University of Chester

Programme Specification
Computer Science FDS
2014 - 2015

Foundation Science Degree

Computer Science

Computer Science

University of Chester

Cheshire & Warrington Consortium of Colleges

Mid-Cheshire College (Hartford Campus), West Cheshire College (Chester Campus), Wirral Metropolitan

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,


5 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Science & Engineering Computer Science

Computing & Foundation Degree Qualification Benchmark (QAA065)


Computer Science Foundation Board

Thursday 1st May 2014

  • Offer learning opportunities to students from a variety of backgrounds close to their work and home, facilitating "Earn and Learn"
  • Develop the student's understanding of computer hardware, operating systems and applications, and their skill in using relevant software tools and techniques in a vocational context
  • Provide a quality learning experience through which the student will acquire a capacity to devise solutions to technical and business problems
  • Enhance employability, and develop transferable skills appropriate to current and future employment in computing
  • Promote the academic development of the student, and facilitate progression to Honours Degree programmes
  • Meet the needs of local employers who have an identifiable need for Computer Science development and support

  • Knowledge and Understanding

    Level 4
    KU41. Knowledge of the underlying concepts and principles associated with computer science, and an ability to evaluate and interpret these within the context of their work role.
    Level 5
    KU51. Knowledge and critical understanding of the well-established principles of computer science, and of the way in which those principles have developed.
    KU52. Knowledge of the main methods of enquiry in computer science, and ability to evaluate critically the appropriateness of different approaches to tackling computer science issues. KU53. An understanding of the limits of their knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge.
    Thinking or Cognitive Skills

    Level 4 C41. Be able to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems related to the study of computer science and their work role.
    C42. Be able to communicate the results of their study/work accurately and reliably, and with structured and coherent arguments.
    Level 5
    C51. Effectively communicate information, arguments, and analysis, in a variety of forms, to specialist and non-specialist audiences, and deploy key techniques of the discipline effectively.
    Practical Skills

    Level 1
    P41. An ability to present, evaluate, and interpret qualitative and quantitative data, to develop lines of argument and make sound judgements in accordance with basic theories and concepts of computer science.
    Level 2
    P51. Ability to apply underlying concepts and principles outside the context in which they were first studied, including, where appropriate, the application of those principles in an employment context. P52. Use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information, and to propose solutions to problems arising from that analysis.
    Key Skills

    • Communication
    • Application of Number
    • Information Literacy and Technology
    • Improving own learning and performance
    • Working with others
    • Problem solving

    As well as developing the student’s subject-specific knowledge and skills, and their cognitive skills in the context of computer science, it is appropriate that the Foundation Degree should develop and assess their key skills to a level of competence appropriate for personal and work-role effectiveness. When designing the foundation degree programme the descriptors developed by the University of Chester Key Skills Working Group (2003) were employed. There is a danger that excessive specificity over-emphasises behavioural outcomes to the detriment of attitude and approach. Further, since some of the key skills - notably Information Technology and Improving Own Learning Performance - are intrinsic to the programme rationale, their separation from subject-related outcomes would be divisive. For this reason detailed key skills descriptors are not explicitly used in module specifications. Instead abridged descriptors are used to indicate the key skills profile expected on completion of levels 4 and 5.

    Transferable Professional Skills

    T1. Develop qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making. T2. Acquire new competences to enable the student to assume significant responsibility within organisations.
    T3. Formulate an action plan for personal improvement, in the context of their work role and career.
    Professionalism is central to the educational aims of this programme. Although the programme itself is not directly linked to graduate memberships of professional bodies, the programme through the modules is delivered using best professional practice and current techniques.

    The Foundation Degree programme is modular and conforms to the nationally recognised credit structure adopted across the university sector. It comprises two levels of study and attainment. At each level, the student must gain 120 credits - that is 240 credits in total for the degree. The Certificate in Higher Education is an exit award for those students who have successfully completed level 4 and choose not to continue study to level 5.

    Students who complete level 4 will receive a Certificate in Higher Education.

    The programme conforms to the University Regulations with regard to the maximum length of the study, this being 5 years for the Foundation Degree and 3 years for the Certificate, unless an extension is granted due to illness or mitigating or exceptional circumstances by the Awards Assessment Board.

    The programme consists of twelve modules; six 20 credit modules at level 4 and six 20 credit modules at level 5.

    Each module has an allocation of 200 notional learning hours.

    At any one time students would be studying : 4 modules in total. 2 x 20 credit module over 16 weeks & 2 x 20 credit module over 32 weeks

    A typical pattern of study would be:

    Year 1 Weeks 1-16  CO4042, CO4045, CO4046, CO4047 Weeks 17-32 CO4043 or CO4061 and CO4044, CO4045, CO4047

    Year 2 Weeks 1-16 CO5042, CO5045, CO5046, CO5047 Weeks 17-32 CO5043 or CO5061 and CO5044, CO5045, CO5047

    Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
    CO4042 4 Emerging Technologies 20 Comp
    CO4043 4 Introduction to Computer Systems 20 Optional
    CO4044 4 CPD - Continuing Professional Development 20 Comp
    CO4045 4 FD - Introduction to Programming 20 Comp
    CO4046 4 Systems Analysis and Design 20 Comp
    CO4047 4 Web Design 20 Comp
    CO4061 4 Data Communications and Networking Technologies (CCNA) 20 Optional
    CO5042 5 Relational Databases 20 Comp
    CO5043 5 Further Computer Systems 20 Optional
    CO5044 5 CPD - Continuing Professional Development Level 2 20 Comp
    CO5045 5 Further Programming 20 Comp
    CO5046 5 Project Management 20 Comp
    CO5047 5 Advanced Web Design 20 Comp
    CO5061 5 Operation and Management of Local-area Networks (CCNA) 20 Optional

    120 credits for each level, 240 credits in total

    The admissions data provided below was correct at the time of creating this programme specification (August 2014). Please refer to the prospectus pages on the corporate website for the most recent data.

