Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering: Which degree is right for you?

bachelor of engineering vs bachelor of science

You’ve finished high school. All your friends have decided what they will do at university, but you still have no idea.

Someone may have said that you should get a Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering degree as you’d make a fantastic computer scientist, instead of an engineer.

They both sound good, but the problem is you know little else about each degree option.

All you know is you are curious about lots of stuff, enjoy math, are good with computers and love solving problems.

When you head to university websites, they offer little info on the key differences and similarities of a Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering as well.

Choosing the right degree is important. It ensures you get on the right path to a degree and later, a job that not only pays well but gives you meaning and fulfilment too.

And that starts by knowing the features of both a Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering degree.

bachelor of computer science vs engineering

Whether in a Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering degree, both programmes let students work in labs and join projects. Source: Thomas Kienzle/AFP

Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineeting: Key similarities and differences

Before we dive deeper into the each programme, know that there are five aspects that distinguish each:

  1. Subject matter: This refers to the main products you will be working on.
  2. How much it costs: Tuition fees, living costs and miscellaneous charges
  3. How practical it is: This refers to how the degree and career takes you into the real world to deal with things that you can touch, as compared to things you
  4. Key requirements to get into each programme: The skills and grades you need to join either programme
  5. Career opportunities: Each degree sets you up for a different sets of roles and salaries.

Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering: Subject matter

Simply put, a Bachelor of Engineering will provide you with the foundation and skills to tinker with the  design, creation, maintenance, and optimisation of physical systems and structures.

Think machines, buildings, and bridges — that’s where your main focus will be.

Whether you choose a BEng in industrial, electrical, mechanical, or computer engineering, to name a few, you’ll likely spend three to five years earning the degree.

Coursework involves a heavy focus on mathematics and science, often with a year of work experience in the middle.

You will start with the foundational concepts before progressing to more advanced topics like applied mechanics, electrical engineering, computer systems and more.

Note the words “computer systems.” An engineering degree is concerned with systems, and as such, you will explore computer systems and their applications, including software development, programming, and data analysis.

bachelor of computer science vs engineering

Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering — which requires more maths? Source: Thomas Samson/AFP

Meanwhile, a Bachelor of Computer Science degree explores the theoretical and practical areas of computers and computation. This includes algorithms, data and software systems, and programming.

Modules let you focus on certain areas, such as improving cyber security, designing solutions, and solving complex problems using data.

A Bachelor of Computer Science degree takes about four years to complete. It may include a year of work experience, where you can build your network and develop commercial skills.

bachelor of computer science vs engineering

Choosing between a Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering can be tough. Source: James Glossop/Pool/AFP

Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering: Which is more expensive?

In the UK, a Bachelor of Engineering costs between 11,800 to 23,500 pounds yearly. A Bachelor of Computer Science costs between 12,500 and 44,000 pounds.

The fee usually depends on the rank of the university, meaning the higher the ranking, the more the degree costs.

If you are planning to live within the bustling, vibrant city of London, be prepared to fork out a monthly sum of 1,265 pounds and 1,015 pounds if you are outside of the city.

In the US, you can expect to pay US$32,635 on average per year for tuition for computer science and US$36,131 for engineering.

What about if you are keener to study in Australia? It’s important to remember that tuition fees in Australia are generally calculated per unit and not on a yearly basis.

This means Australian universities are able to give us a rough idea of how much your entire degree will cost you but this will vary depending on the units you pick.

For instance, a Bachelor of Engineering can cost up to 45,000 Australian dollars while a Bachelor of Computer Science will be slightly higher at 47,940 Australian dollars yearly.

As for living costs, the Australian Department of Home Affairs requires that students have the financial capacity to cover at least A$21,041 in living costs.

bachelor of science vs engineering

Curiosity and critical thinking are good traits to have in the Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering. Source: Oli Scarff/AFP

Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering: Which is more practical?

Now that we’ve got the money matters out of the way, let’s dive into what sort of traits you really need to excel at either degree.

A comparison of Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering will help you see that both degrees do share similar features.

But take a closer look at the Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering and you’ll notice the engineering programmes are more practical than a Bachelor of Computer Science degree.

This is because the latter focuses more on software, which is often based on theory.

What this means is a computer science degree will likely have students looking more at data on a screen, whereas an engineering degree will get you up close to hardware and firmware.

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, then ask yourself if you’re curious, analytical, imaginative and creative.

Next, when you look at a structure or product, do you find yourself thinking about how it can be better as well?

If you ticked all of the above, you might just be an engineer in the making.

If you can’t live without a computer, want to learn how to code (or already can) and prefer solving problems in a more abstract and theoretical manner, then you’re more suited to join a computer science programme.

While your passions and hard skills are unique to each programme, the soft skills needed to succeed in both fields are the same, as with any other discipline.

Having a keen eye for detail, research skills and being a good communicator will take you far in both computer science, engineering, and beyond.

This is because no professional will ever work alone, no matter whether they have a Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering degree.

So be prepared to be a good team player and work within teams, small or large, to reach a goal.

bachelor of computer science vs enineering

Whether it’s the Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering, both require prety good grades. Source: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering: Key requirements for international students

When comparing a Bachelor of Computer Science vs a Bachelor of Engineering, one thing is clear.

Students should have a strong foundation in mathematics and the sciences (including physics, chemistry, and biology) for both; there’s simply no running away from these.

A competency in technology is also important as you will be using devices for the most part of your time studying.

In the UK, you will need usually need a minimum of two A Levels to get into a computer science programme.

Most universities ask for BBC and overall entry requirements range from CDD to AAA.

Engineering is tougher. Popular courses may require three A Levels — for which you need to get A and B grades. Overall, entry requirements range from CCC to AAA.

In Australia, you will need a minimum Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 70 or higher.

Students can also meet these requirements by submitting the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the European Baccalaureate (EB) results.

International students must also be able to demonstrate that they are competent in English through the IELTS exam and achieve an overall score of 6.0 to 6.5 for both programmes.

Once you get in, some universities may require that you maintain a certain GPA throughout your programme, which means you do need to be able to achieve high marks.

bachelor of computer science vs engineering

Artificial intelligence will be a big part of a Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering. Source: Lionel Bonaventure / AFP

Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering: Salaries and job opportunities

Here’s the good news: both degrees can lead to a wide range of career opportunities. And here’s even better news: both degrees to jobs that pay well.

In May 2021, the median annual wage for computer and information research scientists was US$131,490, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics.

In the same year, bioengineers, chemical engineers and civil engineers made US$97,410, US$105,550 and US$88,050 respectively.

Whether it’s a Bachelor of Computer Science vs Engineering, both are highly valuable as they equip you with the knowledge and skills needed by many industries.

For engineering, if you have specialised in any one of the fields like biomedical, aerospace, or nuclear engineering, then that is where you will be most useful.

For computer scientists, know that you are definitely in demand. You’ll be able to land roles such as:

  • Software Developer
  • AI Engineer
  • UX Designer
  • IT Project Manager


In the Bachelor of Computer Science vs Bachelor of Engineering debate, we now know both are equally as exciting as each other.

Pick the one that appeals to you more — having a genuine interest is always the first and best step when deciding on what to study.