The Student Room Group

Computer Science or Politics at uni?

Hi, I'm currently in Year 12 and am still unsure whether I should apply for a CS or Politics course at uni. I take Politics, Maths, and CS at A Level and am predicted A*BB respectively (I got a 9 in CS and an 8 in Maths at GCSE if that matters). I am leaning towards CS due to the better graduate prospects, however I have more interest in politics in general - I've listed the pros and cons of each below.


CS
+ higher average graduate salary
+ genuinely enjoy programming
+ later in career, it would probably be easier to go into politics after having studied CS than vice versa
+ good GCSE grades, so am probably capable of A/A* in Maths and CS
- am predicted a lower grade than Politics
- don't enjoy the rest of the course much
- higher grade requirements
- more competitive

Politics
+ am actually interested in it outside of school
+ am predicted a higher grade than CS
+ lower grade requirements
- lower average graduate salary
- don't enjoy writing essays
- A Level course is pretty boring
- uncertain about career paths

thanks :smile:
I can't really see that either is the best idea.

A CS degree involves a lot more than programming and you indicate you have little interest in anything beyond that in CS - and your weakest grades are in the relevant subjects for that as well. Politics is largely essay based, which you say you don't like, and you say you find it boring (yet somehow are interested in it outside of school - remember a politics degree is a degree in the academic study of political institutions and policies, not a "how to become a political candidate" degree).

Neither case seems compelling to me. I'd probably suggest you explore the breadth of courses available at degree level, above and beyond the subjects you're taking at A-level. There's a lot more out there and you might find something a lot more interesting you hadn't considered before.
Not much help, but im in exactly the same position in Y11.
Im thinking of taking Maths, Politics, Computer Science and Further Maths (If I get the grade 8/9).
I enjoy learning about politics, but i've always loved computer science. Plus the future job stability/pay looks good. However I dont see any politics careers that appeal much to me. The only thing that scares me for computer science is the maths as Im not that great at it. However Im still going to try and get 3/4 A* and apply to unis such as
University of Oxford
University of Cambridge
Imperial College London
University College London (UCL)
University of Manchester
King’s College London
University of Warwick
Durham University
Original post by hugeshart
Hi, I'm currently in Year 12 and am still unsure whether I should apply for a CS or Politics course at uni. I take Politics, Maths, and CS at A Level and am predicted A*BB respectively (I got a 9 in CS and an 8 in Maths at GCSE if that matters). I am leaning towards CS due to the better graduate prospects, however I have more interest in politics in general - I've listed the pros and cons of each below.


CS
+ higher average graduate salary
+ genuinely enjoy programming
+ later in career, it would probably be easier to go into politics after having studied CS than vice versa
+ good GCSE grades, so am probably capable of A/A* in Maths and CS
- am predicted a lower grade than Politics
- don't enjoy the rest of the course much
- higher grade requirements
- more competitive

Politics
+ am actually interested in it outside of school
+ am predicted a higher grade than CS
+ lower grade requirements
- lower average graduate salary
- don't enjoy writing essays
- A Level course is pretty boring
- uncertain about career paths

thanks :smile:


If you genuinely want a career in politics as your end goal then a politics degree would be extremely useful - especially when applying as a parliamentary assistant/intern to an MP as that is what they look for.

You should also look at the speakers parliamentary placement they place you with 2 MPs for 12 months, applications just closed but of course would be open again by the time you got your degree - look into it!
Original post by hugeshart
Hi, I'm currently in Year 12 and am still unsure whether I should apply for a CS or Politics course at uni. I take Politics, Maths, and CS at A Level and am predicted A*BB respectively (I got a 9 in CS and an 8 in Maths at GCSE if that matters). I am leaning towards CS due to the better graduate prospects, however I have more interest in politics in general - I've listed the pros and cons of each below.


CS
+ higher average graduate salary
+ genuinely enjoy programming
+ later in career, it would probably be easier to go into politics after having studied CS than vice versa
+ good GCSE grades, so am probably capable of A/A* in Maths and CS
- am predicted a lower grade than Politics
- don't enjoy the rest of the course much
- higher grade requirements
- more competitive

Politics
+ am actually interested in it outside of school
+ am predicted a higher grade than CS
+ lower grade requirements
- lower average graduate salary
- don't enjoy writing essays
- A Level course is pretty boring
- uncertain about career paths

thanks :smile:


Hi!

