Computer Science (Software Engineering) BSc
Placement Offered This course has a Professional Practice option.
- Special Features
- Course Content
- Teaching & Assessment
- Entry Criteria
About the Course
All our degrees emphasise acquiring knowledge and skills to develop your new understanding creatively and professionally. Although this is an academic degree, the course balances theory with ‘real world’ practice in information and computer management.
You’ll gain a good understanding of computer science and a grasp of the important elements of a computer system. You’ll also learn how to build different types of software – from web-based systems to mobile solutions. In the final year you’ll take core modules in advanced computer science and choose options from a range of computing topics.
By specialising in Software Engineering, you’ll focus on how to build high quality systems which will be easier to maintain and develop in the long term as the requirements of the system change, and the available technologies evolve. The techniques involved include testing, service-oriented architectures, and refactoring.
Information Systems and Computing at Brunel
Study at Brunel and you’ll be working with staff internationally recognised for their state-of-the-art subject knowledge. Our Department of Information Systems and Computing (DISC) was ranked top in the country for ‘Research Power’ in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). In fact almost 85% of our research was rated ‘World-leading’ or ‘Internationally Excellent’.
We offer a wide choice of dynamic courses with options ranging from Artificial Intelligence right through to the Social Web. It means we’re always on top of industry developments and future trends.
More than 50 academic staff teach DISC courses, many having a background in the computer industry. Practically all are involved in our applied computing research which includes information systems, software engineering, knowledge-based systems, and simulation modelling.
We also have a high quality infrastructure to match including more than 250 computers and servers for exclusive student use – all running state-of-the-art software. DISC is a member of the Microsoft Alliance, the Apple iOS Academic Developer Programme and is an nVidia CUDA Teaching Center.
This course equips you to be knowledgeable both in the efficient design of software and in the techniques you can apply to all aspects of software design, development and verification. You’ll also learn enough about hardware to make the most of its potential using your own software designs. This programme also allows you to focus on a Software Engineering specialism in addition to the core Computer Science content.
Dr Nayna Patel
School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics
Tel: +44 (0)1895 265849
Fax: +44 (0)1895 269722
- ‘Project centric’ – one third of the programme is project-based
We know that when you graduate, you’ll be working on large projects. That’s why one third of each year of our programmes is project-based. In Level 1 and 2 you’ll build a software solution in a team, and in your final year you’ll carry out an individual project.
- Flexible programmes – choose as you go along
We know that many computer science and information systems students don’t know exactly which programme they wish to study. Our programme is designed to allow you to specialise gradually during your time with us. If you choose one of our programmes, you’re free to alter it as you go: choose information systems or computing in level 2, and then choose your specialist options in level 3.
- Excellent links with business
Our lecturers often work as consultants for major blue chip companies at home and overseas. This means:
- Degrees designed to meet the needs of industry and the marketplace
- Latest commercial world developments included in your course
- Greater choice of high quality, professional placements
- More contacts to help you find a job when you graduate.
- A vibrant, friendly, safe campus in a great location near London
All the advantages of affordable living costs, an international community, world-class sports and social facilities and a thriving arts and social scene.
We anticipate that BCS will accredit our new programmes following their next inspection in 2011 and graduation of the first student cohort in 2012.
BCS accreditation not only serves as a symbol of quality and relevance to society today, but it also leads to exemption from Parts 1 and 2 of the Society’s entrance examination.
We anticipate that the course will also fully satisfy the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer (full IEng accreditation), as well as part of the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer (partial CEng accreditation).
Facts and Figures
- The Department of Information Systems and Computing (DISC) is ranked top in the country in its area in terms of “Research Power”, while almost 85 per cent of the research in the Department has been rated “World-leading” or “Internationally Excellent”.
- A Brunel Computer Science degree is a recognised symbol of quality. Brunel has roots in education dating back to 1798 as well as a very strong technological heritage.
- The School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics provides 250 computers and a number of servers for the exclusive use of our students. They run current state-of-the-art software. DISC is a member of the Microsoft Alliance.
- Our courses are taught by nearly 50 academic staff, many with a background in the computer industry. Practically all are involved in our application-oriented research, which includes information systems, software engineering, knowledge-based systems, and simulation modelling.
Our Level 1 course meets the needs of students joining us from a wide variety of backgrounds and with diverse computing experience. These classes build a firm foundation for the rest of your degree by introducing you to the style and ethos of both the School and the computing profession. Foundation units include:
- Systems architecture
- Systems analysis
- Software development
- Relevant mathematics
See below for typical modules.
This consolidates Level 1 learning but places more emphasis on judgement and evaluation skills. You’ll expand your understanding of:
- Processes for developing large and complex software systems
- Roles and technologies to help you control such projects
- Human-computer interface
- How to develop sound criteria such as ‘user friendliness’ – and make reliable and repeatable judgements based on them.
See below for typical modules.
Final year project
This is a substantial individual project for which you research a software engineering topic in-depth. If you’re on a sandwich course it’s quite likely that this project will be of interest to future employers. This is assessed and is worth a third of your Level 3 marks.
