Here’s a Rundown of the A-Levels You Need for a Computer Science Degree

19 Dec, 2023 | Computer Science, University Preparation

Any course you choose to pursue at university will require a specific skill set and knowledge base to enable you to thrive in your studies. Your A-level subjects, along with your other academic and extracurricular pursuits, are an important step in preparing for your future studies and career path. 

There are lots of options to gain the relevant skills and insights for a future in Computer Science, such as online internships and online courses. Most importantly, you need to choose the A-level subjects that will best prepare you for your degree! 

While this might seem daunting, we’ve put together some helpful insights into popular A-level subjects for a Computer Science degree. 

Are There Any Pre-A-Level Requirements for a Computer Science Degree?

There are some basic pre-A-level requirements for a Computer Science degree that will boost your chances of a successful application. 

Universities in the UK will generally require applicants to have achieved a minimum grade C or 4 in English, Mathematics and sometimes a science-based subject, at GCSE-level or equivalent. 

Prospective students should also be able to demonstrate a vested interest in the field of computer science. This could be through extracurricular programmes, reading around the subject, work experience or coding competitions. These extracurricular activities are a central part of writing your personal statement and any interviews you might have, and are a great way to have fun doing what you enjoy while developing your portfolio! 


How Should I Choose My A-Levels for Computer Science?

Choosing A-levels is always tricky! It can sometimes feel like you’re restricting your options, but if you know you’re interested in studying Computer Science at university, then you’re starting in a great position! 

Most importantly, you should make sure that the subjects you choose are ones you’ll enjoy as you’ll be studying them in-depth for two years. If you’re interested in a Computer Science degree, then chances are the relevant subjects are the ones you already have an interest in!  

Here’s are some suggestions for A-levels that would prepare you well for a Computer Science degree: 

Core A-levels for Computer Science

The essential A-level subjects that form the core foundation for Computer Science studies are those that enhance analytical thinking and mathematical skills, which are crucial for grasping complex programming and algorithms. 

These are chiefly Mathematics and Further Mathematics, which are expected by most universities for their Computer Science students. If you’re considering taking Maths or Further Maths at A-level, you might be interested in our online Maths courses for high school students which run throughout the summer, helping you nail down some core concepts and hone your academic skills to get ahead. 

Some schools might offer Computer Science as an A-level, which is a great option to get a head start in understanding programming concepts, but don’t worry if that’s not available to you! 

Complementary A-levels for Computer Science

Other science-related A-levels are great options to complement the core Maths subjects in preparing for a Computer Science degree. Subjects like Physics or Engineering are a great way of gaining useful skills and knowledge in areas like computer hardware and simulations. 

Subjects like Electronics and Design and Technology might not be the most obvious choices but they’re a great way of enhancing your knowledge in related areas – particularly for your future career! 

Practical skills and project work

It’s also important to think about experiences that can enrich your knowledge and skills outside of your A-levels. Acquiring practical skills through coding experience, and engaging in programming projects as extracurricular activities, will help you stand out in university applications and feel confident in your own abilities.

Our online Computer Science internships are a fantastic opportunity to gain hands-on experience in programming and to build a strong foundation in the field, especially if your school doesn’t offer a Computer Science A-level. 

Person sitting at computer, coding

Key Things to Remember When Choosing Your A-Levels for a Computer Science Degree

We understand that choosing your A-level subjects can be overwhelming, so here’s a checklist of things to do before you make any big decisions: 

1. Check university requirements

Every university will have different requirements, particularly when it comes to specific courses and the unique skills and knowledge necessary. Make sure to check the requirements for each course you’re interested in so that you can be sure you’re ticking the boxes of your top choices! 

2. Look at grade requirements

Different courses and different universities may have slightly different grade requirements, so it’s a good idea to be tactical in your subject choices. Check the grade requirements for the courses you’re interested in, and select subjects you’re likely to achieve these grades in. 

3. Choose the subjects you enjoy

It’s important that you pick A-level subjects that you enjoy and that you can link to your love of Computer Science. Not only does this put you in a good position to enjoy your two years of A-level studies, but it also makes writing your personal statement easier and helps you feel confident in any interviews you may have.

Overall, the important thing to remember is to choose A-level subjects that align with your interests and career goals in Computer Science. If you’d like more information, university websites are a great source of information for detailed A-level entry requirements and programme specifics.


By Alice Spiers

Alice is an historian at St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she teaches undergraduate history (predominantly medieval history and historiographical theory). She is also a freelance writer and editor, and a research assistant at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Studies.

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