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Computer Science

Brief details of the course

Computer Science is offered as a three-year course leading to a BA(Hons) degree, with the option of continuing for a fourth year to attain the MSci.

For the first year you take four papers, including three compulsory Computer Science papers - covering topics such as foundations of computer science (taught in OCaml), Java and object-oriented programming, operating systems, and digital electronics, graphics, interaction design - and one Mathematics paper. In the second year you take four papers, spanning the core discipline through topics. The third year is specialisation where you choose from a large selection of topics which allows you to concentrate on an area of interest to you.

Teaching Arrangements

The Director Of Studies is Dr Richard Watts, founder of Kynesim, a local computer consultancy firm. His research interests include compilers, HCI, operating systems and programming language design.

Subject requirements

Mathematics and Further Mathematics A-levels are essential.  A further science subject is also useful.  Computer Science A-level is not required. 

If you are taking A-Levels and have the opportunity to study Further Mathematics, you must choose this as one of your qualifications.  If you  have the opportunity to study Further Mathematics at AS-Level but not A-Level, then you should take the AS-Level.

If you are studying IB, we ask for Analysis and Approaches for this course.  If this is not an option, please get in touch with us.

Qualities we are looking for

We are looking for individuals who have a clear grasp of mathematics and can apply it to the sort of tasks that are found in Computer Science. It is very unlikely you will reach this level unless you have taken both Mathematics and Further Mathematics at A-level or equivalent.

Some previous experience of computing would be an advantage, but none is required. The possession of analytical skills and the ability to evaluate critically material that you read are both vital.

Admissions Assessment - TMUA

As at other Colleges, applicants will be asked to take the Test of Mathematics for University Admissions (TMUA).  You must take the first sitting of the test, between 15-17 October. You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment.   The test is taken at your local Pearson VUE test centre.  Please see the UAT-UK website for full and further details.

Interviews

You can expect to have one or two technical interviews of up to about 30 minutes, together with a shorter general interview. In the technical interviews you will be expected to tackle questions which relate to the sort of mathematics that is the basis of computing, and to show a critical appreciation of technology. The general interview, with an Admissions Tutor, is designed to learn about the candidate's interests and activities outside Computer Science, his/her motivation in choosing to study Computer Science at Cambridge, and the candidate's maturity of approach towards academic work.

View on gap years

Whilst there are no objections to delayed entry it is important to remember that mathematical skills can quickly dwindle if not used. You should therefore select activities that will help to maintain your competence and you should also try to gain experience in Computer Science.

February 2024

Computer Science on the Cambridge youtube channel