The four-year BSc (Hons) GA has an industry-driven approach, where students work full-time for a partner employer while studying towards a degree.

This course provides students with skills in both the theory and practice of computing, enabling them to guide the use of computing hardware and software technology in an effective manner, using scientific and business principles.

The BSc (Hons) Software Development for Business covers an exciting blend of software and hardware topics that enables the student to build, maintain and develop sophisticated applications for commercial, business or industrial purposes. The course will provide the student with the range of technical skills and knowledge needed to meet the challenges and requirements of the rapidly changing IT and computing industries.

The apprenticeship combines workplace learning with a programme of education designed to meet students' career ambitions.


BSc (Hons)

Course Dates


Course Length

4 years

Mode of Attendance

Work-based learning and blended learning (online distance learning with some on campus events)


The SDB course develops strong technical skills in software development with an additional four years of simultaneous work experience, preparing the graduate to work in a business environment geared to the development of software products designed to meet customer needs. In addition to providing skills that reflect the professional standards demanded by industry, the course offers a variety of specialised topics such as cloud computing, security, artificial intelligence and big data analytics, web application development and user centred design.

Stage 1

Knowledge and skills in software engineering and software architecture and introduction to the full software development lifecycle; principles of object oriented programming; principles of information systems, including information architecture and the development of web-based information systems; introduction to the fundamental functionality and organisation of the main components in computer systems.

Stage 2

Object oriented programming including modelling, design, implementation and testing of systems; database design principles and developing a relational database; security threats against information systems and the legal and ethical considerations as well as the role of human factors around storing data; designing, developing and testing dynamic web applications; managing a full software development lifecycle.

Stage 3

Project management within a software project development group, enhancing team working skills; quality methods in application development including verification and testing standards, and writing automated testing scripts; developing mobile computing applications using software tools; identifying weaknesses in web based systems and preventing system attacks; design, construction, and functioning of operating systems.

Stage 4

Undertake a substantial professional computing project with a strong software development component, developing technical, problem−solving, innovation skills and creativity and conforms to university codes of practice and ethical requirements; user interaction for digital products and services; cloud computing skills in constructing cloud-based applications; state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence and Big Data analytics techniques and tools.

In the Graduate Apprenticeship, the workplace forms the central learning environment for the student, and in some respects, plays the role that the computing laboratory would perform for campus based students who do not have access to a real-world environment.

Learning support materials are provided through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), which includes a range of equipment such as video and distance learning techniques as well as online interaction.

Additionally, there will be opportunities for the student to attend on-campus events to allow face-to-face interaction with staff and peers, participate in group activities with peers and to contribute to the overall student experience.

Employment: All applicants must be employed in a role related to the course of study. The employer must commit to providing a suitable workplace environment and to offering guidance and mentoring support to the apprentice. In addition, the company must be willing to partner with the university to create a setting in which the student will be able to achieve the required experience and learning outcomes.

SQA Higher: BBBC and two further passes to include English and Maths at National 5 grade C or above if not held at Higher. Applicants who have successfully completed two Advanced Highers (or equivalent), including Computing and another numerate subject, may be eligible.

Alternative Qualifications: We welcome applications from those with equivalent qualifications or work experience which equip them with an equivalent starting point for the course. Applications from students with non- standard qualifications (including Foundation Apprenticeships, Modern Apprenticeships, SVQs/NVQs and access programmes) or work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Advanced Entry: Applicants who are interested in applying for advanced (or flexible) entry will be considered on an individual basis. Attention is drawn to the university's process for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

English language requirements: All applicants whose first language is not English are required to have an Academic IELTS (International English Language Testing System) minimum score of 6.0. Appropriate equivalents will be considered.

The SDB course content has been validated by RGU for honours degree award.  There are no placements for these courses of study as the student is already employed in a work-based learning environment as an apprentice of the participating organisation.


A number of fully-funded courses are available for this course.

Fees are covered by Skills Development Scotland.

Employers of prospective candidates should contact Fiona Campbell, or Sally Charles,

Individuals not currently employed who wish to undertake GLA study should seek an apprenticeship with a participating employer via

Terms and Conditions of Admissions

The Terms and Conditions of Admission describe to applicants holding an offer of a place to study at RGU, the principal rights, duties and obligations of both the applicant and the University prior to enrolling on a course of study.

Terms and Conditions of Admissions (PDF 142KB)

A Graduate Apprenticeship synchronises theoretical learning with practical experience.

With each course tailored to the company, the GA programme offers benefits to both the employee and the employer, meeting the long term development needs of both business and student.

Students exiting with this GA degree qualification will be en route to employment in the following areas:

  • Software Development
  • Software Testing
  • Web Development
  • Database Architecture and Development

Our Graduate Apprenticeship courses are designed to meet the national frameworks developed by Skills Development Scotland, the subject frameworks of the QAA and the skill and knowledge areas identified as crucial by industry.

To be eligible for this course students must be recruited/employed by a partner employer of the university.

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