Record numbers choosing Computer Science degrees – new data reveals


A record 30,090 students started Computer Science degree courses in 2020, an increase of 7.6% on 2019, new figures show.

Women account for 16.2% of all computer science students in 2020, up 1% on 2019, according to analysis of UCAS data by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

If this rate continues, it will be 30 years before there is gender parity in computer science degrees. In the UK, men are ten times more likely than women to be studying a computer science subject in 2020.

There was a large increase in students accepted onto specialist Artificial Intelligence degrees, with an extra 140 students, representing a 65.1% increase on 2019.

Earlier this year, the popularity of A level computer science increased by 12%, with the share of female students increasing slightly to 15% of the total.

Julia Adamson, Director of Education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: “More students than ever before have chosen to study Computer Science at university. That is important because the government has stated that tech skills should be the ‘rocket fuel’ which powers the UK’s economic recovery.

“The establishment of the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) has also ensured that more young people are getting the positive experience of computing at school that opens up the possibility of further study.

“These new entrants to the profession must go on to develop an ethical focus that guides their careers; this is vital if we want to build public confidence in applications like AI and algorithms that make decisions about our lives and in which trust is currently low.

“Equally important is closing the persistent gap between men and women choosing to specialise in IT, although the divide has narrowed slightly this year. The visible and inspirational influence of organisations like Coding Black Females is helping to strengthen and diversify the range of new talent coming into the industry.”

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