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Computer Science at The University of Birmingham School

Course description

“At its heart lies the notion of computational thinking: a mode of thought that goes well beyond software and hardware, and that provides a framework within which to reason about systems and problems.” (CAS-Computer Science a Curriculum for Schools).

This specification has been developed by the team that created the first GCSE Computing qualification in the UK. The experience of the past three years of assessment has clearly demonstrated that OCR has the knowledge and skills to develop reliable and valid qualifications in this area of study. OCR Computer Science will above all else be relevant to the modern and changing world of computing. It enables teachers to tailor the qualification to meet the needs of their learners in their centre and has an open source ethos allowing any programming language that meets the needs of the course to be used. Computer Science is a practical subject where learners can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real world systems. It is an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, and can look at the natural world through a digital prism. OCR’s A level in Computer Science will value computational thinking, helping learners to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence. Learners will develop an ability to analyse, critically evaluate and make decisions. The project approach is a vital component of ‘post-school’ life and is of particular relevance to Further Education, Higher Education and the workplace. Each learner is able to tailor their project to fit their individual needs, choices and aspirations. OCR offers a rigorous assessment structure that ensures the integrity of the project.

Course content

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software and software development
  • Exchanging data
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues
  • Elements of computational thinking
  • Problem solving and programming
  • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms; the learner will choose a computing problem to work through according to the guidance in the specification
  • Analysis of the problem
  • Design of the solution
  • Developing the solution
  • Evaluation

Entry requirements

For more information about our current Entry Requirements and application process, please visit our website.


Assessment is linear with two exams at the end of the course. There is also one piece of coursework which is worth 20% of the final marks. 

Future opportunities

A selection of careers and opporunities are available to people who have mastered Computer Science. These include:

  • Computer scientist
  • Software engineer
  • Games designer
  • Web developer
  • STEM related careers
  • Computing or Maths teacher

Further information

Languages you will study in Computer Science include: PHP, JavaScript, SQL and Python. Java, C and assembly will also be introduced.

Students will be free to select their own languages when producing coding solutions. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The University of Birmingham School directly.

Last updated date: 12 November 2018
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September


  • More information
    • We are located on the University of Birmingham's Selly Oak campus, on the corner of Weoley Park Road and the Bristol Road, in front of the Orchard Learning and Resource Centre. There is some visitor parking on site at the front of the School during the day. All visitors should report to the main reception to be signed in.