In this final year, you’ll will continue to specialise in software engineering. At the same time you’ll study options to broaden your understanding of computing. You’ll begin to address research-level issues in areas such as information systems, simulation modelling, digital media and games, network computing and artificial intelligence.
We revise the options available each year to reflect the range of specialist interests among our staff, and industry trends.
Typical modulesLevel 1
- Level 1 Group Project
- Introductory Programming
- Data and Information
- Information Systems and Organisations
- Logic and Computation
- Level 2 Group Project
- Software Development and Management
- Usability Engineering
- Algorithms and their Applications
- Networks and Operating Systems
- Final Year Computer Science Project
- Software Project Management
- Advanced Topics in Computer Science
- Software Engineering
We take great care to make the transition from school or college to university as smooth as possible. Project groups of four students meet for weekly reviews with a personal group tutor. This both ensures continuity and helps you get to know your tutor – something that’s particularly important in your first year.
Overall we take an innovative, dynamic and highly participative approach to teaching that’s supported by state-of-the-art subject understanding and the advice of our Industry Advisory Board. Our staff are always willing to support and provide practical guidance to students.
How many hours study a week are involved?
About 12 hours of directed study. Staff are normally also happy to answer queries outside of classes. In addition we expect you to put in an average of 25 to 35 hours of private study weekly.
How will I be taught?
These offer a broad overview of key concepts and ideas relating to computer science or information systems – a useful framework from which you can pursue more in-depth study.
- Laboratory work
This helps you to develop and understand the technical skills for building software using methods and techniques introduced in lectures. You’ll do individual work – but with a tutor always on hand to lead discussion on common issues as they arise.
- Small groups
In the first and second years you’ll work on a computing-related problem with regular guidance from a member of staff. He/she will be available week by week to help your group with any problems. These small-group activities will enable you to develop key professional skills such as report writing, evaluation and, crucially, communication skills.
In your final year you’ll normally have one-to-one supervision for your major project. The department has a team of personal tutors so there’s always someone available to discuss personal or academic problems. If you go on placement, your personal tutor will help you set objectives and monitor your progress – and provide further support if you need it.
- Talks from guest speakers
We invite guest speakers from prominent organisations to present on relevant subjects. We also host weekly talks on topical computing research issues. If you do work experience, this will also be an important part of your professional development.
This varies from one module to another and may be based entirely on coursework, entirely on examination or on a combination of both. It’s just as important for you to learn how to establish your own criteria for assessment as it is to be able to assess the quality and value of your own work reliably.
Level 1 does not count towards your final degree classification. Level 2 is worth a third and Level 3 accounts for two thirds. Your final year project is worth a third of the Level 3 marks.
Overall the ‘exam to coursework’ split is usually about 50:50.
Our graduates are high quality experts able to handle the increasing demands of scientific, technological and commercial development in the new millennium. Not unexpectedly, they’re in high demand with the wide-ranging companies and organisations increasingly dependent on computer technology.
Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) surveyComputer Science graduates have a range of employment options open to them with the majority interested in a career in the information technology sector.
In 2010/11, six months after graduating:
- 66.4% of graduates with a first degree were in employment
- 11.5% were in full-time further study
- 8.4% were combining work and study
Our graduates have a wide range of careers open to them. Perhaps you’ll start by becoming a general analyst/programmer. Or join a consultancy firm – often just a first step toward setting up your own business. The industry’s major companies all have openings for well-qualified personnel. Students with ‘sandwich’ experience are particularly in demand for the better graduate appointments.
Recent graduates have gone on to work for well-known companies and organisations including:
- Anderson Consulting
- British Airways
- British Telecom
- The Meteorological Office
- Morgan Stanley
PlacementsWe know just how much experience counts in the job market. So you’ll have the opportunity to gain invaluable paid work experience alongside experts in industry, the public sector and commerce – both in the UK or overseas. In fact if you undertake a four year professional placement programme, you are likely to earn some £4,400 more than your three-year course colleagues from ‘Day One’ in your job. (Source: The Brunel report on Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education 2009/10)
UK/EU students: £9,000 full-time; £1,000 placement year
International students: £13,500 full-time
We are introducing over 700 scholarships for 2013, meaning that one in five applicants who join Brunel next year will receive financial support from the University. See our fees and funding page for full details
Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.
Entry Requirements for 2013 Entry
- GCE A-level Typical offer ABB. Applicants who have already achieved at least BBB at A-level and have Personal Statements showing a strong interest in the course and transferable skills will also be considered. Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants within this range.
- Irish Leaving Certificate AABBB.
- Scottish Advanced Highers ABB.
- Advanced Diploma Progression Diploma Grade A in Engineering or IT plus an A-level at grade C for Additional and Specialist Learning.
- BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma D*DD in a related subject.
- IBDP 33 points.
- Access Complete and pass a related subject Access course with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.
For all of the above, 5 GCSEs or equivalent at Grade C or above are also required, to include English and Maths (please note that these must have been gained by the time you submit your UCAS application).
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 5.5 in all areas)
- TOEFL Paper test: 580 (TWE 4)
- TOEFL Internet test: 92 (R18, L17, S20, W17)
- Pearson: 59 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT 65% (min 55% in all areas)
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.