A Level Computer Science

Name of course

A Level Computer Science

Examining board

OCR (H446)

Link to specification

More information about the course can be found from the exam board website here

Course Entry Requirements


To study Computer Science you must have studied it at GCSE and obtained a Grade 6

Students without a GCSE in Computer Science will be considered on a case by case basis.

Why Computer Science?


We all take the internet and computer games for granted, but at some point someone who studied computer science had a hand in creating them. All around us is evidence of expertise in computing, not just in terms of how computers and programming work but the higher-level analytical skills required. The course will suit students who are logical and who have an analytical approach to problem solving. It is excellent preparation for students looking to take a computer science or computing related degree. If you would like a career as a programmer, computer engineer and would like to work in the telecommunications industry then this course is appropriate.  Importantly, because of the focus on logic, systematic analysis and problem-solving, students with qualifications in computing are highly regarded by employers and universities alike.

Course Content


Component 01: Computer systems

Students are introduced to the internal workings of the (CPU), data exchange, software development, data types and legal and ethical issues. The resulting knowledge and understanding will underpin their work in component 03.

It covers:

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices

  • Types of software and the different methodologies used to develop software

  • Data exchange between different systems

  • Data types, data structures and algorithms

  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues.

Component 02: Algorithms and programming

This builds on component 01 to include computational thinking and problem-solving. It covers:

  • What is meant by computational thinking (thinking abstractly, thinking ahead, thinking procedurally etc.)

  • Problem solving and programming – how computers and programs can be used to solve problems

  • Algorithms and how they can be used to describe and solve problems.

Component 03: Programming project

Students are expected to apply the principles of computational thinking to a practical coding programming project. They will analyse, design, develop, test, evaluate and document a program written in a suitable programming language. The project is designed to be independently chosen by the student and provides them with the flexibility to investigate projects within the diverse field of computer science. We support a wide and diverse range of languages.

Where could this course lead to?


Russell group universities see a Computer Science A level as a ‘Useful Subject’.  Obviously this can lead to courses in Computer Science but also in areas such as Cyber Security and Games Programming which are growing in popularity, as well as professional qualifications in areas such as Networking.  Irrespective of course choice at University, Computer Science will allow you to gain transferrable skills that are likely to be useful in most professions.  In the longer term, there are a plethora of career options associated with Computer Science and demand for graduates in Computer Science is very high with the most talented students commanding some of the highest starting salaries of all subjects post-university.