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

Course details

This course, taught entirely online, is designed to take your knowledge and experience of practical software development to a new level.

Building on your existing knowledge, this course will help you upgrade your skills from those of an ordinary computer user to those required by an application analyst and designer. 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 contemporary software and data analysis. You also have the chance to apply these ideas through the analysis of a real problem as you would in a realistic operational environment – working in small teams to tight deadlines.

Delivered entirely online, the course is equivalent to third-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 6). Please note that this course was formerly offered under the title ‘Advanced Diploma in Data and Systems Analysis’.

Coronavirus update

The admissions cycle for this programme is progressing as planned, and the University is committed to ensuring that offer holders can take up their place as expected. Information will be made available as the situation develops.

Who is this course for?

You might be looking for career progression within IT, or to move into an IT role from another function. There are no formal entry qualifications, but you must have some reasonable experience of software – perhaps in a work or academic setting. We will ask you to provide comprehensive details of your current skills and experience in computing, and your reasons for doing the course, to help us assess whether your level of knowledge, ability and motivation is right for this Level 6 course.

This is a challenging course demanding a sustained commitment over one year. You should be sure that you will be able to devote adequate time to studying alongside your other commitments. However, the distance learning mode has been designed to make the course as accessible as possible, allowing you a good degree of flexibility in when you study.

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 already working in IT. This mix of student backgrounds and experience leads to a lively and stimulating study environment.

How you will study

The course material is delivered entirely online in five units, each involving seven weeks of study, which includes time to prepare the unit assignment. You will be part of an allocated tutor group, 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 you follow a structured pattern of study, we will give you a recommended unit timetable.

The virtual classroom forms an integral part of the course, allowing you to discuss issues with your fellow students and course tutors. In common with undergraduate life here at Oxford, a 'virtual common room' is available so that you can 'chat' with others in your group on more wide-ranging matters – an ideal way of getting to know each other.

The course in detail

Course content

We update our course content regularly to reflect recent developments and feedback from students, so the list given below is provisional and may change.

  • The System Development Life-Cycle and Management
  • Systems Analysis and Design: Data Driven and Procedural Techniques
  • Systems Analysis and Design: Data Organisation
  • Systems Analysis and Design: Objects and Architectures
  • Team Project

It is expected that students participate fully in the team project.


Each unit includes a marked assignment, which must be submitted electronically by the given deadline. All the assignments must be completed. The assessment for your final award is based on the marks for all your unit assignments.

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.

The 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.

IT requirements

This course has a substantial IT element. Guidance is provided but students need to have regular access to a computer and the internet and a good level of experience and skill including the proficient use of Microsoft Word or similar word-processing package, email and internet browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome.

The computer you use should meet our recommended minimum computer specification.

Teaching staff

Course Director: Dr Sepideh Chakaveh

Our typical online tutor has a PhD in computing and 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.

Having the support of dedicated tutor is an essential feature and benefit of studying at the University of Oxford, a tradition which is continued in this online course. You will also be part of a tutor group. The tutor's role is to provide general guidance on the progress of your studies and to assist with any problems encountered, as well as marking your assignments. Communication with an assigned tutor will normally be via the virtual classroom or email.

Contact information

If you have any queries about the course, please email: undergraduate@conted.ox.ac.uk

For general guidance and advice, credit transfer, special needs provision and sources of funding: +44 (0)1865 280355 student.support@conted.ox.ac.uk

For information about Study Skills courses: +44 (0)1865 280892 studyskills@conted.ox.ac.uk

How to apply

Please use the 'Apply' button to obtain the application and reference form. Download the application form, and once you have completed it you should email it to undergraduate@conted.ox.ac.uk putting your name and the course title in the subject field. You should also email the following additional materials to undergraduate@conted.ox.ac.uk

  • A written statement of 300–400 words stating why you wish to study this course
  • Details of your computing experience and computer system
  • Proof of your English language ability if you are a non-native English-speaking applicant (see below for more information).

You will also need to arrange for two references to be emailed to us. If possible, your referees should be people 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.

Applications will be considered on a rolling admissions basis until 16 July 2020 if places remain. Early application is encouraged.The final decision on admission rests with the Department.

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.

Award and credit transfer

An Undergraduate Advanced Diploma will be awarded on completion of the course. Outstanding performance will qualify for a Distinction. You will be invited to receive your Advanced Diploma at the annual Awards Ceremony of the Department for Continuing Education, held at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre.

Students are eligible for the award of 60 transferable credit (CATS) points at FHEQ Level 6 on successful completion of the one-year course. Credit points may be transferred to the Open University, modular universities such as Oxford Brookes University, and other institutions of Higher Education. For further information about transfer of credit, contact the Student Adviser on +44 (0)1865 280355 or undergraduate@conted.ox.ac.uk.


The fee for 2020-21 is £2,825 (Home / EU students) or £4,840 (non-EU students). An option to pay the fee in instalments is available. The fee includes all online course materials and tuition.

Following an announcement by the Universities Minister on 28 May 2019, EU students commencing their studies in 2020/21 academic year will be charged fees at the home rate for the duration of their course, whether a deal for leaving the EU is in place or not. 

Information on financial support can be found on our website here.

English language requirements

Check information on the specific English language requirements for this course.

Applicants are required to have the Standard level scores.