Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

BSc Computer Science and Mathematics

UCAS code: GG14

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Informatics

College: Science and Engineering

Study abroad

Introducing BSc Computer Science and Mathematics

Mathematics forms the foundation of computer science. With the increasing scale of computing systems, and growing volumes of data, we are developing and using more sophisticated mathematical techniques every day.

This programme aims to give you a thorough understanding of mathematics and computing to allow you to operate at the cutting edge of:

  • computer and data science
  • machine learning
  • artificial intelligence

We offer a wide range of courses delivered by leaders in their field. You will have the flexibility to focus on the areas of computer science, artificial intelligence and mathematics that interest you most.

(Revised 15 April 2024 to remove the ‘Only apply to one Informatics programme’ section from the introduction)

All of our programmes start with a common core of mathematics courses and informatics courses, with increasing choices for specialisation in later years depending on your interests. In a joint degree, you will also have to take compulsory courses in your second subject.

Each year you will have 120 credits worth of courses spread across two semesters. Some of these credits will go into compulsory courses and the remaining can be used on optional courses. Optional courses may be in schools outside the School of Informatics.

Please note this is an overview: courses may be subject to change.

Degree overview

Year 1

You will be introduced to basic principles of programming and computation. You will:

  • study how information can be represented and processed in computer systems
  • learn fundamental techniques for managing data
  • solve problems using computer programs

This year also includes mathematics courses necessary for all areas of informatics.

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

Mathematics courses

Your mathematics courses build on your knowledge of pure mathematics and introduce you to the more rigorous ways of mathematical thinking required.

Previous courses have included:

  • Linear Algebra
  • Calculus and its Applications
  • Proofs and Problem Solving

Some students will also take optional mathematics courses, such as:

  • Fundamentals of Algebra and Calculus (an introductory course that provides extra preparation in key topics from advanced mathematics and supports your transition to university)

You can choose optional courses from various schools across the University.

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 related mathematics.

In computer science you will develop a greater understanding of:

  • algorithms and data structures
  • the foundations of data science

In mathematics you will focus on:

  • more advanced calculus
  • probability
  • the foundations of pure maths

Option courses include a variety of subjects from different schools across the University.

Year 3

Your studies will become more focused and you will have more choice in selecting specialised courses. We offer a range of courses in:

  • computer science
  • artificial intelligence
  • relevant mathematics
  • other areas of informatics

Your coursework assignments will typically provide you with experience in:

  • practical work
  • independent problem solving
  • group work

Your exact curriculum depends on your chosen courses. In recent years courses offered in Computer Science have included the following (and around 12 others):

  • robotics
  • computer security
  • machine learning
  • operating systems
  • computer networks

Mathematics courses

The School of Mathematics' honours courses provide an excellent grounding in advanced mathematics and prepare you for the choices available later in your programme.

You will study Mathematics honours levels courses in areas such as:

  • algebra
  • analysis
  • complex variables
  • differential equations

These courses provide an excellent grounding in advanced mathematics and prepare you for the choices available later in the programme.

Each course contains a skills component. These enable you to develop valuable employability skills such as group work and presentation skills.

Further optional mathematics courses currently available address the topics of:

  • financial mathematics
  • number theory
  • statistical computing

Year 4

You will choose from a large number of advanced courses in:

  • pure and applied mathematics
  • artificial intelligence
  • computer science

This gives you the opportunity to build a portfolio according to your interests and career aspirations.

Year 4 includes an individual honours project, where you will learn to develop a viable project in either computer science or mathematics, or spanning the two. You will have a variety of choices in selecting your topic, with a supervisor to guide you.

You can find out more about the School of Mathematics' broad ranging research interests through our Researchers on Record video series.

Watch the Researchers on Record videos

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 (2024/25)

Our facilities

You will be attending classes in both the School of Informatics and the School of Mathematics.

Computer science

The School of Informatics’ lectures, tutorials and other classes are mainly held in Appleton Tower.

Some of your first-year classes will also take place in the Nucleus building at the King's Buildings campus.

The King’s Buildings campus is around 15 minutes by bus from the Central Campus. The Nucleus building is a new shared learning, teaching and social hub, built to a sustainable and environmentally efficient design.

Appleton Tower is located in the University's Central Campus area, and provides purpose-built facilities and dedicated learning and teaching spaces. The Informatics Student Support Team is also based in Appleton Tower.

