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Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Data and Systems Analysis

Key facts

TypesOnline and Distance Learning
Oxford Qualification - Part-time
Start dateOct 2014
Subject area(s)Computing
FeesFees for 2014-15: £2,235 (Home/EU) £3,820 (non-EU). (You may pay by instalment.)
Application statusApplications being accepted
Application deadlineFri 01 August 2014
Course contactIf you have any questions about this course, please email InternetCourses@conted.ox.ac.uk or telephone 01865 280973.


This course enables you to extend your skills from that of a computer user to those of an application analyst and designer. In doing so, this course aims to build upon your own knowledge of computing in order to provide an understanding of modern systems analysis, development and management

Many of our former students have used the course as a springboard to a new career, for career progression and having their skills upgraded by their employer:

"Studying the Advanced Diploma has been a challenging and rewarding experience. This part-time course requires discipline and commitment. The course taught me how to think in this field, and gave me an excellent preparation for analyst roles in my professional career. Impressed by the quality of teaching from Oxford, I am now reading for Oxford University’s MSc in Software Engineering at the Department of Computer Science." Weihai He


The Advanced Diploma in Data and Systems Analysis is at third-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 6) and is delivered entirely online. The course attracts people who wish to further their knowledge and experience of practical software development, as well as software professionals. Many of our students go on to further full or part-time studies in a variety of different areas of computing.

We cover the analysis of software systems in terms of their data requirements, function, performance and usability. The subject matter includes many of the basic modelling techniques used in modern software and data analysis. Students are also given the opportunity to apply these ideas through the analysis of a real problem – working in small teams to tight deadlines.

There are no formal entry qualifications for the course, but candidates must have had some reasonable experience of software – perhaps in a work or academic setting. Applicants must also meet the University minimum requirement in English language proficiency.

In 2013 we surveyed all students of the course from the previous three years; 100% rated the course as 'very good’ or 'good'.

Key Dates

  • Open to applications : Monday 02 December 2013
  • Last day for applications : Friday 01 August 2014
  • Course starts: Thursday 02 October 2014
  • Course ends: Monday 13 July 2015

Programme details

The following provides indicative content of the course units. This is regularly up-dated to reflect recent developments and feedback from students.
  • The System Development Life-cycle and Management.
  • Systems Analysis and Design: Data Driven & Procedural Techniques.
  • Systems Analysis and Design: Data Organisation.
  • Systems Analysis and Design: Objects & Architectures.
  • Team Project.

Prospective applicants should note that it is a course requirement that students participate fully in the team working unit For the full Course Programme Specification, see here.

Course aims

Course aims:
  • To impart knowledge of functional, data-driven and object oriented design.
  • To familiarize participants with modern systems and data modelling techniques.
  • To develop an understanding of the issues, problems and basic ideas of software development and data design
  • To impart practical experience of the analysis and design of a small computer system - working in a team of fellow students and responding to tight operational deadlines.



Students satisfying the assessment and participation requirements will be awarded an Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Data and Systems Analysis from the University of Oxford.
Outstanding performance will qualify for a Distinction.
The Advanced Diploma also carries a CATS rating of 60 points at FHEQ Level 6.

Assessment methods

Each unit includes a marked assignment. This must be submitted electronically for assessment by the stipulated dates. The assessment of a final award is based upon marks for all unit assignments. In each year all assignments must be completed. All assessments are subject to moderation by an external examiner.The regulations allow for re-submissions of assessed work in certain circumstances.

The detailed assessment requirements are contained in the course regulations, a copy of which will be provided to students upon registering for the course; if you would like a copy, please contact the Department's Registry, via registry@conted.ox.ac.uk

The final part of the course is a team project. This assessment involves a number of different submissions, some individual and some by the team. This course does not involve a formal written examination and does not require students to come to Oxford, although we encourage completing students to attend the award ceremony in the famous Sheldonian theatre.

Teaching methods

What does studying the course involve?

The course material is delivered totally online in the form of five units, each of which involve seven weeks of study. This includes time to prepare the unit assignment. This is complemented by the use of virtual classrooms, online forums and tutorial support, in an allocated tutor group and with a personal tutor.

The study of a unit is guided by the online material and involves a mixture of reading web-based material, completing self-study exercises and participating in group exercises with other students, as well as writing the unit assignment. Some of these exercises involve interacting with other students, and to enable this to be effective these exercises may be scheduled to take place during a specified period. For this reason, and in order to help students follow a structured pattern of study, we issue a recommended unit timetable. Details of the unit timetable will be provided on enrolment.

