Computer Networks BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year, 4 years with placement)



Intermediate awards: CertHE, DipHE


Networks and their security are an increasingly important global issue. Up for the challenge? Our Computer Networks degree gets you straight into the lab, using advanced software and virtual networks. You’ll study in Cambridge, in the heart of Silicon Fen, where you can connect with local employers through an optional placement year. As a Cisco Network Academy for more than 10 years, our industry links ensure you’ll be equipped to meet the needs of the fast-changing computer world.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Networks and their security are increasingly important issues around the world. There is strong demand for people who can install, manage and support computer networks. You could work as a certified networking engineer within an organisation, or be self-employed. There are also many career opportunities in technical sales and support.

This course covers all the material you’ll need to apply for Cisco certification at both Associate (CCNA) and Professional levels (CCNP).

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies we offer a wide range of full-time and part-time postgraduate courses including MSc Cyber Security.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Engineering, Computing and Technology
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in Engineering, Computer Science and related courses. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental skills, Students will cover the subjects underpinning the technological disciplines. Fundamental mathematical skills will be covered, alongside pre-calculus, followed by an introduction to calculus and vector and matrix arithmetic. Students will also be introduced to Classical mechanics, and its application to real-world scenarios. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of computer science, learning about the principles behind programming and applying them through a series of practical coding exercises. Students will undertake a multi-disciplinary group project as they learn about the collaborative nature of engineering, and design from a broader perspective of business. The module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Maths for Scientists; Maths for Engineers; Physics for Engineers; Fundamentals of Computing; Engineering Design.

Year one, core modules

  • Learning and Skills for HE
    If you are entering higher education you will need specific study skills to enable you to maximise your learning potential and take advantage of opportunities available both in the academic setting and the workplace. Students enter with different levels of skills and experience and may approach the module in a variety of ways. The module prepares and supports you to build a strong foundation for learning and later development. Learning will develop and underpin Level One study skills in the first half of the semester with the focus moving towards individual formative support towards the end of the semester. You will develop and maintain a reflective learning log/blog to support this module and their continuing studies, the reflective log/blog is used as the basis of tutorial work and formative assessment. This work will also provide evidence for the beginning of a Personal Development Planning Portfolio that you will build on over the next two years of your studies. You will be expected to meet with your personal tutors to review your progress and actively seek out a mentor within the university community or workplace.
  • Software Principles
    Learn the fundamental concepts required to understand, design, implement and test high-level programming languages. We will introduce you to a design methodology to help develop linear and hierarchical trains of thought from idea conception through design and implementation to testing. You will use a simple interactive programming environment to discover how to create and use a wide variety of different basic and complex data structures. By the end of the module, you will be able to analyse a simple set of requirements, design appropriate data structures, select appropriate language syntax to manipulate program data and understand and use syntax for the implementation of conditional logic and repetition. You will also be able to create simple scripts, demonstrate familiarity with the taxonomy of programming languages and the software development life- cycle and gain sufficient experience of a range of algorithm design techniques.
  • Web Development
    If you are anticipating a career in information systems or programming, the knowledge of website construction, whether that is for the internet or a company intranet, is a valuable asset. Our module provides you with the knowledge required to build a standards compliant web site. The website will be a blend of XHTML, Cascading Style Sheet and a scripting language and incorporate media and text elements. You will also be expected to submit documentation containing an introduction, descriptions of the purpose and aims of the web site. You will choose a subject for the website. The knowledge you will gain in this module will form the foundation for further web-based study in areas such as graphic design, user perceptions of the usability and quality of web pages and multimedia/database websites.
  • Basic Maths for Technology
    This module is essential for the student who needs a solid background in basic mathematical techniques and analysis in order to pursue a degree programme in technology. The module will help students to assess their existing mathematical skills and sympathetically enable them to remedy any basic deficiencies. It will then develop the core mathematical skills needed for successful study at degree level in technology, and also provide a basis for those students wishing to undertake further mathematical study. The module will be assessed by two in-class tests.
  • Operating Systems
    You will be introduced to the fundamental features of modern operating systems, their components and their use. You will learn key concepts including the kernel, memory and resource management, security and authentication, and command line and graphical user interfaces (GUI). Case studies will be used to familiarise you with the history and features of Windows/MS-DOS and Linux/Unix. The module will also introduce you to the 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. It will also explain how each operating system stores configuration information and how (particularly in Linux/Unix) scripts can be used to modify that system configuration. The skills acquired in the module will enable you to go on to study modules which involve topics such as system administration, network and server configuration, and technical support, all of which are key skills graduates need when working in the systems and network support industries.
  • Networked Systems
    This module introduces students to the components and requirements of modern networked computer systems. In order to understand how such systems work it is necessary to consider the operating system, through the networking technology to the servers to be accessed. On completing this module, students will be able to specify, construct and maintain networked PC systems, and troubleshoot common hardware and software problems. Practical skills are underpinned by a sound theoretical foundation in computer systems and network architecture, including both local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). Theoretical topics will be delivered in weekly lectures that will be consolidated through significant self-study. Laboratory sessions will enable students to gain the practical skills needed to construct, maintain and troubleshoot problems on networked computer systems. Students’ progress is assessed via a submitted laboratory log-book, an in-class test, and a written coursework assignment.

