Computer Science (A Level)
Why should I study A Level Computer Science?
Computer Science is the key to knowing how all the computers around you (phones, cars, the internet of things, as well as regular tablets, laptops and desktops) work and communicate with each other.
Good computer science students are analytical and creative: they can work out how to make computers do exactly the things they need them to do. The best achieving students are those that engage with programming and work on developing their skills out of class time. All of the tools you will use are freely available, so the only outlay required is your time and effort.
The department also runs an additional studies course in 3d modelling, and many students from the department will also take the opportunity to pursue their own programming project as part of an Extended Project in their second year.
The course consists of two theory modules taught across the two years and a coursework project.
Computing Principles: Examines how modern processors and operating systems work, what software is and how it is developed, the structure and exchange of data, as well as the legal and ethical issues surrounding computer use.
Algorithms and Problem Solving: You will learn ways of approaching solving problems and of implementing solutions. You learn at least one programming language and use this to develop and test your own solutions to problems. Also, the unit covers the analysis of algorithms and the implementation of a range of standard sort and search processes.
PROGRESSION ONTO YEAR 2
Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.
Core Mathematics (Mathematical Studies) is a complementary course to this subject and is strongly recommended as a further course choice if not taking A Level Mathematics or A Level Statistics options. See the Core Mathematics subject page for further details (page 92).
You will sit 2 exams at the end of the course – both 2 ½ hours long. Together these are worth 80% of the A Level. The remaining 20% is accounted for by your coursework project.
Minimum Entry Criteria
Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of:
IF YOU STUDIED COMPUTER SCIENCE OR I.T. AT SCHOOL:
• Grade 5 in GCSE Computer Science
or a Merit in Level 2 IT
• Grade 5 in Maths and two sciences (either both Combined science grades or two single science grades)
IF YOU DID NOT STUDY COMPUTER SCIENCE OR I.T. AT SCHOOL:
• Grade 7 in Maths and two sciences (either both Combined science grades or two single science grades)
• Grade 6 in Maths and two sciences (either both Combined science grades or two single science grades)
plus evidence of proficiency in programming
• Grade 4 English (Language or Literature)
What can I do after studying A Level Computer Science?
If you want to study more Computer Science then degrees can take many forms, from pure Computer Science, through degrees more focused on system architecture, all the way to those whose prime function is designing and implementing computer games.
All industries use computer science to some extent, from the obvious ones like software and hardware companies (Google, Apple, Microsoft, HP, Samsung) to companies providing I.T. services (Youtube, Amazon, ebay, Snap, Twitter) and those that need and use computers to perform their everyday tasks.