  • Applicants must have one of the following qualifications:
    • BTEC National Diploma or AVCE
    • NVQ Level 3
    • A Levels (minimum 120 UCAS points)
    • Pass in an appropriate kite-marked Access to Higher Education course.

  • An applicant who does not have GCSE Grade C or above for English Language and Mathematics or equivalent(s) will be required to undertake appropriate literacy and numeracy tests.
  • Where possible an academic reference will be required to ensure suitability for this level of programme.
  • Students who do not meet the above admissions requirements will be considered based on individual knowledge, skills and academic suitability for the programme.
  • Using quotations from the benchmark statements:

    "The design and delivery of Foundation Degrees are likely to be informed by the Framework(s) for Foundation Degrees of appropriate Sector Skills Council(s)".

    The Foundation Degree in Computer Science is designed to respond to local economic need and to increase local participation in HE. In their ‘Skills Needs Assessment 2001-2002’, Cheshire and Warrington LSC indicated that skills gaps in IT would adversely affect the number of industry sectors including New Technology and Information Technology Industries. This programme seeks to address these skills gaps by widening participation in HE through progression from vocationally orientated learning at sub degree level delivered by the Consortium. The Foundation Degree is intended to provide opportunities for study in the local environment, and particularly to support those students who prefer to study locally for financial, family and work commitment reasons.

    "Foundation Degrees are designed to appeal to learners wishing to enter a profession as well as those seeking continuing professional development. They can also provide pathways for lifelong learning and the opportunity to progress to other qualifications. The qualification may be offered through flexible modes of learning enabling learners to 'earn and learn' and accommodate the learning needs of different types of students."

    The programme delivery has been designed to include full-time and part-time modes, supported by e-learning, to enable learners to 'earn and learn' . The full time delivery is delivered in 4 sessions compacted into less than 2 days to further enable learners to earn whilst studying full time. There are a number of ways students can articulate to the programme and starting points are flexible to promote lifelong learning. The programme has also been designed to allow progression to a number of honours degree programmes (Computer Science, Information Systems Management, Internet Technologies).

    "Foundation Degrees integrate academic and work-based learning through close collaboration between employers and programme providers".

    The programme offers two work-based learning modules. The programme assessment has links with employers providing real solutions for local employers e.g. developing web sites for local businesses. Views from employers have been sought in the content and assessment design. Employers have also and will continue to be involved with the assessment of students by providing real life case studies and guest speakers in the course delivery.

    "Foundation Degrees are intended to provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills that employers need. In order to achieve this it is important that employers are fully involved in the design and regular review of Foundation Degree programmes. It is beneficial if employers are involved, where possible, in the delivery and assessment of the programme and the monitoring of students, particularly within the workplace."

    Views from employers have been sought in the content and assessment design. Employers have also and will continue to be involved with the assessment of students by providing real life case studies e.g. developing web sites for local businesses and guest speakers in the course delivery.

    Level 4: Learning is predominantly tutor-designed and guided, and students are offered opportunities for individual initiative within this framework, which provides groundwork in subject-specific and transferable study skills and encouragement to communicate accurately.

    Level 5: Learning remains largely tutor-guided and students are encouraged to work in collaboration with tutors and fellow students. There is opportunity for consolidation and development of appropriate study skills and for experiencing a range of appropriate methods for tasks in hand.


    Lectures, supervised practical workshops, IT based learning, guided reading and resource-based learning, work based learning, oral presentations, reports, reflection and group work.

    In order to achieve an appropriate mix of assessment of knowledge, understanding and skills, a blend of assessment methods is required:

    1. Knowledge and understanding
      Appraisal of literature and systems, projects, presentations.
    2. Thinking or cognitive skills
      Coursework exercises, projects, presentations.
    3. Practical skills
      Coursework exercises, project work.
    4. Transferable/key skills
      Reports, presentations, reflection through work based learning support and group presentation.

    Subject to the overall pattern of assessment conforming to this strategy, each module is assessed by the most appropriate types of assessment, suitably weighted. Assessment and reassessment methods are detailed in the module outlines.

    There are clear assessment criteria and a marking scheme for every assessment. Marking schemes identify levels of performance against specific learning outcomes. They indicate how the final mark will be derived, and are designed to facilitate second marking and constructive feedback to students from the tutor.

    Wherever possible assessments will be based on real life scenarios or for real world clients

    The programmes clearly offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a foundation degree graduate. Successful achievement of the learning outcomes as mapped to benchmarks throughout this document will evidence the level that the students have achieved.

    On completion of their study a graduate will be able to enter a range of careers, typically:

    • Computer programmer
    • Systems analyst
    • Database developer
    • Web designer

    Students can also progress to the third and final year of the following honours degree programmes:

    • Computer Science
    • Information Systems Management

    The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

    All four colleges are committed to promoting equality of opportunity for students, staff and all members of its community. We value diversity and the colleges aim to provide an environment in which people feel secure, difference is respected and social exclusion is positively addressed. The colleges are committed to challenging discrimination and inequality throughout the organisation and to promoting and celebrating difference and diversity. The structure of the four colleges supports this commitment by offering a programme of support which enables all learners to access an appropriate learning experience.


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