Computer science degrees are a good choice for students as the range of roles open to graduates continues to grow. From supporting IT infrastructure at a company, to creating apps or to working in banks and financial services, there are a huge range of paths available to computer science graduates.
The UK is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world, many of which are involved at the cutting edge of computer science research and are bolstered by a steady stream of dedicated grants and funding.
Universities in the UK offer a range of courses in computer science, information systems, software engineering, artificial intelligence and health informatics in single, joint or multiple subject combinations. There are full-time, part-time and flexible-study options, as well as courses with a placement year in industry, known as sandwich courses.
Below are the best universities in the UK for computer science degrees.
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Although computer science is a relatively modern discipline, the University of Oxford has one of the oldest departments in the country, formerly known as the Oxford University Computing Laboratory.
Courses in computer science at Oxford cover a range of fields, including computational biology, quantum computing, computational linguistics, information systems, software verification and software engineering.
Undergraduates can choose from three degrees: single honours computer science, mathematics and computer science, and computer science and philosophy. Each will give students a grounding in the field before allowing them to specialise. They will also gain practical problem-solving and program design skills; the majority of subjects within the course are linked with practical work in the well-equipped laboratories.
The MSc in advanced computer science is just one of the many postgraduate computer science-related courses available at the University of Oxford. The course combines theory and practice, and students must complete a dissertation as part of the course.
Like other students, computer science students – whether undergraduate or postgraduate – will belong to one of Oxford’s colleges, where they live, eat, socialise and study.
The undergraduate computer science course at the University of Cambridge begins with a core selection of modules that provides students with the foundations of the subject. In the second and third years, students are able to specialise in their own choice of modules. All aspects of modern computer science are covered, along with the underlying theory and foundations in economics, law and business.
Students will develop practical skills, such as programming in various languages including OCaml, Java, C/C++ and Prolog.
The purpose-built department of computer science and technology is equipped with the latest technology, advanced lecture theatres, dedicated practical rooms, a well-stocked library and even a cafe.
During the course, students complete group projects in which small teams deliver a product to an external client, ensuring relevant industrial experience. Projects have often led to commercialisation, licensing or employment.
There are more than 1,000 specialist computing and advanced technology companies and commercial laboratories in the area, giving it the nickname of the “Silicon Fen”. With strong links to tech companies, computing students at Cambridge often secure internships in the field during their summer break.
Located in the heart of London, UCL is a constituent college of the University of London, a member of the prestigious Russell Group, and a global leader in experimental computer science research.
Its degree programmes cover the use of computer systems in commerce, industry, government and science, as well as offering students industry contacts throughout their degree with UCL’s close links to London’s top finance and tech companies.
At the undergraduate level, courses in computer science at UCL include the bachelor’s in computer science, a four-year master’s in computer science and a four-year master’s in mathematical computation.
A number of student-run societies focus on technology, computing and engineering. TechSoc and the data science society organise and deliver a packed programme of talks, hackathons, competitions and socials each term for computing students to get involved with.
The University of Edinburgh School of Informatics (computer science) is the largest informatics research centre in Europe. It offers a wide range of courses, from theoretical to more applied degrees, enabling each student to tailor their learning experience to their own interests.
The university also follows an American-style model in which undergraduate degrees are typically four years long and students can study two additional subjects alongside their chosen discipline in the first two years.
The university also has a flagship master of informatics programme, on which students build foundational knowledge in the field over the first three years before moving on to advance courses, projects and work experience in years four and five.
The University of Manchester undergraduate computer science course is a competitive course and receives around 3,000 applications per year for 300 places.
The BSc in computer science is described as "broad and flexible" and students can choose from a range of courses including data science, business economics, algorithms and data structures, technology, strategy and innovation and =software engineering among others.
Students are taught through a wide variety of methods including lectures, tutorials, group projects and practical lab sessions.
There are also a range of taught and research-based master's programmes including software engineering, artificial intelligence and digital biology.
Top universities in the UK for computer science degrees 2022
Explore the best universities in the UK for computer science degrees, using data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022