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Overview

Studying A level Computer Science will help you develop strong problem-solving skills, provide opportunities for creativity and innovation and is well regarded by many universities.

A level Computer Science helps build the foundational programming and theoretical skills that you will then go on to develop in a Computer Science degree, preparing you for a range of employment opportunities in a fast-growing industry.

Key Facts

Start Dates:

  • 6 September 2021
  • 3 January 2022

Colleges:

  • Oxford

Entry level:

  • Academic: Completed 10 years of schooling (GCSE or equivalent)
  • English: IELTS 5.5 or equivalent

Minimum age:

  • 16

Length:

  • 2 Academic Years (3 terms)

Lessons:

  • Average 7 hours per week for each A-level subject (plus homework and private study)

Class size:

  • 4-10

Learning outcomes

  • Gain UK national university entrance qualification
  • Raise English to university level
  • Develop study skills required at degree level
  • Develop specialist subject expertise

Course content and structure

The following syllabus outline is based on AQA exam board content.

Year 1

Fundamentals of programming

  • Programming
  • Procedural-oriented programming

Fundamentals of data structures

  • Data structures
  • Single- and multi-dimensional arrays
  • Fields, records and fles

Systematic approach to problem solving

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Evaluation

Theory of computation

  • Abstraction and automation
  • Finite state machines (FSMs)

Fundamentals of data representation

  • Number systems
  • Number bases
  • Units of information
  • Binary number system
  • Information coding systems
  • Representing images, sound and other data

Fundamentals of computer systems

  • Hardware and software
  • Classifcation of programming languages
  • Types of program translator
  • Logic gates

Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture

  • Internal hardware components of a computer
  • The stored program concept
  • Structure and role of the processor and its components
  • External hardware devices

Consequences of uses of computing

  • Individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural issues and opportunities

Fundamentals of communication and networking

  • Communication
  • Networking

Year 2

Fundamentals of programming

  • Programming
  • Programming paradigms

Fundamentals of data structures

  • Data structures and abstract data types
  • Queues
  • Stacks
  • Graphs
  • Trees
  • Hash tables
  • Dictionaries
  • Vectors

Fundamentals of algorithms

  • Graph-traversal
  • Tree-traversal
  • Reverse Polish
  • Searching algorithms
  • Sorting algorithms
  • Optimisation algorithms

Theory of computation

  • Abstraction and automation
  • Regular languages
  • Context-free languages
  • Classifcation of algorithms
  • A model of computation

Fundamentals of data representation

  • Number systems
  • Number bases
  • Units of information
  • Binary number system
  • Information coding systems
  • Representing images, sound and other data

Fundamentals of computer systems

  • Hardware and software
  • Classifcation of programming languages
  • Types of program translator
  • Logic gates
  • Boolean algebra

Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture

  • Internal hardware components of a computer
  • The stored program concept
  • Structure and role of the processor and its components
  • External hardware devices

Consequences of uses of computing

  • Individual (moral), social (ethical), legal and cultural issues and opportunities

Fundamentals of communication and networking

  • Communication          
  • Networking
  • The Internet
  • The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocol

Fundamentals of databases

  • Conceptual data models and entity relationship modelling        
  • Relational databases             
  • Database design and normalisation techniques
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Client server databases

Big Data

  • Big Data

Fundamentals of functional programming

  • Functional programming paradigm
  • Writing functional programs
  • Lists in functional programming

Systematic approach to problem solving

  • Aspects of software development

Practical Project

  • The project allows students to develop their practical skills in the context of solving a realistic problem or carrying out an investigation.

Typical A-level subject combinations with Computer Science

  • Maths, Physics and Computer Science
  • Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science

(Note that Maths is usually a pre-requisite for a Computer Science degree)

Sample academic calendar (2021-2022)

Year 1

September

  • 6th: term starts
  • Student induction

October

  • 18th – 22nd: half term
  • Progress tests

November

  • University fairs and talks

December

  • 10th: term ends
  • End of term exams

January

  • 3rd: term starts

February

  • 10th – 11th: half term
  • Progress tests
  • University fairs

March

  • End of term exams
  • 18th: term ends

April

  • 4th: term starts

May

  • Progress tests

June

  • Exams
  • 10th: term ends

Year 2

September

  • 5th Sept: term starts

October

  • 17th – 21st: half term
  • 15th October: UCAS deadline (Medicine)
  • Progress tests

November

  • University fairs and talks

December

  • 9th: term ends
  • End of term exams

January

  • 2nd: term starts
  • 15th January: UCAS deadline (other subjects)

February

  • 9th – 10th: half term
  • Progress tests

March

  • 17th: term ends
  • Mock exams

April

  • 3rd: term starts
  • Progress tests

May

  • Final exams

June

  • 9th June: term ends

Degree progression

Having a computing degree will provide you with the knowledge, problem-solving skills and logical thinking capabilities that serve as a competitive advantage in your career.

Computer Scientists are behind many of the great innovations we use every day. These are not limited to any one industry: we use computers across all sectors. That means that a student with a computer science degree can choose a career in any area they want.

  • Computer Science
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software Engineering
  • Games Design
  • Computer Science and Philosophy

Sample student progression

  • Yunchen Cai / University of Oxford. / Computer Science
  • Maxin Kichigin / St Andrews University / Computer Science
  • Yik Ho Lee / University of Bath. /Computer Science with Business
  • Kivanc Firat University of Bath / Computer Science
  • Oritsejolomi Dominc Nengite / University of Warwick / Computer Science
  • Wing Chi Chow / University of Bristol. / Computer Science
  • Yue Man Choi. / University of Manchester / Software Engineering

Thank you for your enquiry.
We'll be in touch soon.
The Kings Admissions Team