Study Computer Science – A Comprehensive Subject Guide
A computer science degree provides students with a comprehensive understanding of computer systems, software development, and computational problem-solving. Computer science degrees can vary in terms of their specific courses and offerings, depending on the institution and the level of the degree (e.g., bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D.). Graduates with computer science degrees have a wide range of career opportunities in software development, data analysis, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and more, given the ubiquitous role of technology in modern society.
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What is Computer Science?
Computer Science is a multifaceted field that encompasses the study of computers and computing systems, including their design, development, operation, and applications. It deals with the theory and practical aspects of how computers work, how they can be programmed to perform specific tasks, and how they can be used to solve a wide range of problems.
Some key aspects and areas of Computer Science include:
- Algorithms: Algorithms are step-by-step instructions for solving problems. Computer scientists design and analyse algorithms to improve the efficiency and performance of computer programmes.
- Data structures: Data structures are ways of organising data in a computer so that it can be accessed and manipulated efficiently. Computer scientists design and implement data structures to support a wide variety of applications, such as databases, search engines, and operating systems.
- Programming languages: Programming languages are used to write computer programmes. Computer scientists design and develop programming languages to make it easier for programmers to express their ideas and write efficient and reliable code.
- Software engineering: Software engineering is the discipline of designing, developing, testing, and maintaining software systems. Software engineers use a variety of tools and techniques to create high-quality software that meets the needs of users.
- Computer architecture: Computer architecture is the design of computer hardware and software systems. Computer architects work to develop new technologies and improve the performance of existing systems.
Why Study Computer Science?
Studying computer science offers a multitude of compelling reasons, as it is a versatile and highly relevant field in today’s world. Here are some key reasons why you might consider pursuing a degree in computer science:
- A versatile field with many job opportunities. Computer scientists are in high demand in a wide range of industries, including technology, finance, healthcare, and education. They develop new products and services, solve complex problems, and improve the way we live and work.
- A rapidly growing field. The demand for computer scientists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations over the next decade. This is due to the increasing reliance on technology in all aspects of our lives.
- A creative field. Computer scientists use their creativity to design new algorithms, develop innovative software, and build cutting-edge hardware.
- A challenging field. Computer scientists are constantly being challenged to solve new problems and develop new technologies. This makes the field exciting and rewarding for those who are up for the challenge.
Best Universities for Computer Science in the UK
Here is a list of the top UK universities in this field according to the latest QS World University Rankings:
|Rank||Institution||Entry Standards||Student Satisfaction||Research Quality||Continuation||Graduate prospects outcomes||Graduate prospects on track||Overall Score|
|1||University of Cambridge||222||3.59||98.5||97.0||88.0||100.0|
|2||University of Oxford||214||4.03||3.81||100.0||96.0||96.0||97.8|
|3||Imperial College London||227||3.77||3.93||93.8||100.0||90.0||96.1|
