Applied Computer Science BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

University Centre West Anglia (King's Lynn)



Develop the knowledge and skills you need to create technologies and applications that will change the world. Developed with leading employers, this course will fully prepare you for a fast-paced, rewarding career.

Full description


Our graduates go on to successful careers in many industries and fields including software development, database administration, networking, web and support. The qualification provides an ideal basis for postgraduate study or research.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Fundamentals of Design
    You will be introduced to the concepts of a software life cycle, system theory, design methodologies and relational data modelling. Our module uses a system methodology to work through a software lifecycle looking at analysis, design and implementation. You will be given the opportunity to apply a design methodology to a case study producing diagrammatic representations of the data and functionality of a system. You will be introduced to the essentials of database design and implementation. You will be expected to participate in group work as well as make individual contributions. Our module is 100% coursework, comprising a set of deliverables to demonstrate analysis of the case study example(s) and application of design theory. Exercises will be both formative and summative to encourage discussion of design theory and its application.
  • Introduction to Programming
    Computers are a part of everyday life and there is no indication that this aspect will ever change. Understanding how they work and having the ability to program them for specific tasks (i.e. Factory Automation, Cash Point, etc.) is a key skill in today’s world. You will be introduced to the procedural programming paradigm, requiring no prior programming experience. You will use industry-standard tools and techniques to design, implement, test and document simple programs using a current programming language such as C, Python, or C++. The skills within will help you to understand the principal components of a program, laying the foundation for subsequent modules requiring structured programming ability. The principles of good programming practice will be emphasised and you will be introduced to techniques required to develop software which: is robust and efficient; satisfies the needs of the customer; consists of elegant, easy to read code; is resilient within the cyber security context By the end of the module,you should have sufficient mastery of a procedural programming language to allow you to design, implement and test simple programs. The skills taught within the module are intended to be directly transferable to the workplace and to provide a suitable foundation for pursuing a wide range of computing-related careers.
  • Computer Systems
    This module consists of two strands: 'Computer Architecture' and ‘Network fundamentals’. Both strands will enable you to learn materials that are of great interest to employers. This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the fundamental behaviour and components of a typical computer system, and how they collaborate to manage resources and provide services in scales from small embedded devices up to the global internet. You will be introduced to IP networks exemplified through the TCP/IP and OSImodels. Laboratory sessions will give you hands-on experience on constructing and configuring network devices. You will use the Cisco CCNA introduction to data network technology course which is the first of four Cisco courses that can be used to obtain a Cisco CCNA qualification. This module will lay the foundation of and prepare you for the computer software, computer networking and cyber security sector to name a few.
  • Operating Systems
    During this module you will be introduced to the fundamental features of modern operating systems, their components and their use. We will look at key concepts including the kernel and its modes; memory and resource management; file systems, security and authentication; single and multi-tasking; interrupts, hardware and device drivers and command line and graphical user interfaces (GUI). Case studies will introduce you to command line interface (CLI) commands and scripting in both the Windows CLI and a Linux shell and allow you to develop simple scripts to automate activities in both operating system environments. You do not need any special technical knowledge before undertaking the module, however a basic user level familiarity with a GUI based operating system (such as Windows) will be useful. The skills acquired in the module will enable you to go on to study material in later modules which involve topics such as system administration, network and server configuration and technical support, all of which are key skills you may need as a graduate when working in the systems and network support industries.
  • Core Mathematics for Computing
    As a student embarking on a degree in computer science or a closely related discipline, this module will equip you with the core mathematical skills needed to succeed. This module also contributes to the professional body accreditation of your programme of study, reflecting the criticality of mathematics/statistics skills in professional computing roles and in computer science research. During much of the module, you will be studying topics in discrete mathematics, such as set theory and logic, Boolean algebra, functions, matrices, sequences/series and product/summation notations. Further topics include probability and statistics, which are useful in understanding the behaviour of non-deterministic algorithms, data visualisation, and in the design and implementation of computer science research projects. The topics you will study will be directly related to computing principles. For example the use of set theory for: the representation of computational structures such as lists, trees and graphs; computations on discrete collections of data (such as in databases); the relationship between number classes and data types and in evaluating computability; and parallels between set theoretic operations and programming logic. The relationship between Boolean algebra and logic operators used in computer programming will be discussed, along with topics like the evaluation and simplification of Boolean expressions. Topics such as sequences and series will be related to elementary algorithm complexity (e.g., linear, logarithmic, and exponential functions), and mathematical functions (injective, surjective, bijective) will be related to program functions, with common functions found in nearly all non-trivial computer programs (such as modulus, floor/ceiling, and numerical operations such as gcd and lcm) being introduced and demonstrated in context. Permutations and combinations will be related to computer security, and the notion of intractable computational problems. Matrices will be in discussed in terms of their ability to represent computational structures such as images, graphs, and computer networks. Core descriptive and inferential statistics used for data visualisation and hypothesis testing (including histograms, distribution types, measures of central tendency and dispersion, and basic inferential statistics such as t-tests and linear correlation) will be examined. Mathematics and statistics skills are regarded as a core competency in computing professionals, and graduates with these skills are highly valued by employers in all job roles in computing and more widely.

