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 taught at third-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 6).

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Who is this course for?

The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work. Nowadays through the digital transformation most businesses are operating in a hybrid fashion relying heavily on digital systems and processes to achieve their goals. As a result, 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 for this course, 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.

Please note that this course was formerly offered under the title ‘Advanced Diploma in Data and Systems Analysis’.

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 click on the ‘Apply’ button which will automatically notify us that you want a link to the online application form. We will email you that link together with a code to waive the application fee, and guidance on completing and submitting your application.

You will need to upload the following documents as part of your application:

  • 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 English language ability if a non-native English speaker. Further information on English language requirements can be found here. Please note that candidates are required to have the standard level score.
  • contact details for two referee​s

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.  Reference from family members are not acceptable.

Admissions decisions will be based on an assessment of knowledge, relevant experience, academic ability, potential and suitability for a course of study. We welcome applicants without traditional qualifications, including those with relevant career or life skills.

Selection criteria

Even if a course has no specific academic entry requirements then: (a) assessment of an applicant’s academic ability and suitability for the course of study will still take place and (b) since applications for many courses often significantly exceed places available, each application will be judged against the gathered field of applicants for each course each year.

The University is committed to promoting diversity, equality, inclusion, and widening access, including during the admissions process. We fully endorse the Equality Policy and our admissions procedures are kept under regular review to ensure compliance with this policy.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for interview.

The final decision on admission to the course rests with the Department.

Award and credit transfer

An Undergraduate Advanced Diploma will be awarded on completion of the course. You will be invited to receive your Diploma at the annual Awards Ceremony of the Department for Continuing Education, held at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre. This happy occasion provides an opportunity to meet your tutor and fellow students in person.

Students who successfully complete this course will be awarded an Oxford University Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in IT Systems Analysis and Design. The Diploma carries a Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) rating of 60 points at FHEQ Level 6. Outstanding performance will qualify for a Distinction. These credit points are widely recognised in terms of credit for transfer to other higher education institutions, including the Open University and modular universities such as Oxford Brookes University. 

Opportunities vary for the transfer of credit, so students who are considering taking this course in order to transfer credit are advised to discuss the possibilities with the Course Administrator on undergraduate@conted.ox.ac.uk or student.support@conted.ox.ac.uk

Learn more about the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS points).


The fee for 2024-25 is £3,620 (Home, Islands, and Republic of Ireland students) or £6,210 (Overseas students). An option to pay the fee in instalments may be available.

Information for applicants from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

On 11 May 2021 the UK Council for International Student Affairs published new regulations and guidance to be used in assessing the fee status of students commencing courses in August 2021 and later. We will be using this guidance to carry out fee status assessments for students commencing courses in 2021/22 and later, including students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland. 

If you are an EU national and do not live in the UK then you are likely to be charged Overseas fees. Students with settled and pre-settled status in the UK and some other categories of students who work in the UK can qualify for Home fee status as long as they meet the residence criteria.

Students from outside the UK/Republic of Ireland

If you are from outside the UK/Republic of Ireland, you will be classed either as an ‘Overseas’ or 'Islands' student.

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

English language requirements

Please check the information on the specific English language requirements for this course. Applicants are required to have the standard level scores.


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