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Computer Science A Level

Computer Science is a challenging and fast-paced subject which considers the way that technology transforms our lives in an increasingly digital world. It has computational thinking at its core, which encourages us to take a complex problem and develop possible solutions using decomposition, abstraction, logical thinking, and algorithms.

Computer Science is also a creative subject that involves the innovative thinking and development of ideas through coding.

What does the course involve?

You will learn to become a strong programmer using different programming paradigms. As part of this you will explore many of the standard algorithms used in searching, sorting and pathfinding and will be able to select the most appropriate to use, based on its efficiency and suitability for the problem at hand. A diverse range of theoretical topics are covered, including how computers use logic, number systems, networks, databases and more.

The A Level qualification consists of two examined units and one coursework unit.

  • Unit 1: Computer Systems (40%).
  • Unit 2: Algorithms and Programming (40%).
  • Unit 3: Programming Project (20%).

Year One

During the first year you will:

  • Study contemporary systems architecture, databases and networks.
  • Develop computational thinking skills, write code and learn about web technologies.
  • Explore programming techniques.
  • Understand key standard algorithms such as insertion sort and binary search.

Practical lessons will use the Raspberry Pi.

Year Two

The second year includes:

  • Characteristics of contemporary processors.
  • Software development methodologies.
  • How data is represented, stored and exchanged between different systems.
  • Coding, using advanced programming techniques.
  • Merge sort, quick sort, A* and Dijkstra's algorithm will be explored.

The coursework project involves using your skills to develop a solution to a problem of your own choice. Most students produce a game or a simulation.

Please note: /404Certificate in Mathematical Studies must be studied alongside this course, unless you are also studying Mathematics or Statistics. 

What can you do after the course?

Russell Group universities list Computer Science as a useful A Level for many degree courses including biology, chemistry, economics, engineering, geology, mathematics, materials science, medicine, physics, psychology, and sociology.

Students have gone on to study the subject at a range of institutions including prestigious universities such as Bristol, Oxford, Reading and York.

Computer Scientists are in demand and find work in many industry sectors.


The content has a brilliant balance between theory and practical work; from coding to all the theory and legislation behind it.


Heron talks about studying Computer Science