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Study Computer Science, why & how to study

Computer Science offers rewarding and challenging possibilities that develop your ability to solve multidimensional problems.

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CONTENTS

  1. What’s Computer Science?

  2. What Computer Science degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Computer Science degree?

  4. What topics does a Computer Science degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Computer Science?

  7. What do Computer Science graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Computer Science graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Computer Science

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Computer Science?

How we use computers and computer programmes has defined the world we live in. Computer scientists connect abstract ideas by creating the products we use every day.

With foundations in maths, Computer Science spans hardware and software engineering, the user interface and computer technology's expansion into new areas.

Computer Science has been one of the fastest-growing subjects in the UK. Applications for computing courses by the January deadline rose 12.8% from 2021 to 2022 according to UCAS  a growth faster than any other subject. 

What Computer Science degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Computer Science include:

  • Biology and Computer Science BSc
  • Computer Science (Data Science) BSc
  • Computer Science and Electronics BEng
  • Computer Science and Philosophy MComp
  • Computer Science BSc/MComp
  • Theatre and Performance with Digital Media Arts BA

Degrees may offer an integrated foundation year or master’s. Options include a year in industry or year abroad. January start dates available.

What do you need to get onto a Computer Science degree?

Entry requirements will depend on the university, ranging from 96–200 UCAS tariff points. Qualifications may include:

  • A Levels: A*AAA–CCC
  • BTECs: D*D*D*–MMM
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–CCCCD (Advanced Highers: AAB–BBB)
  • International Baccalaureate: 42–28
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: maths at A Level (or equivalent)

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • Further maths, computer science, computer studies, ICT, economics, electronics, engineering, statistics, business studies or sciences, particularly physics
  • General studies subjects at A Level may be excluded

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Work experience or shadowing within a computing-related company
  • Volunteering to help people with computer skills or lessons
  • Involvement in related clubs, competitions or challenges
  • Knowledge of programming languages, making your own website or creating a small game
  • Finding out more about topics of interest through books, IT magazines online, videos like Computerphile YouTube series, or podcasts
  • STEM summer schools, if eligible, such as UNIQ or Sutton Trust

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Pass in the practical element of science if taken at A Level
  • Interview and entry assessments may be required by some universities

What topics does a Computer Science degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Databases
  • Design and analysis of algorithms
  • Ethics and responsible innovation
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Imperative programming
  • Information systems
  • Introduction to computer architecture
  • Linear algebra
  • Networks and communications
  • Operating systems
  • Software engineering group projects

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the module:

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Exams
  • Exercises
  • Lab reports
  • Literature reviews
  • Presentations (poster or oral)
  • Project work
  • Short tests

Why study Computer Science?

Having a Computer Science degree will provide you with the knowledge, problem-solving skills and analytical thinking capabilities that serve as a competitive advantage in your career. Every industry uses computers, meaning computer scientists can pursue any sector they want.

Career-specific skills:

  • Practical skills in programming languages required by your specialism (software or networking)
  • Software skills and knowledge in user experience design, software development, mobile applications
  • Networking skills in designing, maintaining and securing networks, which may include advanced routing and mobile networking
  • You may also gain competences in AI, robotics, neural networks and deep learning, or in games development

Transferable skills:

  • Communication
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Design and creative problem solving
  • Digital skills
  • Project management
  • Team working

Professional accreditation:

  • Degrees may be accredited by the BCS (British Computer Society), the chartered institute for IT, offering a pathway toward Chartered IT Professional (CITP) and/or Chartered or Incorporated Engineer (CEng/IEng)
  • Some degrees may be accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
  • Additional certification may be gained, such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

What do Computer Science graduates earn?

Computer Science graduates can expect to start their career with an entry-level salary of £17,000–£27,000.

Mid-career, your average salary will depend on the field in which you work. The salary for a software developer could be between £40,000–£57,000, while a network engineer could earn £50,000–£65,000. As ever, lead roles, managers and directors earn the big bucks. Consulting can also be lucrative, but may offer short, repeated contracts.

What jobs can you get as a Computer Science graduate?

A degree in Computer Science could lead a wide range of IT-related jobs across sectors from healthcare to engineering, in roles such as:

  • Business systems engineer
  • Data analyst
  • Database administrator
  • Games developer
  • Information systems analyst
  • IT consultant
  • IT trainer
  • Mobile application developer
  • Network engineer
  • Network specialist
  • Software developer or engineer
  • Systems architect
  • Teacher

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Graduates with a Computer Science degree will require teacher training such as a PGCE if they wish to become a teacher. Other postgraduate courses offer the chance to specialise. Examples of taught master’s and research degrees at postgraduate level include:

  • Advanced Cyber Security PGCert/PGDip/MSc
  • Applied Statistics and Datamining PGDip/MSc
  • Artificial Intelligence MSc
  • Computer Science DPhil
  • Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing MSc

Similar subjects to Computer Science

Other subject areas that might appeal to you include:

Have any questions?

Get in touch with our experts by emailing ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk with your question about studying Computer Science. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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