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Guide to studying Computer Science

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

Woman working as IT engineer and standing among server racks in data centre

CONTENTS

  1. What's Computer Science?

  2. Why study Computer Science?

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

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Computer Science?

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

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

Similar courses for Computer Science include: 

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Generated Visual and Audio Effects
  • Games
  • Health Informatics
  • Software Engineering

Why study Computer Science?

Having a computing degree will provide you with the knowledge, problem-solving skills and analytical thinking capabilities that serve as a competitive advantage in your career.

You can launch scientific innovation – the human genome project, AIDS research and environmental protection are three areas boosted by Computer Science. Every industry uses computers, meaning computer scientists can pursue any sector they want.

Read our six reasons to study Computer Science to find more information about why you might choose to study this subject area.

What jobs can you get as a Computer Science graduate?

Particular job roles include IT consultant, database administrator, games developer, media programmer, network engineer, systems analyst, IT trainer and teacher.

Several professional organisations, such as Selex, offer specialised positions for Computer Science graduates.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Computer Science have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Computer Science students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively. 

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need? 

An A Level (or equivalent) in Mathematics is usually essential for Computer Science courses.

Always confirm the grades and other requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in. Requirements vary between institutions and are subject to change.

What degrees can you study?

  • BSc Computer Science 
  • MSc Computer Science 
  • BA Theatre and Performance with Digital Media Arts
  • BA Computer Science and Philosophy

How will you be assessed?

Computer Science degrees and modules are generally assessed through a combination of examinations and coursework, which count for a varying degree of weight in the final marks.

There are also mini-tests, projects and tasks. Many of these are compulsory, even if they don't count towards your final marks.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include MAs in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Computing and IT, Engineering and Informatics, and Computational Life Science.

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