Key facts

Average number of students offered a place per year


Average number of applicants per year


Our standard conditional offer for this subject is usually A*A*A at A level or 41- 43 points overall and 7, 7, 6 at Higher Level in IB, preferably all in scientific or mathematical subjects.  All Colleges may modify offers to take account of individual circumstances.  Further information can be found here.

Computer Science is a rapidly changing and exciting subject, extending from the physical principles upon which digital computers work to the mathematical understanding of the semantics of computation.

The Cambridge course covers the principles of programming, operating systems, computer networks, artificial intelligence, security and numerous other topics. It is also concerned with understanding the theoretical basis of the subject.The course is designed to provide not only advanced practical experience but also to give an understanding of fundamental principles which will outlast today's technology.

Students in their first year 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 we build on the foundations laid in the first year, teaching core material in theory, systems, mathematics, applications, and professionalism. There is practical work in hardware design, programming (C, C++, Java, Prolog), and a substantial group project where students are given the chance to work in a team, as in a commercial software house.

In the third year, students are allowed considerable choice of subjects to focus their study on. The teaching ranges widely across the whole discipline with particular concentration on Cambridge’s research strengths, computer systems and the theory of computation. Students undertake a substantial personal project which may be on any topic within Computer Science.

Career prospects for Computer Scientists are excellent; there are now more vacancies in Britain than ever before. At least half of our graduates go into jobs directly related to the subject area. Another popular destination for our graduates is banking and investment. Many of our students go on to a Master’s or PhD Degree in Cambridge and elsewhere.

The Director of Studies in Computer Science is Dr Graeme Jenkinson.  

A very strong background in Mathematics is required: a good, recent, A2 Level (or equivalent) qualification in Mathematics, preferably with Further Mathematics at A2 or AS Level, is essential.

For many of the first-year science options an A2 in a related science subject is also required. For a summary please see the Computer Science Faculty website. Some experience of programming would be extremely helpful, but an A-Level in Computer Studies is not required.

Applicants for Computer Science are required to take the pre-interview Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA) at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).

At present, Computer Science applicants receive two 20-30 minute interviews on the same day, each with one or two interviewers. Both interviews are largely subject-based, although more general questions may also be asked.

The conduct of the interview itself is informal, and the types of topic covered are flexible. Background scientific or mathematical knowledge will be useful, but questions may range over a broad spectrum of topics relevant to Computer Science, many of which are not commonly covered at school.

Further advice about entry requirements and interviews for all subjects can be found in the Applying to Downing section of this site.

Further details about the Computer Science course can be found at the University of Cambridge site

For resources related to studying computer science, visit