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. Core topics include web applications, database systems, programming and software development.
Teaching is fully up-to-date with the latest developments and is enriched by Sunderland’s research that has been classed as 'internationally excellent' by the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF).
Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, seminars and laboratory sessions. Group activities and discussions are facilitated through the University’s virtual learning environment.
You will be encouraged to develop independent study skills as well as work with other students on group projects. As well as assessments that count towards your degree, there are also ongoing assessments for feedback and consolidating your learning. Assessment methods include coursework and exams.
The Computing Integrated Foundation Year includes four modules:
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Software Development and Theory: Software Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction, Formal Methods
Programming: Microsoft C# .NET and programming for Robots
Database Systems: Database Design, Relational Databases and SQL, Database Integrity and Security, PHP and MySQL
Computer Systems and Networking: Operating Systems, Networks and Computer Architectures
Specialist Mini Project: Showcase your talents through a project in your chosen area of computing. Past projects have included a Facebook app, a hack challenge and the creation of a retro arcade game.
Discuss the basic principles of cybersecurity and digital forensics and describe the role computer forensics and cybersecurity play in deterring and detecting computer crime and in identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer systems.
Gain the knowledge and skills to deploy and support a client operating system. Explore in detail, the various tasks required to install, manage and maintain computers both in stand-alone and networked environments. This module also aims to increase your future employability by allowing you to utilise two of the most popular operating systems currently used in industry, namely Linux and Microsoft Windows.
You will be introduced to the twin topics of games design and development from both a theoretical and technical perspective. Working in the context of an industry standard game engine (for instance the Unreal Engine) you will be exposed to an industrial weight level designer as a means to learn the basic principles underpinning related game design such as 3D solid modeling, texture mapping, lighting, physics, terrains and scripting. You will employ existing game engine technologies (such as game related APIs) to write introductory 2D sprite based computer game programs (using a relevant language such as C/C++).
Discuss and analyse the evolution and revolution(s) in the computing disciplines related to other aspects of computing and computer science including computer system fundamentals, operating systems, computer hardware, programming and system design.
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our .
Choose to develop a software project for a client or yourself. You will gain valuable experience of working within a team-based software development environment
This module will move beyond the basic object oriented concepts associated with simple classes and objects to cover a series of more sophisticated object-oriented ideas, including ‘inheritance’ and ‘polymorphism’.
This module introduces the architecture, structure, basic protocols and devices used in routed and switched networks, as well as in-depth discussion of the OSI and TCP/IP reference models and where these devices and protocols sit within it.
The aim of the module is to provide you with the knowledge to professionally, systematically and impartially approach the preservation and extraction of all relevant digital evidence from computers, computer systems and computer networks (including the Internet) using appropriate tools and techniques.
Gain knowledge of ethical issues and challenges facing computer forensic practitioners and ethical hackers and the skills to produce designs for secure computing systems and apply the principles of computational modelling to computer forensics and cybersecurity.
Undertake advanced study, including a literature review, in order to research and develop to completion a substantial piece of work that demonstrates the range of skills you have acquired. You will also submit a dissertation that describes and evaluates the problem and solution. Past examples include an Android audio application, a Trojan detector and a network monitoring tool.
In this module you will learn how to analyse the range of tradeoffs in balancing the security properties of confidentiality, integrity and availability. You will also learn how to select the appropriate tools and techniques to address and manage concepts of risk, threats, vulnerabilities and potential attacks.
Gain knowledge and understanding of current, specialist and sensitive areas in computer forensics. Critically examine the more contentious and ethically sensitive areas associated with computer forensics such as tracking paedophiles and addressing issues such as child pornography. The principles of maintaining the integrity of digital evidence in the securing, recovering and analysing of that evidence will be explored in depth from a range of different sources of potential digital evidence.
Examine the professional and ethical aspects of cybersecurity and digital forensics and develop an understanding of the particular legal and evidentiary challenges and the risk management requirements in these areas such as the application of legal procedures to evidence, role of the expert witness and protecting individual and human rights. Develop your critical analysis and research skills through an examination of the current issues in both subject areas.
The module begins with a detailed study of the current exterior gateway protocol that manages the routing of IP traffic over the Internet. You will learn how service providers and other multi-homed organisations use this protocol to support their routing policies.
Module moves from analogue principles to digital telephony, VOIP, packetized voice, GSM and converged networks. You will have an opportunity to build a fully converged modern telecommunications system.
You will develop knowledge and understanding of ethical hacking, which is about locating and strengthening security weaknesses in computer systems. The module will also cover a range of legal and social aspects in the ethical hacking domain.
This module focuses on providing the knowledge and skills that will enable you to explore and exploit business opportunities for software enterprises.
Undertake a work-based placement to support computing in a school or equivalent learning environment.
The David Goldman Informatics Centre,
Sir Tom Cowie Campus,
St Peter's Way,
The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.
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:
1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.
If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!
** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will 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 are 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.
For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.
The Foundation Year will be £4,000. For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250, but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the three years.
In addition, you will receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region, and you may be eligible for means-tested scholarships if you are from a low-income household.
Register with StudyPLUS and enjoy up to £200 worth of books and university study essentials.
If you are a full-time UK student you will be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.
Please note, this course is not available to international students.
If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more 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.
Sunderland has a good reputation with employers and 94.2% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK undergraduate students).
In your final year of the course, you will undertake a major individual project, often working directly with a company. 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.
This course is accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of fully meeting the further learning academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional. It is also accredited by BCS on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for Incorporated Engineer and partially meeting the academic requirement for a Chartered Engineer.
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.