You will have access to computer laboratories and quality software support. You will also be able to use the University’s facilities, including libraries and common student spaces.

Mathematics

The School of Mathematics is based in the James Clerk Maxwell Building at the King's Buildings campus. Your mathematics teaching will take place at the King's Buildings campus throughout your degree.

Across both your subjects, you will be taught in a variety of lecture theatres located on both campuses.

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 be able to study abroad at one of our partner universities.

The University of Edinburgh has a wide range of partners across the world. Some of these universities are located in:

  • Australia
  • USA
  • Canada
  • Europe
  • Singapore

Subject-specific agreements

Subject-specific exchanges are also open to students studying at the School of Informatics. Destinations of recent placements completed by students include:

  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • Canada

What are my choices for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Computer science teaching

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

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • practical classes

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

  • building computer systems from scratch
  • developing systems
  • doing experimental work
  • working on projects with guidance from a supervisor

Mathematics teaching

In Year 1, mathematics lectures are usually interactive. Lecturers use online voting systems and encourage small group discussion to improve your understanding of core material.

In later years, lectures follow a more 'traditional' lecturing style but occasionally include the voting system.

Mathematics lectures are supported by small group teaching workshops. These sessions give you an opportunity to apply the concepts you learn in lectures and develop your understanding. You will work with five to six other students, with a tutor on hand to support you and answer questions.

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 and 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
  • Programming Club, to get more practical programming experience

Pastoral support is offered by the Informatics Student Support Team.

You will have access to the following support in the School of Mathematics:

  • drop-in mathematics support in Year 1
  • option to take part in the peer-assisted learning scheme, MathPALS
  • Mathematics Student Services Team

How will I be assessed?

Computer science assessments

In the School of Informatics 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 your final year.

Mathematics assessments

Mathematics courses are mostly assessed through exams. In Years 1 and 2, these exams are primarily 'open book' exams, where you can use your textbook and notes. This allows you to concentrate on understanding and using the ideas and concepts involved, rather than memorising procedures.

In later years, there is a mixture of open and closed book exams, depending on the course.

Most mathematics courses have regular assessments throughout the year, both written and online, so you can get feedback on your progress. These typically count for a small part of your course grade.

Later in the degree, there are some courses available which are entirely assessed by coursework, usually in the form of reports, posters, projects or presentations.

Our graduates have excellent career prospects. The vast majority make direct vocational use of their qualification in the IT industry.

Increasingly, graduates also find work in industries and professions that rely heavily on computing systems:

  • media
  • communications
  • finance
  • energy
  • medicine

Popular employers

Popular employers include:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Amazon
  • IBM
  • SkyScanner
  • Intel
  • Samsung
  • ARM
  • Nvida
  • Keysight
  • RockStar North
  • NatWest
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Citigroup

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 alumni, such as:

  • FanDuel, a 'unicorn' company
  • Robotical
  • PlayerData
  • Speech Graphics

We often invite alumni back to share their experiences and showcase the range of careers available to graduates.

Careers Service

We support you to recognise the wealth of possibilities ahead, during your time at the 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

Enhance your CV

Both schools offer many opportunities to develop your skills and enhance your CV.

For example, you will have the opportunity to:

  • share your love of mathematics or informatics by working with the wider community by getting involved in outreach projects
  • join our team of Student Ambassadors and enthuse prospective students
  • apply for a project scholarship and work with a lecturer during the summer (School of Mathematics only)

You will be able to access the School of Mathematics' weekly employability events, including:

  • presentations from industry employers
  • alumni career showcases
  • useful workshops to help you prepare for applying to internships, jobs and further study

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: A*A*A* - A*AB in one set of exams.
  • IB: 43 points with 777 at HL - 34 points with 755 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: A*BB.
  • IB: 32 points with 755 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. 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.
  • A Levels: Mathematics at A*. Your Mathematics qualifications must have been achieved no more than two academic years prior to entry. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Mathematics (Analysis and approaches only) at 7. Your Mathematics qualifications must have been achieved no more than two academic years prior to entry. SL: English at 5.

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

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

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
  • 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. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

Selection

We normally make offers to the highest qualified applicants. If competition for places is high this may mean that offers will only be made to applicants who are predicted, or who have achieved, above the single set of grades or the upper grade level in a range. Any conditional offer made may require you to achieve grades above the upper grade level. Therefore, achieving the top of our standard entry requirements does not guarantee a place on the relevant degree.

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 Mathematics

Additional costs

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