|5||UCL (University College London)||208||3.85||3.75||95.1||91.0||80.0||92.6|
|6||University of Bath||196||4.05||3.35||96.6||93.0||90.0||92.6|
|7||University of Birmingham||169||3.82||3.77||97.7||98.0||93.0||92.2|
|8||The University of Edinburgh||220||3.59||3.73||98.4||96.0||87.0||92.1|
|9||University of Southampton||178||4.10||3.59||98.1||92.0||84.0||91.9|
|10||University of St Andrews||216||4.06||3.15||99.3||89.0||77.0||91.5|
|11||University of Sheffield||165||4.01||3.59||99.2||93.0||86.0||91.2|
|12||University of Warwick||204||3.18||3.75||96.0||94.0||86.0||91.2|
|13||University of Manchester||192||3.67||3.61||95.6||90.0||88.0||90.8|
|14||King's College London, University of London||182||3.70||3.56||96.2||95.0||86.0||90.6|
|15||University of Bristol||186||3.64||3.68||95.8||90.0||85.0||90.3|
|16||University of Glasgow||214||3.67||3.61||97.5||92.0||85.0||89.7|
|18||University of York||155||3.72||3.62||96.9||97.0||83.0||88.9|
|19||University of Exeter||164||3.97||3.00||97.3||94.0||81.0||88.0|
|20||University of Nottingham||164||3.84||3.50||92.6||93.0||85.0||87.8|
|21||Queen's University Belfast||154||3.76||3.32||96.2||93.0||88.0||87.5|
|23||University of Leeds||173||3.33||3.62||96.4||82.0||85.0||87.0|
|24||University of Surrey||135||3.94||3.26||95.1||100.0||88.0||86.9|
|25||Royal Holloway, University of London||140||3.67||3.50||97.1||93.0||87.0||86.8|
|28||University of Dundee||177||3.74||3.38||100.0||85.0||80.0||85.9|
|30||University of Strathclyde||204||3.89||3.21||93.5||89.0||84.0||85.7|
|31||Queen Mary University of London||151||3.80||3.65||95.1||79.0||83.0||85.7|
|32||University of East Anglia UEA||132||3.84||3.17||93.5||97.0||94.0||85.6|
|34||University of Liverpool||143||3.81||3.28||95.9||79.0||85.0||84.3|
|35||University of Kent||131||3.88||3.39||94.3||86.0||83.0||84.1|
|36||University of Reading||131||4.29||3.07||92.1||88.0||82.0||83.9|
|38||University of Leicester||133||3.85||3.11||93.4||86.0||89.0||83.5|
|39||City, University of London||134||3.69||3.26||95.8||85.0||80.0||83.4|
|40||Aston University, Birmingham||145||3.86||2.84||92.3||88.0||85.0||83.2|
|41||University of Sussex||135||3.98||3.43||92.9||81.0||74.0||83.0|
|42||Liverpool Hope University||123||4.15||2.37||92.0||97.0||94.0||82.7|
|43||University of Aberdeen||167||3.76||3.20||91.9||82.4|
|44||University of Lincoln||126||3.71||3.15||94.3||81.0||80.0||81.3|
|46||University of Essex||134||3.66||3.32||89.2||84.0||76.0||80.7|
|47||Bristol, University of the West of England||133||3.85||2.86||91.1||84.0||80.0||79.7|
|48||Manchester Metropolitan University||138||3.90||2.75||91.9||80.0||75.0||79.3|
|49||University of Huddersfield||132||3.81||2.74||89.4||85.0||78.0||79.2|
|50||Edge Hill University||122||3.82||2.50||96.1||78.0||78.0||79.2|
|51||Oxford Brookes University||114||3.75||2.72||91.6||91.0||83.0||79.1|
|53||University of Plymouth||125||4.04||2.74||86.6||83.0||84.0||78.9|
|54||University of Stirling||151||3.56||2.86||95.2||77.0||65.0||78.9|
|55||Nottingham Trent University||131||3.77||2.88||93.1||73.0||77.0||78.8|
|56||University of Hull||128||3.99||2.89||84.6||82.0||83.0||78.5|
|57||Brunel University London||131||3.73||2.82||90.4||75.0||78.0||78.3|
|58||Northumbria University, Newcastle||143||3.83||2.81||84.8||79.0||80.0||78.3|
|59||Edinburgh Napier University||153||3.84||3.12||86.5||83.0||79.0||78.3|
|61||University of Portsmouth||130||3.85||2.89||92.4||76.0||71.0||78.2|
|62||University of Hertfordshire||125||3.75||3.15||92.4||70.0||79.0||78.1|
|64||Canterbury Christ Church University||106||4.05||2.40||87.4||95.0||88.0||77.9|
|65||Leeds Beckett University||124||4.08||2.46||91.6||75.0||86.0||77.8|
|66||Liverpool John Moores University||131||3.70||2.82||90.3||78.0||74.0||77.8|
|68||University of Chichester||123||4.68||92.7||76.9|
|70||University of Brighton||112||3.83||2.92||89.2||83.0||74.0||76.7|
|72||Birmingham City University||127||3.99||2.51||89.8||78.0||73.0||76.6|
|73||University of Bradford||126||3.92||2.69||91.9||68.0||71.0||76.5|
|75||University of Winchester||120||3.29||2.58||93.5||76.1|
