Our technological world has created a tremendous demand for professionals who can design, build and maintain computer programmes, databases. This four-year, year in industry programme with a specialism in software engineering will give you a strong foundation of knowledge, skills and practical experience to kickstart your career in software. Your extended work placement will give you skills and awareness that can only be acquired in a real work environment, and will help to set you apart when you apply for jobs. Our software engineering teaching has been hailed as a‘best practice’ example of computer science education by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
Developed in consultation with industry, our progressive curriculum will give you a solid grounding in the fundamentals of computing and application development. You will learn from software professionals and leading academics to apply engineering principles to the design, development, implementation and maintenance of all kinds of software. We cover the whole process of software development, from initial client briefs through to costing, scheduling and efficient delivery. From the outset you will be experimenting with programming games, robots, Gadgeteer kits, Subversion, JUnit testing, Scrum-based Agile software and more, in our well-equipped laboratories. You will develop team working, time management and communication skills, and a strong professional ethos.
Your year in industry will start at the end of year 2. We are located in the famous M4 corridor, known as 'England's Silicon Valley', and we enjoy close links with many of its leading technology companies. If you are unable to go ahead with your placement you will have the option of transferring onto our equivalent three-year BSc programme. In your final year you will also have the flexibility to choose between a range of optional courses.
We are a highly respected, research-focused department with a friendly approach and award-winning teaching. We offer a summer work placement programme and a dedicated personal adviser to guide you through your studies. You will also be welcome to join our thriving Computing Society. We are one of only seven departments in the UK to hold the Athena SWAN bronze award for our commitment to increasing female participation in computer science.
- Gain skills and experience in software engineering that can only be acquired in the real world of work, during a supervised year in industry.
- Enjoy a varied and flexible curriculum, informed by cutting-edge research and current industrial needs.
- Join an elite department, ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of its research output (Research Exercise Framework 2014).
- 97% of our students said this programme is well organised, 92% said it is intellectually stimulating (National Student Survey 2015).
- This programme is accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
Computing Lab (Games)
In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of 2D game design and apply them to the development of simple games using an objected-oriented approach. You will look at the nature of graphics, animation, and motion, considering the usage of vectors in these techniques. You will also examine the fundamentals of game physics, such as collisions, gravity and ballistics.
Computing Lab (Robotics)
In this module you will develop an understanding of the building of computer systems. You will learn about the elementary concepts of robotics, gaining practical experience in programming mobile robots to execute pre-defined movements using Java and Lego NXT. You will also consider the basics of sensors, proportional-integral-derivative (PID) feedback systems, and the principles of localisation.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how the internet works and its key protocols. You will look at the technologies used for web development, including scripting languages and their potential for adding dynamic content to web sites and applications. You will consider the role of web services and related technologies, and will examine the fundamental principles of network security.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the handling of large and infinite objects within a programming environment. You will learn how to use formal logic to design, reason about and minimise switching circuits, and write basic programs in assembly language. You will consider the binary representations of signed and unsigned integers and how to write regular expressions to describe sets and build deterministic automata to recognise these. You will also examine the use of automata machines in the design and reasoning of sequential flow systems.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the formal resoning for sets, relations, functions and cardinality. You will look at the structures for program data and representation and learn to write and reason recursive definitions and prove results by induction and contradiction. You will consider the representation and reasoning of problems using graphs and the use of vectors and transformations for defining and manipulating graphical objects. You will also examine the usage of probability and statistics in analysing data.
In this module you will develop an understanding of software design and engineering processes, including the Waterfall and Agile methodologies. You will learn how to identify common software requirements and see how these have been considered in existing systems. You will look the techniques of software design and how software engineers communicate their design ideas. You will consider the importance of documentation and the usage of current industry-standard notations such as user stories and the unified modeling language (UML). You will also analyse and critique the design of existing sotware looking at the user experience as a measure of its fitness for purpose.
