Computer science

This area covers the theory and application of information and computation, and some universities also include information technology in this field.
Relevant to

Why study computer science?

Why study computer science? | Higher Education Roadshow
Meet Sean – he studies computer science. Hear about why he chose his degree course and what he loves about it. Video provided by the Higher Education Roadshow.
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Key stats

76,490 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.

  • 87% UK
  • 13% international
  • 83% full-time
  • 17% part-time
76.4% of graduates went directly into employment.

Top five graduate destinations:

  1. IT
  2. Wholesale and retail trade
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Professional, scientific, and technical
  5. Education

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:

'Careful consideration of the content of any course prior to selection is key, as course titles may not accurately reflect the content. IT is continually evolving and developing, and degrees are subject to annual review and adaptation, students are advised to look out for new elements and options which may develop during the course.’
Chartered Institute for IT

Subject combinations and available course options include:

  • single, joint, and multiple subject combinations
  • full-time, part-time, and flexible study options, as well as courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
  • qualifications ranging from BA, BSc, BEng (Hons), and MSci degrees, through to HND, HNC, and Foundation Certificates

A number of universities offer four year undergraduate or integrated masters degrees (MSci) in computer science. Many also offer an opportunity to work in industry for a year or study abroad as part of the degree. 


Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are available in the following areas:

Degree apprenticeships:

  • Business analyst
  • Data analyst
  • IT security analyst
  • Network engineer
  • Software engineer

Higher apprenticeships:

  • Information security – e.g. cyber security technologist
  • Network engineer
  • Software developer

Find out more about apprenticeships


Entry requirements

A levels – To get on to a computer science related degree you will usually require at least two A levels or equivalent.

‘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.’
Institute of Analysts and Programmers

In addition to the different A level requirements above, you will also need at least five GCSEs (A-C) including science, English, and maths. Some universities require a B in maths GCSE for computer science degrees.

Vocational courses – Other relevant Level 3 qualifications such as the BTEC Diploma in computing are accepted by some universities. You will need to check specific entry requirements individually with course admissions tutors.


Personal statement

Universities are looking for:

  • evidence that you are well informed about the subject and have strong interest/motivation
  • a range of interests outside of academic study
  • a well written statement that demonstrates your ability to write persuasive statements
  • an ability to work individually and in teams
  • the personal qualities required for successful study

How to write your personal statement



Where can I find out more?

Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in computer science.