How you learn
In the first year you’ll be taught how computers work from top to bottom and get a grounding in digital electronics (theoretical and practical). You’ll also meet two programming languages (don’t worry: most of our students haven’t programmed before); get a grounding in the mathematical underpinnings of computing and the art of software design; and take a good look at how to evaluate and design algorithms (essentially puzzle solving). Teaching is provided through lectures, practical classes and supervisions. In Year 1, you can typically expect 20 hours of teaching every week, including up to 12 lectures.
In the first year, you will also take practical classes. Each week the Computer Laboratory provides computer facilities and demonstrators to help you through a series of assessed exercises across a broad range of topics. This includes hands-on programming experience in ML and Java, as well as building a series of electrical circuits in the hardware practicals. Each practical contains a core set of tasks that everyone completes as well as a few optional exercises to challenge you if you found the core task easy.
The group project is one of the highlights of the second year. The year group is split into small teams, each provided with an exciting CS project to complete as well as a ‘customer’ for the end product. These are very popular with industry, who invariably provide us with the project and also play the role of customer. It’s not easy work, but our students typically love this aspect of the degree and we are always staggered by what they can achieve in such a short time.
The third year provides a large set of courses to choose from, each letting you explore specific areas in depth with an expert in that field. You also get to choose your own project to work on, and a supervisor will give you one-to-one help to achieve your goals.
The fourth year is designed to support students who are considering a career in either academic or industrial research.
|Typical Offer Conditions
||41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level
||See the University’s Entrance Requirements page.
||Further Mathematics and/or a physical science
All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for Computer Science (the CTMUA) at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college). You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment – the registration deadline is 15 October 2020. Please see the Admissions Assessments page on the University website for further details.
Computer Science may be approached from a variety of backgrounds. The Cambridge course rapidly teaches a broad range of practical and theoretical computer science topics. It is assumed that students will have a sound mathematical background but other topics (e.g. electronics) will be taught from their foundation. A physical science is also beneficial. An A Level in Computer Science is useful, but not a requirement. An A Level in ICT is of less use in terms of preparation for the Cambridge course.