Year two, core modules

  • Software Engineering
    A software engineering life cycle explores software development processes including requirements analysis, modelling and design, code implementation and design patterns and testing and maintenance. When studying the subject, you will gain a theoretical understanding and practical experience of the life-cycle of software applications by learning how to apply software engineering principles to the development of a software system. You will look into the difference between the Waterfall and Agile methodologies and use the latter for project management including learning about the cost drivers that can influence projects. You will use a version control tool to manage source code history. In addition you will apply the knowledge gained in earlier modules to model and design a system by using a range of UML diagrams and you will learn about architectural design including the application of design patterns. Both the automated and manual testing are discussed and you will have to demonstrate the ability to use both of them. You will build on your employability skills by working in a team to develop a complete and robust software system including coordinating the work among team members using a distributed-version control system.
  • Network Routing
    Modern networks continue to evolve to keep pace with the changing way organizations carry out their daily business. Users now expect instant access to company resources from anywhere and at any time. These resources not only include traditional data but also video and voice. There is also an increasing need for collaboration technologies that allow real-time sharing of resources between multiple remote individuals as though they were at the same physical location. The global Internet is a collection of networks, termed Autonomous Systems (AS), that are linked together via high-speed communication links provided by telecommunication organisations. Your studies will focus on the key concepts and protocols of network routing. We will cover basic routing and switching concepts, including static and default routing, Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs), and inter-VLANs routing. Dynamic protocols such as RIP and OSPF will be discussed and explored. Network security using Access Control Lists will be introduced and the wider issues of network and Internet security considered. You will study in classes which contain a mixture of theory, delivered through a series of lectures, and practical implementations, delivered through a series of guided laboratory exercises. In the lab sessions you will gain a deep understanding of routing and switching concepts and acquire hands-on-skills using advanced network simulation tools that comply with industry standard router platforms. As part of studying this module you will be able to access on-line materials including the Cisco Networking Academy online curriculum and access specialist laboratory resources.
  • Database Design and Implementation
    Databases is identified as a specific area of study within the 2007 QAA Computing benchmark. Computer science and information science are mostly all about data. A database management system is a way to store data in a way that makes it easier to retrieve, update, search and delete. Databases is a specialist field in its own domain leading to careers such as Database Designer, Database Developer and Database Administrator. Moreover, it is a part and parcel for many other job roles e.g. Software Engineer, Game Developer, Full-stack Web Developer and Back-end Developer. You will not only learn the specialist skills to design and implement a database, but also practice soft skills such as time management, presentation, teamwork, and collaboration. You will work in teams and analyse an existing e-commerce systems, propose a database solution for such a system, design the database, implement the database and evaluate it using SQL queries. You will be guided to think critically for the rationale of your design and write useful queries considering their business purpose and benefit of writing these one way than the other.
  • Network Services Engineering
    Network configuration is one of the key skills needed by IT professionals in order to pursue a successful career in computer support. We will teach you the fundamentals of the hardware, software and standards used by modern computer networks. Using a mixture of theoretical discussion and application of new skills in a practical environment you will gain an understanding of the complexities of modern networks and their operation and to permit you to evaluate existing environments and advise on new network scenarios. In practical sessions, you will be able to experiment with the configuration and implementation of common network services, such as NFS, electronic mail, FTP, SSH, SAMBA.
  • Interaction and Usability
    Developing effective human-computer interfaces is a vital yet poorly understood area. As such it is necessary to have some understanding of a variety of fields including cognitive psychology and usability theory which has recently become a major issue in web design / effective e-commerce implementation. The user experience (beyond traditional usability) is a key design issue, where the importance of the perceptions and experience of the user is considered. This module seeks to develop understanding of interaction design through the delivery of core theory which is then applied to the analysis, design, implementation and evaluation of a limited functionality horizontal prototype. The student will be introduced to the notion of user mental models (following the approach of Donald Norman) and the extent to which they can be utilized in the design of conceptual models underlying the designed interface. Students will then examine the range of discovery methods used to harvest user, task and environmental data to support user needs analysis comprising user characterisation (including the notion of user personae), task analysis (hierarchical task analysis / action and object taxonomies) and environmental analysis. Following a discussion of visual style / aesthetics, the preceding analysis will then progress to documented design rationale supporting by logical storyboards showing information, action and navigation screen components. The design is then prototyped in an appropriate high level interface prototyping tool and subjected to critical introspective and user evaluation. Note that ideally students will be expected to possess some scripting experience prior to starting the module. Students will document all the above to produce the final assignment. The module would be of considerable benefit to those who intend to design interfaces (including web design), become usability / testing consultants or work within user training / user support roles. Specialist resources required for this module are prototyping and access to the safari online text (Badre A (2002) Shaping Web Usability - Interaction Design in Context Addison-Wesley).
  • Computing Research Methods
    This module will provide you with experience of topic-specific research and the analysis and application of that work in order to carry out a computer science based project in your final year. We'll help with the selection of a suitable project, often with advice from the potential supervisor, instruction on how to use relevant sources of published information, carrying out a literature survey on the subject of the planned project; the writing of a literature review and project plan; and instruction in appropriate research and analysis methods. You'll be given instruction in risk and/or hazard assessment and the ethical and legal considerations of the work to be done.

