Computer Science at Cambridge
Cambridge was a pioneer of computer science and continues to lead its development. There are more than 1,000 specialist computing and advanced technology companies and commercial laboratories in the area (known as ‘Silicon Fen’), and many support our teaching and employ our students.
Our course is broad and deep – giving skills to create future technology. All aspects of modern computer science are covered, along with the underlying theory and foundations in economics, law and business. You also develop practical skills, such as programming (in various languages, eg ML, Java, C/C++, Prolog) and hardware systems (eg chip design using Verilog).
Facilities and work experience
Our students benefit from the Computer Laboratory’s cutting-edge research and extensive facilities. The purpose-built Computer Laboratory is packed with the latest technology, advanced lecture theatres, dedicated practical rooms, a well-stocked library, and even a café.
Group projects during the course, where small teams of students deliver a product to an external client, ensure relevant industrial experience. Projects often lead to commercialisation, licensing or employment.
Our course is accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS) and by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), and contributes towards professional membership (MBCS, MIET) and chartered status (CEng, CSci, CITP).
Additional course costs
- Required: A University approved scientific calculator - Estimated cost £17
- Strongly recommended: Copies of core textbooks for Part IA options (students that don't have their own copies may be disadvantaged) - Estimated cost £150
- Strongly recommended: Laptop - a modern entry-level laptop is sufficient but we would recommend dedicating at least half of the main drive to a bootable Linux system, such as Ubuntu - Estimated cost £300
- Strongly recommended: Copies of core textbooks for Part IB options (students that don't have their own copies may be disadvantaged), number/costs dependent on options chosen - Estimated cost £150
- Strongly recommended: Copies of core textbooks for Part II options (students that don't have their own copies may be disadvantaged), number/costs dependent on options chosen - Estimated cost £150-£250
- Strongly recommended: Copies of core textbooks for Part III options (students that don't have their own copies may be disadvantaged), number/costs dependent on options chosen - Estimated cost £150-£250
The syllabus booklet – containing descriptions of lecture courses and recommended textbooks – can be downloaded from the Computer Laboratory website and contact the Faculty for advice and details about costs.
It's possible to change from Computer Science to another course, such as Natural Sciences (although options available to you will be limited), at the end of the first year. Following their second year, a small number of Computer Science students opt to do Part II in another subject, notably Management Studies.
To be able to change course, you need the agreement of your College that any change is in your educational interests, and you must have the necessary background in the subject to which you wish to change – in some cases you may be required to undertake some catch-up work or take up the new course from the start/an earlier year. If you think you may wish to change course, we encourage you to contact a College admissions office for advice. You should also consider if/how changing course may affect any financial support arrangements.
Our graduates’ knowledge and skills embody principles which will outlast today’s technology, making them highly sought after by industry and commerce alike. For example, companies at our annual recruitment fair collectively seek to recruit more than our entire annual number of graduates.
About half of our students go on to work in the computer industry, while a fifth pursue further study and careers in teaching and research. Many graduates have founded successful companies while others have easily found employment in software, hardware, the games industry, finance, communications and commerce.
To get an idea of what’s currently on offer to our graduates, visit: www.cl.cam.ac.uk/supporters-club.
For further Computer Science undergraduate admissions information visit: www.cl.cam.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate.