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Computer Science

What is the Computer Science Tripos?

Computer science is a fast-moving field that brings together many disciplines, including mathematics, programming, engineering, the natural sciences, linguistics and psychology. The Cambridge course provides you with a skill-set that is highly prized in industry and for academic research. As explained in the general admissions prospectus, the course covers all aspects of modern computer science, ranging from programming languages and theory to hardware, data science, and artificial intelligence. A fourth-year option (Part III) is also available to those who wish to continue their study and who do sufficiently well in their first three years.The Computer Science faculty in Cambridge is known as the Computer Laboratory, which is located in the William Gates Building in West Cambridge. Second- and third-year lectures take place in this building.

Why study Computer Science at Corpus?

Corpus offers excellent teaching and a convenient location for computer scientists. The College is adjacent to the New Museums Site, where first-year lectures are held. The Director of Studies for Computer Science at Corpus is Dr David Greaves, a Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the Computer Laboratory, who specialises in music technology and the design of electronic devices. Dr. Nick Chen, a former Fellow of Corpus and now a researcher at Microsoft is also active in teaching for the college. Corpus is also home to Former Computer Science students from Corpus have gone on to various successful careers, including working on popular software such as Mozilla Firefox, starting technology companies, or becoming a university lecturer.

What does Corpus look for in applicants?

The usual conditional offer made by Corpus is A*A*A at A-Level, with Mathematics required and Further Mathematics highly favoured.  Similar offers are also made on the basis of appropriate equivalent qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate (41-42 with 776 in HL subjects, HL Mathematics required) or Scottish Advanced Highers. Admission is based partly on A-Level performance and partly on school references and interview performance. As part of the interview process, candidates are required to take the TMUA (Test of Mathematics for University Admissions) For further information and how to register go to the TMUA website.  Corpus Christi College no longer requires candidates to sit the CSAT test.

Candidates have two interviews and will be asked in both to work through three or four brief exercises, which are designed to reveal deep understanding of A-Level subject material and general interest in Computer Science. One interview may tend to concentrate more on discrete/decision maths skills than the other, but there is no great difference.  If you have any specific questions, please e-mail David.Greaves@cl.cam.ac.uk. If you have any specific questions, please e-mail David.Greaves@cl.cam.ac.uk.

A year off?

Deferred entry can be a good idea for some, particularly if the time is spent on relevant work experience. An ideal placement would involve software development at a technology company, or a research project at a lab or university. However, although such a placement can be valuable, prior professional programming experience is not a prerequisite for studying Computer Science. Extending a summer studentship for a whole year can be extremely worthwhile, and many larger companies may offer sponsorships to their ‘gap year’ students.