Does the idea of keeping the wheels of commerce turning float your boat? Modern organisations of all sizes run on information, and they need people who know how to capture, store, retrieve and analyse it - and keep it safe from hackers. Sales and marketing, customer relationship management, finance, HR - all need and generate huge amounts of data and it all needs to be analysed and presented in a way that allows management to make decisions that will keep the company afloat and growing.
A Business Information Systems degree is your passport to an absorbing, well-paid career in some of the world's biggest, most exciting companies.
The Foundation Year course option enables you to study for our BSc (Hons) degree over an extended full-time duration of four years by including a Foundation Certificate (year one of four). The Foundation Certificate provides a broad study programme that underpins the follow-on degree. In order to progress to the next year of your degree, it is necessary to achieve a pass in all of the modules of the Foundation Certificate.
The efficient and effective management of information, IT, people and processes is critical in the digital corporate arena. You will work collaboratively with tutors, researchers and businesses, applying practical skills to real-life case study materials and live project briefs.
We cover the design, development and use of IT systems, enabling you to gain key skills in database design and application development, as well as understanding how organisations can harness the data being captured through the Internet of Things.
You'll gain technical, research, design and organisational skills that will make you employable in a wide range of industries, and you’ll co-operate with others, planning and undertaking tasks and projects, and communicating effectively through writing and presentations.
“When I first joined Birmingham City University, I became a student ambassador. It was a great feeling to show prospective students the fantastic equipment and technology that's on offer at this campus.”
— Jenny Powell
You will work in advanced software development and computer programming labs, using dedicated facilities for systems analysis, networking, e-commerce and business intelligence – all of which reflect advanced professional practice.
You will have the option of a sandwich year, enabling you to undertake valuable work experience.
You will gain experience in working in multidisciplinary teams and understand how to apply your skills within a range of industries.
You’ll get to work in our £260 million City Centre Campus, using state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technologies.
In 2017, we spent £6.5 million on improvements to our Millennium Point facilities so you’ll have even more access to dedicated, industry-standard equipment.
Graduates have gone on to work at companies and organisations such as IBM, Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft.
You will benefit from the expertise of our academic staff, who have a wealth of industry experience.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
And in jobs such as:
* Please note this course has changed name for 2017/18. The KIS data below relates to the previous course title.
Our next Open Day for this course will take place in 2018. Register your interest and we'll let you know details as soon as they are available.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
This course is in the final stages of design and is due to be reviewed and approved to meet our quality standards.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be considered.
80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2018/19|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BB at A Level or 80 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, including 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 80 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||MMP - 80 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 80 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Distinction|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 10 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.
2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two High Level subjects will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates
Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level)
|Irish Leaving Certificate||Passes in six subjects at the higher grade including mathematics|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||Passes in five subjects at the higher grade including mathematics|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 80 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.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2018/19|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||
1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 10 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.
2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two High Level subjects will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates
Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level)
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2018||FT||4 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2018||FT||4 years||£12,000 per year|
The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
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.
Computer Technology Context
Academic & Professional Development 1
Academic & Professional Development 2
Computing Skills in Practice
How can we design successful information systems that take into account the systemic relationships between people, organisational cultures and business processes?
In this module, you’ll learn about the intersections between business functions, organisational culture, and people, and how these factors influence each other and the design of business information systems. It is therefore a pivotal module in the programme as a whole. Along with the 'Information Retrieval' module it completes the family of business information modules in the first year of study. It establishes the systems engineering view of Business Information Systems, which is developed throughout the rest of the programme. Subsequent modules will address the challenges of planning, designing and developing IT infrastructure to support a systemic approach to Business Information Systems.
Business Information Modelling
In the Business Information Modelling module you’ll develop the practical skills to analyse the information needs of business systems and develop conceptual models of the information needs of different types of organizations. The module provides the link between the Socio-Technical Systems and Information Retrieval modules, providing the business information foundation for subsequent years of the programme.
Information technology (IT) is ubiquitous in organizations capturing, creating and communicating data between internal business systems and enabling global communication between external parties such as suppliers and customers. The module starts by focusing on two fundamental questions that underpin IT: What is information? and why do organizations need information? The specific information that an organization needs is then explored in this module together with the source and characteristics of the data needed to provide that information. Structured approaches to analysing and designing information systems are outlined, introducing different ways of modelling and communicating the business information needs.
In the modern business environment, the use of data to generate information to improve business processes, generate sales, reduce costs and generally give the customer a more engaging experience is becoming more important than ever. Having the people with the skills and knowledge to process this data to maximise its benefits is essential.
This module aims to provide you with the essential skills, knowledge and confidence to be able to manage the processing of data to generate useful information. Information storage and retrieval is a vitally important aspect of IT that is found in every business in the world; as such, this module provides you with extremely useful transferable skills. The module introduces you to information retrieval skills and knowledge of the fundamentals of information storage. Once mastered, these skills will provide you with a firm foundation for higher-level academic study or a rewarding IT career.
