Skip navigation

For more info contact:

Telephone: 01223 333313
Fax: 01223 333179

Access Officer,
Cambridge University Students' Union
17 Mill Lane
Cambridge CB2 1RX


Computer Science

Studying Computer Science (often called CompSci) at Cambridge offers a wide-ranging science instruction and deep theoretical learning, with significant crossover with Engineering and Maths. For admissions, knowledge and interest in maths and physics tends to be more important than prior experience with computing skills or programming.


A Computer Science student

In your first year of the CompSci course, you will spend one half of your time studying core modules specific to Computer Science. One quarter of your work will be in Mathematics and the final quarter will be in another freely chosen science: Maths, or a Social or Natural science.

“ You'll be in high demand for students' computing and software problems ”

You may also choose a CompSci option as part of the Natural Sciences course. In this track, you will spend one quarter of your first year in CompSci and then be given the option, with some catch-up work, to spend your second and third years as a Computer Scientist rather than a Natural Scientist.

Most first year teaching in Comp-Sci takes place in the New Museums site, in central Cambridge, while second and third year teaching takes place in the William Gates building. Your first year exams will involve one set question on each course you have taken.

Best thing? Cool building and no 9am lectures after first year

For the second and third years, the course shifts to a pure focus on computer science. This umbrella, however, encompasses more than just hardware and programming. You will have the opportunity to study topics such as e-commerce, electronic security, and entrepreneurship and work simulating the real-world experience of doing IT projects as a team. The teaching location also shifts to the West Cambridge Site, where the facilities include a well-frequented café and hangout, another 24-hour computer lab, and a comprehensive library.

Between the department’s library and your College library, you should usually be well covered in being able to access essential materials: there should be little if any need for you to buy books while on the course. The second and third year exams also tend to include more flexibility in choosing the questions and topics that you would like to cover. Socially, students in CompSci tend to be fairly tightknit, with less than 100 students per year in the subject. They come to know each other quite well across colleges, and many spend time in the café near the main department at West Cambridge. There are also numerous student-led societies and projects in the University including managing the Student-Run Computing Facility, a structure that provides many vital services throughout the University.

Worst thing? Distance from town

Cambridge Computer Scientists are educated to go beyond the boundaries of technical knowledge in their course and career, and they play an important role in the life of the University as an institution.