Computer Networks and Security - BSc (Hons)

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

Our Computer Networks and Security BSc (Hons) degree is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and focuses on the practical needs of businesses that require high quality computer security and network security.

Systems and device failures have the potential to endanger human life, undermine the safety and viability of industrial and commercial systems, and fuel criminal activity.

Our course will equip you with the academic and practical skills that are required for you to play your part in combating fraud and malice, while developing secure networks and communication systems.

New for 2017/18

Computer Networks and Security

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?

Our course will see you designing, implementing and evaluating identification systems, data capture systems and communications networks and their associated security protocols.

You’ll be based at the state-of-the-art Millennium Point building at our City Centre Campus, where you’ll have at your fingertips an array of professional-standard facilities and laboratory equipment on which to develop your key practical skills and consolidate your academic learning.

Following the Cisco CCNA curriculum, you’ll investigate protocols, TCP/IP, routing protocols and management of networks.

You’ll also explore computer programming and aspects of security encryption and network security, gaining the skills to specify and develop elements of a secure system, integrating hardware, software and business elements.

The course will also require you to develop the necessary analytical skills needed for computer networking, as well as an in-depth understanding of the technologies employed in Local and Wide Area Networks.

You can opt for an industrial placement year, too, which gives you an invaluable opportunity to hone your expertise, try out a potential career path and get relevant workplace experience that is valued by so many employers. It will also boost your CV.

Throughout your course, our expert teaching staff will provide all the support you need, having had years of industrial experience, such as building and managing network management systems and securing and analysing systems.

I always recommend Birmingham City University to students wishing to go to the UK for studies and six of them so far have listened to my advice!”
Muhammad Sagir Usman

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.
  • Our course has IET accreditation, which demonstrates that it meets the educational criteria needed for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status..
  • You’ll have access to dedicated facilities for systems analysis, e-commerce and business intelligence, and to support computer forensics – all in our own fully equipped laboratory at the £114 million Millennium Point building, part of our City Centre Campus.
  • You have the opportunity to take 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 high quality of teaching, our excellent research capabilities and our extensive industry partnerships.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 8 October 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 8 October 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.

This course is open to International students

School of Computing and Digital Technology

Discover the School of Computing and Digital Technology

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

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

  • Arrow ECS
  • Clearswift Ltd
  • Gloucester Royal Hospital

And in jobs such as:

  • Cloud Support Engineer
  • Technical Support Engineer
  • IT Support
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

Unconditional Offers

Unconditional Offers

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for 2016/17, 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 points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBB or above)
predicted DDM profile at BTEC level

You will also be required to attend an interview.

More about unconditional offers

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; data analysis; computer systems technology; visual programming; and computer network basics.

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 networks and security.

Data Analysis
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.

Visual Programming
30 credits
Computer Networking Basics
30 credits

Year two

Management in Technology Innovation
15 credits

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

Management of engineering and technology innovation provides the management context for market-led wealth creation through innovation in engineering/technology-based industries.

In the open systems module, you’ll learn about an important theme of modern computer systems construction by looking at Open Source community development and applications.You’ll also study data capture technology, security systems theory, and switched LANS and WANS.

Open Systems
15 credits
Data Capture Technology
30 credits
Security Systems Theory
30 credits
Switched LANS and WANS
30 credits

Year three

Individual Projects
30 credits

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

You’ll also study personal ID and authentication systems, advanced work technologies, and network design and management, all of which will give you an in-depth understanding of issues that you will face in your professional role.

Personal ID and Authentication Systems
30 credits
Advanced Networking Technologies
30 credits
Network Design and Management
30 credits

We think it’s important that you are assessed in a number of different ways during your Computer Security and Networks BSc (Hons) course. These will include continuous assessment, in-class tests, examinations, laboratory exercises and project work. This will enable us to appraise your all-round ability and it also gives you the best opportunity to excel.

The bulk of your assessments – 66 per cent – will be via coursework, with 24 per cent being assessed by formal examination. The remaining 10 per cent assessment will be through practical exams.

Course breakdown

The course is based on five themes:

Programming and Security: This is comprised of aspects of security encryption and network security, and computer programming.

Emerging Technologies: Integrating hardware, software and business elements, this theme will see you develop the skills to specify and develop elements of a secure system.

