Computer Science

Qualification: A Level Computer Science (H446)

Awarding body OCR

A-level Computer Science provides an excellent foundation for understanding and working with complex computer systems. Computer science is an essential part of some of the most rapidly developing industries. When you hear about advances in fields such as communication, renewables, artificial intelligence and games, there are computer scientists working behind the scenes making it all possible. 

This course will give you a broad yet deep understanding of computer science, allowing you to delve even deeper into the specific areas that interest you. You will learn about how components within computer systems work and how computer systems communicate with each other. You will also learn about some of the mathematical principles that allow computer systems to operate including data types, data structures and Boolean algebra. Perhaps most importantly, you will learn how to program using different languages and paradigms, from using HTML, CSS, SQL and JavaScript for use in web applications to coding object orientated and procedural Python.

Towards the end of year 12 you will start a substantial programming project based on your area of interest. Possible topics include computer games, mobile apps, complex simulations and web-based data handling systems. You will follow formal development methods and produce your product along with an in-depth report.

Course content:

Year 12

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices (Structure and function of the processor, types of processor, input, output and storage)
  • Software and software development (systems software, application generation, software development, types of programming language)
  • Exchanging data (compression, encryption, databases, networks, web technologies)
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms (data types, data structures, Boolean algebra)
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues (computing related legislation, moral and ethical issues)

Year 13

  • Elements of computational thinking (thinking abstractly, thinking ahead, thinking procedurally, thinking logically, thinking concurrently)
  • Problem solving and programming (programming techniques, computational methods)
  • Algorithms
  • NEA Programming project 


The course comprises two written examinations at the end of Year 13. And an individual programming project. Each examination contributes 40% of the overall course grade and the programming project contributes the remaining 20%.

Why study this subject?

This course offers routes into a variety of higher education courses and careers. Possible careers include: systems analyst, software engineer, games developer, database administrator, hardware engineer, network architect, web developer, app developer, cyber security analyst, artificial intelligence engineer, computer and information research scientist, IT project manager, IT consultant, UX designer, ethical hacker, forensic computer analyst, teacher.