How can an organization provide authorised users access to data on demand without compromising data security?
This module gives students the opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills required in networked and information systems. This module builds on the knowledge and underpinning theory of networking systems and reviews the requirements from within an information systems engineering context.
This module uses interactive lab sessions to introduce knowledge and skills relevant to network and information systems and communication architecture. Other Lab sessions will introduce principles and techniques for information communication within a network, and ensuring effective communication.
This module will give you an ability to respond to a critical brief to find practical solutions to problems, evaluate and respond to the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary approaches to the realisation of a task, and respond flexibly and imaginatively to a set, or group-determined brief within a fixed timescale.
This module, along with the ‘Application Development’ module, completes the family of the systems modules in the first year of study; in it, you will explore the technical skills required to develop the information systems you modelled in Socio-Technical Systems and Business Information Modelling.
The module focuses on various technologies relating to the design and development of systems to meet the information needs of a business. In this module, you will analyse, design and implement an application to specific web standards.
In the practical sessions, you will design innovative applications to capture and process information. A design and evaluation test strategy will ensure that you deliver creative, quality applications that meet the appropriate professional standards.
The module will also develop your skills, knowledge and experience of key practical techniques within the application design industry; this will give you a wide range of transferable skills in planning and evaluating.
The ability to provide information by designing innovative applications is essential to drive innovation and growth in the modern global organisation. This module is intended to introduce you to current development tools and techniques, providing the skills required to develop applications that meet the rapidly changing needs of organisations.
The module will explore the key internet technologies, protocols and programming languages required to create working applications that meet the user’s requirements. You will take part in lab sessions, applying programming principles to solve problems. You will develop interactive applications involving both server-side and client-side data processing. Through a programming challenge, you’ll develop a workable software solution to capture and process information.
This module, alongside "Application Design" completes the family of the "Systems" modules in the first year of study. This module also provides a grounding for you to develop your skills further in the Year 2 modules "Application Systems" and "Information Technology Innovation".
The shift in operating conditions and the ever-changing business environments have led many organisations to adopt Enterprise Systems in order to gain competitive advantage, improve productivity, and facilitate real-time decision-making. The main objective of implementing these systems is to address the maintenance issues of legacy systems, reduce development risk, provide timely access to information, and improve business efficiency. However, there are a number of instances where organisations have failed to realise these benefits and end up running into problems including costly implementation, increased maintenance, and operational challenges. This module will develop your core skills and knowledge to support organisations in the management of Enterprise Systems and redesigning their business processes, through the study of the supporting theory and use of practical examples. You will also research ways to overcome the barriers to seamless systems integration within and between organizations.
Ethical and professional context of IT
This module aims to equip you with the relevant skills and knowledge which are required for the role of the IT professional. It will provide you with an understanding of the general principles and concepts underlying ethical theories and their relevance to IT.
We will examine the role of different ethical theories and explore the relationship between theory and practice within computing and business contexts. The module will familiarise you with different ethical theories relevant to the IT business. The module will also help you to appreciate the inter-relationships of different perspectives in ethical theory which contribute to the area of business.
This module will also provide opportunities to develop critical and reflective skills, as well as extending and improving competence in group work, communication, self-efficacy and the organisational skills that are required in both the employment sector and continued academic pathways should you wish to pursue a Masters or Doctorate.
Foundations of Database Systems
This module will provide you with a thorough grounding in all aspects of conceptual data modelling, relational theory and relational algebra, CASE tools for designing a database and its interface, database design and normalization. It also looks at the SQLPlus tool for querying data in a relational database system. The module will make use of practical sessions to practice database design theory and apply the techniques to producing a high-quality database design.
This module will form the foundation for the Database Development and Implementation module in the second semester.
The module will also develop your skills, knowledge and experience of key techniques within the database design industry – more specifically practical skills. This will lead to wider intellectual and transferable skills in planning, synthesis, written communication and critical evaluation.
Database Development and Implementation
In the modern business environment, the use of databases to store and process information to improve business processes is becoming more important than ever. Having the people with the skills and knowledge to develop information systems is essential.
This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to a vitally important core IT topic – database technology – that is found in almost every IT installation in the world and as such provides an extremely useful set of transferable skills. The module introduces you to database implementation skills and knowledge, optimization, security and database administration. Once mastered, these database skills will provide a firm foundation for higher-level academic study or a rewarding IT career in the field of big data analytics or mainstream operational databases.
The rapid development of the Internet of Things, data networks and web technologies has led to new opportunities to explore how data can be collected and processed using IT applications. This module introduces students to data streams and how they can be integrated into applications. Examples of these applications can be seen in smart cities, where they monitor parking, noise and traffic congestion. You will explore a number of data streams and ways in which these can processed by applications, as well as the wider issues and implications involved in this process such as ethics and security.
