Computer Networks - BSc (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years), Sandwich (4 years)
September 2016, September 2017

Please choose how and when you would like to attend the course...

See the UCAS website for help and guidance with your application.

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.

Our course meets the needs of a competitive global economy, anticipates new developments in high-speed digital communication systems and is informed by the need for strategic computer networks systems.

New for 2017/18

Computer Networks

If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.

Sign up for course updatesMore about our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

On this course, you’ll develop an in-depth understanding of computer operating systems, network communication systems and you’ll also learn how to integrate hardware and software with business elements.

You’ll study Microsoft operating systems and focus on the effective management of PC hardware and software administration, installation and troubleshooting.

You’ll use embedded systems laboratories to develop real-time systems, and have the opportunity to build up your computer networking skills to professional industry standards, and will learn the key security concepts and skills that are needed for the installation and troubleshooting of networks.

As part of the course, you’ll be expected to plan, design and implement new networks, including using the latest wireless network technologies that will enable you to pursue a career in commercial networking.

Our course will also enable you to enrol on the advanced networking covering Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) security and areas of Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) routing, switching and troubleshooting.

Crucially, you’ll also hone your market insight and interpersonal skills, as well as teamwork and communication skills, all of which are essential in today's professional business environment.

Together, these academic and practical skills will put you a step ahead when you enter the workplace.

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.

Throughout your course, our expert teaching staff will provide the support you need

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?

  • We are home to a Cisco Systems and a Microsoft Academy Centre – one of Microsoft’s top UK university-based academies – and we are a member of the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance. We are also a Cisco ASC (Academy Support Centre) and Cisco Instructor Training Centre (ITC) – one of only 10 such instructor training centres in the UK.
  • We are internationally recognised for our high quality of teaching, our excellent research capabilities and our extensive industry partnerships
  • Our course has IET accreditation, which demonstrates that it meets the educational criteria needed for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.
  • You’ll work with industry-standard software development and simulation tools.
  • You have the opportunity to undertake an industry placement and gain professional qualifications, such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certifications.
  • The School is based at Millennium Point, part of our the City Centre Campus, which has outstanding resources and facilities.
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Open Day - 19 November 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 19 November 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

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Young Innovator Prize 2017

Planning to study an Engineering undergraduate course with us? You could have the cost of your tuition fees covered in full. Register your interest, apply for a September 2017 start and you could be successful.

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*Terms and Conditions apply

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Cisco
  • Interactive Intelligence

And in jobs such as:

  • Technical associate
  • Associates System Engineer
Pandelis Zembashis

24 – hour hackathon

"The hackathon was amazing! Everyone was super helpful to each other and there was a real community atmosphere." Read Computer science student Pandelis' experience at our first 24 – hour hackathon.

Read Pandelis' blog

This course is accredited by:

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Entry Requirements

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

UK students

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

280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
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
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction
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
Other qualifications
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.
EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 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 cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £9,000 per year Apply via UCAS
SW 4 years £9,000 per year Apply via UCAS
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS
SW 4 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £12,000 per year Apply via UCAS
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year Apply via UCAS

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.

Guidance for UK/EU students


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

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

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

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

Year one

Professional Context of Technology
15 credits

Your first year is comprised of five modules; professional context of technology; ICT programming; computer systems technology; computer network basics; and supporting ICT clients.

You’ll study an average of 35 hours a week in the first year, which will give you a solid grounding in the broader subject of computer networking.

ICT Programming
15 credits
Computer Systems Technology
30 credits

Students on the Computer Systems Technology module develop their own innovative product for the annual Innovation Fest in the second semester.

Computer Networking Basics
30 credits
Supporting ICT Clients
30 credits

Year two

Management in Technology Innovation
15 credits

In Year 2 you’ll study a further five further modules, all of which are designed to build on your knowledge and key skills needed for an IT career.

You will develop an in-depth understanding of ICT programming and wireless networks and will also study management in technology innovation. Switched LANS and WANS sets the foundation for the level 6 module of Network Design and Management and Advanced Networking Technologies.

You will need this foundation knowledge of data communications to be able to build, monitor and manage a large heterogeneous network. The infrastructure technology theme is covered by the infrastructure services module.

ICT Programming
15 credits
Wireless Networks
30 credits
Switched LANS and WANS
30 credits
Infrastructure Services
30 credits

Year three

Individual Project
30 credits

In the third and final year you’ll move on to an individual project, which will give you the opportunity to undertake detailed, independent research in an area that interests you.

You’ll also study advanced network technologies, network design and management, and ICT infrastructure management that will give you the competitive edge in the workplace.

Advanced Networking Technologies
30 credits
Network Design and Management
30 credits
ICT Infrastructure Management
30 credits

We think it’s important that you are assessed in a number of different ways during your Computer Networks BSc (Hons) course. These will include continuous assessment, in-class tests, examinations, laboratory exercises and project work.

The bulk of your assessments – 69 per cent – will be via coursework, with 22 per cent being assessed by formal examination. The remaining 8 per cent assessment will be through practical exams.

You can opt for a three-year course, or take an industrial placement for 12 months between study Years 2 and 3. You can also study for this degree on a part-time basis, which will take you five years to complete.

The course is based on five themes:

Infrastructure Technologies : This theme focuses on understanding Microsoft operating systems and looks at managing the administration, installation and troubleshooting of PC hardware and software.

