Computer Science at Cambridge is designed to equip you for a broad and exciting industry moving at a fast pace. The course emphasises the core principles of Computer Science, taught through specific examples, that will enable you to grasp any new programming language or innovation. Students come to Cambridge with a wide range of backgrounds and experience, but whether you are a beginner or experienced in some aspect of Computer Science, you will work on material that is both accessible and challenging in the best way.
In first year, all students are taught the fundamentals of Computer Science for half their time and also take a maths course. You also take one further option which you choose from more maths, more computer science, or a range of sciences or psychology.
Second year is devoted to the core principles of Computer Science, and to the syllabus specified by industry bodies who set the standards. You will have covered the specified industry core syllabus by the end of the year, helping you with your future employment options as well as furthering your knowledge. There's also a popular group project this year, in which students work in small teams on products for an industry 'customer'.
In third year there is a wide range of courses and you are free to choose what interests you most to work on in more depth. You also have a personal project this year, which lasts for two thirds of the year: you can choose or propose a project and you then receive one-to-one support from a supervisor. This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your skills to future employers.
King's has a long tradition in Computer Science, indeed one of the seminal papers of modern computing theory was published by Alan Turing (King's 1931) in 1937. Former students of King's now occupy senior posts in academic Computer Science throughout the world, as well as positions of influence in the computer industry.
College rooms have high-speed internet connections and there is WiFi accessible to College members in public areas such as the bar and coffee shop. The college library is available 24/7, is well stocked for Computer Science, and provides many pleasant spaces to work as well as a second small computer room. The King's Archive Centre holds a collection of Turing's personal papers.
Fellows at King's in Computer Science:
King's welcomes applications for Computer Science. Computer Scientists studying at King's come from all kinds of schools and we accept a range of qualifications from countries around the world. Our most common standard offers are listed on the entrance requirements page. Women are underrepresented in university Computer Science courses. We therefore actively encourage applications from women to study Computer Science at King's.
It is essential for all Computer Science applicants to be studying for an A-level, IB Higher or equivalent in Mathematics: candidates who can take Further Mathematics as well should do so though we recognise that not all schools and qualifications offer it). Physics is preferred though not essential, and Chemistry can also be useful.
Applicants for Computer Science will need to take a pre-interview assessment at an authorised test centre local to them. This assessment will be the Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA). You must be registered in advance to take the assessment.
Your performance in the pre-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.
You will not be asked to submit any written work as part of your application.
If you are invited for interviews at King's, these will take place in early December. Selected candidates will have two interviews, each with one or two members of the teaching staff associated with Computer Science.
Profir has written a detailed account about his experiences of studying Computer Science at King's, including Freshers' Week, the teaching and timetable, living in the College community, and the application process. This account is well worth reading to get a sense of what studying Computer Science at King's is really like.
There is no required reading material for Computer Science, however you may find useful suggestions in the Syllabus and Booklist. Raspberry Pi and online tutorials (for context, see About Raspberry Pi, interactive image of a Raspberry Pi, and the FAQ's answer a lot of practical questions). The Computer Science Faculty FAQs also include advice for developing interests.
Your school work in Mathematics is essential preparation for the Cambridge Computer Science course. NRICH provides useful curriculum links. If you are studying in a different qualification system and wish to consult an A-level textbook, we suggest L. Bostock and S. Chandler (2013) Core Maths for Advanced Level, 3rd edition. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes. If your school does not offer Further Maths, you may be able to get support through the Further Maths Support Network. See the flowchart linked below.
Events which may be of interest in the year before you apply include Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, CU Masterclasses, CU Science Festival, Headstart, and King's Open Days. Students from backgrounds where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education might like to think about applying for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools or the CUSU Shadowing Scheme.