Whichever one you pick it is important to remember you will be studying the subject for 3 or 4 years so you will enjoy your time at university more if you pick a subject you enjoy! The 2 courses are also very different - politics being essay-based and CS having more practical programming-based coursework. Maybe have a think about which style of assessment would suit you better? Of course, if you have an idea of what you would like to do after university this will also help but if you aren't sure don't worry about that!!

I hope that helps a little!
- Florence (Lancaster Student Ambassador)
Reply 5
Go to University Open Days.
Sign up for the 'subject talks' on both subjects.
Is the subject at degree level what you thought it would be.
Think carefully over the summer.

Bath offers both subjects - https://www.bath.ac.uk/campaigns/undergraduate-open-days/
and Manchester - https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/open-days/
as just two examples.
Original post by hugeshart
Hi, I'm currently in Year 12 and am still unsure whether I should apply for a CS or Politics course at uni. I take Politics, Maths, and CS at A Level and am predicted A*BB respectively (I got a 9 in CS and an 8 in Maths at GCSE if that matters). I am leaning towards CS due to the better graduate prospects, however I have more interest in politics in general - I've listed the pros and cons of each below.


CS
+ higher average graduate salary
+ genuinely enjoy programming
+ later in career, it would probably be easier to go into politics after having studied CS than vice versa
+ good GCSE grades, so am probably capable of A/A* in Maths and CS
- am predicted a lower grade than Politics
- don't enjoy the rest of the course much
- higher grade requirements
- more competitive

Politics
+ am actually interested in it outside of school
+ am predicted a higher grade than CS
+ lower grade requirements
- lower average graduate salary
- don't enjoy writing essays
- A Level course is pretty boring
- uncertain about career paths

thanks :smile:

Hi there!

I have just graduated from Lancaster University with a Natural Sciences BSc so thought I could give my experience with the degree as it sounds like it could be something that would work well with your decision between politics and CS. Natural Sciences degrees tend to vary by university, so it's definitely worth having a look around to see what course is right for you. At Lancaster, the degree is very flexible, you can choose 3 pathways out of a possible 21. The subjects range from maths, computer science, physics, biology, engineering, earth sciences, and more, so there are many different possible combinations! The complete list of different pathways is in the brochure which can be found here - https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/natural-sciences/ . You can also study a subject outside of the sciences as one of your pathways, so could study politics if that was something that you were interested in.

I also know that single subject courses at Lancaster University usually require you to take a 'minor' subject alongside your 'major' subject in first year, so you could look into studying one as your 'major' with the other as a smaller part of your degree. This might give you a better taste of the subject at university-level without fully committing to one or the other too early.

Best of luck with all of your decisions, if you have any further questions, feel free to let me know!

- Bethan (Lancaster University Student Ambassador)
Hi,

My name is Emmanuel and I'm a Joint Honours degree student of History & Politics at Lancaster University. The evaluation of your prospects very much depends on where you want to study, but I'll throw in my 2 cents about your cons about Politics just to make you think. You can't get around the essay writing 100% at Lancaster and most other places, but the course is very different here to A Level. Students have to complete a core POLI100 module that incorporates aspects of the A Level syllabus but extends far beyond this scope and includes research-led material from lecturers in the department. I never had the opportunity to study A Level Politics myself, but my 1st year showed that if you do your research, it can be a lot more diverse and engaging than the constraints of studies in Sixth Form. Career paths and salaries are also very much contingent on your portfolio ahead of leaving Uni. At Lancaster, the PPR department frequently informs students of opportunities to undertake paid research projects, you can become an Ambassador for the Department and Placement/Year Abroad options are available as part of courses— let alone all the vacancies for jobs the Uni offers itself more broadly. All I'd say is drill down into the specifics of where you might want to do either subject and you might be surprised with what you find out.

Original post by hugeshart
Hi, I'm currently in Year 12 and am still unsure whether I should apply for a CS or Politics course at uni. I take Politics, Maths, and CS at A Level and am predicted A*BB respectively (I got a 9 in CS and an 8 in Maths at GCSE if that matters). I am leaning towards CS due to the better graduate prospects, however I have more interest in politics in general - I've listed the pros and cons of each below.


