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What's the difference between Computer Science BSc and Artificial Intelligence BSc?

15 September 2022

Students in King’s Department of Informatics are here because they want to design and implement the digital technology that will make the world a better place. We offer two undergraduate degrees, a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Computer Science and a BSc in Artificial Intelligence. In this article, we will help you decide which of the two undergraduate courses addresses your needs and aspirations better.

What is the difference between BSc Computer Science and BSc Artificial Intelligence?

The easiest way to answer this question is to look at the skills that either degree will allow you to develop.

Computer Science skills include; data engineering; systems engineering; algorithms & optimisation; software architecture; and security engineering. Artificial Intelligence skills include; planning & search; knowledge &interaction; machine learning; ethics & philosophy; and cloud engineering.

Diagram of the skills you’ll learn in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence


What do the two courses have in common?

Both courses cover the fundamental skills to master the subject area:

  • Society is producing huge amounts of data each day; both courses will give you data science skills to deal with it (be it organise and store data for effective use or learn patterns from it).
  • Both degrees will equip you with programming skills to make a computer work for you.
  • Neither Computer Science nor Artificial Intelligence can be mastered without a sound understanding of their (mathematical) foundations, covered by both courses.

Therefore, with both degrees, you will excel at programming and working with data, and will be scientifically mature to understand and adopt the future technological advances in the field.

What’s the focus of Computer Science BSc?

Within Computer Science BSc, you will develop skills to build computer systems from first principles, including the cybersecurity of these systems:

  • You will be able to devise solutions by designing algorithms that provably optimise certain goals such as performance, scalability, safety or security.
  • You will be able to engineer the best solutions to store and handle data, with knowledge of databases and machine learning.
  • You will be a proficient developer and software architect aiming to improve the running time of your code.
  • You will be a systems engineer, studying operating systems, hardware, networking, etc.
  • You will be able to appreciate security issues of your system and engineer solutions based on cryptography amongst others to guarantee confidentiality, anonymity, and privacy.

What’s the focus of Artificial Intelligence BSc?

Within Artificial Intelligence BSc, you will be able to build systems that are centered around data and go beyond applications of machine learning techniques, including the ethics of the automatic decisions made by these systems:

  • You will be able to use and optimise a range of machine learning technologies, including deep learning and natural language processing.
  • You will be able to build knowledge representations and exploit reasoners and techniques to handle the interaction between software agents and humans and AI (e.g. data visualisation, knowledge engineering, formal verification).
  • You will become proficient in engineering aspects of cloud computing to allow you to deploy AI systems confidently (e.g. internet and web systems, cloud-based services, AI security and privacy).
  • You will be able to use planning and search to find optimal solutions for autonomous agents (e.g. autonomous robot programming, logic, network optimisation).
  • You will be able to reason about the ethics and philosophy of AI (e.g. legal, social, ethical, and professional issues in AI and in robotics system development, philosophical work on the impact and dangers of AI).

Which one should you apply for?

We hope you find these distinctions useful for your decision. Rest assured that employability and research-informed teaching are embedded within both courses. We like a technical challenge as much as a conceptual one and both of our courses will give you skills to develop responsible innovation.

We hope this has helped you to understand which course might be best suited to you!

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