BSc (Hons) Computer Science - Course overview
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​Bsc (hons) Computer Science

Working on a MacOn this degree you can study software development and engineering and master programming in languages such as C# and Java. Additionally you will develop enterprise database applications using Oracle and mobile applications using Android. There are opportunities to study other operating systems such as iOS and Linux, and students can also study artificial intelligence, including neural networks and artificial life. This course prepares students for the many possible careers in developing the computer and embedded computer systems of the future, whatever form they might take. If you are interested in how computer systems really work, then this is the course for you.

There is a strong emphasis on employability and modern industry trends. So in addition to much technical know-how, you will also study personal (and interpersonal) skills, a little business, a little mathematics and the social, legal and ethical frameworks within which all computing professionals must operate.

The first two years of the course provide a thorough grounding in computer science, please see the detailed course content.  The final year consists entirely of optional modules and a project, the topic of which is also a matter of choice.  This enables you to tailor your final year to fit your individual interests and intended career. The project makes up one third of your final year mark. During it you have an individual supervisor and can either study something completely new or study in greater depth something that you have already covered in the course.

Our computer science students secure relevant and interesting work placements, and the placement year is most strongly recommended. Students often return from a placement with an idea for their final year project and sometimes with job offers for when they complete their degree.

You will find our teaching style relaxed and informal, but don’t assume that this approach means that we don’t care about the standard of work you produce; we do. In addition, you will find there is much practical work; we believe in ‘learning through doing’ on this challenging and rewarding course. Come to one of our Open or Applicant Days and experience this atmosphere for yourself.

This course is the most research-focused of our computing courses.  In the last RAE (Research Assessment Exercise), 100% of our research in computer science was judged as being of international repute, with 25% of work recognised as of world leading value. You are able to study emergent technologies at the forefront of the computing industry such as quantum computing and the underlying theories which open up new avenues of computing and logic.

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TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTED LEARNING - ipad mini and ebooks 

As a computer science student at Plymouth, a key aspect is how we use the technology itself to support your learning. You will receive an Apple iPad mini to give you access to various additional resources that support your modules (e.g. podcasts, eBooks (see below)), as well as to enable you to participate in interactive activities such as in-class voting and feedback, and for accessing various University online systems such as module sites, the electronic library, and of course email.

 

Free eBooks for all first-year undergraduates on computing courses

First year computing students at Plymouth University have access to free of charge eBook versions of textbooks. The eBook package is worth over £300 and covers core first year modules and can be downloaded to computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone, Android phone or Android tablet. This exciting initiative facilitates the learning process and enables lecturers and students to annotate texts and share their notes and views online.
 
These eBooks are readable using Vitalsource Bookshelf (www.vitalsource.com), available for Windows, Mac OS X and for iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) or Android devices (please check the Vitalsource website for full system requirements). There is also a Bookshelf Online portal that allows access through most devices that have a web browser. Please see the Vitalsource web site for further information.

The Guardian University Awards logo

 

 

Winner in the Teaching Excellence category for the Guardian University Awards 2013.

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Course highlights

  • Taught by an expert team of lecturers, many of whom are engaged in research of international significance, have strong links with industry, and are actively creating and publishing applications on the Apple App Store or the Android market.
  • The course is constantly revised to maintain its relevance to current industry needs and prepare our graduates for their careers.
  • We develop your fundamental programming skills in the first year using C# and in the second year using Java. Languages are taught to a standard that prepares you for the workplace.
  • The integrating project in the second year of the course allows you, in a team of developers made up of students with individual roles, to create a complete system from concept to delivery. This allows you to put your professional skills into practice.
  • Your individual project makes up a third of the final year. This is in an area of your choice and forms your calling card when applying for jobs.
  • The high level of practical content promotes learning through doing and means our graduates are well prepared for employment.
  • We are a member of the Oracle Academy, which is the leading provider of database and information management software in the world. This enables you to have access to the latest Oracle software to develop up-to-the-minute skills on its database products.

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Course accreditation

BCS logo​The quality of the course is assured as it is accredited by the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
 
A graduate is entitled to apply for membership of the BCS (MBCS) and has fully met the academic requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) registration and partially met the educational requirement for Chartered Engineer (CEng) registration.
 
The BCS South West branch has a very active programme, holding many of their sessions at Plymouth University. The branch has a rich programme of events that contributes to broadening the knowledge and experience of students.

Nvidia logoSponsor - Nvidia

If you've got a computer with high performance graphics, then there's a very good chance they are being powered by an NVIDIA chip. 
 
In fact, many people don’t realise the potential processing power locked up in a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit).  If you think a four or eight core Intel i7 CPU sounds impressive, what about a GPU with 1024 cores? 
 
NVIDIA are opening up the GPU to non-graphical tasks, and have sponsored Plymouth University by donating a laboratory of their Tesla GPUs for student work. 
 

Resources

Man and robotWe have a number of up-to-date, well equipped, specialist laboratories to extend our excellent general computing provision. The labs are equipped with specialist software such as Oracle, Microsoft Visual Studio, Java, the Adobe Creative Suite and many other key products.  The main corporate operating system is Microsoft Windows, but many labs have Linux installed as well.   All labs provide free Internet access and many are open out of hours.

In addition to the above general-purpose facilities, we have a number of highly specialised ones.  There is a specialist networking lab that is equipped with more than 50 enterprise level network switches and routers, including wireless and VoIP devices. There is a dedicated security and software forensics laboratory.  We also have many special-purpose facilities for embedded system development and robotics. 

Android Programming With PlymouthWe also have a games studio of Apple iMac computers, which is dual-booted with MacOS and Microsoft Windows, and which is used for Microsoft DirectX and Microsoft XNA development as well as mobile device development (iOS and Android).

Our computing lab facilities are regularly refurbished and updated:  recent improvements have been made to our Interactive Systems Studio (for games and mobile development) and to our dedicated security and forensics lab. We also recently refurbished three general purpose computing labs and established a new lab for parallel processing and high performance graphics. This represents a total investment of several hundred thousand pounds.

Computing at Plymouth

A short video introducing the computing subject area and what it is like to study computing at Plymouth from a current student:

​What the students say

'Plymouth's emphasis on group work really helps develop must-have communication skills. In the workplace you must be able to concisely articulate yourself about complex technical issues, often for the purpose of influencing people who are senior to you. At Plymouth you get plenty of chances to work collaboratively which allows you to enhance these skills.' Read more about Sam's career
  
Sam Gunaratne
Employed at IBMPhoto of Sam Gunaratne
 
Sam Gunaratne won the Education & Training: Best example of innovation in a final year STEM-related degree project - at the Innovisions Award ceremony on 5th December 2012.

placements

Jake Evans

Jake Evans spent a placement year at Pythagoras Communications Ltd.  He returned to the final year with a job offer and new skills and experience. Read more about Jake's placement.
 

​Pioneer with Plymouth

Several second year students are publishing mobile apps on both the Apple App Store and the Android Market.  One student has a (free) app that has already had 10,000 downloads, another has had their (paid for) app mentioned in The Guardian newspaper.

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