The module consists of subject-specific lectures/tutorial sessions to introduce knowledge and skills relevant to research and project management philosophy, and lectures/laboratory sessions focused on the practical and technical skills involved in building systems for the "Internet of Things" using sensors and data analysis tools.
Information Technology Innovation
How can organizations and society harness the opportunities of emerging information technology?
The rate of advancement of information technology (IT) continually challenges organizations to assess the opportunities and risks that emerge from technology-driven change. The aim of this module is to encourage you to explore the latest developments in IT and understand the processes of IT innovation in order to formulate a proposal for your final project. There are three strands to the IT Innovation module: environmental scanning, theories of innovation and technological adoption, and problem formulation. You will be encouraged to explore a wide range of both academic and industry-based information sources to investigate the current and emerging technological landscape. Approaches to technology forecasting, the factors affecting whether organizations should adopt a ‘leader’ or ‘follower’ stance, and how organizations could apply technology will then be discussed. This will provide the basis for you to plan an individual project for a specific organization or industry.
What are the socio-technical challenges of exploiting information and IT? In the Social Systems module, you will develop practical skills to explore the potential impact of advances in IT on communities, organizations and wider society.
People are integral to the socio-technical systems approach adopted in the programme. In this module you will explore the role of the individual, community and society in smart, technologically connected environments in an international context. The module introduces you to tools with which you will explore the potential impact of IT on society, affecting how people live and work.
You will investigate how businesses engage with a technologically connected society. Key ethical issues are explored each week within both a business context and the wider society, focusing on individuals and communities. The module will explore a wide range of social systems and the role of information exchanged within those systems. The responsibilities of the individual, organizations and communities as technology continues to advance will be discussed.
Strategic Information Systems Alignment
Information, information systems (IS) and information technology (IT) are valuable organizational resources that must be effectively managed to help the organisation achieve its objectives. This module explores how to formulate a robust IS strategy that enables an organization to harness the value of its information resource to support attainment of the organization’s objectives.
A range of modelling tools are introduced in the module to explore both the internal strengths and weaknesses of the organization and the external opportunities and threats in the wider global environment. The module focuses on the role of IS in enabling organizations to leverage the value of knowledge management and business intelligence to maintain strategic advantage. The organization’s strategy needs to be directed and supported by IS and IT. This module discusses the role of the IS architecture in aligning the organization’s information resource with the strategic direction of the organization.
Data intelligence is the field of applying intelligent computational methods to data generated by organisations to inform the decision-making process. It is essential in the digital economy to make use of the data captured by and about business entities. Data can be modelled using descriptive models that help us better understand the customers and/or can be used to build predictive models that inform our decision making in all aspects of the business (for example, directed marketing through more accurately predicting those that will respond positively to marketing materials).
In this module, you will get hands-on experience of how to apply data intelligence techniques to construct descriptive and predictive models that will inform the organisation’s decision making. By the end of this module, you will be able to interpret the results generated by different data intelligence techniques, and consequently use these interpretations to recommend business decisions.
This module will investigate how to keep information secure without impeding legitimate access.
The module explores the information security principles that underpin the management of an organisation’s information systems. The module will look in detail at information security management architecture and design, risk management, business continuity, and embedding information security within the organisational culture for the longer term.
You will examine the key information security principles, concepts, theories, standards and frameworks. The module aims to provide you with a sound basis on which you can design and deliver information security strategies for implementing and managing an organisation’s information security requirements.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. In conjunction with your supervisor, you will decide upon your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome with accompanying contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to the programme you are studying and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.
At this level, you will be expected to work independently but you will receive additional one-to-one support from your supervisor, who will be familiar with your chosen topic area. As you progress on the module, extra support will be available and this may take the form of group seminars, workshops and online materials that will help in the development of your project.
You will experience a wide variety of subjects and methods, all reinforced by practical, hands-on learning activities. You will be encouraged to undertake self-directed study, enhancing your organisational and management skills.
Our teaching philosophy revolves around you both learning by doing and transferring acquired knowledge to others by teaching others. Activities will occur both individually and in teams, with tutors providing leadership and mentoring aimed at supporting your transition into independent learners. In this partnership we will be encouraging you to become proactive, so that you can develop your confidence to undertake a range of progressively complex and challenging tasks.
You will demonstrate acquisition of these work-related skills by using an assessment strategy that is reflective of industry needs. Assessments will be varied and include knowledge and skills tests. However, the focus will predominantly be on the use of coursework. Here you will learn to present your ideas and showcase your work to a variety of audiences, both as members of a team or individually. You will also learn to present your ideas through written pieces of work for example by formulating proposals and reports.
There are 30 attendance weeks in each academic year.
