Computer Science BSc

Undergraduate degree course in Computer Science BSc G400:

During this course you will learn about all kinds of computational systems, their theory, design, development and application. This includes programming languages, software engineering, artificial intelligence, operating systems, databases, nature-inspired computation, concurrent computing, robotics and the theory of computation. The degree incorporates concepts from fields as diverse as mathematics, engineering, linguistics and psychology.

Computer scientists design and create search-engines, social networking applications, software applications used in the financial world to map customer profiles and expose credit card fraud, and software applications used in the medical sector to identify cancers through the analysis of medical images. 

 At a deeper scientific/mathematical level, we look at the theory underpinning complex algorithms, or the difficulty of implementing solutions to complex problems in a provably reliable way. At the engineering level, we ensure that complex systems are built to appropriate standards, are properly tested and run efficiently. Then at the human level, we ensure that applications are easy to learn and use and are well matched to functional expectations. 

At Birmingham, we have world-leading research in terms of originality, significance and rigour. We provide specialist teaching and are committed to supporting our graduates in establishing their careers. 

The School of Computer Science is committed to the student experience, offering student alumni mentoring, a dedicated welfare team and a dedicated careers and employability officer. We're keen to welcome you to our friendly, inclusive and multi-faceted School.

Course fact file

UCAS code: G400

Duration: 3 years

Places Available: 130 (Total number of places for all Computer Science courses)

Applications in 2013: 840

Typical Offer: AAA (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Details

This three-year programme has a student satisfaction rating of 95%.

During this course you’ll learn about all kinds of computational systems; their theory, design, development and application. This includes programming languages, software engineering, artificial intelligence, operating systems, databases, nature-inspired computation, concurrent computing, robotics and the theory of computation. But it goes wider than this and you’ll also explore concepts from fields as diverse as maths, engineering, linguistics and psychology.

First year

Your first year is common to several of our degree programmes, so at the end of the year you’ll be able to choose to specialise in Computer Science, Software Engineering or Artificial Intelligence. You’ll be given an overview of the subject and gain a firm foundation in the principles of algorithms, artificial intelligence, software engineering and relevant maths. You’ll also learn computer programming in Java – a language widely used in business and industry.

Even as early as your first year you’ll be given a chance to pursue your own interests, with a choice of modules between processing and presenting information on the Web and programming robots. These both include group work as part of our commitment to preparing you for the world of work.

Second year

You’ll move on to study enabling technologies such as databases, graphics and the formal basis of programming languages. Teaching these together with programming allows you to put the theory into practice, giving you a much deeper understanding. You’ll also learn to work in a team to produce software, and you’ll learn new styles of programming in Java and a second language. The choice of modules includes an Introduction to Nature Inspired Computation, Software Engineering, Computer Vision and Natural Language Technologies

Third year

In your final year you’ve got a huge amount of choice so you really can tailor the degree to your ambitions and interests. You’ll spend one third of your time on a project, either developed from your own idea or from a wide selection offered by staff members. This usually involves writing a large piece of software and gives you the freedom to extend and demonstrate your skills in your own way.

In the other two thirds of your time, you can choose freely from over 20 optional modules, including practical subjects such as operating systems, computer networks and graphics, and some of the latest research in areas such as evolutionary computation, neural computation, intelligent robotics and natural language technologies. Some modules allow you to gain further programming skills in specialised areas such as systems programming in C and C++.

Related links 

School of Computer Science website: www.cs.bham.ac.uk

Why study this course

Computer Science is a dynamic discipline. What began with the curiosity of only a handful of academics has blossomed into a field with an impact on our lives that would have astonished most of the pioneers. In the past 50 years computers have contributed to numerous advances in almost every field, and Computer Science now provides the foundations for the information processing and communication systems that are at the heart of today?s world. Future changes in computing and communications technologies will depend on advances in this science and the rate of progress shows no signs of slowing down.

At the University of Birmingham, you?ll benefit from an industry-informed curriculum that is accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET). You?ll have the opportunity to develop a high level of practical skills and build specialist knowledge in applied computer science, with the flexibility to follow your own interests through the choice of optional modules.

All our undergraduate degree programmes are available with a Year in Industry; an excellent opportunity to supplement your studies with paid work in the real world, and many of our students go on to work for their year-out employers after graduating.; an excellent opportunity to supplement your studies with paid work in the real world, and many of our students go on to work for their year-out employers after graduating.

The University of Birmingham is world-renowned for the quality of its research and we?re home to a number of centres of excellence, including:

  • Cercia, working at the cutting-edge of Computational Intelligence (CI) research
  • The Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics (CN-CR), which combines research on human cognition, sensory and motor systems, and computational modelling with research on robotic systems, leading towards a better understanding of both brain function and advanced robotics with , leading towards a better understanding of both brain function and advanced robotics
  • The Human-Computer Interaction Research Centre, which leads the development of our understanding on how people interact with technologies, and how one transforms the othe

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply. 
Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships
Please see www.cs.bham.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/scholarships.php for scholarships in Computer Science.
Learn more about our scholarships and awards.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: AAA

Required subjects and grades: A Level in Maths and/or Computing. We also require Grade B in GCSE Mathematics (if not offered at A Level) and Grade C in GCSE English.

