Computer Science

The Computer Science Tripos at Cambridge may be studied in two different ways:

  1. Apply to read Computer Science Tripos with Maths paper from Natural Science Tripos (75% option). 
  2. Apply to read Computer Science Tripos with 2 papers from Natural Science Tripos. Amongst these 2 papers, Maths paper is compulsory and you can choose one from Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Physiology and Evolution and Behaviour.
  3. Apply to read Computer Science Tripos with 2 papers from the Mathematics Tripos.

One paper from Computer Science Tripos can be taken if you apply to read the Natural Sciences Tripos or the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) Tripos. After first year, transferring to the Computer Science Tripos is possible.

See also the University's Computer Science admissions page.

Faculty website:

We encourage applicants in both options. The College can give a strong support in terms of supervisions and future postgraduate career to Computer Science students thinking about applying their Computer Science skills in areas such as physics, chemistry, biology and economics, and in studying topics like evolution of complex networks including the World Wide Web, the Internet and biological networks.

Applicants usually have two subject interviews and are not required to take the UCLES Thinking Skills Assessment.

Usually, the College admits 1-2 students with some fluctuations from year to year.

Conditional offers are normally A*A*A at A Level, or equivalent. Two STEP are required if you apply for the Computer Science Tripos with 2 papers from the Mathematics Tripos.

  • An A (AS/A2) Level in Mathematics (or its equivalents in other educational systems) is required for all options.
  • A Level in Further Maths is required if you plan to take 2 papers from the Maths Tripos.
  • A Levels in Physics, Chemistry and/or other Science subjects are desirable if you intend to take papers from the Natural Science Tripos.
  • An A Level in Computing is not essential.
  • The interviews typically involve some mathematical manipulations and logic puzzles.

Computer Science at Catz is enormously fun - partly for the course, and definitely for Catz! There’s no need to give you too much specific information about the course, that’s found elsewhere, and we’ll try not to go on too much about why Catz in general is the best college (although it really is) - we’d rather use this space to tell you what’s different about CompSci at Catz and why you should join us!

Catz is a small to medium sized college compared to others overall, but a small college for Computer Scientists - the last two years of intakes have been 2 offers and 4 offers. Don’t worry about that hurting your chances - the ratio of offers to applications is better than average here! - but it does mean you’ll have fewer people in your own college doing your subject. That’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. A lot of the first year Natural Scientists or Mathematicians will have a lot of overlap with your course in the first year, depending what option of CompSci you’re applying for, and it encourages you to make friends with a lot of CompScis from other colleges. That’s really helpful when it comes to the 2nd Year Group Projects, for example, as you’re going to have a better chance of working with people you know!

Your supervisions in Computer Science (weekly 1-hour meetings in all your topics) are going to be out in Churchill College under John Fawcett, or one of his post-graduate team, who are all lovely and extremely helpful. This may seem like a small trek, but lots of colleges have supervisions with him, some of which are much further away than Catz. In your first year, lectures are in the centre of town, between two and ten minutes walk from your accommodation. In second and third years, they’re out in the William Gates Building, a twenty-minute walk from your second year accommodation and a half-hour walk from your third year accommodation. Sounds like a lot, but closer to us than to most colleges, and a breeze on a bike!

There’s an awful lot to do in Cambridge and Catz outside of your course, and there’s tons of Societies and Clubs here to occupy anyone’s interests. Catz is always held to be the friendliest college and we definitely found that when we came here - we cannot overstate how much of a good time you’ll have, so go for it and apply!

Michael French and Rob Kovacsics