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Computer Science Foundation Year

Foundation Year

School - School of Computing, Science & Engineering

Subject area - Computer Science

UCAS Code: Computer Science with Foundation Year: G407; Computer Science with Cyber Security with Foundation Year: G4G5; Compter Science with Web Development with Foundation Year: G4W3; Computer Science with Data Analytics with Foundation Year: G4G6; Software Engineering with Foundation Year: G601.

Start Date(s): September


Year one of a four year degree


UK - £8,250 for Foundation Year, then standard UG fee per year.

In Brief:

  • Learn computer and web-based programming
  • Understand how computer technology works, as well as getting to play with some interesting gadgets
  • Refresh your maths skills and increase your confidence so that you are ready progress onto several computer science related courses

Course Summary

This foundation year provides the basis for further study on a range of our accredited computing courses. You will cover the basics of programming, as well as looking at the detailed operation of computer systems. Furthermore, you will cover essential mathematics and gain the correct skill set for success on several of our undergraduate computer science courses.

Overall, the aim of any computer science course is to put you in charge of the computer – so it does what you want it to do rather than being limited by what off-the-shelf packages will let you do. This foundation year will ensure that you are looking at computers in a sufficiently detailed way, and that you can thrive once you move onto an honours degree course.

A particular benefit of this foundation year is that it is specifically designed for computer related degree programmes, so everything you do during this year will be relevant to what you will do later in your studies. When you meet these topics later on an honours degree course, you will already have studied them  in a university context and so you’ll be able to focus on increasing depth and breadth of understanding. We believe that the extra year invested in studying the foundation year has the potential to pay off in the long term by giving you a better degree based on stronger foundations.

Course Details

This course  will help you to see the inner workings of computer systems, so you see a complex computer system in terms of how it is put together and how it works, rather than having a “user” perspective that is limited to “what it does”. You’ll cover programming, both for standalone applications and web sites. You’ll learn to research and present detailed descriptions of how things work, and you will have the opportunity to use some gadgets (such as beacons and robot arms) that will let you explicitly construct interesting operations out of simple building blocks. Additionally, you will learn how to apply mathematical methods accurately and reliably.

On successful completion of the foundation year, you will have the automatic right to proceed onto the first year of the following undergraduate courses:

BSc (Hons) Computer Science

BSc (Hons) Computer Science with Cyber Security

BSc (Hons) Computer Science with Web Development

BSc (Hons) Software Engineering

These four courses all share a common first year, so you don’t have to make a final choice until you’ve had a thorough look at the principles of the subject and understand what each involves, considering your own interest and strengths.

Additionally, if you do well in the mathematics module (scoring 70 or above) you can also opt to proceed onto the BSc (Hons) Computer Science with Data Analytics degree course. This course shares some modules with BSc (Hons) Computer Science and some with BSc (Hons) Mathematics.

Modules may include:

This module will cover object-oriented programming in C# and Javascript using Visual Studio, covering desktop applications and web-based programming.
This module will look at low-level details of some key computer components. It will teach you how to decompose some real-world systems into smaller subsystems, and how to make complex operations out of simple operations.
This module will cover some core mathematics in order to get you up to something between GCSE and A2 level. The maths included is targeted at what will be useful later in the course, such as algebra, trigonometry, calculus, coordinate geometry, probability and statistics.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
English Language and Maths at grade C or above
UCAS tariff points 72 UCAS points from any subject combination. 64 UCAS points where qualifications include both Mathematics or Computing to A Level standard.
GCE A level 72 UCAS points from any subject combination. 64 UCAS points where qualifications include both Mathematics or Computing to A Level standard.
BTEC Higher National Diploma MMP in a computer-related subject or a subject with mathematics content; MMM in any other subject.
Scottish Highers 72 UCAS Tariff points (new system) from any subject combination. 64 UCAS Tariff points where qualifications include both Mathematics and Computing to A-level standard.
Irish Leaving Certificate 72 UCAS Tariff points (new system) from any subject combination. 64 UCAS Tariff points where qualifications include both Mathematics and Computing to A-level standard.

Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

Additional Entry Requirement Information

Applicants must satisfy both the University’s General Entry Requirement and the specific entry requirements as per course detailed below.

General Entry Academic Requirements

The General Entry Academic Requirements are as per the University’s Admissions and Retention Policy detail for

  • Foundation Certificate/level 3 of CertHE/DipHE/Bachelor’s Degree/Integrated Master’s programmes.

English Language Requirements

This course is not suitable for international applicants.

Applicant profile

We are looking for applicants with a strong interest in computing. The foundation  year will be particularly suitable for applicants who:

  • feel that their background makes them more “keen users of computers” rather than “curious about low level details”, but who want to increase their depth of knowledge
  • feel that their mathematics would benefit from some improvement before embarking on a degree course
  • have not studied a computing or numerate subject at college, but who wish to pursue a computing career
  • wish to return to education after a long time in industry

We positively welcome applications from students who have relevant industry experience even if they do not meet the stated entry criteria. Students who do not have formal entry qualifications are required to sit a written assessment which is designed for this purpose. Please contact Andrew Young for further information.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £8,250 for Foundation Year, then standard UG fee per year.

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £6,165

Please view the relevant degree programme under the 'Course Details' tab to view the fees for the remaining years of your course.

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.


A variety of delivery methods are adopted to achieve the intended learning outcomes:

  • Practical programming modules involve supervised laboratories to put into practice principles covered in supporting lectures, with structured exercises to help you manage your learning curve;
  • In-depth study of computer systems will involve master-classes, tutorials and practical workshops to explore detailed principles, alongside group research projects with presentations;
  • Mathematics lectures to cover theory; and problem-solving tutorials to apply technique and receive guidance and feedback.

Please refer to full degree pages as listed under 'Course Details' for more information about teaching on years 2-4 of the relevant course.


A variety of assessment methods are adopted:

  • Practical programming modules involve a sequence of coursework assignments that allow students to evidence the skills that have been learnt;
  • In-depth study of computer systems will involve written reports, presentations (with peer feedback), and demonstrations of systems that have been constructed;
  • Mathematics will involve continuous assessment of learning as the module is delivered, with an examination at the end of the module.

Please refer to full degree pages as listed under 'Course Details' for more information about teaching on years 2-4 of the relevant course.


Please refer to full degree pages as listed under 'Course Details' for more information about employability relating to the relevant degree that you complete.

Career Prospects

When you complete the foundation year, you will be able to progress onto a choice of degree courses that will allow you to pursue a range of career paths. The principle focus of the courses is to develop professional programming skills to allow students to pursue a career as a software developer in a wide range of industries. Some courses provide specialist knowledge, to target students towards the web industry, the “big data” industry, or the cyber security industry. The course structures are flexible, allowing you to change the course emphasis as you learn more about what you like doing and what your strengths are. All courses include an opportunity to apply for a year in industry, and all courses ensure you have the skills required to be able to make the most of that opportunity.

Links with Industry

We operate an industrial liaison committee who provide us with advice on our courses, and who help us to ensure that our modules are up-to-date. Companies involved include Web Applications UK, AutoTrader, Cooperative, DAI and FastWebMedia. This comprises a mixture of companies for whom IT is their primary business, and companies who make advanced use of IT to operate other types of business. This diversity ensures we see the IT industry from multiple perspectives, which makes our courses as relevant as possible. This committee is clear that graduates from our courses are very employable.

Further Study

MSc Cyber Security, Threat Investigation and Forensics

MSc Data Science

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