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Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development (Industry Stream/ICT Skills)
National University of Ireland, Galway

1 year full-time course

Course Overview

The HDipAppSc programe structure is based on a first semester of immersion in computing knowledge, supported by extensive laboratories, followed by a second semester of specialisation and industry placement. Key features of the approach are that it provides a:

  • Solid foundation in key computing knowledge at the level expected by industry;
  • Choice of specialisation allowing participants to focus on areas of strength and interest;
  • Model for industry involvement allowing industry to influence development and training of participants;
  • Significant placement/internship allowing participants to gain relevant experience and giving industry an opportunity to field test potential recruits.

Apply via the ICT Skills Initiative:

Course content

The syllabus is designed to build upon a prerequisite numerate background and aims to develop the skills and knowledge required for software design and development, and combine these skills with practical knowledge and experience from an industry placement. Outcomes will include:

  • A good understanding of core computing modules in: Object Oriented Software Development; Database Development; Computer Architecture, Operating Systems & Communications; Software Engineering and Project Management; and Internet Programming.
  • A solid foundation in advanced modules and industry-relevant specialisms, including one of Enterprise Java Programming; or .NET Programming.
  • An appreciation and awareness of industry-strength software development processes and technologies, enabled through a 3–6 month placement, and work experience on a practical and challenging industry project.

Work Placement/Internship

In the first weeks of Semester 1, the student will be introduced to their work placement company, and allocated both a company mentor, and an academic supervisor, and so initial work on the project element can start at an early stage. This will allow scenarios where students can map out their project work plan, which could involve activities to learn a company-specific technology in preparation for their placement.

Career prospects; Further studies

  • Software Design
  • Programming
  • Java or .NET Platforms
  • Software Engineering.

Entry requirements

The programme is open to candidates with level 8 degrees, preferably with a background in a cognate discipline. Students will be assessed prior to being offered a place on the course, and this assessment can include a formal interview and/or standard aptitude assessment tests. Students may transfer to the MSc (Software Design & Development) subject to places being available, and subject to the student completing a required additional course on research methods, and an interview, in tandem with the achievement of a minimum 2.1 result in the Higher Diploma.


Student levy: €224 p.a. 2014/15

Contact details

Dr Enda Howley

Applications are made online via