Computer science

Are you a world-changer? Whether it’s finance, health, the creative industries or sport, the study of computer science helps build the technology that fuels big leaps forward.
The impact you could make
  • Help people work, learn and communicate better
  • Play a key role in solving global problems, including climate change
  • Develop technologies that can drive advances and even take us to space
What you might study
  • Algorithms and data structures
  • Database systems
  • Mathematical principles
  • Programming languages and software development
  • Web and mobile apps
  • Cyber security
  • Artificial intelligence

Study options

Example assignment
Undergraduate degree
Create a prototype design for an app interface, based on user design techniques.
Example project
Degree apprenticeship
Assign tasks and run meetings for a team of developers working on an AI project at IBM.

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Information technology

Studying computing at the University of South Wales

Sponsored content

Wondering what studying computing is like? Academics and students at the University of South Wales describe their experiences. 

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Your place to discover your options and research your future.

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Open Mic: Computer Science

So you want to study computer science?

Year 12 student Katie speaks to Holly Boothroyd, a Software Engineer at Microsoft.

Famous people who studied computer science
  • Mark Zuckerberg - founder of Facebook
  • Reed Hastings – CEO of Netflix
  • Marissa Mayer – CEO of Yahoo
  • Jimmy Fallon – talkshow host
  • Karlie Kloss – model
  • Liam Neeson - actor

Careers: Where can it take you?

Find out more about your career prospects from studying computer science. 

The following information is based on a typical web developer role.

Available jobs
304,689 vacancies
in 2022. 3% growth over next 8 years
Average salary
Up to £78,089
What is... a nanotechnologist?

Nope, we were stumped too. It’s someone who works with incredibly small things to develop new materials, equipment, drugs or tools. It involves designing experiments to work out uses for these tiny elements, from new technology to medical procedures. Studying computer science could be a gateway into nanotechnology. Small steps!

Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study computer science at university or as an apprenticeship.


Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from computer science applicants.

A levels
Highest: AAA > Lowest: CCD
Scottish Highers
Advanced Highers: BBB
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Computing, SVQ IT Professionals - SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative to A Levels/Highers.

The expert view

Institute of Analysts and Programmers
Specific entry requirements vary considerably, depending on the focus of the course. For example, a very theoretical course may require A level Mathematics, whereas Business IT programmes would probably not ask for any science background beyond GCSE. Few courses specify A level Computing or equivalent.

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer.
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer.
  3. No limits!

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like.
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies.
  5. Find out more

Let's talk about... IT and digital apprenticeships

Digital and IT apprenticeships

Watch our guide to digital and IT apprenticeships, hosted by Katie Thistleton. Hear from apprentices and employers.

Find out more

Chat to a current computing student

Chat to a current computer science student using UniBuddy.

Some conversation starters for you:
  • Ask which modules they really enjoyed.
  • Find out how easy it was for them to make friends on their course.
  • Do they have any tips on your personal statement?
  • Did they do anything to prep for uni before they went?
  • Are there books, podcasts or YouTube channels they would recommend?

The student and apprentice view

Get the student view of computer science, be it taking a traditional degree or studying and working on an apprenticeship.

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our application advice will help you get ahead in your computer science journey.

Skills, experiences and interests to mention
  • Are you good at problem solving? Do you enjoy playing games like Minecraft?
  • Have you ever coded something? Maybe you’ve used Raspberry Pi or have done CodeClub
  • Can you confidently discuss the debate around happens to our personal information online?
  • Could you talk about the benefits of AI and how it will change the world of work?
  • Teamwork and communication is really important in this field. Have you ever been part of a team? Maybe a hackathon or even a sports team? Have you ever organised an event at school?

Personal statement guidance

We asked admissions tutors to share their dos and don’ts for writing a strong and engaging computer science personal statement. Here's what they told us.

Personal statement builder

Try our tool.

Get help structuring your statement.

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Explore further

Go deeper into topics around computer science with the following.

  1. Try CodeAcademy

    Learn to code for free.
  2. AppMaster

    Watch YouTube videos of how to develop apps without code.
  3. WIRED podcasts

    Find out about the latest way tech is changing our lives.
Listen: THIS IS HOW podcast

From Depop to Facebook, THIS IS HOW is the podcast that breaks down the digital creative jobs which matter now, to show how they could be part of your future. Listen, take the careers quiz and access free resources and learning content recommended by expert guests here.

Courses and apprenticeships

Higher Technical Qualifications

Higher Technical Qualifications

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) are an alternative to apprenticeships or degrees.

They have been specifically designed with employers to ensure learners get the skills that employers have said they need. They are a quicker and cheaper alternative to a degree and can lead to higher wages early in a career.

See all Computer Science HTQs