You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

Software development with Java

Discover the fundamentals of an object-oriented approach to software development. Starting from an analysis of requirements, you’ll be introduced to up-to-date analytical techniques and processes essential for specifying, designing and implementing a software system, including a graphical user interface. Although the small systems developed in the module have been chosen to facilitate learning, the underlying concepts are widely used by professional software developers. Software models are created with UML and implemented with Java 6, using NetBeans. You need Java experience, preferably by prior study of an OU level 2 Java module.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

Browse qualifications in related subjects


Module code
Study level
2 8 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

Student Reviews

Prepare for lots of reading and lots of jargon. This module presents a highly formalised view of software development, contrasting...
Read more

Good introduction to UML and best practices in software development waterfall cycle. The exam was awful, just a memory test...
Read more

Request your prospectus

Explore our subjects and courses

Request your copy now

What you will study

How do teams of professional software developers work together when creating complex software systems? How can the development process be partitioned to enable different people to work on different tasks, and what techniques can assist the individuals involved?

In this module you will be introduced to object-oriented approaches to software development that are widely applicable in the creation of software that meets the needs of its users: from small, simple systems to large, complex ones. These approaches take you from an analysis of what is required of a system through its specification, design and implementation. They include concepts such as use case design; the construction of structural and dynamic models; and the specification of classes. You will also be introduced to the role of user interface design within software development, and to some key aspects of testing software.

Using paper-based materials and computer-based practical exercises you will learn about fundamental software development ideas, illustrated by small sample systems. You will participate in the development of these systems through examples and guided exercises. You will discover how to develop a software system by creating models using the industry standard Unified Modelling Language (UML). You will apply and extend your understanding of object-orientated technology and of Java, and will implement code using NetBeans, a widely used integrated development environment from Oracle (previously Sun Microsystems). As well as learning techniques and processes that you can use when developing your own software, you will meet concepts that underpin the theory of software development, such as software development methods and reusable software components.

Block 1 begins by introducing the common phases of object-oriented software development, taking an introductory look at how these phases can be combined to form different software development methods. Requirements specification is introduced as an initial development phase followed by the creation of an initial model of the software structure, incorporating elements such as class diagrams and invariants.

Block 2 sets the scene for object-oriented design by introducing the design and implementation of component-based software. Generic ideas such as cohesion and coupling are discussed, as well as the role of object-oriented concepts such as encapsulation, and Java-specific concepts such as access modifiers. You will then look in detail at determining how a system will work, employing sequence diagrams to create and compare different designs.

Block 3 will show you how to take the designs for a system and use them as a basis on which to implement and test the system. Some key ideas in human-computer interaction are then introduced.

Block 4 pursues the concept of graphical use interface (GUI) development and you will participate in the design of GUIs for the sample systems. Java event handling and GUI facilities are reviewed, and example GUIs are constructed using NetBeans’ GUI design facilities.

As you study the module, you will be using email, online forums and the World Wide Web for communication with the University, your tutor and other students.

Software development with Java is one of the modules listed as a possible pre-requisite for the Accreditation of Certified Practitioners 2 (TM227).

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Depending on the distribution of students taking the module we may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in February 2016. We expect it to be available once a year in February.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
No residential school


This is an OU level 2 module and you are expected to have study skills appropriate to OU level 2 study.

The module requires knowledge of Java to the level taught in Object-oriented Java programming (M250) (or the discontinued modules M255 and M257), including the ability to create Java applications that involve:

  • the core Java language, including primitive data types and control structures
  • the use of Java APIs, such as the Collections framework
  • the definition of classes, including: instance methods and variables; static methods and variables; constructors; inheritance; overriding; abstract classes; interfaces; polymorphism; packages; and access modifiers
  • and the use of exceptions.

This module does not require you to  have knowledge of client-server or multi-threaded programming.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
30 Jan 2016 Sep 2016 £1350.00

Registration closes 07/01/16 (places subject to availability)


You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2018.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you register.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time that is convenient to you.

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

This information was provided on 01/08/2015.

What's included

Module texts, other printed materials, module software (including NetBeans) on CD-ROM, website, online forums.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available. For this module you will also need to install software provided by the OU on a disk or USB stick.

We recommend one of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system
  • modern Linux desktop or laptop computer.

A netbook, tablet or other mobile device that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:
  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

If you have a disability

Module texts are available in electronic format. The module may be challenging if you have impaired sight as many diagrammatic models are involved, though descriptions of the diagrams are available. The module software package NetBeans version 6.9 can be run from a command line, although there are some practical exercises that require the ability to analyse visual information that appears on a computer screen.

The study materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. The books are available in a comb-bound format. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.