Higher Diploma in Computer Science [1 Year Full-time]

University College Dublin (HDSCI001 - F118)
Key Programme Details

Higher Diploma

NFQ Level

8 About NFQ

Delivery Method

Classroom - Daytime


Full Time

ECTS Credits



School of Computer Science

General Information

Grainne Ni Nuallain






Graduate Taught Office A0.11
Computer Science Building
UCD Belfield
Dublin 4


Programme Manager

Important Dates
Application Deadline


Start Date


End Date


About this Course

This programme is suitable for individuals holding a primary degree in another discipline (e.g., Arts, Business, Social Science, etc.), seeking to convert to computer science. It is a 1-year full-time programme delivered over three semesters. The programme places a strong emphasis on the practical aspects of modern Computer Science and is designed to provide individuals with the appropriate skills to enter into an IT related career. The programme includes a pathway to the MSc Computer Science (Conversion) programme (contact cs_conversion@ucd.ie for details).

Entry Requirements

This programme is intended for applicants who do not already have a Computer Science or ICT background. An upper second class honours degree, or the international equivalent, in another discipline is required for entry. It is important that candidates are of sufficient caliber to manage the demands of the programme. Applications are therefore invited from individuals who demonstrate themselves to have the capacity and underlying aptitude to engage in an intensive programme of study and work experience to acquire industry relevant ICT skills at NFQ Level 8.

Computer Science is a mathematical subject involving logical understanding and reasoning and therefore applicants must be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of mathematics.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0), or equivalent.

Applicants must also ask referees to complete the course-specific postgraduate referee report, which must be returned to UCD by the referees. This will be clearly specified on the course website and online applications area.

Long Description

The Higher Diploma in Computer Science [ICT Skills Conversion] is an NFQ Level 8 skills conversion programme aimed at students holding a primary degree in another discipline (e.g., Arts, Business, Social Science, etc.) who wish to gain a postgraduate qualification in Computer Science. Building on key transferable graduate outcomes of communication, reflection, critical thinking and independent learning that our students bring to the programme, we seek to develop individuals with the skills and experience necessary to enter into an ICT-related career. We provide a learning environment that is practically-oriented and place a strong emphasis on developing competence in core Computer Science topics and programming skills. As such, the teaching, learning and assessment approaches focus on hands-on practical sessions with assignments and MCQs, individual/group projects and presentations, and enquiry-based learning activities. These approaches are designed and delivered by leading academics at the UCD School of Computer Science specifically to facilitate the transition of non-Computer Science graduates into the ICT sector. During the summer, a work placement allows students to further develop the skills learned in the taught modules and to gain valuable experience working in a professional environment. This programme also constitutes a pathway to the NFQ level 9 MSc Computer Science (Conversion).

Reflecting the core skills required by today's technology companies, the learning outcomes of the programme are:
- Demonstrate an integrated knowledge and understanding of the scientific principles which underpin modern Computer Science.
- Synthesise a range of "Big Ideas" in Computer Science and critically reflect on how they relate to current applications and state-of-the-art research within and beyond the field.
- Apply the core principles of software engineering, database design and programming to solve real-world problems.
- Discover patterns in data and understand how decisions and predictions can be made using data analytics techniques.
- Employ web application development concepts and technologies to design and create feature-rich and versatile websites.
- Work with confidence both autonomously and as part of a team on ICT-related projects.
- Gain experience through a work placement in industry.

This is a 1-year full-time programme delivered over three semesters:
- Semester 1: Concentrates on computing fundamentals in broad areas such as: Computational Thinking, Operating Systems, Databases & Information Systems, Web Application Development, Introduction to Programming, and Object-Oriented Programming.
- Semester 2: Focuses on the practical application of Computer Science through modules in specialist areas such as: Data Analytics, Computer Architecture, Data Structures and Algorithms, Software Engineering, and Networks & Internet Systems.
- Semester 3: Provides participants with the opportunity to improve their skills and gain confidence in their abilities through a 12-week work placement in industry.

Career Opportunities

The UCD School of Computer Science has over 19 years of experience training non-Computer Science graduates. The conversion-student curriculum is practically oriented, with an emphasis on developing coding skills and competence in emerging technologies.

Past graduates of our conversion programmes have:
• Worked in the following roles: Lecturer, Programmer/Developer, SAP Support Engineer, Business Analyst, Software Engineer, IT Project Analyst, Performance Engineer, Web Applications Developer, Technical Analyst/Consultant, etc.
• Been employed by companies such as: UCD, IBM, Dell, Accenture, SAP, Mastercard, Deloitte, First Derivatives, General Motors, AIB, Eircom, Paddy Power, Betfair, WBT Systems Ltd., P3 Technology, BT Ireland, KPMG, Roche, Zalando, Nokia Bell Labs, CarTrawler, Gilt, Demonware, Click&Go, Murex, etc.

Timetable Info

26 hours of class time per week

Delivery Location

University College Dublin
Dublin 4

Delivery Notes


Admissions Contact Details
Contact Person

Gráinne Ní Nualláin


Graduate Taught Office A0.11
Computer Science Building
University College Dublin





RPL Information

It is not expected that applicants to this programme will have any prior experience in the ICT sector that could qualify for advanced entry through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) procedures. However, in exceptional cases some credit/module exemption will apply for those applicants with evidence-based achievement of learning outcomes that are relevant to the programme. Examples here might include: - A student who previously enrolled in skill-specific development modules (e.g. a programming module that was offered as an elective module as part of their undergraduate curriculum), or - Short programmes of learning that have led to a recognised qualification of achievement such as Java certifications from Oracle, W3C certifications etc. UCD encourages lifelong learning and provides the opportunity for prior learning to be recognised. Our RPL Policy facilitates Programme Boards as they seek to support students to have prior learning recognised for the purposes of admission into a UCD programme of study or, credit applied towards a UCD programme of study, or transfer into or between UCD programmes. E.g.,The progression case for HDip students progressing to MSc Computer Science (Conversion) allows up to 60 RPL credits acknowledging all relevant taught modules. Details concerning UCD’s RPL Policy can be found at: http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/rplstudents_g.pdf

Application Procedures