At Sidney Sussex you'll develop the knowledge, skills and experience required to actively create the future, more than just engage with it.

Computer Science is a rapidly advancing and fast-paced field that encompasses many aspects of mathematics, science and engineering. Cutting-edge research in Computer Science often goes from inception to having a tangible effect on society in a matter of months. The way in which we all live and work is constantly evolving as a result of the latest research efforts in Computer Science.

Over the last century, Cambridge has pioneered many of the key breakthroughs in the field. Recent contributions have included the Xen Hypervisor (on top of which much of today's cloud infrastructure is now built), the CHERI project (a novel security-centred capability-based CPU architecture), and the Isabelle automated theorem prover. A Computer Science ecosystem has developed in the area around Cambridge (known as 'Silicon Fen' by analogy to its counterpart in California), whose activities often support learning and research within the University.

Beyond the field of Computer Science itself, the idea of computational thinking is being successfully applied across many science, arts and humanities subjects. While early interdisciplinary efforts focussed mainly on the application of tools and computational methods, more recently the fundamental principles of abstraction, algorithms, data structures and pattern recognition have led to advances in subjects such as biology, chemistry, linguistics, history and music. At Sidney Sussex, the College's Wilson society aims to cultivate ongoing relationships between the scientific disciplines through talks and social events.

Undergraduate Study

Cambridge is a great place to study Computer Science! Throughout the course, you'll be taught by world-leading academics and deeply explore the content through regular small-group tutorials. The undergraduate syllabus has been recently rewritten to cover some of the latest developments in randomised approximation algorithms, machine learning, and robotics.

Computer Scientists at Sidney Sussex are at the heart of the Cambridge community. Our undergraduates and postgraduates join together with researchers and practitioners in our weekly talks series (organised in collaboration with several other colleges). This enables everyone to explore cutting-edge aspects of Computer Science outside the confines of the University lecture syllabus which is set 18 months in advance, and often provokes lively discussion! Topics are wide-ranging, across both theoretical and practical areas of Computer Science, and together we develop the crucial skills necessary to master new technologies and apply them in the fast-paced modern world.

Sidney has a relatively small intake for Computer Science (2–3 students in each year). We believe it’s essential to be given the opportunity to learn together with others of similar interests and ability, so we form an association with other colleges with whom we combine our teaching resources: Churchill, Magdalene, St Catharine’s, Newnham, Homerton, Hughes Hall, and Lucy Cavendish. Students from these colleges are all taught by the same academics and have tutorials alongside the same students. The large association means we have the greatest diversity of supervisors and greatest range of students amongst whom to find similar interests in the University. We are able to offer small-group tutorials in all courses (including all final year courses), and can match you with a supervisor for a final year project in any specialised area of Computer Science.

What experience do I need in order to apply?

There are many different routes into Computer Science, and what you should do to prepare for the course depends largely on where your interests lie! We’d expect any realistic applicant to have done something to determine if Computer Science is the right subject for them. Examples of some useful resources for learning more about Computer Science can be found on our Beyond the Syllabus page.

Written work

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

Admissions assessments
Interviews

Two subject-specific interviews, involving questions that will be mathematical or logical in nature. No Computer Science experience, ability to write programs, or knowledge of any algorithms or data structures is required.

Subject requirements
  • Learn about our standard entry requirements for Computer Science on the University website.
  • At Sidney, A-level Further Mathematics or IB Higher Level Physics are essential.
  • Conditional offers will specify that applicants must achieve A* or 7 in Mathematics or Further Mathematics.
  • 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.
Beyond the syllabus

Are you excited to learn more about the subject by delving beyond the school syllabus? Explore our Beyond the syllabus resource hub to discover interesting websites, podcasts, videos, and books related to the subject you love!

Typical intake

2 - 3

Typical A-level offer

A*A*A

Typical IB offer

41-42 points overall, with 776 at Higher Level

Postgraduate Study

There are two principal options for postgraduate study in Computer Science in Cambridge: the MPhil programme, and undertaking a PhD. Both are research-oriented, and the MPhil can broadly be regarded as preparation for those who later wish to study for a PhD.

Some prefer more applied Masters' courses, which teach the skills and practices necessary to succeed in industry today. A popular choice is the Engineering Department's MPhil in Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.

At Sidney Sussex, our postgraduate computer scientists are an integral part of the community and have various opportunities for assisting with teaching in the College.

At the University of Cambridge applications for postgraduate study are processed centrally by the Postgraduate Admissions Office. The application form and supporting documents are submitted electronically via their website and the online self-service system, though academic decisions on applications are made by the Faculty or Department.

Funding

There are many funding opportunities at Cambridge from a wide variety of sources including the Cambridge Trust, Gates Cambridge, Colleges, Departments, Research Councils and central University funds. You can use the Postgraduate Admissions' Cambridge Funding Search to find out which type of funding you might be eligible for, and how and when to apply. They also operate a Postgraduate Funding Competition to co-ordinate some of these funding opportunities and make the process easier for you as an applicant.

To find information about the funds available for postgraduate students at Sidney, visit our Studentships and funding page.

Useful links

Course directory | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

Funding | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

How do I apply? | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

International students | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

Opportunities to work, travel, and study

Most of our students find it helpful to further explore their interests by gaining practical experience during university holidays. In recent years, Sidney Sussex students have secured internships in university research groups, leading technology companies, start-ups, and also in the financial sector. At Sidney Sussex, we have close relationships with a number of industries, which can provide valuable insight into the process of applying for internships.

Discover more on our Opportunities to work, travel, and study page.