Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Computer Science


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap 260 Location Durham


  • A-level Mathematics at Grade A


Excluded Combination of Modules


  • To introduce students to fundamental concepts from Computer Science and give students an appreciation of the breadth of Computer Science and how different topics relate to one another.
  • To give an awareness of the importance of computation and computational thinking in the modern world and the impact it has on technology advances and areas not immediately associated with Computer Science.
  • To introduce students to the application of computational thinking in a range of settings across Computer Science.


  • Basic architectural components of a PC.
  • Different programming paradigms and how high-level programs are converted into machine code.
  • Basic operations of the operating system.
  • Propositional logic.
  • Different computational problems, some solution methods to common problems and the notion of an algorithm.
  • The notion of a computer and its formalism.
  • The measurement and efficiency of solutions.
  • Intrinsic complexity barriers and how to cope with them in practice.
  • Ethical aspects of computing.
  • A basic general-purpose high-level programming language and the implementation of programs in this language to implement examples of computational thinking in a variety of settings.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate: an appreciation of how hardware and software combine so as to execute compute programs
  • an understanding of fundamental notions relating to problems and their solution in Computer Science
  • an appreciation of the role of Computer Science and computational thinking in the modern world
  • an understanding of several approaches to solving fundamental computational problems
  • an appreciation of the practical limitations of computers and computation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate: an ability to recognise and analyse computational problems in a variety of settings
  • an ability to reason in propositional logic.
  • an ability to apply methods and techniques relating to algorithms and computation in order to solve problems
  • an ability to reason about the quality of a solution or an algorithm
  • an ability to implement basic algorithms in a general-purpose high-level programming language so as to solve fundamental problems in different domains.
Key Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate: an ability to reason about the solution of general problems and apply different problem-solving techniques.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures enable the students to learn new material relevant to computational thinking.
  • Practical classes enable the students to put into practice learning from lectures and strengthen their understanding through application (by implementing and applying algorithms in a general-purpose, high-level programming language).
  • Students are assessed by formative and summative assessment and examinations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
lectures 40 2 per week 1 hour 40
practical classes 19 1 per week 2 hours 38
preparation and reading 122
total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Coursework 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Examples and exercises are given throughout the course, to be undertaken and then discussed in practical sessions.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University