Computer Science BSc (Hons) 2019 entry

The BSc (Hons) in Computer Science is designed to ground you in both the theory and practice of computer science. You will learn how to program computers and how systems are organised, designed and implemented. During your studies, you will both explore the theoretical basis of computer science and develop practical skills in software engineering.

You will be able to build a degree programme around your interests and study specialist areas such as artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, computer security, video games, data encoding, databases, and operating systems.

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the Computer Science Integrated Masters course or joint degrees with Computer Science.

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UCAS code

G400

Course type

Bachelor of Science (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 9 September 2019
  • End date: 30 June 2023

If you started this programme in 2018, you can find information about 2018 entry on the 2018 Computer Science page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Typical entry requirements

The following are likely grades considered for an offer. St Andrews offers a variety of flexible entry options and considers all aspects of every application, including context, equivalent qualifications and the personal statement. Offers may be higher or lower than the grades stated here.

SQA Highers

AAAB, including an A in Mathematics and a Higher in one of the following:

  • Biology or Human Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computing Science or equivalent
  • Geography
  • Physics
  • Psychology.
GCE A-Levels AAA, including Mathematics
IB points 38, including HL6 in Mathematics (if offered by your school) or SL (if HL is not offered by your school)

Well-qualified school leavers may be able to apply for admission directly into the second year of this course. Find out more about direct entry to second year for Computer Science.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of Computer Science is required, but preference may be given to candidates offering strong science qualifications.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Science minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements webpage.

Find out more about Faculty of Science entry requirements.

Timetables

St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

Course information

The BSc (Hons) in Computer Science is a four-year course run by the School of Computer Science. The course is designed to ground you in both the theory and practice of computer science. You will learn to think and solve problems logically, understand the fundamental principles of how computing systems work, and be exposed to significant new technologies as well as teamwork.

In the first two years, you will learn the basic concepts behind computer science and several different programming languages.

Alongside Computer Science in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study at least one additional subject. In the second year, you can continue with this other subject or focus entirely on Computer Science. Find out more about how academic years are organised.

During your final two years, you will be grounded in the theoretical and practical principles of computer science, and learn how computing techniques can be used to analyse problems. You will also be able to explore the intellectual frontiers of computer science by studying more advanced and cutting-edge topics, including:

  • artificial intelligence
  • human-computer interaction
  • computer security
  • video games
  • data encoding
  • databases
  • operating systems.

Well-qualified school leavers may be able to apply for admission directly into the second year of this course. Find out more about direct entry to second year for Computer Science.

It is possible for students to take Computer Science as a five-year Integrated Masters course, allowing you to graduate with a Master of Science. Find out more about the Integrated Masters degree.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.

Reading party

All Honours students have the opportunity to attend a reading party in their third year. The reading party takes place in a large country house in the Highlands where students will spend three days giving presentations, taking part in outdoor and indoor activities, and socialising with peers and staff.

Find out more about studying Computer Science at St Andrews.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Computer Science alongside modules in at least one other subject. Typically, you will take one or two Computer Science modules per semester during your first two years, and three to four Computer Science modules during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules:

  • Object-Oriented Programming: provides an introduction to object-oriented modelling and programming using Java.
  • Programming with Data: explores various aspects of data storage, processing and analysis.

Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules:

  • Computer Systems: develops skills in programming in C, systems programming, digital logic and low-level computer organisation.
  • Foundations of Computation: introduces fundamental algorithms, data structures and ideas about formal languages at the heart of modern software.

In third year, Computer Science students must take the following two compulsory modules:

  • Computational Complexity: introduces Turing machines, non-determinism and pushdown automata, followed by study of decidability, simulation and the Halting Problem. 
  • Software Engineering Team Project: gives a broad overview of software engineering, presenting the fundamental aspects as a collaborative professional activity including its concerns and approaches. Students apply these concepts and practices to a substantial software engineering project as part of a team. 

In fourth year, you must take the following two compulsory modules:

  • Logic and Software Verification: covers modelling, system property specification using temporal logics, and more applied approaches to software specification and verification through the use of model checkers. 
  • Major Software Project: allows students to undertake a substantial software engineering project using professional development techniques. Each student designs, specifies and constructs a medium-sized software system, or undertakes a formal development and proof of such a system, under the guidance of a member of staff. 

