What is Computer Science?

The course has a focus on application development, but students will study topics including: computer systems; hardware, software; operating systems; data representation and encryption; communications, networking and the Internet; databases; theory of computation; and moral, ethical and legal issues relating to computer science.

How is it studied?

Computer Science is a two-year course which focuses on nurturing confidence and competence in the practical use of computer-based systems to develop solutions for real-world problems. Student will develop applications in one of the following computer languages: C#, Python, Java or Visual Basic.

Many of the topics in this course are also taught at GCSE level, but are explored more deeply at A Level.

How is Computer Science assessed?

AS Level

  • On-screen exam: 1 hour 45 minutes – 50% of grade
  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes – 50% of grade


A2 Level

  • On-screen exam: 2 hours 30 minutes – 40% of grade
  • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes – 40% of grade
  • Practical problem: 20% of grade


Exam Board: AQA

What do I need?

No previous computing experience is required for this course. You do not need to have studied GCSE Computer Science or ICT. It is much more important to be a logical thinker and to enjoy solving puzzles and problems. This subject requires good basic numeracy, and a logical and analytical approach to solving problems. Students need to write a substantial report documenting their coursework, for which a reasonable standard of written English is required.

What should I study with Computer Science?

It is strongly recommended that you take A Level Mathematics if you wish to study Computer Science at university. This course also compliments the sciences and Philosophy.

What can I do with A Level Computer Science?

The course can lead to a Bachelor’s Degree or Foundation Degree in Computer Science. From there you can progress into such careers as: applications development; computer forensics; cyber security; games development; hardware engineering; multimedia programming; software engineering; systems/network management; mechanical support; and web design/development.

Questions about the course

Is there any coursework?

There is an individual coursework project worth 20% of the A Level mark.


Do I need a computer?

Though the College has computer labs for teaching sessions and for student use, most students find it useful to have their own computer for the individual coursework project.


Do I need any special software?

Yes. You will using an integrated development environment (IDE) to develop applications. The choice of IDE will be determined once you begin at the College. This IDE software can be obtained at no cost.