BSc Hons IT: Software Development (Graduate Apprenticeship)


Key facts

  • Accreditation: BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
  • Study mode and duration: Work-based learning with online and on campus study; 48 months part-time
  • Scholarships: 30 fully funded places available

  • Graduate Apprenticeship: Applicants must be employed in Scotland in an IT-related role

Study with us

  • your apprenticeship – you can choose your employer, then build your degree, choosing from a wide range of modules, all flexibly delivered
  • your future – module content is chosen for maximum relevance in this fast-moving field and our work-based learning equips you with the skills to develop your career
  • your success – you’ll receive help and support from our dedicated team on every step of your apprenticeship journey


Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT:

  • for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional
  • on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for a Chartered Engineer
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Why this course?

Your apprenticeship

Choose your employer, then build your degree. We start with the fundamentals, equipping you with a solid grounding in software development. You can then choose from a wide, and ever-expanding range of modules in areas such as advanced software development, cybersecurity, data science, dev ops, machine learning, artificial intelligence and business/project management. Each module you study has been specifically designed with you and your learning journey in mind.

Managing a work/study/life balance is a challenge, so we help put you in control. Our programmes are flexible, with a blend of on-line and on-campus learning to give you the best of both worlds. Optional sessions allow you to focus on topics where you need it most.

Your future

We'll get you off to a flying start in your new career by introducing you to the tools and technologies you need to know. We're able to draw on extensive industrial experience, as well as continuous dialogue with our employer partners, to make your study relevant. You'll also benefit from small group study, connecting with apprentices from a wide range of organisations and hear about other best practice in software development.

At Strathclyde, we do work-based learning differently. Our approach, which is unique in Scotland, aims to fully equip you for a long and successful career by helping you acquire a wide range of skills and professional competencies - that will help you hit new heights as your career progresses.

Your success

Our team of academic and work-based learning professionals put you at the heart of everything they do and are always on hand to provide you with the help and support you need to succeed. With small class sizes, we can get to know you and support you in the right way.

You'll have the support of a dedicated Graduate Apprenticeship team, including an assigned Learning Adviser. Our Learning Advisers are highly experienced industry professionals who will guide and support you through your journey. You'll also benefit from full access to Strathclyde's student support service, there when you need it.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

About the course

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Course content

Programming 1

This class will provide you with a solid foundation in the principles of Object-Oriented Programming. You’ll start off by learning and applying the fundamental theory by writing short programs. Towards the end of the year you’ll carry out a programming project which will involve you designing, building and testing a small system.

Introduction to Software Engineering

This class will provide you with a high-level overview of the software engineering lifecycle, software development processes, anatomy of software systems, testing principles and practices, maintenance and evolution. You will discover how these are used or applied within your organisation.

Information and Data 1

You’ll gain a practical, high-level understanding of web systems and the languages and tools that can be used for their creation. You’ll acquire the skills to create a small web system, considering issues such as accessibility and security.

Problem Solving

You will gain a practical understanding of how to decompose problems into their component parts and abstract these parts to provide a solution. These skills are vital for computer programming.

Business and Management Fundamentals

You will gain an understanding of leadership and management within the workplace and will acquire skills in leadership, recruitment and selection, and personal and professional growth.

Work-based Integrated Project 1

You’ll undertake a series of mini-projects based around the work you carry out in your workplace. This will enable you to apply your academic knowledge to your work and build up a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that you meet various professionally-defined competencies. You'll be guided by one of our Learning Advisers.

Programming 2

This class will further develop your skills in object-oriented programming and equip you with a practical knowledge of abstract data types. You’ll develop larger programs with specialised data structures using APIs from a specification. You’ll also acquire an analytical and empirical appreciation of the behaviour of algorithms and the use of data types.

Software Engineering 2

You’ll gain experience of designing larger scale software systems. You’ll develop a practical knowledge of software design and development methodologies and be able to apply industry-standard design notations such as UML and agile user story management.

Information and Data 2

You’ll develop a conceptual and practical understanding of database modelling, database design and database technology. The class builds on a basic understanding of the relational database approach, covering more complex SQL query design and efficient execution.

Memory and Structure

You’ll learn a low-level programming language and develop an understanding of its relationship with the instruction set of the computer, and how data is organised in memory.

Professional Issues

You’ll develop knowledge and appreciation of the legal, social, ethical and professional issues involved in the use of computer technology, and be guided by the adoption of appropriate professional, ethical and legal practices.

Work-based Integrated Project 2

You’ll identify a more complex series of mini-projects to carry out at work to enable you to demonstrate the application of aspects of your degree within an industrial context. You’ll further develop your professional skills by undertaking personal development planning, and continue to build your e-portfolio of work-related evidence to demonstrate that you meet various professional competencies (e.g. competencies defined by the British Computer Society for Registered IT Technician, RITTech, registration). You will be guided by one of our Learning Advisers.

Programming 3

You’ll build on your programming skills by developing a practical understanding of OS process and thread models, process and thread scheduling, and inter-process communication. You’ll consolidate this knowledge by developing and testing concurrent programs.

Fundamentals of Data Analytics

This class begins with an introduction to Python. You’ll then gain knowledge and understanding of the challenges posed by big data and learn about the key algorithms and techniques which are used for data analytics. You'll consolidate this knowledge through practical work involving the use of Python.

Computer Networks

This class will equip you with knowledge and understanding of computer networking. You’ll gain a practical understanding of the topic by designing and implementing a basic communications network in a virtual environment.

