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BSc Hons IT: Software Development
(Graduate Apprenticeship)


Key facts

  • 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

  • gain a degree whilst in paid employment
  • flexibility to work and study, with classes and learning structured to fit around work and other commitments – you don’t need to be online at specific times or live close to campus
  • designed in partnership with industry, you’ll learn from experienced, industry-facing software development academics and researchers
  • attend classes at our city-centre campus one day a month during term-time to learn directly from our experts and network with peers

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

Covid-19: information & FAQs
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Why this course?

Our BSc in IT: Software Development is focused on building the expert knowledge and skills that are essential in this field. As an IT professional with a software development remit, with support from your employer, you’ll gain an Honours degree whilst spending the majority of your time applying your learning to your workplace.

Created in partnership with industry, our BSc in IT: Software Development combines academic knowledge with on-the-job skills development. You’ll build an extensive knowledge and understanding of the latest software development practices and how to apply them to your own organisation.

Software development involves a mixture of skills and abilities, including a deep understanding of technology, creativity and imagination, logic and attention to detail, strong analytic and design skills, excellent communication, and the ability to work as part of a team.

Almost all aspects of modern life are supported by software systems, which means that software development graduates are in high demand. Employment opportunities within this field are varied, with good earning potential. You could be employed by a company specialising in software development, or employed as an in-house software developer within a range of sectors such as financial services, media, health, education, government, manufacturing or utilities.

Group of students working on a computer code

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.

Software Engineering 1

This class presents a high-level overview of the software engineering lifecycle, software development processes, anatomy of software systems, testing principles and practices, maintenance and evolution. You’ll 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.

Computational Thinking

This class introduces you to computational thinking via an introduction to machine code, logic, and the theory of computation.

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’ll have the opportunity to choose three optional classes. Our optional classes cover topics such as Computer Security, Machine Learning, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Forensics, and Designing Usable Systems.

With the approval of the programme director, you may also choose to study one or more modules from our Business School or Faculty of Engineering to complement your studies.

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. Furloughed staff are also eligible
  • 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

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Graduate Apprenticeship

Tuition fees for the BSc IT: Software Development are fully funded through Skills Development Scotland, with support from the European Social Fund. Neither you, nor your employer, are required to contribute towards the tuition fees.

Funded by Skills Development Scotland and European Social Fund

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You must be nominated by your employer to be considered for admission to the programme. Please see our guidance for employers for more information.

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Contact us

Dr Alex Coddington

BSc IT: Software Development Programme Director

Email: cis-itsd-admin@strath.ac.uk