Undergraduate BSc (Hons)

Computer Networks with Foundation Year

School of Science, Engineering and Environment



With placement


Four year

Five year

Next enrolment

September 2024


In a nutshell

Streaming, cloud-based services and social media, are just a small part of the role computer networks have in shaping our daily lives. This foundation year pathway is designed to help you build knowledge about computer networks, so you are ready to progress on to the full BSc (Hons) Computer Networks degree.

Networking is about constantly evolving. Led by a research-active, professionally qualified academic team, our course is designed to steadily enhance your capabilities as you prepare for a career in industry. You will build real-world problem-solving skills, develop knowledge relevant to business management, and have the option to include industry experience.

This pathway is designed for students who are want to study the full honours degree, but don’t meet the direct entry requirements. On successful completion of the foundation year, you'll progress on to the full BSc (Hons) Computer Networks degree course, which is accredited by the British Computer Society, the chartered institute of IT. As a Network Academy Centre, we also offer you the opportunity to gain Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) during your studies.

Start your study journey 

Register for our next Open Day to learn more about studying computer networks, explore our facilities and meet the course team 

You will:

  • Develop a systematic understanding of computer networks, including penetration, testing, routing and switching
  • Build knowledge in Cloud services, IoT, the WAN and the facilitation of converging technology
  • Choose to include an industry placement where you can apply your knowledge and build additional transferable skills
  • Develop the technical skills and confidence ready to progress to the computer networks undergraduate degree

options available


students accepted

Course accreditations

British Computing Society Accredited Degree logo
Cisco Networking Academy logo

This is for you if...


You have a strong interest in IT, computer networking and converging technology


You're interested in how things work rather than just wanting to be a user of them.


You like to explore how different elements can be combined to create a whole

Course details

All about the course

Three computing students looking at laptop screens

Foundation year

The foundation year pathway is designed to help you to build solid knowledge and skills, so you are ready to progress on to one of our industry-accredited computing degree courses.

Along with introducing you to essential study skills, you will explore how to navigate complex computer systems, apply mathematics and learn to describe how things work. You will also have the opportunity to use some exciting tech, such as beacons and robot arms.

On successful completion of the foundation year, you will progress to the first year of the full BSc (Hons) Computer Networks undergraduate degree course.

BSc (Hons) degree 

Course delivery

Delivered from our exciting MediaCity campus, our BSc Computer Networks degree provides you with a systematic understanding of networks, including the underlying principles of how they work, and how these principles are applied in industry.

You'll take specialist module in areas such as network penetration testing, routing and switching, mobile networking and Internet of Things (IoT), and have the opportunity to take part in a group design project in year two and an individual project on a topic of your choice in your final year.

Learn more about the course modules in the section below.

Learning experience

To make sure that you're ready for employment when you graduate, you'll have the opportunity to become Cisco-certified with the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certificate during your computer networks studies. CCNA is a professional certificate issued by networking hardware company Cisco. It shows that you have the fundamental networking knowledge and skills required by many employers in the IT industry. The CCNA course materials are built into our Computer Networks modules, ensuring that all our computer networks graduates are building up-to-date industry-standard skills. 

Industry placement

On the full degree course, you will have the option to take an industry placement year between years two and three. Although you will be responsible for securing your own placement, we will support your search and assign you a tutor to monitor your progress whilst on placement.

By successfully completing a placement year, you can add 'with professional experience' to your final degree award. Recent course students have developed their skills at placements with General Electric, Fujitsu, Cadburys and Bosch.

Foundation Year

Computer Programming

This module will introduce object-oriented programming in Python using Visual Studio Code, covering console based and desktop applications.

Computer Systems

This module will explore 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.

Computing Mathematics FY

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.

Inside Computer Systems

The module is delivered as a blend of lectures and hands-on workshops. Successful completion of this module will enable you to understand computer components and computer architecture, convert numbering systems from one type to another, and how to data pass through input, memory, processor and output.

Web Programming

This module gives an introduction to developing content and applications for the Web. The module covers the basics of the WWW followed by core technologies and standards such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Further topics are design principles, development as a process, testing and validation. The module is delivered as a blend of lectures and hands-on workshops. Successful completion of this module will enable you to create standard compliant websites following best practice.

Year one

Introduction to Computers and Network Systems

Core to many electronics systems lies a central processor, managing and manipulating data, sometimes from remote locations. To fully understand this concept and the processes involved, this module introduces the fundamentals of computer hardware, software and networking technology including some more advanced concepts such as security.

