Computer Science

Computer Science

Are you keen to understand how computing could change the world? If so, Computer Science is for you. It is all about designing new sets of instructions (algorithms) to solve new problems.

  • Course Type School Leaver
  • Subject Area Science
  • Qualification A Level 🧩
  • Study Mode: Full Time Only
  • Course Level Level 3
  • Course Length 2 years
100% Pass rate in 2019

Computer Science is distinct from ICT and is a much more scientific and technical subject. In general, it is suitable for students who have an interest in programming and how computers work, or who may be considering studying a related degree at university.

The course has an emphasis on computational thinking: a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines and is an important life skill. The study of computation is about what can be computed and how to then do the computation. Computer Science involves questions that have the potential to change how we view the world; for example, we may be computing with DNA at some stage in the future, with computer circuits made of genes. This leads to the question, does the natural world ‘compute’? Experimental Computer Science can be done with computers whereby we can learn more about the natural world by observing the behaviour of interacting software in a simulations.

Computer Science is about designing new sets of instructions (algorithms) to solve new problems. In this sense Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes. Many great challenges lie in the future for Computer Scientists to solve and this course, with its emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem-solving, mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based thinking, is a good foundation for understanding these future challenges.

This course is ideal if you love programming and want to work in computer science, software engineering or games development. It is best suited to those that love logic problems and working through complex algorithms. It is also the ideal course for anyone wanting to work with Big Data and the Data Scientists of the future.

You will be taught through lectures, practical classes, investigative problem solving and discussions. You will have access to fully equipped laboratories and PCs with many useful interactive resources. You will be formally assessed through your practical project and exams in May/June of your second year.

What topics will I study?

The course is made up as follows:

Paper 1 – 2 hour 30 min on-screen exam: Covering your programming skills, knowledge of algorithms and the theory of computation.

Paper 2 – 2 hour 30 min written exam: Covering your theoretical knowledge of architecture, databases, Big Data, networking and ethical impacts of computing.

Practical project: A non-exam assessment of ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve or investigate a practical problem. Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving.

You will:

  • Gain insight into computational thinking: a kind of reasoning used by humans and machines in logical thought processes
  • Look at the future: could we be computing with DNA at some stage, with computer circuits made of genes?
  • Conduct experiments to learn more about the natural world through software simulations
  • Develop transferable skills including abstract thinking, mathematical reasoning and problem solving
  • Study programming and operating systems

Apart from the mandatory study of AS Level Maths, this course can be combined with other courses to make a full programme. It goes well with Mathematics (which is compulsory) and Physics. Further Mathematics is an excellent Extend option (see page 47) for strong mathematicians to take alongside these courses to help prepare them for courses at the top universities.

Next steps: Computer Science A Level students go on to university courses in Computer Science, Mathematics, Law, Business, Politics and Sciences.

Entry Requirements

Standard entry requirements: You will need eight GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English Language, and Maths (grade 6).
Subject specific entry requirements: Grade 6 in GCSE Physics, or equivalent. Please note that you must also study A Level Maths alongside this A Level.



You will have access to a new fully equipped computer room and PCs with a wealth of information and learning tools on Moodle as well as access to a learning resource centre. There is a cafe based in the new Building.

Additional Costs

There are some costs of materials and resources.

This further education course is free for all 16-18 year olds who are resident in the UK and the European Economic Area for the last 3 years. (You must be under 19 on 31st August in the calendar year that you start your course). For any fee-related queries or further information, please contact the Advice and Recruitment Team on 01392 400444.

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