The course is excellent preparation for jobs in cybersecurity and digital forensics, which is a rapidly growing area given the rise in computer-related crime. At the same time, the course also covers all the fundamentals of computing, leaving your career options open.
Topics include computer security, development of secure systems and networks, cybersecurity and practical aspects of digital forensics.
Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, seminars and laboratory sessions. You will be encouraged to develop independent study skills as well as work with other students on group projects. As well as assessments (i.e. coursework) that count towards your degree, there are also ongoing opportunities for feedback and consolidating your learning.
The Computing Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:
Consider a wide range of perspectives related to the field of computing to help prepare you for your degree study. Understand how a modern computer works and how this has developed over time, leading to the adoption of the Von Neumann architecture. Comprehend various ways of programming a computer using a modern compiled software language.
Develop the necessary skills for study at university. Enhance your academic writing, communication, and presentation skills. Reflect upon your development, career aspirations, and personal goals.
Investigate a topic area related to your degree programme, and produce either a portfolio, practical project, performance, artefact, video, website, essay, or analysis of data/report. Engage in lectures, tutorials, lab, and/or practical sessions with subject specialists. Gain experience of researching your subject area and further develop your critical thinking, writing, time management, and organisational skills.
Fundamentals of Computer Networking and Security (20 credits)
Study the components of a computer network, install and power up virtual machines and describe threats to their security and well-being. Develop your confidence when working with networks, virtualization, and security. Enhance the skills vital to becoming an IT professional, including communication skills, operation procedures, and ethical and legal considerations.
Consolidate your numeracy skills and see how to apply them to real-life scenarios. Consider how statistical results are presented, calculated, and misrepresented. Study the foundations of numeracy, including powers, roots, fractions, percentages, standard form, area and volume, ratio, and proportion.
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Explore a wide range of software engineering techniques and industry practices, designed to promote the production of high-quality, efficient, reliable, and secure software. Examine how software is created and the various stages of the software development lifecycle, together with consideration of social, ethical, professional, and legal issues. Evaluate software products to ensure that they are functioning correctly, and conclude their strengths and weaknesses.
Gain an overview of how a computer works, from the moment it is switched on. Explore what happens inside the machine, including how computers process input, generate output and store data. Install and configure a modern operating system, and troubleshoot hardware and software problems using real equipment and simulations.
Learn about the fundamental programming concepts, including how to write computer programs using a high-level programming language such as Python or C#. Develop an understanding of debugging techniques to find and resolve defects. Select and implement appropriate structures for file handling, data manipulation, and error handling within a program.
Explore both front-end and back-end web development, and use frameworks to create a fully dynamic web application. Consider the development of the modern web and review the underlying technologies and standards. Create programs that run on a live web server and use a modern programming language.
Explore and develop an individual project based around your preferred area of study. Work directly with subject specialists in workshop-style sessions to explore your specialism. Appreciate the social, ethical, professional, and legal issues as they apply to computer-based systems.
Delve into the emergence of novel tools and techniques within computer science. Discuss the potential impacts of a range of emerging technologies on industry and society, including virtual and augmented reality, drone technology, cryptocurrencies, wearable technologies, and cybersecurity. Consider the issues associated with end user adoption of new and emerging technologies.
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Propose solutions to programming problems through OO software design modeling, using UML diagrams, notations, and techniques. Apply advanced OO programming constructs to the development of professional-standard software. Select appropriate software design patterns, data structures and algorithms to provide efficient solutions to complex programming problems.
Analyse security principles and the core technology used to enforce and maintain security of data and computer systems. Investigate case studies of cyber security incidents relating to businesses, where social factors such as social engineering, oversharing, and phishing attacks have played a major part. Design and create a secure system.
Participate in the organising, running, controlling, and monitoring of a team tasked to produce a computer-based solution to a client-posed problem. Respond to client analysis and feedback to progress and complete your prototype solution. Appreciate enterprise approaches for software project determination, selection, development, implementation, and criteria-based evaluation.