A typical week on this course will include 12 hours of contact time over three or four days, plus self study time.
Some of the course modules will provide the taught element of professional accreditations like SAS (business intelligence), Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA. This preparation will allow you to extend the learning outside the classroom, to a possible qualification.
Our students also use their skills to develop commercial applications. Jaspreet Phagura launched a new application that allowed users to buy tickets to local events via their mobile phone.
The ‘iRaver’ application was designed to save students time when searching for upcoming events in their local area. Once registered, users can book tickets for events in a few simple steps, use the ‘call a taxi’ function, which instantly identifies local taxi companies in the surrounding area, and identify public houses, bars and nightclubs in a specified area via its ‘near me’ function.
Dedicated student Jenny Powell has surprised herself with her own success. She didn’t expect to find herself at university – now she’s planning her postgraduate studies! Jenny’s “thoroughly enjoying” her time here, making use of the great support on offer to give her studies everything she’s got.
Jenny’s aiming high – and putting in the hard work to achieve her goals, alongside 21 hours a week of part-time work. "I am shocked, as I wouldn't have expected to get here when I was at school, “ she admits. Now, she’s aiming for a first. “I love learning and studying,” she says. “I would like to get a job at the end as a business analyst or web development.”
We continually organise student trips to various external events and organisations. In the past, trips have been organised for our students to careers events, to help engage our students with their future employers and increase their employability.
Trips have included a visit to ‘The Gadget Show’, a television series which focuses on consumer technology which is broadcast on Channel 5, and Bletchley Park, the home of British code breaking and the birthplace of modern IT.
Our Erasmus scheme will allow you to undertake part of your studies abroad, allowing you to experience life and studying in another EU country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance a student’s CV and experience new cultures.
The SAS Student Academy at Birmingham City University enables our students to acquire core skills in both SAS Base Programming and SAS Enterprise Guide, plus statistics and data mining using SAS tools.
Students who belong to our SAS Student Academy can take SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS 9 exam. This is the ideal pathway for those relatively new to SAS programming or new to SAS certification. It is also the principle certification for other advanced certifications available from SAS.
Academy students take the exam through the Pearson Vue test centre.Academy students get 50% off the advertised price, although students will need to ask their academy for the discount code before booking. Use exam ID A00-211; required when registering with Pearson VUE.
To gain the SAS certificate students must achieve a score of 70% correct answers to pass.
At course completion, there is a high level of interest for further study. This relates to the need to continue to research and practice, as a core activity, but also recognises statistical evidence in 2014 from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills which noted that someone with a Master’s degree earns on average £9,000 more per year than someone with a degree qualification, which, when coupled with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2014) observation that one in seven jobs will require a postgraduate qualification by 2022, indicates that postgraduate study is increasingly significant for employability.
Award for ICT Web Design
I chose to study at the University because it was the course which interested me most out of all the others I considered. I also thought Birmingham would be a great city for studying and exploring.
I’ve always had a passion for learning more about computers and how they work. What started out as a hobby, surfing the internet after school, soon became a real interest in how the internet worked and how websites were created. As a result, I ended up studying both business and ICT at college.
I wanted to continue to learn more about ICT while keeping my options open by also studying business, so the course at Birmingham City University was a natural choice.
You will be given the practical, technical and academic skills that will help you to stand out when you step onto the job ladder.
When you study with us you’ll learn all the key aspects of business information technology that will help you to get a job, from underlying concepts and principles to the relationship between theory and practice.
You’ll use advanced software development and computer programming labs, as well as dedicated facilities for systems analysis, database design and development, e-commerce, and business intelligence.
You will also benefit from our strong links with companies such as SAS, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Samsung and IBM, which keep your course relevant, real-life, and respected by employers.
We ensure that you’ll graduate with the skills, creativity and experience needed to succeed in employment.
We aim to have you employer-ready by the time you graduate and as part of this commitment we encourage you to further enhance your career prospects by including an industrial placement in your course.
You will do your placement after the second year of study, which will extend the duration of your course to four years.
Thanks to our excellent partnerships and strong relationships with industry, you could join the ranks of our students who have gained exceptionally high quality work experience at companies including Cisco Systems, IBM, 3M, and Airbus.
Placements provide the workplace experience that many employers look for and give you an invaluable opportunity to 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.
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.
Graduates have gone on to work at companies and organisations such as:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Karim initially worked as a trainee analyst and programmer for The Wellcome Foundation (now part of GlaxoSmithKline). He then worked as an analyst/programmer and also a development engineer for Midlands Electricity PLC (this is now part of Western Power Distribution) for fourteen years.
Karim was a (part-time) Visiting Lecturer in Computing Science at the University of Birmingham for five years. He is now currently a (full-time) Senior Lecturer in Computing at Birmingham City University. He is also a (part-time) Associate Lecturer for The Open University.