Distributed and networked systems underpin the proliferation of sophisticated, software-enabled systems that are changing the way we live in the 21st century. The implications for our global economy and societies are vast, from the sensor and actuator networks that connect up cities, to cyber-physical systems, patient-centred healthcare, and disaster-recovery systems, to name just a few. This new specialist pathway for our undergraduate Computer Science students will give you the knowledge and practical experience you need to achieve your career ambitions. It has been designed in consultation with industry, to help propel you to the forefront of creating and maintaining the distributed systems and networks of the future.
You will learn from leading researchers in the field, covering contemporary technologies such as Web 2.0, distributed and embedded systems, and artificial intelligence. This will be underpinned by a solid grounding in the fundamentals of computing and all the essentials of application development, from programming to software engineering, databases to web development, computer graphics to robotics. From the outset you be experimenting with programming games, robots, Gadgeteer kits, Subversion, JUnit testing, Scrum-based Agile software and more, in our well-equipped laboratories. Alongside core modules in all three years, you will have the flexibility to choose between a range of optional courses, according to your interests.
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 Computing Society, a thriving community of more than 400 computer enthusiasts from across the College. 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. You will graduate with a strong knowledge of distributed and networked computing theories and methodologies, and transferrable skills such as advanced IT skills, team working, communication, time management and self-motivation.
- The BCS has distinguished our teaching of Software Engineering as ‘Best Practice’.
- You will be taught by staff with extensive industrial experience, three of whom are certified Scrum Masters.
- You will learn to master the process of software engineering, from initial client meetings through to delivery.
- In the fourth-year team project, you will run a start-up.
Teaching & assessment
We firmly believe that how we teach you is at least as important as what we teach, and we know the importance of giving you the time and space to experiment and put theory into practice. We encourage you to use your creativity, both in project teams and independently, and to have fun while you learn. We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, small-group tutorials, supervised computer lab classes and problem-solving sessions. You will also be expected to complete guided independent study and group work. Our programming and software engineering teaching is very hands-on, allowing you to learn at your own pace, whatever your previous level of experience. You will also attend laboratory classes on games and robotics in year 1, giving you the chance to develop real applications with imagination and creativity from the outset.
We are proud of our award-winning teaching. Professor Dave Cohen won a College Excellence Teaching Prize for the re-design of our second-year software engineering courses, and he was shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award for Most Innovative Teacher of the Year. The British Computer Society (BCS) has distinguished our software engineering teaching as an exemplar of 'best practice' in computer science education.
Assessment is through a mixture of examinations and coursework. Most course units have a two or three-hour written examination taken at the end of the year in which they are taught, but around half of your final award will come from assessed coursework, which could include project reports (including your individual project in year 3), essays, oral presentations and practical work submissions.
Required subject: Computer Science or Mathematics or Physics.
At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics.
Please note that for students taking the BTEC Extended Diploma, GCSE Mathematics is also required at minimum grade B or 6.
A Levels: ABB-BBB
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A - levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. Socio - economic factors which may have impacted an applicant's education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants. Read more about what we look for here.
Other UK Qualifications
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
We accept the following internationally-recognised English language qualifications:
- Pearson Test of English
- Cambridge ESOL
Your future career
Distributed and networked systems exist in almost every sector, from private companies to educational institutions, charities, the arts, healthcare, government agencies and the military. This programme will give you a solid grounding in the knowledge, skills and practical experience required to pursue a successful career in computing or related fields, with a specialism in distributed and networked systems that will set your CV apart.
During your studies you will learn to analyse and solve problems with creativity and suggest cost-effective, efficient solutions. You will acquire the foresight to translate technological innovations into new programming solutions, the technical skills to design, implement, test and maintain software systems, and the ability to digest and explain complex technical information. You will also develop valuable transferable skills such as teamworking, advanced IT skills, critical thinking, data handling, communication, logic, time management and self-motivation.
We work closely with partners in industry who advise us on our curriculum, to make sure it responds to the latest market needs and trends. This means our graduates are up-to-speed with the latest developments. 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 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.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9250
International students tuition fee per year**: £17500
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year. The UK Government has confirmed that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.
**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.