In addition to the compulsory modules in your Honours years, you will choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules in cyber security, software engineering and computer graphics.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Component Technology
  • Computational Complexity
  • Computer Architecture
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computer Security
  • Concurrency and Multi-Core Architectures
  • Constraint Programming
  • Data Communications and Networks
  • Data Encoding
  • Databases
  • Distributed Systems
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Logic and Software Verification
  • Operating Systems
  • Programming Language Design and Implementation
  • Video Games.

The sub-honours modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Teaching format

Computer Science at St Andrews allows you to study in a friendly and intimate environment. Small group teaching will put you on a first-name
 basis with internationally renowned researchers and teachers.

Computer Science classes are taught using a variety of teaching methods in addition to traditional lectures, with an emphasis on personal and small-group teaching.

Typical class sizes:

  • First year: lectures 72 to 170, labs up to 100, tutorials 6 to 7
  • Second year: lectures 70 to 104, labs up to 100, tutorials 6 to 7
  • Honours: lectures, labs and tutorials 9 to 69.

When not attending lectures, tutorials and computer labs, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • using library resources
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Computer Science. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials and demonstrations in laboratory classes, as well as assessment of coursework, under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all Computer Science staff on the School of Computer Science website.

In addition to your studies in the School of Computer Science, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.

Assessment

Most Computer Science modules are assessed by at least 40% coursework, with the rest of assessment in the form of written examinations. Project modules are assessed entirely by coursework.

The School uses a range of forms of assessment for the coursework component. For example, these could include programming assignments and projects, design exercises, and problem sheets.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School of Computer Science aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Undergraduates

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 26 September 2018
  • Wednesday 3 October 2018
  • Wednesday 17 October 2018
  • Wednesday 24 October 2018
  • Wednesday 31 October 2018

Fees

Tuition fees for 2019 entry

Scotland and EU Tuition fees for Scottish and EU applicants have yet to be set for 2019 entry.
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £22,350

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Computer Science as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.

Your future

Careers

A degree in Computer Science will allow you to enter into technical, academic, financial or commercial posts. Most companies and organisations are heavily invested in computer systems, and this has created a demand for many different specialisations in computer technology.

Graduates from Computer Science go on to find careers as:

  • business analysts
  • systems architects and analysts
  • software developers
  • testers and verifiers
  • technical writers
  • IT trainers and user advisers
  • project managers. 

A number of employers visit the School on a regular basis, which provides a good opportunity for you to network and ask questions about working in the technical industry. In previous years, these employers have included:

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • BT
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Skyscanner
  • Sword Ciboodle.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Internships

At Honours level, you may choose to spend one or two summers in an internship. These may be in the UK, Europe, the US or beyond.

In the summers of 2013 to 2016, students participated in internships with, among others:

  • Accenture
  • Adobe
  • AIG
  • Credit Suisse
  • Facebook
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • J P Morgan
  • McLaren
  • Palantir
  • PlanForCloud
  • Skyscanner.

The School and the University also offer various paid research internships whereby a student can work closely with a research group for eight to ten weeks.

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Computer Science may be interested in joining the following student societies:

  • Computing Society (STACS) provides a social group for people interested in computers or who are looking to undertake projects involving computing. Events include hackathons, talks on computer topics, and socials.
  • Gaming Society meets regularly to play and discuss a variety of video games, ranging from retro and handhelds to modern PC and console gaming.
  • Saints Engineering Group promotes the development of engineering skills for STEM fields and completes yearly engineering projects, some of which involve developing software and artificial intelligence. 

The School of Computer Science is situated in the Jack Cole and John Honey Buildings on the western edge of town, and most lectures and tutorials will take place here. The buildings host both traditional lecture theatres as well as specialised rooms equipped with computer workstations. As a student, you will have all-hours access to teaching labs which provide a vibrant environment that supports individual and group work.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

School of Computer Science
University of St Andrews
Jack Cole Building
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9SX

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3253

For questions about the admissions process, please email admissions@st-andrews.ac.uk. For any other questions, please contact admissions-cs@st-andrews.ac.uk.

School of Computer Science website

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).