|76||Robert Gordon University||144||3.97||2.64||91.3||78.0||76.0||76.1|
|77||University of the Arts London||135||4.16||3.18||80.0||73.0||76.0|
|78||Bath Spa University||117||3.97||3.06||92.9||61.0||68.0||76.0|
|79||Glasgow Caledonian University||158||3.86||2.42||90.6||76.0||80.0||75.7|
|81||Goldsmiths, University of London||126||3.57||2.85||83.6||79.0||77.0||75.5|
|82||Sheffield Hallam University||120||3.63||2.57||91.0||78.0||74.0||75.4|
|83||University of Salford||131||3.73||2.76||86.9||71.0||72.0||75.2|
|84||University of Derby||120||3.92||2.48||92.5||69.0||65.0||74.9|
|85||University of East London||104||4.31||2.80||93.0||58.0||67.0||74.9|
|86||University of South Wales||126||4.09||2.54||89.3||67.0||68.0||74.8|
|87||University of Westminster, London||112||3.72||2.70||88.3||75.0||80.0||74.7|
|88||University of Greenwich||123||4.07||2.70||91.0||59.0||64.0||74.4|
|89||University of Worcester||108||3.98||2.24||83.1||81.0||90.0||74.0|
|90||De Montfort University||111||3.60||2.57||88.7||75.0||72.0||73.6|
|91||Teesside University, Middlesbrough||127||4.08||2.60||85.4||65.0||64.0||73.4|
|92||University of Chester||131||3.51||2.23||84.1||81.0||76.0||73.3|
|93||University of Central Lancashire||124||3.76||2.50||83.2||72.0||75.0||72.9|
|94||Cardiff Metropolitan University||120||3.55||2.43||87.5||77.0||70.0||72.8|
|95||London South Bank University||102||3.48||2.80||88.3||71.0||67.0||72.6|
|96||University of West London||120||4.19||2.28||88.4||62.0||57.0||72.4|
|97||Solent University (Southampton)||125||3.83||88.4||77.0||73.0||72.3|
|98||University of Gloucestershire||118||3.41||1.87||87.7||79.0||74.0||72.1|
|99||University of Sunderland||113||3.81||2.52||83.6||67.0||86.0||72.0|
|100||University of the West of Scotland||150||4.06||2.63||83.5||60.0||66.0||71.0|
|101||University of Buckingham||113||3.84||90.5||70.7|
|102||University of Northampton||110||3.89||2.03||82.7||71.0||70.0||70.5|
|103||Norwich University of the Arts||137||3.67||85.0||69.0||68.0||70.0|
|104||University for the Creative Arts||138||3.25||87.3||69.8|
|105||University of Suffolk||121||3.84||83.9||68.0||70.0||68.8|
|106||Glyndwr University, Wrexham||123||3.40||1.67||88.4||63.0||74.0||68.8|
|107||York St John University||106||3.85||88.8||68.0||64.0||68.7|
|109||University of Bolton||115||4.19||83.8||58.0||66.0||67.7|
|110||Buckinghamshire New University||112||3.87||82.2||71.0||65.0||67.5|
|111||Anglia Ruskin University||113||3.64||2.31||80.2||65.0||61.0||67.5|
|112||University of Bedfordshire||108||3.55||2.20||83.7||65.0||59.0||67.4|
|113||University of Wales Trinity Saint David||157||3.70||75.3||59.0||65.0||66.7|
|114||London Metropolitan University||88||4.37||1.90||81.5||53.0||60.0||66.0|
|115||University of Wolverhampton||84||3.79||2.01||85.0||69.0||48.0||65.3|
Entry Requirements for a Computer Science Degree
The entry requirements for a computer science degree in the UK vary depending on the university, but most universities require students to have a minimum of two A-levels, including one in mathematics. Some universities also require students to have an A-level in a science subject, such as physics or chemistry.
In addition to A-levels, some universities also require students to submit a portfolio of their work. This portfolio could include examples of the student’s programming skills, web development skills, or other relevant skills.
Some universities also require students to sit for an interview. The interview is an opportunity for the university to learn more about the student’s motivation for studying computer science and their future career plans.
Here is a summary of the typical entry requirements for a computer science degree in the UK:
- Minimum of two A-levels, including one in mathematics. Some universities also require an A-level in a science subject.
- Portfolio of work, such as examples of the student’s programming skills, web development skills, or other relevant skills (may be required by some universities).
- Interview (may be required by some universities).
