Social Feed


Image: Homerton College: University of Cambridge

Main menu

Computer Science

You are here


Computer Science at Cambridge

We are proud to be a world-class research facility, consistently receiving top ratings in research and teaching assessments. We offer a learning environment that is creative, stimulating, modern and entrepreneurial. As such we attract many of the brightest students from all sorts of backgrounds joining us from all corners of the globe.

The Computer Laboratory

Cambridge’s links to Computing stretch back to the first part of the Twentieth Century, when the famous logician Alan Turing developed the theoretical foundations for computation. In 1937, the University of Cambridge established The Mathematical Laboratory, as it was known then, to further research in this field. That makes the department the oldest in the world, having just celebrated it's 75th anniversary in 2012.

What we think of as computers appeared shortly after World War II and the laboratory was renamed The Computer Laboratory in 1970 to reflect its growing focus on automatic computation. We’re proud to say that the Computer Lab has been at the forefront of research in Computer Science ever since its inception.

As a Computer Science student at Cambridge, you are taught by the pioneers and leading researchers in the field. But that’s not all: in 2002 the Computer Laboratory moved to a new, purpose-built building on the West Cambridge site that offers a fantastic environment for both study and relaxation. The new building looks out on green fields and is kitted out with sofas, a pool table, table football, a large library stocked with the latest CS publications, big (comfortable!) lecture theatres and a great café.

Be in Demand

We fully understand the pressures on today’s students: there’s pressure to get a degree that guarantees a good job but also involves doing something that interests you. Thankfully, getting a well paid, interesting job is not a problem many of our graduates have. The skills we teach are so far-reaching and transferable that employers are falling over themselves to employ them. In our anual recruitment fairs, 50 + companies pay for the privilege of meeting our graduates—more companies always want to attend (we have plenty more industrial supporters) but we have only finite space to accommodate them. Our graduates are spoilt for choice in the job market.

What is Computer Science (CS) Anyway?

Ever wondered what the best way to solve a Rubik’s cube or a sudoku puzzle is? Computer Scientists love puzzles logical thinking tasks like these-after all, the ultimate embodiment of logical thinking is the computer. So whilst the subject is called ‘Computer Science’, it involves much more than just computers or ‘IT’. (It’s a bit like calling English ‘writing science’: there’s so much more to English than writing.)

These days we think of CS as the study of information, and it’s now at the heart of modern society. Computer Science is everywhere: it ensures that your Facebook page is accessible; that road traffic flows optimally; that we can predict tomorrow’s weather reasonably confidently; that there’s a dial tone when you want to use your phone. Computer Science has dramatically changed the world we live in, and the world needs Computer Scientists to create the future.

And don’t be fooled into thinking CS is meant for geeks who want to sit at a computer, programming in a darkened room for the rest of their lives. CS at Cambridge is for people who want to understand how the modern world works, and who want to influence it in the future. The skills we teach are in such demand that our graduates are spoilt for choice when it comes to job offers from local and global industry. Starting salaries are high, opportunities in a range of industries are plentiful, and we have more than our fair share of entrepreneurs in our midst!

At Homerton


Homerton's Director of Studies is John Fawcett. Further details about John (who directs studies at more than one college) can be found here. He is also the subject convenor for Computer Science.

Homerton takes on average 5 Computer Science students each year. The subject can be combined, in year 1, with other science or mathematics courses, and it requires itself strong mathematical and problem solving skills. Details about the CS admissions, CS course structure and various options available, as well as the departmental Open Days, can be found on the dedicated CS admissions website, as well as in other tags here.

Applicants invited to interview at Homerton will be asked to take a formal written assessment on the day of their interview. The purpose of this is twofold. First, it aims to give an indication of your maths and problem solving skills via focused questions that require you to think, on topics including but not limited to algebra, calculus, combinatorics, logic, geometry, trigonometry, probability, coding (pseudo-code). Second, it gives you another opportunity to shine, besides the interview. Further information about the format and content for this assessment is available here and below in How to Apply.


Director Of Studies:

How to Apply

First make sure that the Cambridge Computer Science course is the right course for you. There are many courses in the subject in different universities, but if you like the sound of ours then this is what you do. You have to choose a college to apply to (or put in an Open application, in which case an algorithm allocates you to a college). We hope, of course, you will apply to Homerton, but the method of applying is the same whichever College you apply to. UCAS applications have an early deadline of October 15th (for those wishing to study the subject the following year). You will then have to fill in a Supplementary Admissions Questionnaire (SAQ) with a few extra details. On the basis of the UCAS application and SAQ we decide whether or not to call to interview. We interview a high proportion of those who do apply.

Computer Science Admissions Test (CSAT) and Interviews

From December 2015, most of Colleges will require candidates shortlisted for interview to sit a written test. Make sure to read the dedicated Computer Science Admissions Test webpage in order to understand what is expected and to prepare.

Interviews (usually two) are conducted by experts in the subject, and are often mathematical in focus.

Applying with A-Levels

As with all subjects in Cambridge, admissions standards are set to seek out the best in the field, and a typical A-Level offer for Computer Science here is A*A*A. If you choose to study 50% mathematics in the first year, a typical offer may require you to take STEP exams too. Formally, admission to Cambridge is decided by a College, not by the department and the College is likely to interview an applicant before deciding whether or not to make an offer. A written test is also commonly required. More details on the admissions process are available on the main University website.

The primary qualifications we look for are in mathematics, since we find a strong correlation with mathematics performance and subsequent performance on our degree. Therefore A-level mathematics is essential. Further mathematics to AS or A-level is highly desirable, and for those wishing to take the option 'Computer Science with Mathematics' it is, however, essential (just as a STEP offer is standard for that option). There is a considerable level of help for Further Mathematics to be found online- look at the webpages of the Mathematics faculty .

A-level Computing is not essential for entry for first-year 75% Option but some knowledge of procedural programming is useful. Ultimately the decision rests with the DoS at your College. Note that A-level ICT and IT are more vocational in nature and are generally less desirable than a physical science at admission.

Applying with Other Qualifications

We accept students with a wide range of qualifications including the International Baccalaureate, Scottish Highers, and the Irish Leaving Certificate. We  also accept qualifications from all around the world. Broadly speaking we expect an equivalent standard to that achieved by our A-level candidates.


Report Webpage Issues:

(Only required if you wish for a reply to the report)

Information provided by you in this form will be processed for the sole purpose of remedying the issue found in relation to the website. Once complete your personal information will be deleted. If you provide an email address and request us to update you on the issue, we will contact you once to inform you when the issue is resolved.