Computer Science covers a broad range of topics, including the design of computer hardware and systems software, computational techniques for applications such as graphics and databases, and technologies such as digital communications and computer security. Today there is an increasing focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, etc.


Number of students per year
Typical offer

The minimum offer level is A*A*A at A-level, or 7 7 6 (42+ overall) from Higher Level subjects in the IB. For other qualifications, please see the University entrance requirements page.


Essential subjects

A-level/IB Higher Level or equivalent in Mathematics and Further Mathematics.

IB applicants are expected to take IB Higher Level 'Analysis and Approaches' if available at your school. If this is not an option for you, email us at and we will advise you.

Useful subjects

Physics and Further Mathematics are valuable preparation for studying Computer Science. Computing A-level is not required, but may be a useful way to gain practical experience.

Computer Science at Clare

In the first year of the Computer Science Tripos (Part IA), students take courses in functional and object-oriented  programming language (using OCaml and Java), Operating Systems and Discrete Mathematics. Other courses include Graphics, Human-Machine Interaction and Machine Learning. Laboratory work is a key component of several courses, including Digital Electronics and Algorithms.

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 substantial assessed practical work, including a group project, which simulates an industrial work environment and software procurement process. The group project is demanding, but students seem to enjoy it and deliver remarkable products.

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. Substantial choice is available, including two Masters-level modules. Each student does a substantial project and writes a dissertation of up to 12000 words.

Visit the University's subject page for more information.

Professor Lawrence Paulson's advice for prospective applicants: I would encourage them to code. These days most teens have a computer of their own, so they could download some programming environment and fool around doing whatever (graphics, games, basic system utilities). They can also get a Raspberry Pi for very little. Lots of ideas and information on the Raspberry Pi website: Equally good is Arduino, which seems closer to the electronics level and robotics: - They should get coding! 

Larry Paulson

I came to computer science with a background in mathematics and logic. At Caltech I had the privilege of meeting N. G. de Bruijn, who had distinguished himself in several branches of mathematics and gone on to do pioneering work in the formalisation of mathematical proofs by computer.

My best-known work concerns the verification of security protocols, which all Internet users come into contact with when they visit secure websites. I have investigated the SSL protocol, which is running when your web browser displays the padlock symbol.

LARRY PAULSON Computer Science
Director of Studies in English