In this module you will develop an understanding of programming and object-orientation concepts. You will learn about program basics, control flow, data structures, objects, exceptions and file input and output (I/O). You will consider software development best practices, how to perform small scale software development from a specification, the testing process, and software evaluation. You will develop a simple application based on a design specification and create a test plan to identify faults and errors.
Algorithms and Complexity
In this module you will develop an understanding of the design of algorithms, with a focus on time and space complexity. You will examine basic algorithms, looking at the implementation and analysis of linear search, binary search, and basic sorting, including inerstion sort, selection sort, merger sort, quick sort, and heap sort. You will consider alternative data structure representations, such as binary search trees, hash tables, and binary heaps, and will gain an insight into the basics of graph algorithms.
Computer and Network Security
In this module you will develop an understanding of computer and network security. You will look at software vulnerabilities, hands-on hacking-oriented attacks, memory errors, and web and network security. You will learn how to identify such vulnerabilities, and consider the countermeasures that can mitigate their exploitation. You will also examine malicious software (malware) as a typical consequence of a successful software exploitation.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of database technology, including the need for database integrity and robustness, and the use of a modern database system in a web-based environment. You will look at database design and the theory of the relational view of data, learn to describe the crucial issues concerning database integrity and recovery from failure, and write search query language (SQL) queries. You will also consider the process of designing and implementing a database, from the user specifications to the final design, and implement an interface to an SQL database using an application programming interface (API).
Introduction to Information Security
In this module you will develop an understanding of how information security may be influenced by real world design and implementation decisions. You will will look at the different cryptographic algorithms, considering their use, advantages and disadvantages. You will use these cryptographic primitives to review and evaluate cryptographic protocols, and examine the rational decisions in the design of tokens and secure elements.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the function and architecture of network operating systems. You will look at the role of an operating system, considering processes, memory and file systems. You will learn to write basic shell scripts, see how services are used at the operating system-level, and evaluate the theory and practice of existing operating systems. You will also examine the UNIX shell, including starting programs, input and output steams, pipes, filters, and utilities.
Small Enterprise Team Project
In this module you will develop an understanding of the role of the computer professional through practical experience. You will work as part of a team, developing medium-scale software for an external customer. You will apply managerial discipline and learn about the software lifecycle, team development, standard industrial software engineering, agile project management, use of version control, and integrated development enironments (IDEs). You will see why project cost and effort is hard to estimate, and consider why project quality is hard to prescribe.
In this module you will develop an understanding of software engineering techniques and the managerial discipline required to work as part of a team. You will look at basic object-oriented concepts and consider the need for effective program documentation, testing, readability, and modifiability. You will consider the tools used to support software development, such as version controllers, debuggers, and code style checkers, and see how these are integrated into an industry-standard development environment (IDE). You will deliver a small-scale project using test-driven development.
This year will be spent on a work placement. Students are supported by their academic department and the Royal Holloway Careers and Employability Service to find a suitable placement. However, Royal Holloway cannot guarantee that all students who are accepted onto this degree programme will secure a placement, and the ultimate responsibility lies with the student. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme and students will be asked to complete assessed work. The mark for this work will count towards the degree.
In this module you will have the opportunity to plan and organise a large project, analysing complex ideas, identifying problems, and coming up with solutions. You will apply scientific principles and use a range of software and hardware techniques. You will analyse the effectiveness of your solutions and evaluate the results. You will also consider legal, social, ethical and professional issues. You can design your own project or choose a topic from a suggested list.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the principles of human-computer interaction (HCI) and the approaches that can be used to create interfaces matching users' needs and expectations. You will evaluate the usability and suitability of user interfaces, and build simple prototypes using different media and technologies. You will consider how perception and cognition influence HCI, and examine tests, such as web experiments.