User-Centred Design

You’ll be introduced to the principles, tools and techniques for developing good user-centred systems. You’ll also become familiar with various evaluation techniques with respect to usability and accessibility.

Software Engineering 3

This class will equip you with the knowledge and understanding of how to manage and execute a collaborative software project. You’ll put this knowledge and understanding into practice within the Group Project which runs in parallel with this class.

Group Project

This class will extend and deepen your experience of analysing, designing and implementing a medium-sized software system. You’ll also gain more experience of working within a group environment. The group project is designed to consolidate the knowledge and practical skills that you’ve acquired through taking all of the other year three classes.

Work-based Integrated Project 3

This class will enable you to develop more advanced professional skills and competencies, e.g. those defined by the British Computer Society for Chartered IT Professional, CITP. You’ll identify a project or series of mini-projects based on the work that you carry out as part of your job, and produce personal development plans and an e-portfolio of evidence to demonstrate you meet the CITP competencies. You'll be guided by one of our Learning Advisers.

Work-based Project

This class is a key part of the fourth-year curriculum. Through discussion with your employer, academic year director and Learning Adviser, you'll identify and undertake a work-based individual project. This will involve the analysis, design, implementation and testing of a software system, and writing a dissertation to document the entire process.

Optional Classes

In addition to the work-based project, you can choose three optional classes from a wide, and ever-expanding range of options in areas such as:

  • advanced software development
  • cybersecurity
  • data science
  • dev ops
  • machine learning
  • artificial intelligence
  • business/project management

Learning & teaching

You’ll combine academic theory with professional practice, typically spending about 80% of your time in your job, and 20% on developing expert knowledge and skills through a combination of online and on-campus learning.   

You’ll be required to attend 10 on-campus days annually, one a month during term-time. The dates for all classes across the academic year will be supplied in advance to support planning your work and learning commitments. In addition, you’ll undertake around 12 hours of flexible learning a week through our award-winning Virtual Learning Environment, complemented with three hours of learning directly in the workplace supported by our team of dedicated Learning Advisers. These advisers are employed by the University to facilitate and support the work-based learning and assessment elements of your BSc in IT: Software Development.


Each module involves a range of formative and summative assessments, including online discussion contributions, online quizzes, practical laboratory exercises, and individual and group assignments, such as written reports, face-to-face and video presentations and reflective reports.

As the course is spread out across weekly activities, it's manageable. I like that you can do the work when it suits you. If I am having a quiet week at work, I can study in the evenings but if work is busy and I need evenings to relax I can study at weekends.

Libby McGeough, Pulsion


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Entry requirements

Each application is assessed on a case by case basis. You will typically have at least four Highers at grade B, including either Mathematics, Computing Science, or Physics, and preferably National 5 English at grade C or above. We also welcome enquiries from applicants with non-traditional qualifications and/or relevant work experience. You must:

  • be employed in a role with an aspect of IT, for a minimum of 21 hours a week.
  • live and work in Scotland for the duration of the programme
  • have the agreement of your employer to undertake the BSc IT: Software Development

Successful candidates will be required to sign a tripartite agreement prior to registering for the BSc, between them, their employer, and the University. This ensures all parties are fully committed to the programme for its duration.

Support from the University

As a BSc IT: Software Development student, you’ll be a full University of Strathclyde student, with access to the same facilities, support services and learning resources as our students who study full-time on campus.

On enrolling, you’ll be given a laptop preloaded with the software required for the programme which will be refreshed annually.

You’ll also receive one to one support from a Learning Adviser, who’ll meet you regularly in your workplace to discuss your e-portfolio of work-based learning activities, help you identify evidence for these, and monitor your progress.

Support from your employer

We work directly with numerous employers who nominate current, or recruit new employees, to undertake our BSc in IT: Software Development. We also have students who join us directly, with the support of their employer.

The Graduate Apprenticeship is a partnership between you, your employer, and the University - the full support of your employer is essential. You can read our employer guidance for the BSc in IT: Software Development.

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Fees & funding

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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Graduate Apprenticeship

The programme is fully funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and tuition fees are paid by the Students’ Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to candidates who meet the eligibility criteria.


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You need to be working in a relevant IT-related role in Scotland and must be nominated by your employer to be considered for admission to the programme. Please see our guidance for employers for more information.

You should also check that you are eligible for SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) funding and that you meet the residence conditions. You can read about this on the SAAS Funding for Graduate Apprenticeships page.

Employer Matching Service

If you are not currently working in a relevant IT-related role, our Employer Matching service can connect you directly to employers who are seeking to develop new talent through our apprenticeship programmes. Simply send in your CV, along with a short covering email summarising your current circumstances. If you meet the minimum entry requirements for our programme and are eligible for SAAS funding, we'll forward your CV to our employer partners with open positions. If we think your CV would benefit from an upgrade before we send it on, we'll let you know and ask you to resubmit. If you don't meet the minimum entry requirements, we'll let you know that too.

Please note:

  • By submitting your CV, you are providing full permission for us to forward it to carefully selected partner employers without further intervention. Your CV will be kept until you’ve either secured a position, or until the end of the current annual recruitment cycle in September.
  • Other than confirming your eligibility to commence the programme, we don’t participate in or influence employer recruitment activities, and you will still be required to engage in their standard recruitment process in order to be fully considered any role.

If you would like to use this service, please send your CV with a short covering email to Dr Alex Coddington,

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Contact us

Dr Alex Coddington

BSc IT: Software Development Programme Director