CS
+ higher average graduate salary
+ genuinely enjoy programming
+ later in career, it would probably be easier to go into politics after having studied CS than vice versa
+ good GCSE grades, so am probably capable of A/A* in Maths and CS
- am predicted a lower grade than Politics
- don't enjoy the rest of the course much
- higher grade requirements
- more competitive

Politics
+ am actually interested in it outside of school
+ am predicted a higher grade than CS
+ lower grade requirements
- lower average graduate salary
- don't enjoy writing essays
- A Level course is pretty boring
- uncertain about career paths

thanks :smile:
Original post by hugeshart
Hi, I'm currently in Year 12 and am still unsure whether I should apply for a CS or Politics course at uni. I take Politics, Maths, and CS at A Level and am predicted A*BB respectively (I got a 9 in CS and an 8 in Maths at GCSE if that matters). I am leaning towards CS due to the better graduate prospects, however I have more interest in politics in general - I've listed the pros and cons of each below.


CS
+ higher average graduate salary
+ genuinely enjoy programming
+ later in career, it would probably be easier to go into politics after having studied CS than vice versa
+ good GCSE grades, so am probably capable of A/A* in Maths and CS
- am predicted a lower grade than Politics
- don't enjoy the rest of the course much
- higher grade requirements
- more competitive

Politics
+ am actually interested in it outside of school
+ am predicted a higher grade than CS
+ lower grade requirements
- lower average graduate salary
- don't enjoy writing essays
- A Level course is pretty boring
- uncertain about career paths

thanks :smile:


Hi @hugeshart

I am currently a second year student doing computer networks and security and I understand how hard this decision is I can see you have made a pros and cons list this is a good start I would suggest going to open days at a few different universities as each course and each university does offer different modules. From this I would then make another pros and cons list based on the what you experienced at the open days. . Hope this helps!

Gurpej Kaur(Student Rep)
Hi,

Choosing the course that best suits what you are looking for is a very difficult thing to do.

I think that not only looking at the pros and cons of each subject maybe look at the prospect of a combination degree. this way you are able to continue to study two subjects you're passionate about and keep your career prospects open.

One of the way that helped me chose (I eventually combined History and Politics) was through attending Open Days. Through these, I was able to find out more in-depth about the courses. I was able to talk to current students and staff members, this allowed me to make a far more informed decision. The courses will vary in content from University to University so making sure not only the University is best for you but the course, is a very important decision.

If you want further information regarding Open Days or are looking to chat about it please check out this thread here.

Dafydd
Original post by hugeshart
Hi, I'm currently in Year 12 and am still unsure whether I should apply for a CS or Politics course at uni. I take Politics, Maths, and CS at A Level and am predicted A*BB respectively (I got a 9 in CS and an 8 in Maths at GCSE if that matters). I am leaning towards CS due to the better graduate prospects, however I have more interest in politics in general - I've listed the pros and cons of each below.


CS
+ higher average graduate salary
+ genuinely enjoy programming
+ later in career, it would probably be easier to go into politics after having studied CS than vice versa
+ good GCSE grades, so am probably capable of A/A* in Maths and CS
- am predicted a lower grade than Politics
- don't enjoy the rest of the course much
- higher grade requirements
- more competitive

Politics
+ am actually interested in it outside of school
+ am predicted a higher grade than CS
+ lower grade requirements
- lower average graduate salary
- don't enjoy writing essays
- A Level course is pretty boring
- uncertain about career paths

thanks :smile:


Hi! I'm a final-year Computer Science student at Lancaster University. I think it is really important to choose a degree subject that you enjoy studying about it. From your post, it seems like politics are your interests while programming is what you enjoy doing. From my experience, Computer Science courses are largely related to coding, but not all of the coursework is programming. There are also aspects such as ethical issues, how to use the technology in real life, computer architecture, etc which are helpful for the future if you are planning to get into a career in this industry. Maybe you can have a look at different universities' Computer Science course structure and Politic courses' content, and see which one you are more interested in.
Here is a link to the CS degree at Lancaster University:
https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/computer-science-bsc-hons-g400/

As mentioned by other ambassadors from my uni, in our first year in CS, we are allowed to choose a minor subject that we study alongside our major in the first year. For example, I chose Linguistics as my minor, and I really enjoyed it in my first year, so I guess it would be a nice solution for you if you want to study CS but at the same time want to learn more about Politics at the university level.

I hope these help! All the best to you! :smile:

- Miyuki (Lancaster University FST Student Ambassador)

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