Gain a substantial understanding of key network security principles and methods. Develop the practical skills needed to implement and support a complex network infrastructure with regard to security. Evaluate a system to a given set of network security requirements.
Delve into forensic techniques, including the examination of Windows, Unix and Macintosh, covering boot disks, file systems, an overview of digital evidence processing tools, data recovery, file traces, system registry, log files, Internet traces, web browsing, e-mail, network traces and network storage. Understand digital evidence and how the interpretations of that evidence can be obtained from computer forensics investigations. Apply the appropriate legal and procedural issues and be aware of the documentary and evidentiary standards in presenting investigative findings in a court of law.
Gain knowledge of a range of cloud models, and analyse these in relation to realistic scenarios. Explore best practices within cloud computing, as well as Development Operations (DevOps). Examine various Linux environments and design, configure and utilise Linux tools and technologies that are relevant to cloud infrastructure.
Spend 48 weeks on placement working within the industry. Refine, plan, schedule and produce an individual project based on your experience. Critically reflect on the skills and experience gained as part of your placement.
Articulate an in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of your chosen research topic. Develop your professional skills, such as problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, self-reflection, and time management. Collect, organise, and present your body of work, including a critical evaluation and correct citation and reference of appropriate research sources.
Gain a holistic understanding of the cyber security threat landscape, and of cyber risk assessment and management. Research, investigate and analyze the cyber security incidents, threats, and vulnerabilities that make up the cyber threat landscape, both in terms of recent emergent issues and those issues which recur over time. Work with case studies to investigate the security strategies employed by a company, and then recommend applicable policies and frameworks.
Understand the most prevalent web application vulnerabilities, their causes, and their consequences. Study the methodologies for testing for evidence, vulnerabilities within applications, and protection against these. Utilise the techniques of ethical hacking to discover and exploit vulnerabilities in web applications.
Discuss and investigate advanced applications in computer forensics such as employability, payment card industry, e-disclosure, social media, internet crime, malware & spyware, network forensics, and mobile phone forensics. Build your knowledge base to include essential areas such as the process of identifying, preserving, analysing, and presenting digital evidence. Consider the ethical and professional dilemmas facing computer forensic practitioners and cyber security investigations.
Evaluate the technical, legal, and business issues involved in developing, implementing, and testing secure systems, considering the potential security threats. Critically analyse the trade-offs of balancing key security properties: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Examine the specific threats to networks, the architecture for secure networks (for example OSI security architecture), and the development and design of defense mechanisms and countermeasures.
We don’t currently display entry requirements for United States. Please contact the Student Admin team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 515 3154.
Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.
Eligible entry qualifications:
If you're unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!
** If you've studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you'll need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you're able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.
If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.
The annual fee for this course is £9,250 if you are from the UK/Ireland/EU settled/pre-settled.
If you are a full-time UK/Irish/EU settled/EU pre-settled student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fees for the full four years. UK and EU settled students may also be eligible to receive a maintenance loan.
Please note, this course is not available to international students.
Learn more about settled status, pre-settled status, special discounts, visa requirements and Common Travel Area (CTA) agreements for the Republic of Ireland applicants in our Help and Advice article.
Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.
This information was correct at the time of publication.
This course has a strong emphasis on real-world learning that boosts employability and equips you to make a bigger contribution in the workplace.
In your final year of the course, you will undertake a major individual project with research-active staff. This adds to your hands-on experience and, in some cases, leads to a job offer that can be taken up as soon as the course ends.
Our graduates have gone on to become web programmers, IT managers, information analysts and software developers. Employers that have taken on our graduates include Sage, British Airways and the NHS. Other graduates have started their own businesses or become software contractors earning over £50,000 a year.
Employers are increasingly looking not only for strong CVs but also real-life demonstrations of technical know-how and commitment to self-development. All computing students at the University of Sunderland develop e-portfolios that become showcases of personal progress. A typical e-portfolio would include audits of your skills, reflections on your areas of strength, evidence of how you have tackled weaker areas, and tools for joining up your learning in different modules.