Computer Science Degree UK Entry Requirements

Computer Science has become one of the most competitive university courses available due to the ever-growing importance of technology. Each degree receives hundreds of applications each year, so it’s vital that you understand and meet the standard entry requirements to have a chance of success. This guide explores all of the requirements you’ll need to meet in your application.

Last Updated: 9th July 2024

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With the constantly evolving nature of digital technology in our society, there has been an increasing demand from students to study Computer Science and related degrees. With so many applicants applying each year, these courses have become some of the most competitive degrees being taught today. 

Computer Science at Oxford saw an acceptance rate of just 6% in 2023 and was the fifth most applied-for course at Cambridge with only 7.6% of applicants being accepted. These are some of the lowest admissions rates at either university, which already have famously low acceptance rates! This isn’t unique to Oxbridge though, as most Computer Science degrees see great demand from applicants. 

To stand a good chance of being accepted to study Computer Science, you’ll need to be aware of and meet the minimum entry requirements, although you should be looking to exceed these requirements if you want to stand out from the competition.

 In this guide, we’ll explore these requirements and gain an understanding of what you’ll need to build a successful application. 

Types of Computer Science Degree

In the UK, there are two types of Computer Science degrees available: BA (Bachelor’s Honour) and Masters, which can sometimes lead to a Master in Engineering degree. 

Most undergraduate applicants will complete a BA as this three-year course is the standard for UK universities. However, taking a Master’s may help accelerate your career progress in the long run. 

While Computer Science is typically taught as a standard, stand-alone course, there are multiple alternative options that involve course combinations and deeper specialisation. Starting with course combinations, there are various options available at different universities scores the UK:

These aren’t the only options available, but they are some of the more common courses available. The University of St. Andrews offers a wide variety of course combinations, so it’s worth exploring the options they provide if you’re interested in studying Computer Science alongside another subject.

As for more specialised courses, here are some of the options for degrees that focus on a specific area of Computer Science: 

The competitiveness for each of these degrees will vary, though they generally don’t see the same rate of application as standard Computer Science. Either way, there are plenty of options available for applicants looking to get into the fields of computing and computer science. 

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Computer Science Entry Requirements

Now that we understand what options are available, let’s run through each of the primary entry requirements for Computer Science. These entry requirements are primarily for standard BA Computer Science courses.


When applying for Computer Science, applicants are generally expected to have performed well in their GCSEs with at least five qualifications at Grade 6 (B) or 7 (A). 

Most courses will require applicants to achieve these grades in Mathematics and English Language, but some Computer Science degrees, such as the one offered by the University of Manchester, will require high grades in at least two sciences.

In terms of which GCSEs to take, there aren’t any subject requirements other than those stated before (which are mandatory subjects for all GCSE students). Further Mathematics is a common course that will support your application, as well as Information and Communication Technology (ICT). 

While not available everywhere, some schools actually offer a Computer Science GCSE. This subject is highly relevant to the degree and would be favourable in the application process. However, none of these additional subjects are necessary for your application. Provided you’ve met the requirements for the core subjects, the rest of your GCSEs won’t play a significant role in your application. 


A-Levels are far more important to your applications than GCSEs as your grades and subject choices will determine if you’re eligible to study your degree. Based on the university, minimum grade requirements for Computer Science can be placed anywhere from BCC through to A*A*A. This is a fairly extreme range, so it’s important to consider this when looking at your options. 

While not all university courses set requirements for A-Level subjects, Computer Science degrees consistently have one core subject set as a requirement. Mathematics is an essential A-Level to take for most Computer Science degrees in the UK, with many requesting a minimum grade of A. 

Alongside this, you may also be required to have completed an A-Level in Further Mathematics, Computer Science or at least one standard science. Beyond this, any other technology or maths-based qualification will be favourable to your application, provided you meet the minimum grade requirements. 

It’s also worth noting that, as with most STEM university degrees, General Studies and Critical Thinking as generally not accepted.  

Oxford Computer Science A-Level Requirements 

A*AA (including a minimum of A in Mathematics and an A* in Mathematics, Further Mathematics or Computer Science). 

Cambridge Computer Science A-Level Requirements 

A*A*A (including Mathematics and Further Mathematics). 

UCL Computer Science A-Level Requirements 

A*A*A (Including an A* in Mathematics or Further Mathematics).

King’s College London Computer Science A-Level Requirements 

A*A*A (Including an A* in Mathematics or Further Mathematics).

Alternative Qualifications

A-Levels are the primary qualification for applicants in England, but applicants in Scotland and those from outside the UK will need to complete different qualifications with their own minimum requirements. 

In Scotland, Highers and Advanced Highers are the standard diploma. Grade requirements for these typically fall around AA/AAB for more competitive universities like Oxford. Mathematics will usually be required with a least an A grade. 

