Computer science 

What is computer science?

Computer science is the study of computers, computing systems and computational theory. Computer scientists can be designing and developing new technologies, solving computer problems and programming the software and hardware we use every day. 

Today’s modern and connected world sees the use of computer science in everything, from the cars we drive and smart technology in our homes to airport security and genome testing. 

There are many different areas of computer science you can study. Some fields of computer science include:

  •  Artificial intelligence – Creates machines that work and react like humans, which includes anything from speech recognition software to self-driving cars.
  • Computer graphics – Generates and processes images (3D and 2D) for use in industries such as film, games and medical.
  • Cyber security – Protects systems, networks and programs from digital attacks, ensuring organisations and individuals are safe from threats such as ransomware, malware and data breaches.
  • Games development – Develops and builds games for personal computers, games consoles, online games and mobile phones.
  • Robotics – Programmes machines with sensors to help them interact with the world through a series of programmed actions.

Why study computer science?

There are a number of benefits to studying computer science at undergraduate level:

Computer science is at the heart of ground-breaking technologies, from wearable tech and robots to medical advances that support doctors to diagnose patients. 

Computers are part of everything we do, impacting healthcare, industry, trade, transport, communication, entertainment, education and security. 

Businesses are dependent on technology and they will always need computer scientists who can drive innovative solutions to everyday problems. 

Key players in improving experiences such as online shopping, delivery services, train timetables and fitness apps, computer scientists write new algorithms and help society move forward. 

Why study computer science at Durham University?

With a Computer Science department ranked 6th in the UK (Complete University Guide 2019), Durham University is an excellent choice for an undergraduate degree in computer science. 

New investment in state-of-the-art computing facilities and lab-based machines provide an inspiring learning environment. While cutting edge research is integrated into the curriculum, ensuring what you learn is scientifically, technologically and industrially relevant. 

Courses are accredited by BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT, and many offer the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad. You will be taught through a mix of lectures, research-led teaching and team development projects. As a Durham student you can also join the University computing society, CompSoc, to meet students passionate about technology at regular meetings and events. 

Key skills from studying computer science

Studying computer science will give you a number of skills that will help you succeed in your studies and career beyond:

  • Problem solving
  • Teamworking
  • Analytical
  • Creativity

What computer science degree can I study at Durham University?

If you are thinking of studying computer science at Durham University then you can choose the three-year BSc (Hons) Computer Science degree. This broad degree teaches academic and transferrable skills, fundamental technical knowledge and applications of recent research. You will cover a range of modules that, in recent years, have included programming languages, computational theory, algorithms and computing systems. Additionally, this course offers the opportunity to study for one year abroad at a partner university.  

Durham also offers Joint Honours degrees, for example BSc (Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics. This option offers a flexible, broad degree programme where you study two subjects.

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

If you need to boost your academic skills or English language skills before you start your degree, study at Durham University International Study Centre. Prepare for a computer science degree with the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering. This will give you the confidence and knowledge you need for an undergraduate degree at the University. 

Arshjit from India by the river at the International Study Centre

I want to specialise in artificial intelligence because that’s the next big thing. AI is like a supplement. So the aim is not to replace human jobs, it’s to help them, to make life easier. 

Arshjit from India
Now studying International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering 
Progressing to BSc (Hons) Computer Science

6th in the UK

For Computer Science in The Complete University Guide 2019

8th in the UK

in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019

Computer Science career opportunities

After graduating with a degree in computer science you will have many career opportunities. You could choose to follow a path directly related to your degree, pursue further study such as a Masters degree or take a graduate job that utilises your broad skillset. 

  • Applications developer
  • Cyber security analyst
  • Data analyst 
  • Forensic computer analyst
  • Games developer
  • IT consultant
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Network engineer
  • Software engineer
  • Teaching
  • Web developer

Arshjit's inspiration