Some of the top universities in the UK for computer science include the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the University of Edinburgh. These universities have very competitive entry requirements, and students typically need to achieve A* or A grades in their A-levels to gain admission.
Other universities in the UK also offer excellent computer science degrees, with less competitive entry requirements. These universities may be a good option for students who are still interested in studying computer science, but who do not meet the entry requirements for the top universities.
Jobs for Computer Science Graduates
Here are the career prospects for graduates in this field:
- Software Developer/Engineer: Software developers design, code, test, and maintain software applications and systems. They work in a variety of domains, including web development, mobile app development, and backend systems.
- Data Scientist/Analyst: Data scientists and analysts analyse large datasets to extract meaningful insights. They use statistical techniques, machine learning, and data visualisation to inform business decisions.
- Cybersecurity Analyst/Engineer: Cybersecurity professionals protect computer systems and networks from cyber threats. They monitor for security breaches, develop security policies, and implement measures to safeguard data and systems.
- Systems Administrator/Engineer: Systems administrators manage an organisation’s IT infrastructure, including servers, networks, and hardware. They ensure the smooth operation of computer systems and troubleshoot issues.
- Database Administrator (DBA): DBAs are responsible for the design, implementation, and maintenance of databases. They optimise database performance, ensure data integrity, and manage backups.
Salary for Computer Science Graduates
Check out the average salary for graduates in this field:
Low skilled: £18,000
Topics for Computer Science Dissertation
Below, we present a diverse array of research areas, each offering an opportunity to delve into the complexities of computer science and make a significant contribution to its advancement:
Machine Learning for Healthcare: Explore the application of machine learning algorithms to analyse medical data, predict diseases, or optimise treatment plans.
Natural Language Processing (NLP): Investigate advanced NLP techniques, such as sentiment analysis, language generation, or machine translation, and their impact on various industries.
Cybersecurity: Research different aspects of cybersecurity, such as network security, threat detection, or encryption algorithms, to enhance the security of digital systems.
Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies: Analyse the use of blockchain in various domains like finance, supply chain management, or healthcare, focusing on scalability and security.
Artificial Intelligence Ethics and Fairness: Investigate the ethical implications of AI systems and develop methods to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability in AI algorithms.
How Much Does it Cost to Study in the UK
One of the most important things to consider is how much the degree is going to cost. Here is a general guide for 2023/2024:
- For home students in England, universities can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.
- In Wales, institutions can charge up to £9,000 for home students. However, Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of their tuition fees. This grant is currently not repayable or income-assessed.
- Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.
- Scotland does not charge home students fees at the undergraduate level; however, students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are expected to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students from outside of the UK will pay significantly more to study in Scotland.
- International students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees at universities across the UK. An undergraduate medical degree can cost overseas students up to £58,600 per year. As for postgraduate degrees, the average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.
Other Subjects to Consider
Given that you are interested in this subject area, you might also want to consider the following options:
Biomedical Informatics: Combine computer science with biology and healthcare to develop computational solutions for medical data analysis, patient records management, or drug discovery.
Environmental Science and Geospatial Analysis: Use computer science to analyse environmental data, model climate change, or develop geospatial applications for mapping and resource management.
Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence: Investigate how human cognition can inspire the design of more intelligent and human-like AI systems, or explore natural language understanding and human-computer interaction.
Finance and Computational Finance: Apply computer science techniques to financial modelling, risk assessment, algorithmic trading, and portfolio optimisation.
Digital Humanities: Combine computer science with humanities disciplines to analyse historical texts, cultural trends, or develop digital archives and preservation methods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Consider your interests, passions, and career goals. Research various degree programmes and their content to see which aligns best with your aspirations.
While earning potential is important, it’s also crucial to select a degree that you’re passionate about and suits your skills. A balance between your interests and potential career prospects is ideal.
Location can impact your overall university experience. Consider factors like cost of living, proximity to industry hubs, and personal preferences.
Evaluate tuition fees, available scholarships, and potential for part-time work. Create a budget to ensure you can manage your finances during your studies.
Consider combining your passions with practical skills. For example, if you love art but want job security, explore fields like graphic design or digital marketing.
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Speak to us today for free application assistance and education advice. Our expert consultants are more than happy to help!