Python and Linux

Following two parallel streams, this module will include computer-based workshops to cover practical Linux, leading towards assessment of a student's practical ability. You will gain the confidence to replicate the working environment on your own computer, and be able to access the university system using network remote access.

Technologies in Context

This first year module places electronics and electronic engineering in a global context. You’ll study why electronics is important, how it affects our daily lives, what drives innovation, and the evolution of electronics technology and future trends.

Database Systems

This module will share fundamental knowledge of database management systems, their design, implementation and applications. It will develop your knowledge and understanding of the underlying principles of relational database management system, and how to implement and maintain an efficient database system.

Principles and Concepts of Network Technologies

This module will develop your knowledge and critical understanding of the principles of operation of modern communication networks, with associated practical skills development required to design, build and test such a network.

Professional Development and Practices

You will be introduced to the business context and application of computing and information systems. You will explore this through societal, professional, ethical and legal issues surrounding business practices and the theory and process of project delivery to a professional standard.

Year two

Networking and Security

You will learn in detail how the Internet works, from local area networks to global networks. This will include designing and troubleshooting networks, and configuring and testing network applications. You will also look at security vulnerabilities, cryptographic principles, protocols, C-I-A trade-offs, firewalls and legal implications. You will apply these principles to designing solutions for some realistic case studies.

Group Design Project

You will work together with course mates on a specific real world audio design task and come up with a real practical solution using.

Routing and Switching

This module focuses on aspects specific to local area network infrastructures, leading into the theoretical and practical aspects of LAN design and integration. You will then learn how LAN communications can be improved, and the recent advances in network technologies in the wireless and wired arenas.

Network Penetration Testing

You will develop knowledge and skills in network penetration testing and vulnerability assessment. You will understand when and how to apply knowledge gained in real-life penetration testing and vulnerability detection scenarios.

Mobile Networking and Network Simulation

This module develops a core understanding of wireless networking systems and the associated principles and concepts of enabling technologies. It also focuses on an increasingly important area of simulation, and develops these skills using industry-standard network simulation software.

Advanced Routing and Switching

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the concepts of routing, using a global addressing system to facilitate routing and the function and implementation of the different routing protocols that may be operated across a network.

Year three

Internet of Things

You will gain an overview of key concepts and challenges related to digital transformation through an examination of the evolution of the Internet and how the interconnection of people, processes, data, and things is transforming every industry.

The WAN and Global Networks

You will develop a systematic knowledge and understanding of wide area network (WAN) technologies. This includes the services that they offer, the factors that influence their design, and how WAN technologies are used to connect small to medium sized business networks.

Business Management

You will learn business and enterprise concepts so you can analyse and evaluate business practices, concepts, theories and frameworks and their relationship to the strategic and operational management of an enterprise or a project. This is intended to complement the technical project management content of the course and provide a real-world context linked to current enterprise activities at the university. You will also learn about freelancing.

Information Security Management

This module will prepare you for the creation and implementation of information security policies in organisations, with an emphasis on risk management and business continuity planning, taking account both the practicalities of implementation in a real-world setting and the various legal and ethical issues involved. You’ll learn to identify assets, vulnerabilities, threats and controls and to consider issues of security culture.

Project for Computer Networks

You will complete an individual project that will demonstrate your understanding of computer networks. You can select your own area of study, and then will identify and develop a realistic problem and, working independently and in a professional manner, organise, sustain and report on your project in a way which is both detailed and reflective.

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.

What will I be doing?


You will develop your knowledge and skills through a blend of theoretical, collaborative and practical methods:

  • Practical laboratories
  • Case studies
  • Group work
  • Project work

Alongside technical and subject-based knowledge and skills, we will also help you to develop a range of personal and professional skills which will make you highly-employable. These include report writing, team work and project management skills.


You will be assessed through a combination of formats:

  • Examinations to assess your immediate response to a set of unseen problems
  • Assignments that assess your response to a challenging problem or scenario
  • Practical tests to assess your ability to apply appropriate skills to solve a problem
  • Projects that will assess your ability to create a plan, identify possibilities, make decisions, carry out the plan, and evaluate outcomes
  • Software development tasks will which will demonstrate your capabilities

Frequently asked questions

What is a foundation year? 

A foundation year offers a year of studying to gain an understanding of the programme before progressing to the full three-year studies. You'll get the chance to understand the way higher education studying works and gain the relevant skills and knowledge needed to undertake the full degree. 

