Clare College Cambridge

Computer Science


Number of students per year: 4-5


Typical offer: A*A*A or 7,7,6 (42+ overall) in the IB or the equivalent in other educational systems. For Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers - Offers usually require AAA at Advanced Higher Grade; bands may be specified.


Essential subjects: While practical experience (such as programming) will improve your admissions prospects, mathematical competence is essential. Single-subject Mathematics at A2-level is essential; Physics and Further Mathematics are valuable. The Computing A-level is not required, but it is a useful way to gain practical experience.


Written assessment: Applicants for Computer Science are required to take the pre-interview Cambridge Test of Mathematics for University Admission (CTMUA) at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).


The Cambridge course combines practice and theory. Programming and hardware design are taught alongside automata theory, semantics, etc. This course is ideal for students who love mathematics but want to make an impact on the world.

In the first year of the Computer Science Tripos (Part IA), students take courses in modern programming languages (ML and Java), Operating Systems and Discrete Mathematics. They also study Digital Electronics and work in the Hardware Laboratory. A number of first-year options exist: 

The second year of the Computer Science Tripos (Part IB) covers core technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Graphics and Computer Networking. It also covers hardware and theory. There is some assessed laboratory work, including a group project.

The third year (Part II) covers advanced technologies, such as Bioinformatics and Computer Security. It also covers advanced theory, such as System Modelling, Denotational Semantics, and Computer Vision. Each student does a substantial project and writes a dissertation of up to 12000 words.

Lectures and project work take place within the Computer Laboratory. Founded in 1937, it is probably the oldest Computer Science Department in the world. At present there are about 320 undergraduate students, and about 180 research students.

Consult the Computer Laboratory's web site for more details of the first-year options. 


Fellows in Computer Science at Clare

Clare has its own internal Director of Studies, Professor Lawrence Paulson, who is a Fellow of the College and a member of the Department. He has an international reputation for his work on computational logic, but among students he is best known for his down-to-earth lecturing style. He gives lecture courses in the first two years of the Computer Science Tripos and has written a popular textbook on the programming language ML.


Preparing to Study Computer Science

Link to University Subject Page


See Student Profile Elliott Katz