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Computer Science at Sidney

Computer Science at Cambridge

On the theoretical/mathematical side the course covers the study of information and computation. It considers the acquisition, handling, retrieval and presentation of information. On the more applied/engineering side it looks at the design of machines on which these operations can be performed, the facilities required by these machines, and the myriad uses to which they can be put. Formal methods for the construction, analysis and validation of software can involve much mathematics. When concerned with circuits made directly on silicon chips, on the other hand, it gives a link to solid state physics. Between these extremes there is a large body of challenging material relating to both theoretical and practical aspects of computer systems and applications. The course provides opportunities for hands-on practical experience of both advanced hardware and software, while providing a thorough coverage of theory. Graduates emerge with an understanding of principles that will outlast today's technology.

In the first year the Computer Science Tripos provides several alternative courses of study. All students take two compulsory computer science papers, which cover the foundations of Computer Science, including programming in two languages (ML and Java); introductions to computer hardware, operating systems, professional practice, and software engineering; mathematical preparation in both continuous and discrete mathematics; and a thorough grounding in computer algorithms. The algorithms, ML, Java and digital electronics topics involve laboratory work.

Most students also take the Part 1A (first year) Mathematics for Natural Sciences paper. The fourth paper is chosen from:

  • A third Computer Science paper covering topics including computer graphics, human-machine interaction and machine learning

  • A social psychology paper

  • One of Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Evolution & Behaviour, Physics or Physiology of Organisms from the first year Natural Sciences course.

Alternatively, some students take the two compulsory Computer Science papers alongside two papers from the first year Mathematics degree course.

Computer Science at Sidney

Sidney aims to accept two Computer Science students a year. Mr Matthew Ireland is the external Director of Studies in Computer Science for Sidney Sussex, and he is located at Churchill College. 

Hear from a student... 

  The supervisions are an integral part of what gives Cambridge its reputation as an outstanding establishment. Feel free to ask any questAiden Moosa, Computer Science undergraduate at Sidneyions prior or during the supervision if you are struggling with a certain topic or are genuinely interested in something relevant to the module.

The lectures are held not too far from Sidney (~10 min walk).

There are small practical programming assignments, called ticks, that let you get stuck into a particular programming language or field of study.

Aiden Moosa, Sidney Computer Science undergraduate


Director of Studies (DoS)

Mr Matthew T Ireland (External DoS)

All of our undergraduate students are allocated a Director of Studies and learn from specialists in particular areas of their subject. From time to time, individual teaching staff may be away on leave.

Typical Intake

1 - 2

Standard Entry Requirements

A*A*A at A Level

40-42 points in the IB, with 776 at Higher Level

Please see the University website for standard entry requirements in other qualifications.

Please note that offers are set on an individual basis using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

All Colleges require A Level/IB Higher Level Mathematics. At Sidney, A-level Further Mathematics or IB Higher Level Physics is highly desirable.

Computer Science with Mathematics: All Colleges require applicants to sit STEP papers as part of a conditional offer.

Please note that for those applying for Computer Science with Mathematics for 2019 entry onwards; we will require A Level Mathematics, Further Mathematics and STEP, or IB Higher Level Mathematics and STEP.

Admissions Process

Written work

We will not ask you to submit any written work as part of your application.

Admissions Assessments

At-interview assessment (CSAT), comprising: Maths-based problems (100 minutes).

Read more about the admissions assessment on the University website.


Two interviews. The first will be a more general interview, involving working through some mathematical or scientific problems; the second will focus on Computer Science and may involve working through further examples.

Find out more

Faculty of Computer Science and Technology

University website Computer Science course page


Skype interviews may be considered for international applicants on a case-by-case basis in certain subjects. If you wish to enquire further, please contact the Admissions Office (