Computer Science

What makes the Cambridge Computer Science course so special?

Cambridge’s Computer Science course is challenging, exciting, inspiring and highly marketable. The course attracts the best students from the UK and beyond. It provides a broad and deep education into all aspects of computer science and is taught by some of the world’s experts in the field. The Computer Science course provides a mixture of theory and practical aspects of the subject, with the aim of giving graduates an understanding of principles that will outlast today’s technology. The subject, after 50 years of rapid advance, remains interdisciplinary, with links to linguistics and psychology as well as the more obvious mathematics and engineering. The course moves quickly from the fundamentals of the subject in the first year, through the core material in the second year, to advanced topics in the third year, some of which are only covered in Master’s degrees elsewhere. 

Why choose Newnham for Computer Science?

The College is almost exactly between the two sites where lectures and supervisions take place. It is on the bus route between the Laboratory and Town sites for those mornings when wind and rain make cycling less appealing. Of course, Newnham students join those from the other Colleges for lectures, supervisions and the usual variety of social events. 

How many students take Computer Science at Newnham?

Newnham aims to admit two or three Computer Science students a year. 

How will I be taught at Newnham?

It is the role of the Director of Studies to ensure that you will be taught all your subjects by experts in their field with a love of teaching.  This makes a supervision a rewarding and exciting time as well as a real challenge to your knowledge of the lecture material. It also means that you work alongside students from other Colleges, gaining the study and social benefits of being in a larger group. 

Can you tell me more about the Computer Science Fellows?

For information on the current teaching staff and Fellows for Computer Science, please visit our teaching webpages.

What jobs do Newnham Computer Science students go on to do?

Cambridge graduates are highly sought after by industry. Of our recent graduates, around half go into the IT sector, a fifth into banking and investment, a further fifth go on to research degrees at Cambridge and elsewhere, and the final tenth into a range of other jobs. 

Are there any A-level subjects that are particularly useful?

  • A-level Mathematics is essential. 
  • A Level Further Mathematics is highly desirable. 
  • An A-level in Computing is not a requirement for any option. A-level Computing can provide useful background for a university-level course, if your school offers it. A-level ICT is far less useful, as it focuses on the vocational aspects of computing. 

If you are not taking A Levels then have a look at the University website for our entry requirements for other qualifications considered equivalent to A-level.

Do I need to take an Admissions Assessment?

All applicants for Computer Science are now required to take the Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA) at an authorised centre local to them (for most applicants, this will be your school/college). You must be registered by 29th September 2023 – separately to your UCAS application – to take this assessment. Some students may be eligible for a fee reimbursement, details of which are available here.

You should consult the University website for information about expected knowledge, and for past papers and answers that you can use for timed practice. 

Can I take a gap year?

A gap year spent doing something which broadens your experience can be useful: the greater maturity and independence you have before starting the University course, the better. Schemes are available to set you up with a Year in Industry, or you can apply directly to companies which offer such placements. Another worthwhile thing to do is to travel and work abroad for a year. But you should only aim to take a gap year if you have definite ambitions and plans for what to do: it’s important not just to sit about at home! 

Where can I find out more?

You can find lots of information for prospective Computer Science undergraduates on the Computer Laboratory website. 

The Computer Science Subject Overview on the ‘My HE+’ website also provides information and resources for exploring your subject.

Recommended reading?

Bacon, J. & Harris, T. (2003). Operating systems. Addison-Wesley (3rd ed.). 

Real World OCaml, Functional Programming for the Masses.

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