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Basics of Computer Systems and Networks


Admission requirements


How do computers actually work? How does a written program code get executed? How can computers work on multiple tasks at the same time? How do computers communicate with each other over a computer network? And how is content from an Internet website hosted at the other side of the world retrieved to our computer? Answers to these and many other questions will be covered in this course. The aim is that students acquire working knowledge about the structure of modern computer systems and networks.

Students will study the principles of design and operations of computer systems and computer networks. In the computer systems part students will learn the basics of computer architecture and operating systems, and how programs are organized in main memory and executed. In the networks part students will learn about packet switching, hierarchical design of networked operations (conceptualized as the OSI model) and will study the structure of the Internet and the core internet protocols (HTTP, DNS) in order to understand how Internet applications operate.

Course objectives

  • After this course students can dissect how computer systems and networks are structured and how they operate.

  • Students understand the main concepts and principles of computer systems: CPU, main memory, program execution, multiprogramming, memory management.

  • Students understand the main concepts and principles of computer networking and the Internet: packet switching, OSI model, Internet protocols, how common Internet applications work (web sites, e-mail).

  • Students are able to conceptualize elementary computer architecture and networked applications by describing how they function under certain conditions.


The timetable will be displayed with a link on the website, Brightspace and on the page of this minor programme.

Mode of instruction

Workforms: lectures and self-study.

Assessment method

  • Exam (100% of the grade) – at the end of the course

In the case of written assessment methods, the examiner can always initiate a follow-up conversation with the student to establish whether the learning objectives have been met.

Reading list

TBA on Brightspace


Registration via MyStudymap or uSis is possible from Monday 17 July, 13.00 h, after registration for the entire minor. Register for every course via MyStudymap or uSis. Some courses of the minor have a limited number of participants, so register on time.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis. Guest-/contract-/exchange students also do not have to confirm their participation for exams via MyStudymap.


Dr. Kristian Rietveld