How to find the best universities for computer science in the UK

December 5, 2023
5 min read
Cress Warnell

There are huge incentives to study computer science right now. As our world becomes increasingly digital, a solid understanding of information systems offers incredible career opportunities.

The rapid automation of so much of our economy means the already high demand for digital engineering skills will become more intense. Studying computer science can put you in a great position for well-paid and interesting jobs in the future.

Many of those jobs don't exist today. They will emerge as developments in computer science continue to change how we live and work.

Why study computer science in the UK?

Even before Alan Turing designed some of the very first computers, the UK was a world leader in computer science. So it's no surprise that students flock to British universities for education in subjects such as machine learning, software engineering and artificial intelligence.

The UK is also a world leader in digital startups, second only to the USA in the level of digital investment. No surprise, then, that UK universities offer prospective students a wide variety of computer science courses. This wealth of choice can make it hard to know how to find the best academic institutions for your specific needs.

That's why we've provided this guide to finding the best universities for computer science in the UK. It's designed to help you decide how and where to study computer science.

Choosing the UK's best universities for computer science

Over 200 UK universities offer undergraduate courses in computer science. What makes some universities stand out from the crowd?

There are a number of internationally recognised ranking systems. The three most influential are the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.

While these rankings give a good guide to the best computer science universities, you'll also want to consider the entry requirements, the specific degree subjects on offer, the curriculum and the location.

You may also be influenced by your preferences for the industry you'd like to work in, the opportunities for studying abroad, and your interests outside of studying for a computer science degree.

Individual universities may change their position in the rankings from time to time, but the same institutions are always to be found near the top.

Factors to consider when selecting your preferred university

Curriculum and duration of the course

A computer science degree will typically take either three or four years to complete. Most universities offer a number of computer science degrees, some with a specialist aspect such as artificial intelligence or a business focus.

All will cover a number of different programming languages and various software and hardware technologies.

Depending on your choice of degree you will graduate as either a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Engineering (BEng).

Entry requirements

All the best universities for computer science require high grade A-level results, particularly in further maths or higher maths. There is strong competition for places. At Oxford and Cambridge only a tiny percentage of prospective students are accepted on the courses.

Location of the university

Geography may be an important factor in your choice of university. This could be based on your preference for a certain part of the country or type of location.

Career opportunities

The best universities for computer science have strong links with industry. An extremely high percentage of graduates soon find themselves in employment, well over 90%

Extracurricular opportunities for undergraduate students

As a student you will have interests outside of the subject you're studying. You may have particular hobbies that you want to pursue, making some universities more attractive than others.

University of Cambridge

Consistently one of the very best UK universities, Cambridge has led the way in computer science for many years. The pedigree of the university is demonstrated by the more than 1,000 specialist computing and advanced technology companies and laboratories clustered around the city.

University of Oxford

Like Cambridge University, the Oxford teaching method is based on college tutorials. These are regular, small group sessions that go deep into the subject. The Oxford computer science degree involves a high level of practical work in their well-equipped labs.

Imperial College London

The university offers a number of computer science courses covering specific subjects such as software engineering, robotics and computer hardware. A number of the courses offer the opportunity of studying for a year abroad.

University of Manchester

Manchester University was the first school of computer science, and it continues to build on its history. It offers a number of courses around computer science, including a foundation year that equips you to start a full undergraduate degree.


UCL is considered a global leader in experimental computer science research. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The teaching is practical, with teams working to solve real and challenging problems in collaboration with finance and tech companies.

University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh University is home to the largest informatics research centre in Europe. It offers degrees in subjects such as Computer Science and Management Science, and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.

University of Southampton

The School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton University was one of the first to be named an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education. It offers a handful of undergraduate degrees around computer science.

University of Bristol

The teaching facilities at Bristol include the Hackspace, a creative space for hacking, making and crafting. The university offers both single and joint honours degrees in computer science, including an option to study abroad.

University of Warwick

Warwick is part of the Russell Group of UK universities, marking it as one of the best in the country. Its courses give you the option to take a year to study abroad or to work in industry. The computer science degree offers an option to combine it with business studies.

Start your study of computer science with Summer Schools

The UK is home to some of the best computer science universities in the world. Graduates from their courses work at the cutting edge of the digital revolution, in many different companies and institutions around the globe.

The route to joining them, by studying computer science, is a serious commitment. The Summer Schools programme helps you to decide whether it's a commitment you want to make. It also gives you insight into which subjects you might want to specialise in, within computer science.

Our courses, held in some of the UK's top universities, can help you prepare for a future in the world of computer science. Take a look at what we have on offer.

Cress Warnell

Cress is a skilled copywriter who transforms ideas into captivating content. With a passion for words and a keen eye for detail, she crafts compelling copy for Summer Schools, helping students explore their options in education.

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