Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

BSc Computer Science and Physics

UCAS code: GF43

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Informatics

College: Science and Engineering

Accreditation
Study abroad

Introducing BSc Computer Science and Physics

This joint programme draws on Edinburgh's joint strength in computational physics and informatics.

You will develop a strong interdisciplinary background including topics in both computer science and physics. And you will have the chance to study topics that cross both fields, for example computational simulation of physical systems.

Our degree flexibility allows you to tailor your experience to your interests and be in control of your learning.

Accreditation

This programme is recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP). After graduating, you will meet the educational requirements for Associate Membership of the Institute and you may continue the route to full Institute Membership following appropriate professional experience.

Year 1

Year 1 introduces you to basic principles of:

  • programming
  • computation
  • physics

You will learn how data can be managed and processed in computer systems and used to solve problems.

This year also includes courses in physics and mathematics. Physics 1A and Physics 1B introduce you to a wide range of physics topics and how these impact our understanding of the universe.

Mathematics for Physics 1 and 2 include mathematical and problem solving skills in the context of algebra and calculus - with an increasing emphasis on physical applications.

Together, these form the foundations for more in-depth study in future years.

Second year entry

The School of Informatics does not accept applications for second year entry to our programmes.

Year 2

You will build on Year 1, covering more advanced programming and data structures, together with the relevant physics and mathematics.

You will develop a greater understanding of:

  • computer systems
  • algorithms and data structures
  • learning from data
  • the physics of fields and matter
  • relativity and quantum physics

Year 3

Your studies will become more focused and you will have more choice in selecting specialised courses in computer science and advanced physics.

Coursework assignments typically provide you with experience in:

  • practical work
  • independent problem solving
  • group work

Your exact curriculum depends on your chosen courses.

Year 4

You will choose from a large number of advanced courses in computer science and physics to build a portfolio that matches your particular interests.

Year 4 includes an individual honours project in either computer science or physics (or it may combine aspects of both).

You will have a variety of choices in selecting your project. A supervisor will guide you in developing it, starting from a given topic.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry but for a different academic year.

Programme structure

Our facilities

You will have access to:

  • undergraduate laboratories
  • University's libraries
  • University's computer facilities

From Year 2, you will also have access to the Computational Physics Laboratory.

Computer Science

You will be based in the School of Informatics with lectures, tutorials and classes held in Appleton Tower. The building provides: purpose-built facilities and dedicated learning and teaching spaces all located in the University's Central Area.

You will have access to computer laboratories and quality software support.

The InfBase drop-in help desk is located in Appleton Tower. When access to the campus is restricted, InfBase operates as a virtual help desk.

InfPALS is run by Year 2 and 3 students as small study groups in Appleton Tower. When access to the campus is restricted they operate regular virtual meet-ups.

The Informatics Student Support Team is based within the Informatics Teaching Organisation in Appleton Tower.

Physics

In Year 1, teaching is based in the University's Central Area and in further years at the University's King's Buildings campus. The King's Buildings campus is around 15 minutes from central Edinburgh by bus.

Please note: your subjects will be taught on different campuses from Year 2 onwards and you may need to travel between campuses for classes.

Take a virtual tour

Take a closer look at all our facilities on the University’s Virtual Visit site.

Virtual Visit

Study abroad

In Year 3, you may have the option to study abroad through the University's international exchange programme.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught by leaders in their field through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • practical classes

In your later years, you will spend more time working on projects that involve:

  • building computer systems from scratch
  • developing systems
  • doing experimental work
  • working on theoretical topics with guidance from your supervisor

Support

Students in the School of Informatics have access to services that support their learning, particularly in the beginning of their degree.

InfPALS is a peer support service for Year 1 students focusing on material covered in courses but also general topics related to informatics.

InfBase is a drop-in help desk for Year 1 and 2 students to get additional tutoring and support with their courses.

You will also be invited to join:

  • CompSoc, a tech society which offers a varied programme of events
  • ProgClub, to get more practical programming experience

Pastoral support is offered by the Informatics Student Support Team.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by:

  • coursework assignments
  • larger projects
  • exams

You will undertake some project work individually and some with other students.

You will complete a large individual project in Year 4.

Our graduates have excellent career prospects in the IT industry and beyond.

Graduates comfortably secure roles such as:

  • software engineer
  • hardware engineer
  • app developer
  • web developer
  • programmer

Graduates increasingly work as data analysts, data scientists or business analysts in the financial sector.

Popular employers

Popular employers include:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Amazon
  • IBM
  • SkyScanner
  • Intel
  • Samsung
  • ARM
  • Nvida
  • Keysight
  • RockStar North
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Citigroup

Other industries and professions that rely heavily on computing systems and are potential employers for graduates include:

  • media (e.g. BBC)
  • communications (Ericsson, Huawei)
  • energy (British Gas)
  • medicine (Canon Medical Systems)

Start-ups and spinouts

Our school boasts a record number of start-ups and spinouts over the last ten years, including those set up by our alumni, such as:

  • Unicorn company, FanDuel
  • Robotical
  • PlayerData
  • Speech Graphics

Careers Service

We support you to recognise the wealth of possibilities ahead, at University and after graduation. Our award-winning Careers Service plays an essential part in your wider student experience at the University and provides:

  • tailored advice
  • individual guidance and personal assistance
  • internships and networking opportunities (with employers from local organisations to top multinationals)
  • access to the experience of our worldwide alumni network

We invest in your future beyond the end of your degree and studying at the University of Edinburgh will lay the foundations for your future success.

Careers Service

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAA - AAAB (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: A*A*A* - AAB.
  • IB: 43 points with 777 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 32 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Mathematics at A and Physics at B. Higher Applications of Mathematics is not accepted in place of Higher Mathematics. Advanced Higher Mathematics is recommended. Your Mathematics qualifications must have been achieved no more than two academic years prior to entry. National 5s: English at C. (Revised 2 May 2022 to include requirement for recent study of Mathematics.)
  • A Levels: Mathematics at A and Physics at B. Your Mathematics qualifications must have been achieved no more than two academic years prior to entry. GCSEs: English at C or 4. (Revised 2 May 2022 to include requirement for recent study of Mathematics.)

  • IB: HL: Mathematics (Analysis and approaches only) at 6 and Physics at 5. Your Mathematics qualifications must have been achieved no more than two academic years prior to entry. SL: English at 5. (Revised 2 May 2022 to include requirement for recent study of Mathematics.)

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

Please apply for only one Computer Science degree as we are only able to consider one application to this subject area.

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Computer Science and Physics

Additional costs

If you need to study from home, you may want to buy textbooks and a personal laptop for your benefit. Otherwise, you will have access to computing facilities in Appleton Tower.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: Informatics

College: Science and Engineering