Year in Computer Science


Computer Science is now a major factor in many businesses, professions and academic disciplines, as well as in everyday life. From practical ICT to profound principles of computation, a solid grounding in Computer Science can be an important factor in making the most of your career potential.

To respond to the demand from students, employers and the government for more education in computing, the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham has started an innovative new programme. Our 'Year in Computer Science' (or YCS) offers students from non-computing disciplines the chance to gain in-depth knowledge of computing and enhance their work-based skills through the study of Computer Science.


In a degree with a Year in Computer Science, the additional year is "sandwiched" between the second and final years of your original honours degree. In the additional year you will study the core of Computer Science, and in your final year you will return to your home subject.

You can sign up to the YCS during your second year of study and will be admitted if you fulfil all of the necessary entry requirements.

Once admitted, you will follow modules offered by the School of Computer Science and, for that year, all tutoring and monitoring requirements will become the sole responsibility of the School of Computer Science.


A full list of modules can be viewed, but essentially:

In the first semester, you will study:

  • Computer programming (in Java): The teaching for this element is mainly practical - there are lectures and tutorials, however you should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time in the computer labs.
  • The fundamentals of Computer Science: This covers some basic theory as well as practical aspects of how software is specified, designed and constructed.
  • Two options from the School of Computer Science second year modules. You will be advised as to which to choose, depending on your main degree.

In the second semester, you will continue to study:

  • Computer programming (in Java): By now you will be able to write some more interesting computer programmes, perhaps starting to interact with databases via web pages.
  • The fundamentals of Computer Science: A deeper introduction to the mysteries of data structures and algorithms is accompanied by an introduction to designing and using databases.

You will also study:

  • Two options from a pre-set selection of the School of Computer Science second and third year modules. Again, you will be guided as to which to choose, depending on your main degree.

What are the entry requirements?

The Year in Computer Science is available to all current second year students who:

  • are studying any subject other than Computer Science;
  • achieve a point average of at least 55% in their first and second year of study;
  • successfully demonstrate their ability and enthusiasm for the course at interview.

It is advisable that applicants also hold Grade A in GCSE Mathematics or higher

Please note that whilst a conditional offer can initially be made, admission onto the YCS cannot be confirmed until the results of your second year examinations are released.

What do I get at the end of it?

Successful students will graduate with a degree in their home subject, with the addition of 'with a Year in Computer Science'. A full transcript of your marks on the year you spend with us will also be available to you, and can be supplied to potential employers.

The Year in Computer Science is assessed on a pass/fail basis. Credits gained during the year will not contribute to the credits required for your main degree, nor will marks contribute towards your degree classification in the main subject. In this respect, the YCS is similar to a 'Year Abroad/in Industry' and for this reason the YCS should be considered an integral part of your degree.

What does it cost?

In terms of cost, the Year in Computer Science should be viewed simply as an additional year of study.

If you pay your own tuition fees, then you will have an extra year's tuition fee to pay. For those eligible, an additional year of study loan should be available to apply for - please contact the Student Loans Company to arrange this (confirming you you wish to study an additional Year in Computer Science as part of your degree).

How do I apply?

Download an application form, once completed, please return the application via email, or by handing it in to the Computer Science Reception Office. The Admissions Tutor will review your application and respond with a decision within a few weeks.

Get in Touch:

Year in Computer Science Admissions Team
Tel: (+44) (0)121 415 8742