It is a requirement of the award that students must participate in the various course activities to the satisfaction of their tutors, which they do by participation in the virtual classroom. Using the virtual classroom students are able to discuss their problems with their fellow students and the course tutors.

The virtual classroom forms an integral part of the course experience and is very popular among students. In common with undergraduate life here at Oxford a 'virtual common room' is available to all students so that they can 'chat' with others in your group on more wide ranging matters - an ideal way of getting to know each other.

Tutorial Support

A feature of study at the University of Oxford has always been the interaction with a dedicated tutor to assist each student with their studies. This tradition is continued with this online course. We believe that our attention to this sort of support is a distinctive feature and benefit of the course.

The Tutor Group

Every student on the course is assigned to a tutor group under the supervision of a qualified tutor. The tutor's role is to provide general guidance on the progress of a student’s studies and to assist with any problems encountered. The tutor also marks assignments and provides feedback on the progress of each student in their tutor group. Communication with an assigned tutor will normally be via the virtual classroom or email.

Introduction to a Typical Tutor

A typical online tutor has a PhD in computing and will also have more than eight years of experience in providing online support. Your tutor will also have personal experience of lifelong learning in both a classroom and online context. This will be complemented by university classroom lecturing experience and applied knowledge gained in industry.

Student Consultation

Every year we invite student representatives to come to meet us in Oxford and to discuss any issue of their choice with the course team.

Teaching outcomes

• An appreciation of process models and knowledge to enable selection of the most appropriate model for a specific project.
• An understanding of the general concepts of project management.
• An overview knowledge of Systems Analysis contexts and methodologies.
• An understanding of the Requirements process.
• A knowledge of Data Organisation.
• A knowledge, and appreciation, of the ideas of O-O, analysis and design.
• An understanding of the practical aspects of team working.


The course fees for 2013-14 are £2,235 (Home/EU) £3,820 (non-EU). A non-refundable deposit of £250 or 10% of the course fee, whichever if higher, must be paid on acceptance. The remainder of the fee can be paid in instalments. The fee includes all Internet course materials and tuition. If a student withdraws before completing the course, a refund of part of the fees may be payable, depending on the date of withdrawal. Full details of the refund policy will be sent before enrolment to all applicants offered a place. For further information about methods of fee payment and refunds, please contact the Online Courses Manager listed under contacts.For information on sources of financial support, refer to Financial Assistance below. You are advised to take into account the following expenses in addition to the course fee:
  • Subscription to an Internet Service Provider
  • Computing equipment at your place of study

Funding and financial assistance

For information on student funding, please visit our website: www.conted.ox.ac.uk and follow links to `students’ and `sources of funding’. You will find information on student loans, bursaries and Professional and Career Development Loans as well as details of external sources of funding. For more detailed information on all of the above, contact the Registry on 01865 280355 or registry@conted.ox.ac.uk

Apply for this course

For computing facilities you will need, please read Computing Facilities Required.

If your first language is not English please review our English Language Requirements.

Applicants may be contacted for further information to help the Course admissions committee make a decision. To avoid delay it is important that the application form is completed as fully as possible. You should note that the number of places on the course is limited, and these will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis for suitable applicants.

Before applying please read our advice on Who Should Apply and How to Apply

You should then download the application form and once completed you should email it to internetcourses@conted.ox.ac.uk, putting your name and the course title in the subject field. The receipt of your application will be acknowledged via email.

The Course admissions committee would normally intend to make a decision within 4 weeks of receipt of the fully completed application and receipt of both references.

Obtaining References

Applicants should name two people who are willing to act as referees, and send a copy of our Reference Letter to each.

Applicants must contact their referees. Referees should submit their references to the Department directly.

If possible, references should know you in an academic or professional capacity, but where this is impossible, applicants should name referees who can vouch for their motivation, commitment, ability and computing experience and if necessary, English language proficiency. Only in exceptional circumstances should a referee be a relative of the applicant and if this is the case the reason(s) and nature of the relationship must be clearly stated on the application form. As it can take a considerable amount of time for us to process references it is best to apply as early as possible. Please note that your application will not be considered until both references are received.

Please read our Terms and Conditions and Student Contract before applying for this course.
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