Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in IT Systems Analysis and Design (Online)

Key facts

Level: Third-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 6) 

Mode: Online

Duration: 1 year

Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in IT Systems Analysis and Design (Online)

Applications for October 2017 entry will be accepted from 1 December 2016

How you can benefit from this course

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.

The course was formerly offered under the title: Advanced Diploma in Data and Systems Analysis.

What the course offers

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 modeling 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. 

Key dates

Application deadlines : 10 March, 12 May, 30 June and 28 July 2016.

Applications for October 2017 entry will be accepted from 1 December 2016

Programme details

The following provides indicative content of the course units. This is regularly updated 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.

Course aims

  • To impart knowledge of functional, data-driven and object oriented design.
  • To familiarize participants with modern systems and data modeling 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 IT Systems Analysis and Design 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.

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 2016-17 are £2,460 (Home/EU) £4,210 (non-EU). A non-refundable deposit of £200 must be paid on acceptance of a place. The remainder of the fee can be paid in one instalment, due 1 October 2016, or in 5 equal instalments from 1 October 2016 to 1 February 2017 inclusive. The fee includes all online course materials and tuition. For further information about methods of fee payment and refunds, please contact the Online Courses Manager at internetcourses@conted.ox.ac.uk.

Funding and financial assistance

For information on student funding, please visit our fees and funding page. For more detailed information on all of the above, contact the Registry on 01865 280355. or registry@conted.ox.ac.uk

Who Should Apply?

The Advanced Diploma in IT Systems Analysis and Design is a challenging course demanding a sustained commitment over one year. Applicants should ensure that they will be able to devote adequate time to study the course alongside their other commitments. However the distance learning mode has been designed to make the course as accessible as possible, and will allow most study time to be arranged to suit individual circumstances. Our previous online computing courses have attracted students from all over the world and a wide variety of occupations, such as teaching, administration, healthcare, social work and industry, as well as those in the IT industry. This mix of student backgrounds and experience leads to a lively and stimulating study environment.

Entry Requirements

There are no formal entry qualifications but applicants need to satisfy the admissions panel that they will be able to understand the concepts involved in this level six course. In order to assist us to assess whether or not you have the right level of knowledge, experience, ability and motivation to undertake the course, we ask all applicants to provide comprehensive details of their current skills and experience in computing, and their reasons for doing the course.

Completing the application form

Please download the application form an once completed you should email it to internetcourses@conted.ox.ac.uk, putting your name and the course title in the subject field. You should also email the following additional materials to internetcourses@conted.ox.ac.uk

1. A written statement of 300 to 400 words stating why you wish to study this course

2. Proof of your English Language Ability if you are a non-native English-speaking applicant.

You will also need to arrange for two references to be emailed to us. If possible, your referees should be peope who can comment on your academic ability and background, but where this is not appropriate, please choose referees who can vouch for your motivation, commitment and potential. A reference from a family member is not acceptable.

The receipt of your application will be acknowledged via email. Applications will be considered after the deadline following receipt.

This a popular course so we recommend you apply by the earlier deadline. Late applications will be considered if there are still places on the course, but applications cannot be considered after the course has begun. Please contact the Online Courses Manager via internetcourses@conted.ox.ac.uk to check availability. The final decision on admission to the course rests with OUDCE.

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

If your first language is not English please review the University's English Language Requirements.

All the Department's Online Short Courses are developed by our Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning (TALL) unit. To learn more, please see the TALL website.


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Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course

Sources of funding

Information on financial support