Course Title AS/A Level Computer Science
Level: 3
Code MS015

Overview of the Course

The Computer Science course we offer at Bury College has recently been refreshed to move with the times and adapt to the advances in computing which are constantly transforming the way we work. Computer Science embraces the logical, imaginative and creative skills needed to create the technologies of tomorrow. The course has a strong emphasis on problem solving and practical programming using the C# programming language. This is complemented by a study of computational theory giving you the skills to progress to higher education or thrive in the workplace.

What are the career opportunities?

You may progress onto Computer Science, Engineering or IT related Higher Education courses or employment where knowledge of programming or Computer Science is required. Computer science falls within a raft of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, which are forecast to be in short supply. According to a report by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the UK needs 100,000 new STEM graduates every year until 2020 just to maintain current employment numbers. Some technology-related companies also run their own Computing or programming apprenticeship schemes. The latest figures from government careers site Graduate Prospects, show that 59 per cent of UK graduates in computer science and IT were in full-time work six months after leaving university or college, compared to 52 per cent of graduates in other subjects. While more than half were working as IT professionals, many used their skills to enter careers in retail, business, human resources and finance. In the Sunday Times 2016 graduate survey four of the top ten highest starting graduates salaries were from courses in Computer Science. Future opportunities in computing are without boundaries. Computer Science is one of those fields where it is almost impossible to predict what will happen next. This is why we cannot even begin to imagine all the ways that you can make a contribution to it and it can make your life’s work exciting and real.

What are the entry requirements?

To study three AS Levels or two AS Levels and one Applied Qualification then the entry requirements are six GCSEs at or above grade C/4 including three subjects or more at or above grade C/5.These should include GCSE English grade 9-4, GCSE mathematics grade 9-6, and if taken, grade A*-C (9 – 4) in GCSE ICT or Computer Science.

Should you wish to study four AS Levels the entry requirements are six GCSEs at or above grade C/4 including two subjects or more at or above grade C/5 and two subjects or more at or above B/6.

In addition to the above a minimum of 9 grade points are required from maths and English combined.

Computer Science students should study AS Maths alongside this subject, offers for students wishing to take Computer Science without Maths will be subject to an offer based on their average GCSE score.

How long is the course and when can I start?

The A Level Study Programme is a full-time two-year programme, starting in September, with the opportunity to take AS after one year.

How is the course structured and how will I be assessed?

In the first (AS) year you will study two equally weighted units, one assessed by a written examination and the other by an on-screen practical examination. In the second year (A Level) you will study two units (both 40% of final grade) one assessed by a written examination and the other by an on-screen practical examination. In addition, you will complete an individual practical project (20%).

What employability skills will I develop on this course?

Computer Science is part of everything we do! Computing and computer technology are part of just about everything that touches our lives from the cars we drive, to the films we watch, to the ways businesses and governments deal with us. Understanding different dimensions of computing is part of the necessary skill set for an educated person in the 21st century. Whether you want to be a scientist, develop the latest application, or just know what it really means when someone says “the computer made a mistake”, studying computing will provide you with this valuable knowledge. Expertise in computing enables you to solve complex, challenging problems. Computer Science is a discipline that offers rewarding and challenging possibilities for a wide range of people regardless of their range of interests. Computing requires and develops capabilities in solving deep, multidimensional problems requiring imagination and sensitivity to a variety of concerns. Computer Science enables you to make a positive difference in the world. Computer Science drives innovation in the sciences (human genome project, AIDS vaccine research, environmental monitoring and protection just to mention a few), and also in engineering, business, entertainment and education. If you want to make a positive difference in the world, study computing. Expertise in computing helps you even if your career choice is something else. Having studied Computer Science will provide you with a foundation of knowledge, problem solving and logical thinking that will serve as a competitive advantage to you in your career, in whatever field you choose. Computer Science is an essential part of well-rounded academic preparation. An increasing number of universities and employers see successful completion of a computer science course as a sign of academic well-roundedness.

Work experience

Work experience is an essential element of your study programme and you will be supported to secure a five day work experience placement. This will allow you to gain first hand exposure to the sector you wish to work in, start to develop key employability skills and most importantly confirm your career goals.

Study programme enrichment opportunities

Your Study Programme will support personal development to ensure you make good progress and acquire the skills required for successful progression to employment, an apprenticeship or higher education. Enrichment includes guest speakers and trips/visits. You will have the opportunity to take part in competitions such as the BEBRAS Challenge and other Individual and Team Challenges. For students that are more able, there is also the opportunity to take part in the TCS Oxford Computing Challenge.

Are there any additional costs or requirements?

There are computers available to all students throughout the LRCs at Bury College, but a home PC capable of running Microsoft Visual Studio 2107 (Community Edition) will be a great aid to your studies, especially in the second year.


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