For international applicants, they will need to submit an International Baccalaureate. Minimum score requirements for these generally fall between 36 and 42 points overall, with score requirements for Mathematics and Science being common.  

As well as these, qualifications like BTECs are accepted at some universities, though many of the more prestigious universities like Oxbridge will not. 

You should also be aware that UCAS Tariff points, which are awarded based on your awarded grades and qualifications, are also considered at some universities. Requirements commonly range from 84 to 104 but can be higher in some cases. UCAS Tariff points aren’t considered at many universities, including Oxbridge and G5 Universities

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Personal Statement

As with any university application in the UK, you will need to write and submit a Personal Statement to your university choices via UCAS. These statements can be up to 4,000 characters long and are submitted via the UCAS digital system.

There’s no formal marking or ranking system for these statements, but they play a crucial part in your application as, in many cases, it’s your only chance to present yourself as a person outside of your grades and academic achievements. 

The key to a good Personal Statement is to be personal but link all of your talking points to the subject in one way or another. Reflecting not just on your achievements and experiences but what you learnt from them is a great way to properly display your potential as a student. You can find more tips for writing your Personal Statement in our Ultimate Guide. 

Admissions Tests

Admissions tests aren’t required for many degrees in the UK, including Computer Science. The only universities that commonly use admissions tests are Oxford and Cambridge:

Oxford Computer Science Admissions Test: 

Oxford applicants will need to sit the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT). As the name suggests, this is a test focused on Mathematics knowledge and ability. 

The test is computer-based and consists of 27 questions; 25 multiple-choice questions and 2 longer written questions. Applicants will have 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete the test, which requires an understanding of various mathematical concepts up to A-Level standards. 

Oxford doesn’t require a minimum score for the test, but a higher score will make your application more competitive.

Calculators are not permitted. 

Cambridge Computer Science Admissions Test

Similar to Oxford, Cambridge uses an admission test relating to Mathematics, the Test of Mathematics for University Admissions (TMUA). This test is also computer-based but only consists of multiple-choice questions. 

It’s split into two different sections, each containing 20 questions. The test lasts for 2 hours and 30 minutes, with applicants being given 75 minutes to complete each section. 

Again, there’s no minimum score requirement, but a score of 6.0 (out of 9.0) is seen as good while 7.0 is considered highly competitive.

It’s also worth noting that the TMUA is also used by Imperial College London for its Computer degree. 

Calculators are not permitted. 

Applicants for Peterhouse and Trinity College will also need to complete the Computer Sciences Aptitude Test (CSAT).

As well as Oxbridge, one other university has recently implemented an admissions test for its Computer Science degree:

UCL Computer Science Admissions Test

UCL has recently introduced the use of the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) for Computer Science applicants. This test is primarily used for Australian universities but has been adopted by UCL for its own admissions. 

The STAT is more general than the Oxbridge admissions test, consisting of 80 multiple-choice questions based on critical and quantitative reasoning. The test lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes. 


For most applicants, interviews won’t be necessary in the application process. However, Oxford and Cambridge require interviews for all shortlisted applicants to be admitted. 

These interviews take the place of traditional panel interviews with 2 – 3 members of the faculty. Applicants are interviewed by the college of their choice rather than the university or subject department. This means that multiple interviews are standard, and applicants may also need to interview at different colleges. 

While interviews were traditionally held in person, remote interviews are now more common, with Oxford only using remote interviews and Cambridge using a mixture. 

The interviews are your chance to truly present yourself, your interest in the subject and your practical abilities. It’s important to have a strategy when going into your interview while also being ready to be spontaneous and tackle unexpected questions. The interviewers aren’t trying to catch you out but they want to be sure that you would be a good fit for the university, something that’s incredibly important for them considering how many applications they receive. 

Once interviews are completed in December, offers from Oxbridge will be sent out as early as January. Non-Oxbridge universities will usually be a bit longer, with the final deadline for offers being in July.


That concludes our look into the entry requirements for Computer Science degrees in the UK. As you can see, there’s a heavy emphasis on mathematics during the process, meaning you will need to have a good level of skill in this area to be competitive. 

There are additional, general requirements that haven’t been discussed here, such as English Language Proficiency requirements for some international applicants, but these are the primary requirements for those hoping to study computer science. 

We hope this guide has been useful for you and we wish you the very best of luck with your application! If you’re considering an application to Oxford or Cambridge and you need additional support with any part of the process, consider UniAdmission’s Oxbridge Computer Science Programme. Our Oxbridge Programmes contain all of the support and resources you’ll need to make your application competitive and earn your offer, so book a free consultation today to learn more. 

Our expert tutors will guide you to Oxbridge Computer Science success

Applying to Oxbridge is immensely competitive, and you must give yourself the best chance of success. We help you craft the perfect Personal Statement, achieve a highly competitive TMUA or MAT score and teach you how to Interview effectively – covering all areas of your Oxbridge application.

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