Computer Science

Why choose Girton?

Computer Science is the heartbeat of modern society. In a single generation Computer Scientists have dramatically changed the world we live in, and every day their work shapes the future. Cambridge Computer Scientists are taught today’s technologies but also acquire the skills they need to adapt to tomorrow’s world. There are quite simply not enough of us to go around, and our graduates are in increasingly high demand.

The Computer Science Department in Cambridge is known as the Computer Laboratory. EDSAC, the world’s first fully operational and practical stored-program computer was built here. On research achievements, we are consistently one of the most highly ranked Departments in the UK, making this one of the best places to study Computer Science in the world. We are also, incidentally, the most highly ranked department in the University making this one of the most cutting edge subject areas in Cambridge.

The Computer Laboratory has strong links with industry, both locally and globally, and is at the heart of “Silicon Fen” – a concentration of high-tech companies, many of which are spun off from the department or largely staffed by its graduates.

As in most of the other Colleges we are one of the smaller subjects at Girton. Luckily Girton accommodates many courses of this type, so students quickly feel part of a wider intellectual community.

Girton students also benefit from the fact that the Department is located to the North West of the city, close to the new Swirles Court site and not far from the main site.

Undergraduate information

Computer Science is still a relatively new subject at undergraduate level in Cambridge, though the Department is growing year by year. And while it may have a short history by Cambridge standards, we introduced the world’s first taught course in computing, and the Computer Science Tripos is already highly distinguished on a world stage.

At school level it is easy to get the impression that Computer Science is just about the use of Microsoft utilities, creating web pages or playing games. All of these impressions are wrong. Computer Science is the study of information. Our course concerns the design of machines that can manipulate information and explores the myriad uses to which they can be put. We investigate the mathematical underpinnings, and the practical problems involved in getting the machines to do what you want them to do. It isn’t all about programming – but there is plenty of that, if that is what you enjoy.

Graduate information

The Computer Lab has recently introduced a one-year MPhil in Advanced Computer Science. MPhil students are often closely linked with particular research groups, working alongside staff and PhD students on major research projects.

The fact that most graduate accommodation is located at Swirles Court in North West Cambrudge makes Girton particularly convenient for Computer Laboratory students, who can live just a 9 minute walk from the laboratory.

Research and postgraduate students are admitted to the University by the Board of Graduate Studies. You must therefore apply centrally and not to the College, however you must be admitted to a College to be able to study at the University. To ensure that this is Girton you need to indicate this on your application form.

Career destinations

Computer Science graduates are in very high demand. An annual recruitment fair held at the Computer Laboratory attracts a large number of companies, from well-known (Facebook, Google and Microsoft, for example), to the less well-known, employers, including software houses, games developers, and financial institutions. Every year the number of companies which apply to attend exceeds the size of our graduating cohort. The number of graduate vacancies which employers aim to fill at this event is typically more than 5 times the number of Computer Science students. One hundred per cent of our graduates are employed with a graduate level job six months after graduation, and will often have had several offers. This is better than virtually any other subject.

The skills we teach are far-reaching and transferable, and people go into every area you can think of, after all in the Twenty First Century Computer Science dominates our world. A surprisingly large number of our graduates go on to start their own companies (and we’ll teach you how to do that too!)

Undergraduate admissions at a glance

No. of students admitted per year


Entry requirements

All entry requirements are A-Level standard or equivalent, unless otherwise stated.

Mathematics is essential. If your school teaches Computing we strongly recommend that you take it. If your school teaches Further Mathematics we strongly recommend that you take it. ICT is not a substitute for Computing or Computer Science. Physics is useful (but less so than Computing or Further Mathematics).

Typical offer


For details of other examination systems please see our Offer Table

Assessment arrangements

All Cambridge candidates are required to take a 2 hour 30 minute written assessment (CTMUA) prior to interview. Candidates will sit the assessment in their school or college and must register by 15 October.

Further information about the written assessment can be found here.

Interview arrangements

Usually 2 interviews (both of which will be subject related). Interviews are primarily technical, but will not rely on specific knowledge of any aspects of Computer Science (given the wide variety of backgrounds of our applicants that would not be fair), concentrating instead on mathematical and logical abilities.


Tutorial and Admissions Office
+44 (0)1223 338972
+44 (0)1223 766673

Fellows & Teaching Staff

Dr Robert Mullins

  • Director of Studies
  • College Teaching Officer