Applied Software Development BSc (Hons)

Course code I310

What is special about this course?

Did you know that artificial intelligence and data analytics are being used by IBM to support rhino conservation in Africa? Or that IBM Blockchain is used to trace products through a supply chain, from farm to fork, reducing the risk of food-borne illness and fraud? Do you want to be involved in creating software that helps solve a range of global challenges just like this?

In collaboration with IBM, we have created this innovative BSc (Hons) Applied Software Development degree to help you develop the skills, knowledge, creativity and confidence to be successful within this field. Replicating modern software development practices, you will work in teams throughout the programme. Set entirely online, a typical day will begin with a short meeting to set the team’s priorities, allowing you to manage your time between practical work, directed learning and scheduled tutorials. You will work to develop a portfolio that will be attractive to employers; this will be used by your tutors to assess your individual contribution to each project. Team work will be supported by an annual boot camp delivered at the start of each academic year. You will have access to world-class technical input from professional mentors and guest speakers, and be encouraged to develop individual expertise and industry contacts.

Got questions?

Special features

  • Access the latest technologies, supported by IBM, one of the largest technology consulting companies in the world
  • A programme of guest speakers, industry mentors from around the globe and enhanced IBM Cloud access will complement your learning
  • Learn how to apply software to real-world challenges across a wide range of industries and communities

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • Alternatively, completion of a Foundation Apprenticeship, plus 1 Scottish Higher
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications and experience, particularly from creative backgrounds, will be considered on an individual basis

IBM and the IBM logo are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.

Year 1 - CertHE

You will work with projects, building your foundational skills and introducing you to Agile practices.

Core concepts covered:

Year 2 - DipHE

You will work on industry-related projects and develop your portfolio of work.

Core concepts covered:

Year 3 - BSc

You will explore the start and end of the software development lifecycle, looking at lean methodologies, and how businesses use data to inform their actions.

Core concepts covered:

Year 4 - BSc (Hons)

You will work on a single product, looking at project and technical considerations including business planning and finding investors.

Core concepts covered:

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)

You will access learning materials via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), and scheduled tutorials by video conference. You will use modern software development tools to work with fellow students in your project teams

Find out more about how this course is structured from the development team

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 20 hours per week

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll
  • Inverness
  • Moray
  • North, West and Hebrides
  • Orkney
  • Perth
  • Shetland

This fully online course can be studied from anywhere in the world. You can choose one of the above partners to apply to, and will be enrolled and supported by staff at your chosen location.

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Degrees 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £915 £915

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) or assessed as rest of the UK for fee status, the following fees apply:

Degrees 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £6,120 £6,120
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £3,060 £3,060

International students and EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK

For students who do not normally reside in the UK studying online from their home country, or living in the UK but assessed as international for fee status, the following fees apply:

Degrees 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £7,260 £7,692
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £3,630 £3,846

This course is not open for international students requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed BSc (Hons) Applied Software Development, you may wish to pursue a career in the following fields:

  • Software developer
  • Games developer
  • Software testing
  • Web development
  • Database administrator
  • Technical project manager
  • Start-up founder

Can I progress into further study?

You may wish to progress to one of our postgraduate courses such as MSc Web Technologies or pursue a PGDE with a view to becoming a computing teacher.

Is there more information available online?

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The course was right for me because of its practical and team-based approach to study and, being based in the Highlands, a full-time online course appealed more to me. To get the most from this course I'd say you need to develop a very hands-on way of learning; this course does not follow the traditional degree format. It’s ideal for people who enjoy applying their knowledge to real life problems and building things from scratch.

Very early on in my study I was a member of three teams entered into a week-long, online international coding competition hosted by IBM, to come up with software solutions to three climate change issues: water sustainability, energy sustainability and disaster resiliency. We won first place in two of the three categories in the Call for Code Spot Challenge, beating off competition from over 900 students from 100 universities across the world.

I found the competition incredibly exciting and challenging. We were up against a significant number of teams from around the world, many of which already had years of experience under their belt. I am incredibly proud of myself and the class for the results we have achieved and, in the short 10 weeks that the course has been running, we have already proved a lot about our abilities to generate and implement ideas. 

Davis Ansons studied the BSc (Hons) Applied Software Development at UHI Inverness.

IBM is excited about our collaboration with the University of the Highlands and Islands on their BSc (Hons) Applied Software Development. The university is delivering an innovative programme that will see students prepared for employment to the very highest standard. IBM is providing our IBM Cloud platform through our Academic Initiative and providing support with IBM SMEs to allow students to have access to the latest technologies at the forefront of the industry, with world-class technical input to add a real business context. This degree will also deliver students with the meta-skills, such as communication and team-work, at the high level industry has been calling for. We look forward to working with the university and wish the students every success.

Naguib Attia is VP of the Global University Program at IBM.

Apply for Applied Software Development BSc (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.