Computer Networks - BSc (Hons)

Course Overview

The essential course information

Download the course factsheet
UCAS Code:
BSc (Hons)
  • Full Time (3 years)
  • Sandwich (4 years)
School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks
City Centre

This course is accredited by:

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) - full IEng

This computer networks course focuses on developing the technical ability to plan, design and implement new networks, as well as the market insight and interpersonal skills that every employer looks for. Accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), it offers you the skills, knowledge and professional awareness that give weight to your CV.

What's covered in the course?

The course investigates Microsoft operating systems, and explores the effective management of PC hardware and software administration, installation and troubleshooting.

You look at technologies employed in local and wide area networks. The course also provides the next step for advanced networking covering Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) security and areas of Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) routing, switching and troubleshooting. You study the core security concepts and skills needed for the installation and troubleshooting of networks.

You consider the key principles of computer hardware and digital storage devices, and gain an understanding of wireless networks including installation, configuration, troubleshooting and security.

The course covers programming languages and graphical user interfaces, and tackles realistic, robust programming applications. It also enhances your professional development, focusing on your teamwork and communication skills, and introducing you to the business macro-environment sector.

A work placement gives you an invaluable chance to hone your practical expertise, try out a potential career path and get the workplace experience valued by so many employers.

“My placement involved being an intern for a year, doing everything a full engineer would do, everything from configuration to documentation to eating lunch with the rest of the guys.”
Phil Bridges (Network Consulting Engineer at Cisco Systems)

Why Choose Us?

  • With IET accreditation, the course meets the educational criteria needed for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.
  • We are a leading Cisco Systems and Microsoft Academy Centre, and one of Microsoft’s top UK university-based academies.
  • In addition to being a leading Cisco academy, the School is a Cisco ASC (Academy Support Centre) and Cisco Instructor Training Centre (ITC). The School is one of only 10 such instructor training centres in the UK and we currently train instructors for all Cisco academy curricula for over 100 UK academic institutions. We have trained over 5,000 Cisco instructors (across all Cisco courses) from all over Europe and Africa. Our staff therefore have exceptional expertise in networks and distributed systems, and the School has outstanding resources and facilities. 
  • Professionally recognised, your computer network training follows the Cisco Systems Networking Curriculum.
  • You will gain a clear understanding of computer operating systems, network communication systems and how to integrate hardware and software with business elements.
  • There is the chance to undertake an industry placement and gain professional qualifications, such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certifications.
  • We are internationally recognised for our teaching quality, research and extensive industry partnerships.

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2015/16

At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be accepted.

GCE A Level/ AS Level

BBC at A Level or 280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels, at least one from a Science, Technology, Mathematics or Computing subject.

Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including with a minimum of 12 credits achieved from any Technology units awarded at Merit or Distinction
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM - 280 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 UCAS points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

Unconditional Offers 2015/16

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2015/16 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.
To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

  • 300 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBB or above)
  • or
  • be predicted DDM profile at BTEC level

Learn more about unconditional offers >>

Typical EU/Non-EU (International) QualificationsRequirements 2015/16
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 30 points
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

Learn more about BCUIC

How to Apply

Full Time: Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: G422.
Apply via UCAS

Non-EU (International) students:. There are three ways for international students to apply: direct to the University, through a country representative or through UCAS. Please read our guidance on how to apply.

UCAS Information

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BSc (Hons) £9,000 per year
Sep 2015 SW 4 years BSc (Hons) £9,000 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BSc (Hons) £11,500

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

There are no additional costs required for this course, except you are required to own your own personal computer and have access to the internet to obtain course and on-line material.

Financial Options and Advice

We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.

Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally–recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Employment Opportunities

You will benefit during your studies from strong links with companies such as SAS, SAP, Xbox, Samsung, Intel and NEC, keeping your course relevant, real-life and respected by employers.

The Schools is established as one of the leading academies for Apple, Microsoft and Cisco Systems. You will be able to use dedicated facilities for work such as systems analysis, artificial intelligence, e-commerce and business intelligence, and to support the application areas of mechatronics, games technology and computer forensics (with its own fully equipped laboratory).

You will also use embedded systems laboratories to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and work with industry-standard software development and simulation tools. Access to such facilities ensures you gain the skills you need to become a highly employable graduate.

Our graduates typically forge careers in these areas:

  • Specifying, designing or managing and support of secure communications networks
  • Providing technical, software or applications support or training
  • Implementation and/or evaluation of secure systems
  • IT professionals with responsibility for planning, implementation, management and support of PC operating systems
  • Entrepreneurs providing creative solutions for businesses in the above areas.


We encourage you to further enhance your career prospects by including an industrial placement in your course. This takes place after the second year of study and extends the course duration to four years.

As well as providing the workplace experience that many employers are looking for, a placement provides an invaluable opportunity to further develop your practical expertise, earn money and try out a potential career path. The Faculty's placements team will give you every support throughout the placement process.

Learn more about some of the prestigious organisations that our students are placed with:

Full details can be found on the School placements page.

