Computer science at University without A-Level

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Nicholson1882
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#1
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#1
Hello. I am y12, doing maths, economics and history.

I didn't even do computer science at GCSE.

But recently it is something that is beginning to greatly interest me, largely due to the fact my friends and I have a start-up that works on software.

I saw some courses at university that look very appealing, and have also started a computer science course on Brilliant.org which is interesting. I have two questions:

1. How would you recommend I learn whether studying computer science as a degree is something I will enjoy/find interesting, seeing as I haven't studied it since Y9?

2. Is it a problem that I am not studying it for A Level?

Thank you.
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small daisy
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From what I've heard (and I'm by no means an expert), they want maths, not computer science. So do well in maths A-level and obviously have a CS geared personal statment and you should be fine. If your strong at maths, pick up further since CS is quite competitive and it'll make you a better applicant for Russell Group, but I wouldn't stress it too much.

I don't know if it'll help at university application stage, and it is anecdotal evidence, but my neighbour and a fair few of his friends all have history degrees but worked careers at IBM and similar companies due to the analytical skills they developed. So history is likely an aid rather than a fault.
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Ira Acedia
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Not taking Computer Science for A-level is completely fine, Maths and Further Maths have much more emphasis (e.g. at Cambridge and Imperial). Following such logic, I would imagine GCSE Computer Science isn't required either.

Maybe try out some taster days/sessions and have a look at some course content/curriculum and explore the topics briefly. If your school has a computer science department, I'd also recommend potentially having a chat with them -- in case any of the teachers there happen to have had a similar situation to your own and can give better advice as they know more websites.

Cambridge heavily recommends further maths, and imperial recommends "Computer science, physics, Further Maths" (Normal maths being required). Imperial does list both History and Economics as useful.

Maybe consider taking a look at taking Further Maths?
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Nicholson1882
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(Original post by Ira Acedia)
Not taking Computer Science for A-level is completely fine, Maths and Further Maths have much more emphasis (e.g. at Cambridge and Imperial). Following such logic, I would imagine GCSE Computer Science isn't required either.

Maybe try out some taster days/sessions and have a look at some course content/curriculum and explore the topics briefly. If your school has a computer science department, I'd also recommend potentially having a chat with them -- in case any of the teachers there happen to have had a similar situation to your own and can give better advice as they know more websites.

Cambridge heavily recommends further maths, and imperial recommends "Computer science, physics, Further Maths" (Normal maths being required). Imperial does list both History and Economics as useful.

Maybe consider taking a look at taking Further Maths?
Thank you very much.

I was actually particularly interested in this course, which also has a whole module on maths. It includes set theory which I don't think we learn at A Level but do find interesting.

Now that you mention it, I think the head of computer science was in a similar position to me in that he did not study it for A Level. I'll ask him.

Is the importance of maths due to its direct application, or the common thinking/skills in both?
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TQRL
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As others have stated, A-Level computer science may be preferred but is NOT required. Many universities, mainly the top and "mid" universities require/prefer A-Level Math. The top top universities prefer Further Math so not taking the subject will only exclude you from a few universities. If you're planning to apply to CS courses, you should mention your interest in computer science in your UCAS personal statement. You can take part in personal projects, workshops and other extracurriculars to provide as evidence for your interest for the subject.
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lifeofpablo1
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(Original post by TQRL)
As others have stated, A-Level computer science may be preferred but is NOT required. Many universities, mainly the top and "mid" universities require/prefer A-Level Math. The top top universities prefer Further Math so not taking the subject will only exclude you from a few universities. If you're planning to apply to CS courses, you should mention your interest in computer science in your UCAS personal statement. You can take part in personal projects, workshops and other extracurriculars to provide as evidence for your interest for the subject.
I don't know of any unis that require further maths
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TQRL
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#7
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(Original post by Nicholson1882)
Is the importance of maths due to its direct application, or the common thinking/skills in both?
This might answer your question: https://slideplayer.com/slide/5783290/ . It's from an introductory lecture from QMUL's CS course.
Have a look at Slide 14-18.
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TQRL
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(Original post by lifeofpablo1)
I don't know of any unis that require further maths
Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial strongly recommend Further Maths. Have a look at their websites
Last edited by TQRL; 1 month ago
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artful_lounger
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#9
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Very common for people not to have done CS to A-level or even GCSE. Most courses presuppose no prior exposure to CS or programming, and just expect basic IT skills, and teach all the specialist content from scratch. They do usually expect (very, for some unis) strong mathematical abilities though.
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gtty123
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#10
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I think for Postgraduate studies you do not need it. I can't comment, however, on Undergraduate studies.
Last edited by gtty123; 1 month ago
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ThiagoBrigido
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#11
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(Original post by lifeofpablo1)
I don't know of any unis that require further maths
Discrete and Stats further maths would be very helpful, specially on some "reputable universities" that provide students with their DIY courses in which you are expected to learn everything by osmosis LOL. I didn't take Computer Science at A-level, however I felt that students that took CS as part of their A-level have a greater advantage over those that didn't.
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