Year three, core modules

  • Professional Issues: Computing and Society
    Professional Issues: Computing and Society aims to provide you an understanding of the issues, opportunities and problems which have arisen as a result of the computerisation of wide areas of human activity. It is designed to enhance advanced computer reflective thinking in both computer science specialists and others, and is a key part of the programme of professional development for computer scientists and others seeking to embody professional values and approaches in the IT and computing fields. You will be covered by relevant and current topics in Computer Law (e.g. Data Protection; Intellectual Property Law; Computer Misuse) and other social, ethical and legal topics such as considering the causes and effects of systems failures (including but not limited to computer systems failure). Other aspects such as the ethical and professional responsibilities of graduates - particularly those from IT and computing disciplines - will be critically appraised. It is essential to ensure that a professional engineer has an in depth understanding of professional ethics, law and the impact of what they do on society. The knowledge and understanding obtained in this module will prepare you with an in-depth understanding on different legal, ethical, professional and system aspects of your future career particularly in the areas of IT, computer science and engineering.
  • Data Structures and Algorithms
    You will become aware of efficient programming practice by critically appraising some of the common data structures and algorithms available to the computer scientist. You will use a range of analysis techniques to carefully evaluate the performance of these data structures and algorithms in order that you may make prudent choices in the assembly of software artefacts with specific performance targets or constraints. The concept of the algorithm is a central pillar of computer science, and is closely related to the concept of the data structure: the storage mechanism that algorithms are used to manipulate. In this module, a variety of crucially important data structures and associated algorithms are explored, with frequent examples from real world applications. The concept of the abstract data type (ADT) is presented as an encapsulation of common data structures and algorithms that incorporates a simple interface, promotes a high-level of information hiding, and permits changes to underlying implementation without affecting the larger application. In comparison to earlier programming modules, the focus of Data Structures & Algorithms is firmly theoretical, setting a foundation for understanding concepts and techniques that are of vital importance to any computer scientist required to construct elegant and efficient software artefacts in any high-level programming language, including scripting languages. You will be assessed by an exam and a practical assignment with associated documentation.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    You will create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice. You could choose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience, your current employer, a suggestion from your tutor or a topic you are specifically interested in. You will identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop hardware, software and/or media artifacts as appropriate, process data, critically appraise and present your finding using a variety of media. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.


We’ll assess your progress from your written assignments, presentations, exams, major project, class and lab-based exercises and group project work. 

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science, technology and engineering fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2019/20 (full-time, per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages.

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

UK students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK students

Most new UK undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This also applies to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who have citizens' rights following Brexit.

Government funding includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you’re at university.

Entry requirements

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  • 80 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent level 3 qualification, eg Extended Diploma (MMP) or Access to Computing course (30 level 3 credits at Merit grade are required).
  • All applicants must have GCSE English and maths at grade 4 or above (or equivalent).

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

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UK and EU students

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UCAScode: G401

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