Year two, core modules

  • Data Security
    Information technology has created a world that is increasingly virtual in nature. Both private individuals and businesses alike suffer the same vulnerabilities in managing access to valuable information that is increasingly being stored remotely. Whilst the public and industry professionals wrestle with the escalating complexity and variation in the ways that information is compromised, we see the emergence of the harnessing of digital insecurities as a weapon on an international stage. You will be introduced to some of the key concepts that lie at the heart of information security, but viewed at the more fundamental data level. You will be provided with a critical insight into the often misunderstood or poorly defined issues of data security and thereby offered a springboard to the study of information security at level 6. After studying this module you will understand how and why the digital data systems we use every day pose such a threat to individuals and businesses, where solutions are possible and where they might prove difficult or impossible. A key issue is the fundamental weakness that humans introduce into the technology. You are expected to augment the content delivered by lectures with independent study of your own on a weekly (or even daily basis) in order to remain current with developing threats. You will write up a dossier of weekly security issues and together with a 1,000 word technical discussion of a particular security vulnerability will form the final assessment making a 3,000 word submission in total.
  • Network Routing and Switching Essentials
    Computer networks are constantly evolving to keep pace with the changing needs of organizations in supporting 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 audio and 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. LAN switches provide the connection point for end users into the enterprise network and are also primarily responsible for the control of information within the LAN environment. Routers facilitate the movement of information between LANs and are generally unaware of individual hosts. Due to the complexity and dynamic nature of networks, often networks employ dynamic routing protocols to dynamically establish the "best" path for routing the traffic, to achieve the maximum efficiency while maintain the ever-increased demand of reliability and security. This module focuses on the key concepts and protocols of network routing and switching. It covers basic routing and switching concepts, including static and default routing, Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs), and inter- VLANs routing. Dynamic protocols such as RIP, EIGRP and OSPF, and will be discussed and explored Network security using Access Control Lists will be introduced and the wider issues of network and Internet security considered. Other topics such as DHCP and NAT will also be covered. The module is delivered as a mixture of theory, delivered through a series of lectures, and practical implementation, delivered through a series of guided laboratory exercises. In the lab sessions students will gain deep understanding on the routing and switching concepts with an emphasis on their hands-on-skills using hardware equipment in the laboratory and advanced network simulation tools that comply with industry standards. The module is assessed by a case study based assignment and an in-class test. The case study will be centred on the design and implementation of a routed and switched network, comprising both local and wide area networks. The in-class test will consist a set of well-constructed multiple choice questions to test students’ understanding of routing and switching concepts and theories.
  • Network Streaming Technology
    Much of the traffic on the Internet and an increasing amount of traffic within a business is streamed media. This traffic may be made up of video clips from sources such as YouTube or Lynda, catch up services such as iPlayer or Now TV, business applications such as VoIP and video conferencing or the real-time streaming of concerts or world events. This module will look at the infrastructure, protocols, encoding, encapsulation and applications used in the streaming of media. The module starts by considering the effect of bandwidth on the rate at which data can be sent over a medium and then considers the data rate required by a variety of different types of audio and video media. The way in which the media is encoded, compressed and encapsulated is then investigated and the resulting bandwidth requirements discussed. Issues and approaches to multicasting are considered as are the protocols that are commonly used for real-time streaming. This will include the techniques and protocols of VoIP and video conferencing as well as architectures based on technologies such as uPnP, DLNA and Miracast. The techniques, protocols and applications will be presented and discussed in the lecture whilst the practical will be used to implement, configure and analyse streaming applications so the network traffic and performance of the end devices can be assessed. The module will be assessed by a logbook that will be created throughout the course of the semester and an end of semester examination.
  • Entrepreneurship in IT
    You will develop critical business and financial skills, as well as attitudes and behaviours to help you succeed. You will learn key concepts through business case studies and computer game based activities. By applying, practicing and ultimately mastering fundamental skills through the case studies and activities, you will develop an entrepreneurial mind-set that empowers you to improve your overall quality of life. You will be evaluated through five interactive, online case studies designed to help you apply IT capabilities within the context of starting a business. These case studies introduce a variety of basic business and financial concepts through hands-on exercises and realistic scenarios that cultivate and reinforce the critical thinking skills required to become a successful entrepreneur. The computer-based interactive learning game will challenge you to apply and practise the business and financial skills introduced in the case studies within the context of simulated networking environments. The game will invite you to explore, learn and develop entrepreneurial thinking, creative problem-solving and decision-making skills that will help you successfully compete in the global marketplace. You will be assessed through interactive, online case studies with presentation and submission of presentation notes in addition to a substantive individual report. This module will also provide you with “soft” skills that are nowadays much needed in the industry.
  • Design Methods and Technology Project
    This module is essentially a mini project where you will design some artifact, e.g.: electronic hardware, software, multimedia production, website etc. The management of the project is in itself a core element and you are expected to produce a formal specification using sound design methods, a time plan and progress indicator. You will also be expected to produce a number of alternative designs that meet the specification, select the most appropriate design using recognised techniques and carry out design reviews.
  • Networking Technologies
    Following on from our "Computer Network Principles" module you will focus on LAN Switching and WAN Technologies. Firstly you will focus on switching basics and intermediate routing, covering topics such as: advanced IP addressing techniques, intermediate routing, CLI configuration of Ethernet switches and Virtual LANs. Secondly you will focus on WAN technologies covering topics such as: Network Address Translation (NAT), DHCP, WAN technologies, optical networking, and Network Management. You will also cover material that enables you to take an optional test to achieve the Cisco certification "Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices". If you have chosen to study both Computer Network Fundamentals and Networking Technologies you will be able to take an optional test to achieve the Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) award which is highly regarded by employers in this area.