Communication Networks : As part of this theme, you follow the Cisco CCNA curriculum. It introduces protocols, LAN/WAN terminology, TCP/IP, addressing, switching, routing protocols and management of networks.

Emerging Technologies: This theme will see you gain an in-depth understanding of wireless networks including installation, configuration, troubleshooting and network security. You’ll also examine the fundamental principles of computer hardware and digital storage devices, computer architecture, digital systems and data representation.

Application Development: This part of the course looks at programming languages, graphical user interfaces and understanding of realistic, robust programming applications.

Business: Our course aims to get you ready for the workplace and will see you developing an understanding of market-led innovation planning and management. You’ll enhance your team-working skills and will learn how to evaluate and communicate information effectively.

Teaching breakdown

35 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
65 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

22 Written exams DarkOrange
69 Coursework FireBrick
8 Practical exams #fece5a

We’re one of Microsoft’s top UK university-based academies and a member of the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance. We are also a Cisco ASC (Academy Support Centre) and Cisco Instructor Training Centre (ITC) – one of only 10 such instructor training centres in the UK.

Student stories

Jagdeep Singh Cheema

Jagdeep Singh Cheema

Jagdeep Singh Cheema chose to study at Birmingham City University because of its renowned Cisco Academy, as well as its ideal location and innumerable extracurricular activities. He is now employed on a graduate programme with Dimension Data, a global ICT leader.

Student life is one of the things Jagdeep will miss the most, as the nighlife Birmingham boasts is excellent.

This course is accredited by the following organisation:

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) - full IEng

Our course has IET accreditation, which demonstrates that it meets the educational criteria needed for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further Study

We offer a range of either taught (MSc) or research (PhD) postgraduate programmes that are suitable for graduates of the Computer Networks BSc (Hons) course. Details can be found on the postgraduate section of the website.

You can go on to study: Business Computing, Business Intelligence, Computer Science, Cyber Security, Data Analytics and Management, Data Networks and Security, and Computing – all at MSc level.

You could also apply to study Computing, Telecommunications and Network Research at PhD level.

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.

Enhancing your employability

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.

Your studies here will equip you with the practical and academic skills that will help you to stand out when you look for your first professional role.

Because we have strong links with companies such as SAS, Microsoft Studios, SAP, Xbox, Samsung, Intel and NEC, you have the chance to work with and understand the workings of real-life industry from early on in your degree studies.

You’ll have access to world-class facilities throughout your time here and these will help you to be a highly employable graduate.

Our facilities include embedded systems laboratories, which you’ll use to develop real-time systems such as specialist hardware training and development resources, as well as industry-standard software development and simulation tools.


We aim to have you employer-ready by the time you graduate and as part of your Computer Networks course you have the option of taking an industrial placement after your second year. This will extend the duration of your course to four years.

Our excellent partnerships and working relationships with some of the UK’s leading companies give you the chance of taking a high quality industrial placement with such prestigious global names as Cisco Systems, Capgemini, IBM, 3M, Sytel Reply and Airbus in the UK.

Placements such as these will give you the workplace experience that many employers look for and will also provide an invaluable opportunity to develop your practical expertise, earn money and try out a potential career path.

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

Full details can be found on the School placements page.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Our methods of teaching, as well as our extensive industry links and academic staff who can draw on years of relevant industry practice, ensure that our graduates typically enjoy very successful careers in areas as diverse as systems engineering, computer hardware networking and computer engineering.

Recent graduates from the School have gone on to work for Hewlett Packard, Bell Micro, Birmingham City Council, BT, Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, Fujitsu, IBM, Intel Corporation, NHS, Motorola, National Express, NEC, Royal Mail, Shell IT, JP Morgan Chase and Co, Carillion, Siemens, Nokia, Capgemini and Sytel..

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.

International Students

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

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

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

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our computer networks course is most popular with international students from:

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.

As a student at the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you have access to networked laboratories equipped to industry standards and running the latest software, giving you the best possible introduction to the technologies you will encounter in the world of work.

Dedicated facilities are provided for systems analysis, computer networks, programming in a wide range of languages, artificial intelligence, modelling and visual programming, e-commerce and .net environments, and business intelligence, as well as supporting the application areas of mechatronics, games technology, electronics and computer forensics.

Computer networking

The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies and radio frequency identification technologies to name but a few.

Software development and computer programming

There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming
laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including database management systems such as MySQL, to name but a few.

Systems laboratories

Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include microcontroller software and robotics design and development, to name but a few.

Electronic Systems

Electronic systems

To underpin the basic principles of electronic systems, we have a well-equipped laboratory of general and specialist test and measurement kits, including powered prototyping development boards, dual power supplies, frequency generators and counters and digital multi-meters to name but a few.


Students on SAP-certified courses in Enterprise Systems will have access to the University’s unique SAP Lab, providing an inspirational research and development space for you to use for creative thinking and design.

Forensic computing

Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study. The laboratory includes high-spec PC’s with built-in multi interface Tableau write blockers, EnCase and FTK computer forensic software and steganography detection and analysis software, to name but a few.

More on our facilities

Ron Austin

Associate Professor

Senior lecturer Ron Austin is course leader on the MSc Data Networks and Security course and teaches all network-related courses.

His expertise and areas of interest include: Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), security technologies, and forensic and ethical hacking.

Prior to joining Birmingham City University, Ron spent 17 years in network management systems for companies including Telewest and Cable & Wireless. 

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295