BSc (Hons) Business Information Systems - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Business Information Systems

UCAS codeG521

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Combining technical and managerial knowledge of information systems

Course Overview

Why take this course?

Today businesses are driven by the information they offer and more often than not, this is via modern systems using networked computers, the web and large scale databases. This course provides you with the technical and managerial understanding to develop and manage such information systems. The combined abilities of a professional information systems designer who understands the needs of a business, is an extremely employable asset.

This course is also available as a top-up degree through distance learning.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Apply your skills to real-life practical problems as part of the department’s partnership scheme with charities, local and global organisations
  • Use our fully equipped multi-platform suites and computer labs to enhance your learning experience
  • Opt to do a salaried placement year

What opportunities might it lead to?

Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT professional (CITP).

Studying this degree will provide a solid foundation for building a career in the business information systems arena.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • IT management
  • business intelligence
  • business analysts
  • project managers
  • business continuity analysts
  • IT consultants
  • systems designers


Katie Tuffrey, computing student 2012

One of the best things about the course is it's very hands on. You learn by doing and not just theory.

Katie Tuffrey, computing student 2012


Computing and Creative Technologies

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Hands-on, practical work and real-life learning, which is transferable to future careers
  • Approachable lecturers who have experience and contacts in the industry

Browse all courses in Computing and Creative Technologies

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

Your first year provides a solid technical foundation, which involves a practically based understanding of how computers work and how software systems are developed. You’ll also be introduced to how such systems are applied in a business context and use case studies to explore what works well in modern business practice.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Business Systems Analysis and Design
  • Introduction to Database Design and Development
  • Social & Legal Aspects of Computing
  • Web Foundations 1
  • Basics of the Business Environment
  • Introduction to Programming 

Year two

The main focus this year will continue to be on information systems and business systems analysis. You’ll also have a choice of topics from computer science and information systems disciplines, enabling you to focus on computing topics or those with more of a business or programming flavour.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Business Information Systems Security
  • Business Research
  • Business Systems Analysis
  • Database Principles
  • Information Systems and Project Management

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Business and Employment Law
  • Computing Undergraduate Ambassador
  • Getting Usability into Development Environments
  • Social Computing for Business
  • Web-Script Programming

Year three*

By your final year you will have a good understanding of industry-standard techniques, equipment and software packages. Alongside some further units on information systems management and project management, you’ll be expected to put your new skills into practice in a large-scale personal project. This final year project gives you the freedom to analyse, design, build and evaluate your own work.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Information Systems Management
  • Advanced Systems Analysis
  • Final Year Study Project or Individual Project (Engineering)

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Advanced Database Concepts
  • Security Management
  • Educational Computing
  • Digital Enterprise and Innovation
  • Project Management for Information Systems

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


Here at the University, we aim to provide a lively and modern learning environment. During this course you will experience a mixture of lectures, tutorials, laboratory and project work. While lecture classes can be large, the more personal approach of seminars and tutorials offer more one-to-one support from our expert academics.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 26% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 74% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 24% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 76% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 19% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 81% studying independently and 0% on work placement


We assess you in a ways that encourage a deeper understanding and allow you to develop your skills including through:

  • multiple choice tests
  • essays
  • written exams
  • mini projects
  • presentations
  • review articles

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 40% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 60% by coursework
  • Year two students: 15% by written exams, 3% by practical exams and 82% by coursework
  • Year three students: 13% by written exams, 10% by practical exams and 77% by coursework

Tutor's view


Shelley Ward

At the heart of any successful business is the staff, IT infrastructure and the Information Systems used to carry out day-to-day business functions. This course uniquely gives you a broad understanding of Computing and Information Systems development and management as well as the business context within which they operate.

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Facilities & Features

Specialist Software and Equipment

A full range of industry software will be available for you to use in the computer labs, supported by multi-platform network suites offering a variety of operating systems. You’ll have a range of excellent resources at your fingertips including:

  • mobile computing lab to develop Android and iOS apps
  • pervasive computing lab for high performance computing
  • usability lab including state of the art eye tracking equipment
  • Linux and Windows systems
  • forensics lab with industry standard forensic tools

Tutor Centre

A one-stop academic help and support resource for all School of Computing students. Need help understanding your assessments? Want to talk to someone about your project or about that programming problem? This is the place to go.

Maths Café

Drop in any time and get one-to-one help with that tricky maths or stats problem. With handouts on key topics to take away and computer-aided learning packages, we can get the problem solved and help you improve your numeracy skills.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

On completing this course, you will possess a dynamic combination of technical ability, information systems development and management knowledge, plus a solid grasp of business processes. Our graduates have secured roles within computer design and software houses, information systems consultancies and data systems organisations. They've also been hired by a range of local, national and international companies as business analysts, consultants and systems designers. It’s also fairly common for our graduates to be snapped up by the employer they worked for in their placement year. Others continue their study at both MSc and PhD levels.

Overall you will be well qualified for many of the major computing graduate programmes or employment in varied fields of the computing industry.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • business continuity analyst
  • software engineer
  • analyst programmer
  • systems consultant
  • web developer
  • systems analyst

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

The best way to boost your CV is by doing an industry placement. This is a great opportunity to put your developing skills into practice in an industrial or commercial setting – and be paid for it! Taking a year in industry is extremely effective way to increase your employability for when you finish the course. You may even find that your placement employer hires you once you graduate.

Our team at the Student Placement and Employability Centre (SPEC) ensure you have access to a range of volunteering and work experience opportunities. We also offer support during your year-long industrial placements, and provide support for the different types of application processes.

Here are some examples of the roles our students have secured for their placements:

  • Service Desk Engineer at Xyratex
  • Technical Services Consultant at Hewlett Packard
  • IT Business Analyst Intern at Intel

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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