Work placement (optional placement year)

Year three, core modules

  • Information Security
    With the growth of high bandwidth internet, eCommerce, eBusiness and Virtual Private Networks, information security has become a centre-stage issue. However, many organisations and businesses find themselves missing the necessary skills and knowledge that is needed to develop effective security strategies. This module will equip you with the skills to fill that gap by introducing you to key aspects of information security and taking a broader view of the information security problems facing industry and commerce today. You will gain a comprehensive overview of the problem, motives and techniques of 'hackers', the inherent security problems built into information technology itself and the role played by encryption techniques. Often it is user behaviour itself that creates significant vulnerabilities and this module focuses on the role of people and the part played by poor user discipline.
  • Advanced Network Routing
    This module is an advanced course in the design, implementation and troubleshooting of network routing protocols. You will focus on the deployment of advanced routing protocols in large organisations and those used by Internet Service Providers. You will be introduced to Interior Gateway Protocols such as EIGRP and OSPF, and the Exterior Gateway Protocol, BGP. Route redistribution, filtering and migration to IPOv6 will also be covered. Lectures and case study work in our industry-standard networking laboratories will form the basis of your learning, and your learning will be assessed by staged case study, research and in-class tests.
  • Network Modelling and Simulation
    The massive growth and complexity of the internet and enterprise networks there is a growing demand for network practitioners to be able to both model and simulate networks to ascertain the impact on network performance of proposed changes to the network. You will focus on the modelling network components, such as switches and routers, and the discrete event simulation of complex networking environments to ascertain the impact of changes to proposed networks or the planning of new networks using the industry standard simulation tool OPNET. Teaching is delivered by a series of lecturers, covering the basic principles and concepts, and laboratory-based practical experimentation using OPNET.
  • Advanced Campus Networks
    This module is an advanced course in the design and deployment of complex enterprise switched architectures. We will focus on key deployment issues to provide high performance, resilient and secure campus networks. You will cover key topics, such as VLAN, STP and Inter-VLAN deployment and develop your troubleshooting skills so that you will be able to confidently solve issues with complex networks. Delivered as part of the curriculum offered by The Cisco Networking Academy Program (CNAP), a well-established partnership between academia and industry to provide up-to-date knowledge and skills required by industry and commerce, you will have access to our remote networking laboratory (NETLAB) so that you can work flexibly to suit your needs.
  • 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 you throughout the course so that you can measure your progress. Most of this assessment will be based on case studies, as well as class-based laboratory tests, group work, presentations and reports.

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?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Additional study information


This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement year between years 2 and 3 of your studies. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2019/20 or 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Placement year (UK, EU, international students)


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?

Tuition fee loan

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, 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

International students

You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This 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 fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

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.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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January, September

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UK and EU students

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UCAScode: G421, G422

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International students

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