What does computer networks mean? 

Computer networks refer to the interconnected devices and systems that exchange data to provide integral resources in the modern world. These networked systems use communications protocols to transmit information over physical or wireless technologies. 

What are the 4 main types of computer networks? 

Computer networks come in a wide range of types. The most common are PAN (Personal Area Network), LAN (Local Area Network), MAN (Metropolitan Area Network), and WAN (Wide Area Network). You will learn all about these and other key topics on the programme. 

What jobs can you get with a computer networks degree? 

A degree in computer networks could lead you to roles such as Network Architect, Security Engineer, IT Consultant, IT Officer, Network Analyst, and much more! 

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Rising to the challenge of a changing world, our degree courses are designed to shape the next generation of urbanists, scientists, engineers, consultants and leaders. 

Driven by industry, and delivered by supportive programme teams, you can develop the knowledge and skills to become unstoppable in your career.


As a computer networks student, you will learn in our specialist computing suites and laboratories at our MediaCity campus. This includes a networking laboratory and dedicated final year project laboratory. You will use Cisco-enabled facilities, giving you the option to also gain Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) status.

Industry collaboration and research

When you start this degree with Salford, you are also joining a community making a difference in industry, our local region and in our wider society.

Many of our academics and technicians who support your course also deliver collaborative, interdisciplinary, high-impact work in a range of local and global computing and informatics issues and challenges.

Discover how you are part of something bigger.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


As a computer networks graduate, you will have excellent software development skills supported by a large portfolio of practical work, which can be used to demonstrate your abilities to prospective employers.

Many graduates secure roles working as network developers in a range of companies. However, with the range of applied knowledge and skills you will have, you can also look for roles working in IT consultancy, system administration or network analysis.

Today, you will find course alumni working with national companies, including Sainsbury's, Cisco, Microsoft, SIS, Autotrader, HMRC, Ferranti and Civica, as well as regional companies that are part of Greater Manchester's growing technology innovation community.

Further study

You might find you want to learn more about computing. Building on our expertise, we offer postgraduate courses that can take your interests and career opportunities further. Salford graduates and alumni receive a significant fees discount.

A taste of what you could become

A Network architect

A Security engineer

An IT consultant

An IT officer

A Network analyst

And more...


What you need to know

Applicant profile 

We are looking for applicants with a strong interest in computing and IT. You will be interested in what makes a network 'tick' and how the different elements can be combined for creative solutions. Having attention to detail and a good work ethic are desirable, especially if you are interested in the industry placement option.  

International students

This course isn’t suitable for international students. If you are an international student and interested in studying a foundation year, please visit our International Foundation Year course page.

    English language requirements

    All of our courses are taught and assessed in English. If English is not your first language, you must meet our minimum English language entry requirements. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this, and we also accept a range of equivalent qualifications.

    Read more about our English language requirements, including information about pathways that can help you gain entry on to our degree courses.

    Standard entry requirements


    English Language and Maths at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent). You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

    UCAS tariff points

    64 UCAS points where qualifications include either Mathematics or Computing to A-Level or equivalent standard. 72 UCAS points from any subject combination without Mathematics or Computing.


    64 UCAS points where qualifications include either mathematics or computing.

    72 UCAS points from any subject combination without mathematics or computing.

    BTEC National Diploma

    MPP from Computing or a numerate subject.

    MMP from other subjects.

    Access to HE

    Pass from a QAA-approved mathematics or computing-related subject.

    Scottish Highers

    64 UCAS points where qualifications include either mathematics or computing.

    72 UCAS points from any subject combination. 

    Irish Leaving Certificate

    64 UCAS points where qualifications include either mathematics or computing.

    72 UCAS points from any subject combination without mathematics or computing.

    European Baccalaureate

    Please contact Admissions for further information: admissionssee-ug@salford.ac.uk

    International Baccalaureate

    Please contact Admissions for further information: admissionssee-ug@salford.ac.uk

    Alternative entry requirements

    Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

    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.  To be considered for the scheme, you must have already achieved or be working towards GCSE Maths and English Grade C/4 (or equivalent).

    Learn more about the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme.

    How much?

    Type of study Year Fees
    Full-time home 2024/25 £8,250.00 for Foundation Year and £9,250.00 for subsequent years.

    Additional costs

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

    Apply now

    All set? Let's apply

    Enrolment dates

    September 2024

    September 2025

    UCAS information

    Course ID G420

    Institution S03