Toolbox: This theme focuses on the skills needed to develop analytical abilities for computer networking.

Communication Networks: This theme follows the Cisco CCNA curriculum and introduces protocols, LAN/WAN terminology, TCP/IP, addressing, switching, routing protocols and management of networks.

Business: You’ll be introduced to the business macro-environment and gain an understanding of market-led innovation planning and management. You’ll also develop your teamwork skills in evaluating and effectively communicating information verbally and in written form.

Student satisfaction

We are proud of the excellent student satisfaction scores at Birmingham City University, reflecting our excellent teaching and commitment to putting students at the heart of everything we do - 93 per cent of our BSc (Hons) Computer Networks and Security students were satisfied overall (NSS survey 2013).

Teaching breakdown

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

Assessment breakdown

24 Written exams DarkOrange
66 Coursework FireBrick
10 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories

Can Wang

The course I am studying is part of a four-year joint programme of studies with Nanjing University of Science and Technology (NUST). The first two years were at NUST and the final two years are at Birmingham City University, providing me with a unique opportunity to gain a Bachelor’s degree.

The HOST UK scheme arranges visits for international students to British families’ homes. Birmingham City University will pay the cost for you to apply for a visit. It is a good way to experience British culture. I have really enjoyed it.

Apart from gaining a UK degree and expanding my knowledge, the Computer Networks and Security course has embedded in it the latest vendor-specific curriculum, which offers the opportunity to attain the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) professional qualification.

This course is accredited by the following organisations:

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.


These independent reviews show what our students really think:

"Birmingham City University offers high level of teaching in my particular course. I cannot imagine working on more modern facilities than there are available at our university. We have excellent student support ready to give help in all possible required subjects whenever needed."

Read all What Uni reviews

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 and Security BSc (Hons) course.

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.

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.

Student stories Austin Moses

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification

There’s no disputing Austin Moses’ determination to succeed. The tenacious student put himself through university by working full-time in an off-licence – and still found the energy to achieve a first class honours degree, a sought-after prize and a position with Cisco.

Although he has dyslexia, Austin clearly didn’t let it stand in his way. He is full of praise for the University’s support systems. “I received extra tuition and proof reading that not only helped me polish up the work I was handing in but also taught me ‘survival’ skills that I can use to not be so disadvantaged,” he says. He also has great respect for the teaching staff and enjoyed ”learning from people with a passion and experience in the field in which they are teaching”.

Enhancing your employability

Your studies here will equip you with first-hand practical expertise and the comprehensive academic knowledge you need to secure a professional role in secure networks and computing.

You’ll have the required skills to prepare you for a career in providing technical, software or applications support or training; network management, network design and build engineering; specifying, designing or managing secure communications networks or the applications they support; or implementation and/or evaluation of secure networks.

During your course, you’ll have access to our specialist security and digital forensics laboratory, which have sophisticated biometric fingerprint and facial recognition software, scanners and cameras, plus advanced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Smart Card and barcoding equipment used for software based security systems development.

And 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.

Our specialist industry links and world-class facilities help you to stand out as a highly employable graduate.


We aim to have you employer-ready by the time you graduate, and as part of your Computer Networks and Security course you have the option of taking an industrial placement after the second year of study. 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 will give you the chance of undertaking a high quality industrial placement with leading organisations such as IBM, Cisco Systems, CapGemini, Sytel Reply, ARM, Exponential-E, Gigaclear, and Mortgage Brain.

Placements will also provide you with an opportunity to develop your practical expertise, earn money and try out a potential career path.

Danyaal Ismet, who now works for CapGemini, said his placement year gave him invaluable experience in industry. “It gave me confidence working in a business environment, and experience that allowed me to secure a rewarding graduate position within a highly regarded organisation,” he says.

Our placements team will give you every support throughout the placement process.

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, have ensured that our graduates have gone on to enjoy very successful careers in such areas as network management, network design and build engineering; providing technical, software or applications support or training; and specifying, designing or managing secure communications networks.

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 build rewarding careers in:

  • Providing technical, software or applications support or training
  • Network management, network design and build engineers
  • Specifying, designing or managing secure communications networks or the applications they support
  • Implementation and/or evaluation of secure networks.

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 and security course is most popular with international students from:

Brunei Flag




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