A Guide to Computer Programming Courses

Computer programming is the industry we have to thank for our advancing computer technology. Computer programmers work on making computers and software operating systems learn to do new things, meaning that our technology gets smarter and smarter. You will spend a lot of time developing your knowledge of writing, running and debugging codes, as well as learning about different programming languages.



Most of the time, computer programming is offered as a joint honours degree programme with another element of computer technology and engineering. If this is the case for your degree, some of the modules will be focused on computer systems, web applications, information systems and computer networks. As well as this, you may also study modules on artificial intelligence, information technology, and software development.

Your degree will likely be taught in a mixture of modes. These could include lectures and seminars, as well as programming projects and laboratory work. Some universities may offer the chance to participate in a placement year or module.


At postgraduate level, computer programming might be offered as a standalone degree, or as a joint honours programme. A postgraduate degree in computer programming will allow you to build on the skills gained at undergraduate level. The modules you study will cover the more complex and specialist areas of computer programming. These modules could include computer logic, algorithms, models of computation, and data structures.

Your degree will be delivered through lectures and seminars, as well as incorporating practical and computer laboratory sessions. Some universities might require you to take part in a work experience module.


Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise throughout your degree. This specialisation can influence the area in which you choose to work after you have graduated. It can also help you to decide which area you wish to complete your dissertation or major research project on. Common specialisations include:

  • Object Oriented Programming
  • Hardware and Software Development
  • Computer Graphics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Programming Language Theory

Accreditation and Certification

The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study. It will also be influenced by your level of study. At undergraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSc), a Bachelor of Computing (BComp), or a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng). At postgraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Master of Science (MSc), a Master of Computing (MComp), or a Master of Engineering (MEng). If you choose to study for a research postgraduate degree, you will be awarded a Master of Research (MRes), a Master of Philosophy (MPhil), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Depending on your institution, your course may be accredited by a professional or academic body. For example, the British Computer Society (BCS), Chartered IT Professionals (CITP), as well as the international equivalents.

Studying Computer Programming at University

You can study Computer Programming at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level at University.

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Timeframe and Further Studies

Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years when studied full-time. A postgraduate degree will normally take one to two years. If your course includes a placement, this will normally add another year onto your studies.

Some institutions might offer part-time study options. Studying for a degree part-time normally means that your course will last anywhere between three and eight years, with some universities offering more flexible study options.

Entry Requirements


The entry requirements for an undergraduate degree in computer programming will depend on where you choose to study. Normally, you will be expected to have previously studied a science based subject such as mathematics, computer studies, or chemistry. If you do not have a strong background in these areas, but can show that you are passionate about computer programming, some universities might still consider your application. Due to the nature of the course, it may also be beneficial for you to be somewhat familiar with at least one programming language, such as C++, Java, and Python.

Some institutions might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Other universities might consider previous relevant work experience. If your first language is not English, it is likely that you will be required to prove that your English language skills are to a high enough standard.


The entry requirements for a postgraduate degree in computer programming will depend on where you choose to study. They will also depend on what level of postgraduate degree you are applying for. Typically, you will be expected to have gained an undergraduate degree in computer programming, computer science, or a closely related subject. You might also be required to have a more advanced understanding of at least one programming language.

You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their computer programming programmes.

  • UK – 6.0 IELTS, 2:2 or higher
  • US – 6.0 IELTS, 3.5 GPA

Funding Your Studies

Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. Fees for postgraduate degree courses tend to be higher than undergraduate courses. Exact tuition fees are displayed on institution course pages.

You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.

Career Options

Throughout a computer programming degree you will learn a multitude of useful and transferable skills that will mean you will be employable in different industries and sectors. You will have both computer specific and generic skills, such as computer literacy, analytical skills, concentration, attention to detail and troubleshooting, among others.

There are many roles available that are directly related to computer programming, for example web developers, software engineers, systems analyst and java programmer. Due to the massive presence and reliance on computers in the modern workplace, there will be career options in a variety of industries and fields.

Top Courses in Computer Programming

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