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, Computer Science undergraduates must also select an additional subject to study in their first year, but the second- and third-year courses are fully devoted to computing. A fourth-year option (Part III) is also available to those currently applying as first-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 of the College and Senior Lecturer at the Computer Laboratory, who specialises in music technology and the design of electronic devices.

Corpus also maintains strong links with Microsoft Research through our Microsoft Fellow, currently Dr. Ioan Stefanovici, whose previous work has focused on improving system reliability, controllability, and programmability, as well as reducing the impact of large- scale systems on the environment.

In addition, there are two research associates in Computer Science who help to share out the teaching responsibilities: Dr James Bridge and Dr Andrew Moore. Both were once Corpus students and now work in the Computer Laboratory.

Undergraduate supervisions at Corpus are usually jointly organised with Christ’s College, so there is a good-sized pool of students who get to know each other well over their three years of study.

Dr David Greaves (Fellow)david-greaves-small

Dr Nicholas Chen (Preceptor)chen Dr. Ioan Stefanovici (Fellow)

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 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 a written test before the interviews.  Further information on the CSAT (Computer Science Admissions Test) including example questions can be found here.  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.

  • A year off? Deferred entry is a good idea, particularly if the time is spent on relevant work experience. An ideal placement would be as a summer student in the research division of a large UK or multi-national company. Extending a summer studentship for a whole year can be extremely worthwhile, and many larger companies may offer sponsorships to their ‘gap year’ students.
  • MPhil in Advanced Computer Science First offered in October 2010, Corpus welcomes applicants for this new course.
  • PhD in Computer Science Corpus also welcomes postgraduate Computer Scientists reading for their PhD. Applicants should consult the departmental web pages to find a programme or topic of research that they would like to follow, and then apply via the Board of Graduate Studies (tel: 01223 338391).

Other aspects

There is a small website devoted to Computer Science at Corpus.  It contains further information, a few biographies and details of the annual Computer Science Essay Competition.  If you have any specific questions, please e-mail

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