General Studies: or Critical Thinking not accepted.

Additional information:

Typical offer grades are for guidance only, other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements

It is desirable, but not essential, to have some experience of writing computer programs.

Please note that Access qualifications are not suitable for this programme. 

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma:  36 points including 6 in HL Mathematics or Computing. We also require 5 in SL Mathematics (if not offered at HL) and 5 in SL English.

Standard English language requirements apply 
Learn more about international entry requirements

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com.  
Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you are joining the academic elite and have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in the field of computer science. Throughout your studies, you'll be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, thriving on challenge and opportunities to think for yourself.

Personal tutor
At the start of your degree, you'll be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues.

Contact hours
In your first year the course is delivered via lectures, tutorials, workshops, laboratory classes and self-directed learning, including revision and working on exercises. As you proceed through your course the number of structured hours decreases and there's a strong emphasis on project work in your final year. The range of projects in your final year includes practical work in the laboratory, computer-based projects, or theoretical studies. Education-based projects are also available to those interested in entering the teaching profession. Lecturers provide a pool of topics for final year projects, however, you are strongly encouraged to come up with your own ideas.

Learning settings:

Laboratory-based work is an integral part of our Computer Science degree programme, vital to develop your experimental practical skills and to reinforce concepts introduced in lectures or to explore a particular phenomenon. First-year practical sessions typically last for four hours and increase in length in subsequent years so that you can study more advanced concepts and work more independently.

Lectures take place in our theatres which, as well as the traditional whiteboard and pen, are equipped with the latest technology, including facilities to show movies, animations and molecular graphics, to record lectures and to interact with 'ask the audience' style electronic voting systems.

Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises.

Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is a group activity which requires you to work in a team, with a variety of assessment methods; in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. Based on techniques used in research-led organisations like the University of Birmingham, EBL gives you a research-orientated approach to a problem and helps you to gain essential skills that are highly valued by employers.

Assessment methods

Each module is assessed independently with all containing some components of continuous assessment, which usually accounts for about a fifth to a third of your marks. Some modules are completely assessed by coursework. Assessment methods include end-of-year examinations in May and June, written assignments, oral and poster presentations, computer-based tests, marked exercises, and laboratory and project reports.

During your first year you will undergo a formal 'transition' review to see how you are getting on and whether there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your School or Department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

Feedback is an essential part of learning and we use a wide range of methods, such as written feedback on your assessments, class feedback sessions and discussions with your tutor. You'll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, highlighting the positives of your work as well as any areas that need more attention. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you fail an exam we will ensure that you receive particularly detailed feedback to enable you to learn for the future.

Employability

Feedback shows that, on average, 85% of the students on this course find work and/or further study after graduating, and those in work are, typically, earning £23,000 a year six months after graduation. Of those working, 100% are doing professional/managerial jobs.

Preparaing for your career is one of the first things you need to think about when you start university. Our Computer Science graduates can choose from a huge variety of career opportunities, including working with one of the global technology giants, or in other areas of industry and technology. But you'll also be highly sought after by employers in the fields of finance, business, government, teaching and research.

At the University of Birmingham, we also enhance your employability with superb opportunities to gain industry experience, assisting you to secure mentoring opportunities, global internships and placements, from summer jobs to spending a whole year in industry between your second and final study years. This placement year is a chance to earn money and gain real-life experience, allowing you to get involved in serious projects and put into practice the skills and knowledge gained from your degree. It's a great chance to prove your worth and placements often lead to sponsorship and/or the offer of a graduate job.

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Career destinations of previous graduates include:

  •  Accenture
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Honda
  • HP
  • IBM
  • Logics
  • QinetiQ
  • Rolls Royce
  • UBS

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) 2011/12

The DLHE survey is conducted 6 months after graduation.

Examples of occupations

  • Software Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • Technical Analyst
  • Applications Developer
  • Cyber Security Consultant
  • Design Engineer
  • Junior Programmer
  • Software Consultant
  • Technical Consultant
  • Technology Analyst

Further study - examples of courses

  • MSc Computer Security
  • MSc International Business
  • MEng Aeronautics & Astronautics
  • MSc Computer Science
  • MSc Artifical Intelligence
  • MSc Operational Research
  • MSc Imbedded Systems
  • PhD - Physical Sciences in the Biomedical Imaging
  • PhD - Computer Science

Visit the Careers section of the University website for further information.

Professional accreditation

Where appropriate, our courses are accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Institution of Engineering Technology (IET), providing accelerated routes to full professional qualifications.