Further Studies

The University has a range of either taught (MSc) or research (MPhil and PhD) postgraduate programmes. Details can be found on the postgraduate section of the website.

Full Time

About KIS data

From September 2012, all universities and colleges are publishing standardised information for all undergraduate courses in the form of a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS data is designed to meet the needs of prospective students and allow for informed decision-making when choosing a university course.

Putting our students first

We pride ourselves on our student satisfaction levels which have risen from 73 per cent to 83 per cent between 2010 and 2012. Our dedication to improving the student experience is illustrated by our award-winning student engagement, our close links with business and industry and our £180 million investment in new facilities.

Employability facts

76% of course leavers are in a professional or managerial position, earning an average salary after six months of £18,000. Graduates of the School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks have gone on to work for companies such as Hewlett Packard, Bell Micro, BT, Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, Fujitsu, IBM, Intel Corporation, Siemens and Nokia.

Working with your Students’ Union

Improving student satisfaction is a priority commitment shared by both Birmingham City University and its Students’ Union. In its strategic planning, the Union has pledged to be more accessible, more relevant and provide more opportunity to engage with a diverse student community.

The Students’ Union is already a key stakeholder in supporting an excellent teaching experience at Birmingham City University, through joint projects such as the Extra Mile Teaching Awards and the Student Rep scheme, which allows students to share their ideas on how they are taught.

As Birmingham City University moves towards a two campus strategy where it can better support enhanced learning and student support facilities across a two-mile radius, the Students’ Union will also be better able to implement its commitment to improve communication and engage with its valued student membership.

Course Modules

The course is informed by the increased importance of the competitive global economy, new developments in high-speed digital communication systems and the necessity for strategic computer networks systems and associated applications in successful businesses. The course also emphasises the need to develop interpersonal skills, which are essential in today's professional business environment.

Year 1
Professional Context of Technology 15 Credits
ICT Programming 15 Credits
Computer Systems Technology 30 Credits
Computer Networking Basics 30 Credits
Supporting ICT Clients 30 Credits
Year 2
Management in Technology Innovation 15 Credits
ICT Programming 15 Credits
Wireless Networks 30 Credits
Switched LANS and WANS 30 Credits
Infrastructure Services 30 Credits
Year 3
Individual Project 30 Credits
Advanced Networking Technologies 30 Credits
Network Design and Management 30 Credits
ICT Infrastructure Management 30 Credits


The course is based on a themed approach:

Infrastructure Technologies
This theme is about understanding Microsoft Operating systems and involves managing the administration, installation and troubleshooting of PC hardware and software.

Communication Networks
This theme consists of technologies employed in Local and Wide Area Networks. It follows the Cisco CCNA curriculum and introduces protocols, LAN/WAN terminology, TCP/IP, addressing, switching, routing protocols and management of networks.

Emerging Technologies
This theme consists of fundamental principles of computer hardware and digital storage devices, computer architecture, digital systems and data representation. You’ll gain an understanding of wireless networks including installation, configuration, troubleshooting and network security.

Application Development
This theme consists of programming languages, Graphical User interfaces and understanding of realistic robust programming applications.

This theme consists of providing professional development, and an introduction to the business macro-environment sector. You’ll gain an understanding of market-led innovation planning and management. It also develops your teamwork skills in evaluating and effectively communicating information in both written and oral form.

Assessment Methods

We use a range of assessment methods throughout the course, including continuous assessment, in class tests, examinations, laboratory exercises and project work. We find this helps us to appraise your all-round ability and gives you the best opportunity to excel.

Phillip Bridges

Cisco expert Phillip Bridges can’t recommend hands-on experience highly enough. He made full use of our impressive lab facilities and an invaluable Cisco internship to hone the skills that employers prize.

Working on the very best equipment

“My course was composed of several Cisco NetAcad modules that helped me get both my internship at Cisco and my current role,” says Phil. “I chose Birmingham City University based on its strong links with Cisco and the facilities in the lab. I was also an intern at Cisco, working everyday on Cisco equipment. It helped me in my final year to produce an excellent standard of work for my final year project.”

How to impress employers…

 “Hands-on lab time has been the most valuable and most enjoyable,” says Phil. And on that subject, he’s got some great advice: “Make the most of the lab equipment. Employers love it at interviews and assessment centres when you get tested for hands-on and work fast to a high level.”

Constant change, continuous training

Phil’s hard work has landed him such a fantastic job that he doesn’t anticipate needing to study any further at university. “I take continuous training sessions with work,” he says, “because the technology moves very quickly”. His plans? To make the most of the great career progression in his current role.

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) - full IEng

IEng accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), fulfilling the educational requirements for registration as an Incorporated Engineer.


Prospective students from the UK
  • Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
  • If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
  • Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from outside the UK


For an overview of our undergraduate courses and a range of other information order a printed Prospectus or download a PDF of our Prospectus (16Mb).

Further Information

For general enquiries, please contact the School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks as follows:

School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks
Birmingham City University
Millennium Point
Curzon Street
B4 7XG

Tel: +44 (0)121 331 5400