What’s it like studying Computer Science?

Tim Millard

What is Computer Science and why do you study it?

Computer Science is the study of computer systems – how they work, how to program them, and how to solve real-world problems using them. It’s an exciting time to be studying Computer Science, not least with developments in the fields of AI and Machine Learning. It’s also a subject that applies to so many areas of our daily lives – we all interact with computers whether we are streaming films, playing games, browsing the web, or flying on a plane.

I study Computer Science because I love working with technology, and I take enjoyment from programming and problem-solving, but it still enables me to think creatively – there are so many ways of approaching one problem or designing one system, and so many problems that need a solution! It’s a rapidly developing subject, and with the degree at Durham, you really are learning from academics who are working on the cutting-edge of research. It’s a subject with a continuing relevance to the past, the present and the future.

My favourite part of the course

The best part for me is the structure of the course. Each module in the first year has 2 hours of lectures per week, and a 2-hour practical each week too. The practicals provide a great opportunity to cement your knowledge and push yourself to understand more. The lecturers have been approachable too, and keen to help – they know that Computer Science is a challenging course, and if you’re ever stuck, they all have an office hour each week where you can get support, and you can contact them by email too.

Socialising and coding into the night!

The Durham University Computing Society (CompSoc) is a great way to meet people on your course – they hold regular talks from external speakers around the subject, organise social events, and more.

Durham also has an annual 24-hour hackathon – DurHack. Over the event, you can build whatever you want, and win some great prizes. I went for the first time this year, and I’ll be going back! It is great fun to work on a challenge and code through the night, and you get some very good food and merch too.

Why Durham?

I chose Durham after coming to a Post-Offer Visit Day in March. Getting the chance to spend time in the Computer Science department, trying out practical sessions, and speaking to current students really sold me on the course, and the friendliness of the department was definitely a key factor. I also liked the balance between theoretical Computer Science and practical Computer Science that the course explores, and how willing to talk the academics were. Being able to study in our new building with the Mathematical Sciences department is also a plus – it’s a nice place to get some work done, grab a coffee and some lunch, or meet with group members about projects.

Another reason that I chose Durham was the collegiate system – I liked the sense of community as I walked around each of the colleges, and the sense of belonging those students felt was something that I could get excited about. Whichever college you end up at, you will love it!

Such a lovely city

Finally, I thought that Durham itself was a lovely city – I could see myself living here from the moment I first saw it. It’s a beautiful place to live, with some brilliant views and with incredible history on your doorstep.

Discover more

Our Department of Computer Science is growing, with ambitious plans for the future and an inclusive, vibrant and international community at its heart. Ranked as a UK Top 10 Department (Complete University Guide 2022), our students develop knowledge and gain essential and transferable skills through high quality teaching, delivered by a passionate team of leading academics. 

Feeling inspired? Visit our Computer Science webpages to learn more about our postgraduate and undergraduate programmes. 

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Tim Millard

Hi, I’m Tim, and I’m a first year Computer Science student at Stephenson! Outside of my degree, I’m a member of Durham University Concert Band, our College Big Band, and I get involved with the tech on Durham Student Theatre shows.

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