Best A levels to pick for computer science

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Merthyrboy, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Merthyrboy macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Hey guys, I'm going to be doing first year A levels this September and I'm wondering which A levels will be the best for me to do. I'm planning on doing computer science at A level which would be the job I'd like to go into afterwards.

    They offer computing in my school which I am taking and maths (stats) I just don't know weather it would be more beneficial to take another maths course (mechanics) or do physics and chemistry.

    Thanks for any advice, Math
     
  2. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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  3. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #3
    I'm going to assume he's not from the USA.

    Sorry OP, you're gonna have to wait for someone with the same school structure to come around.:eek:
     
  4. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #4
    I would say that Computing, Maths and Physics would be your best bet.
     
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #5
    see that is important info he left out.

    If it is anything like the US Computer Science requires enough math automatic minor, no chemistry, and then 8 hours for cal based physics (6 hours of class 2 hours of lab)
     
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #6
    Not really. The A-levels are commonly known to be discussed in the context of the UK education system.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GCE_Advanced_Level

    Computer science requires physics? Never seen that before.
     
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #7
    If it is an accredited program then it will require physic. If it not accredited then it is over all a worthless program since a lot of jobs only accepted degrees from accredited programs.
    The math requirements for a CS degree in the US sit at around 18 hours.

    The physics for the most part will honestly never be used but it does teach you the understanding of problem solving and sadly is a great weed out class. There has been a push to get Phys II drop drop from the requirements saying that most of it is made up in the other required classes.
     
  8. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #8
    What schools requirements are you talking about? I won't have to take physics at all in my college, but I did do a high-school level course in it.
     
  9. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #9
    Any accredited program in the US will require it for a CS degree end of story. Goes double if the CS program is in the college of Engineering where it commonly is. Better question is what school are you at.
     
  10. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #10
    Shrug. Carnegie Mellon's computer science degree doesn't require physics.

    http://www.csd.cs.cmu.edu/education/bscs/currreq.html

    Neither does Princeton, Cornell, or Harvard. But your right... who would hire anyone with a degree from any of those institutions.
     
  11. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #11

    Well those 3 Ivy leagues are not exactly known for a very good Engineering programs, great BUSINESS and law but crappy engineering and I would not be surprised in the least if their CS program is NOT accredited.
     
  12. Merthyrboy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Sorry I forgot to mention that I am from the UK. Think it may be the last two years of high school in America
     
  13. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #13
    Actually they're all ranked fairly consistently in the top 10 or 15 Computer Science programs in the country.

    http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/spec-doct-engineering
    http://www.zencollegelife.com/top-10-computer-science-colleges/
    http://grad-schools.usnews.rankings...schools/top-computer-science-schools/rankings
    http://www.greguide.com/comps.html
    http://www.schoolaah.com/Computer_Science.htm
    http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/graduate-schools/sciences/computer-science.aspx

    Physics is not necessarily a requirement for a CS degree from an accredited institution.
     
  14. Ap0ks macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Back on topic...

    @OP - Best A-Levels to take would be Maths & Physics. Computing can be beneficial but it does really depend on the subject matter they teach, and how much you already know. A-Level Mathematics is the one subject most universities will require a good grade in.
     
  15. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #15
    Everything requires physics. ;)

    If you have the chance, take symbolic logic classes early. It's useful for everything, and leads into computational logic. Seeing the connections between language and computation is a valuable perspective.
     
  16. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #16
    You might want to look at Cornell again. You link did not link to the right location.
    http://www.cs.cornell.edu/ugrad/RulesandProceduresEngineering/EngineeringChecklist/index.htm

    In there you will find 8 hours of physic. If you want a CS degree and it is from the college of engineering it is going to require phys. No if and or buts about it.

    Princeton was not link to their major but an add on and Harvard you did not link to their degree plan. You need to look at the degree plan. Not the basic over view. A lot of the basic over view will not list physics. That more often than not falls under the engineering core or the core area for the degree.
     
  17. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #17
    Oops. 1/4 of my links was incorrect. Got me.
    What? The title of the page is "AB and BSE Programs in Computer Science." Do you know what a BSE is?

    Because Harvard's degree plan only requires "Science A and Science B", which is not necessarily physics. If physics was actually required for a degree in Computer Science, it would be in the concentration requirements linked.

    In any case I'm not sure why you're still arguing your untenable point given the presentation of a clear counterexample. Some degree programs in CS will require physics, but not all.
     
  18. Alfihar macrumors member

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    #18
    I did my A2-Levels (A-Levels) in ICT (Information Communication Technology), Product Design and Geography. Then went on to study Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, which I finished last year.

    However I would recommend doing maths, not so sure about the physics I don't remember seeing that as a requirement. Well for a joint degree in comp sci and something else like robotics then yes. I did do Maths and Physics at AS-Level though.

    Out of your choices I would go for the Computing, Maths and Physics.
    As that would give you a better variety.

    It would be best if you were to take a look at the requirements of some universities that you would consider going to. If it's not clear you could contact the uni departments admissions tutor, they are usually pretty helpful.
     
  19. moviebiz macrumors member

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    #19
    I'm assuming you're referring to ABET accreditation in the US. It's important in the field of engineering if you plan on taking the examinations to become a Professional Engineer, otherwise you may face hurdles when attempting to take the exams. From the information I have read and the people I have spoken with, ABET accreditation isn't mandatory in programs like computer science because those students are not necessarily preparing to become Professional Engineers.
     
  20. ®îçhå®? macrumors 68000

    ®îçhå®?

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    #20
    For my As, i did maths, further maths, physics and electronics and am at Southampton doing mechanical engineering but am very good friends with the comp sci guys.
    One thing i will recommend is an electronics A level if your school/college/6th form do it. I did the OCR board and while the AS course goes through the basics of electronics with filters, amps, logic gates, it also does a lot of Boolean algebra which is useful in the degree course. Past that, the A level course was all microprocessors and machine coding. This is fundamental and lets me understand what those guys do even though i do not do the same course.

    To summarise, electronics is the way to go! If you cannot do the course this book is an absolute godsend and will help out with the degree if you choose to go onto it but is great for background reading as it starts right from the basics
     
  21. calb macrumors 6502

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    #21
    The stronger you are in maths, the better.

    Taking A level Maths, Further Maths, a science (preferably Physics) and another (e.g. Computing) would be very strong.
     
  22. danielcox macrumors member

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    #22
    Take as much maths as possible, physics is good and so is electronics.
    Often CS courses will frown upon prior experience and a level computing so I say dont bother with those.
     
  23. calb macrumors 6502

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    #23
    FWIW, Cambridge does not frown on A level CS-style courses, and indeed it's often seen as a preferable option (after Maths, FM and Physics).
     
  24. Merthyrboy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Doesn't seem right to frown apon prior experience. I shall look into if my school does do electronics though.
     
  25. calb macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Yeah, I'm not aware of institutions frowning on prior experience from CS or similar A level courses. I've already pointed out that Cambridge doesn't, so I can't imagine many (if any!) do.

    Electronics is another good option too, so you're right to be looking into it.
     

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