In this module you will develop an understanding of mailicious software and the malware landscape. You will look at the key challenges the antivirus industry has faced in fighting malware threats, considering the traditional methods used by cybercriminals to infect user and enterprise hosts to gain access to their private, financial, and intellectual property data. You will learn how traditional and mobile malware work, how they are analysed and detected, and examine the underground ecosystem that drives this profitable but illegal business. You will also assess the research trends that are likely to influence the future of software security.
IT Project Management
Software Language Engineering
In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
Only core modules are taken
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Mathematical Methods for Computer Science
In this module you will develop an understanding of the mathematical and computational models of derivative securities. You will look at how these financial instruments facilitate the management of financial risk, and examine tecniques for pricing derivatives and dynamic hedging. You will use these models to solve numerical and theoretical problems, creating computer programs in MatLab that implement valuation algorithms for different derivatives.
Intelligent Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Visualisation and Exploratory Analysis
Advanced Data Communications
Concurrent and Parallel Programming
Applications of Cryptography
In this module you will develop an undestanding of cryptography and how it is deployed in real systems. You will look at security services, security models, and basic attacks on cryptosystems, considering the full range of security services that can be provided by cryptography. You will compare different cryptographic mechanisms and the nature of the architecture within which cryptography is deployed. You will also examine the cryptographic standards that should be followed when implementing cryptography and the rationale for the design decisions taken in several widely deployed cryptographic systems.
In this module you will develop an understanding of network robustness and failures, together with critical information infrastructures, vulnerabilities, and their dependencies. You will look at the security problems of cyber-physical systems, including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) control system architecture. You will also consider complex attacks, analytical models for these, and assurance mechanisms.
Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems Security
Compilers and Code Generation
In this module you will develop an understanding of the role and structure of a compiler and the standard stages of compilation. You will learn to build a deterministic finite automaton (DFA)-based lexical analyser for a set of specified tokens using regular expressions, and construct regular expressions which define a specified set of strings. You will also consider the use of grammars to define context-free languages, the use of directed translators in constructing intermediate code, types of error detection and recovery, and generating address code from source code.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic models of computational optimisation and the algorithms for solving optimisation problems. You will look at the theoretical and computational methods for analysing optimisation algorithms, and the software used for problem solving. You will also consider how to formulate problems using linear and integer programming techniques, and examine the usage of construction heuristics.
Digital Audio and Applications
Functional Programming and Applications
Our year in industry degrees are highly valued by employers because they give you the chance to gain first-hand experience of the world of work and to apply your learning to real world scenarios. Students have often been offered permanent jobs in the same company at the end of their placements, to take up after their graduation.
Software engineering is a rapidly growing field with impressive starting salaries and global demand. This programme will teach you to manage projects from conception through to delivery, with professionalism and technical savvy. You will learn to analyse and solve problems with creativity and flair, and propose cost-effective, efficient solutions. By the time you graduate you will be skilled at designing, implementing, testing and maintaining software systems, and you will also have valuable transferrable skills such as: team working, advanced IT skills, critical thinking, data handling, communication, time management and self-motivation.
We work closely with partners in industry who advise us on our curriculum, to ensure that it keeps pace with the latest market needs and trends. This means our graduates are up-to-speed with all the latest developments and technologies in software engineering. We run jobs fairs and a short-term work placement scheme, and your personal adviser and the campus Careers team will be on hand to offer advice on career opportunities. We also maintain strong links with our alumni, who can often provide advice, contacts and networking opportunities.
In recent years, our computer science graduates have launched careers in everything from network systems design and web development, to business management and finance. They work in organisations such as: Amazon, American Express, Apple, Bupa, Capita, CGI-Logica, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Symantec, among many others. Find out more about what some of our graduates are doing, here.
- Gain the knowledge, skills and practical experience to pursue a lucrative and rewarding career as a software developer, engineer or entrepreneur.
- Gain a competitive edge in the jobs market by completing a year in industry, which is highly valued by employers.
- 85% of our computer science graduates are in work or further study within six months of leaving (Unistats 2015).
- Add professional prestige to your qualification with membership of the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, after you graduate.