologies used in industry, and present your findings.

You will be prepared for industry through guest lectures, industry talks, industrial visits and real-life case studies. The case studies and assessments have been designed in collaboration with practising IT consultants and IT architects.

Once the module is complete, you will have an opportunity to gain international professional certifications from Microsoft such as Server, Security and Client O/S. These will be supported by revision materials and, where possible, ‘boot camps’.

Individual Honours Project
40 credits

This is a chance to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed project exploring an area of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide on your topic, which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material.

The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be aligned to the programme you are studying, and you should consider its relevance to your future academic or professional development.

You will be expected to work independently, with additional one-to-one support from your supervisor, who will be familiar with your chosen topic area. As you progress, extra support will be available which may take the form of group seminars, workshops or online materials.

We think it’s important that you are assessed in a number of different ways during your course. These will include continuous assessment, in-class tests, examinations, laboratory exercises and project work.

Attendance requirements

There are 30 attendance weeks in each academic year.

A typical week on this course will include 12 hours of contact time over three or four days, plus self study time.

Further Study

At course completion, there is a high level of interest for further study. This relates to the need to continue to research and practice as a core activity, but also recognises statistical evidence in 2014 from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills which noted that someone with a Master’s degree earns on average £9,000 more per year than someone with a degree qualification, which, when coupled with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2014) observation that one in seven jobs will require a postgraduate qualification by 2022, shows that the contribution of postgraduate study to employability is increasingly significant.

International Opportunities

Our Erasmus scheme will allow you to undertake part of your studies abroad, allowing you to experience life and studying in another EU country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance a student’s CV and experience new cultures.

This course is accredited by the following organisation:

Accreditations shall be renewed in accordance with the accreditor’s standard review process and subject to the University maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) - full IEng

Our course has IET accreditation, which demonstrates that it meets the educational criteria needed for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.

Phillip Bridges

Cisco expert Phillip Bridges can’t recommend hands-on experience highly enough. He made full use of our impressive lab facilities and an invaluable Cisco internship to hone the skills that employers prize.

Enhancing your employability

You will benefit during your studies from strong links with companies such as SAS, SAP, Xbox, Samsung, Intel and NEC, keeping your course relevant, real-life and respected by employers.

Your studies here will equip you with the practical and academic skills that will help you to stand out when you look for your first professional role.

Because we have strong links with companies such as SAS, Microsoft Studios, SAP, Xbox, Samsung, Intel and NEC, you have the chance to work with and understand the workings of real-life industry from early on in your degree studies.

The University has a Graduate+ programme, an extracurricular awards framework that is designed to augment the subject-based skills that you’ve developed throughout the programme with broader employability attributes, which will enhance your employability options upon graduating.

Placements

You have the option undertake an assessed sandwich year between your second and third year, which will provide you with valuable work experience and give you the real-life skills you need.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Our students have gone on to work at companies such as Cisco Systems, Cisco Meraki, Capgemini, Reply, BT, Vodafone, SCC, Logicalis and Lloyds Bank.

The broad scope of the topics covered throughout the programme will leave you well-equipped to take on roles such as network administrator, network services engineer, network architect, network support analyst, data centre engineer, storage and virtualisation analyst, technical infrastructure architect, Linux network administrator, field network technician, service desk analyst, solutions architect and IT infrastructure specialist.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our computer networks course is most popular with international students from:

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.

As a student at the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you have access to networked laboratories equipped to industry standards and running the latest software, giving you the best possible introduction to the technologies you will encounter in the world of work.

Dedicated facilities are provided for systems analysis, computer networks, programming in a wide range of languages, artificial intelligence, modelling and visual programming, e-commerce and .net environments, and business intelligence, as well as supporting the application areas of mechatronics, games technology, electronics and computer forensics.

Computer networking

The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies and radio frequency identification technologies to name but a few.

Software development and computer programming

There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming
laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including database management systems such as MySQL, to name but a few.

Systems laboratories

Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include microcontroller software and robotics design and development, to name but a few.

Electronic Systems

Electronic systems

To underpin the basic principles of electronic systems, we have a well-equipped laboratory of general and specialist test and measurement kits, including powered prototyping development boards, dual power supplies, frequency generators and counters and digital multi-meters to name but a few.

Forensic computing

Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study. The laboratory includes high-spec PC’s with built-in multi interface Tableau write blockers, EnCase and FTK computer forensic software and steganography detection and analysis software, to name but a few.

More on our facilities

Ron Austin

Associate Professor

Senior lecturer Ron Austin is the Associate Professor of the MSc Data Networks and Security course and teaches all network-related courses.

His expertise and areas of interest include: Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), security technologies, and forensic and ethical hacking.

Prior to joining Birmingham City University, Ron spent 17 years in network management systems for companies including Telewest and Cable & Wireless. 

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295