You may already know you want to study Computer Science at university, but be wondering what distinctive features studying Computer Science at Oxford has?
Small group tuition
You will receive tuition in very small groups of two or three students, from internationally recognized subject experts, through the world-famous Oxford tutorial system. Usually a tutorial sees you and one or two other students getting together with a tutor to discuss your work for an hour. Students typically have two or three tutorials or classes each week. It's this method of learning that sets Oxford apart: few universities can match this level of personal tuition, which is designed to allow all students with the right potential, whatever their school background, to reach the same level of study in their subject. Our tutorials are largely given by members of academic staff, not graduate students.
Knowledge that endures
Our course concentrates on teaching you the principles that lie behind current computing technology, not the technology as an end in itself. Our students rapidly become highly competent at using technology to solve problems, but more than that, they develop the ability to adapt their skills to new technology. That's because when you know the principles, it becomes easier to understand the technology and to learn new technology for yourself when you need it. And principles have the potential to stand the test of time, remaining stable even when the technology that's built on them goes through rapid evolution.
Computer Science from the start
Podcast: Why Oxford You don't have to study another subject alongside Computer Science. (Unless of course you want to undertake a joint degree with either Mathematics or Philosophy.) Naturally, some of the lectures during the first year are designed to lay the mathematical foundations for the work you will do later in the course, but we don't require you to spend 50% or more of your first year on other subjects outside Computer Science. Our course assumes no prior knowledge of computing, and teaches everything from first principles. That may seem like a disadvantage if you already know a lot about computing, but a university-level approach to the subject goes much deeper than an A-level course ever can, and most people find it fascinating to see how familiar ideas relate to each other in a fresh way.
Generous financial provision
Oxford offers generous financial assistance to UK students from lower income households to help with the cost of undergraduate study. Around a quarter of first-year students are given an Oxford bursary, which they never have to pay back. A variety of scholarships and prizes are available during the course of the degree. More information is available here .
Students pay for accommodation and food, although this is often heavily subsidised. Colleges provide a wide variety of accommodation and meal options. More information here.
Oxford is a compact city, and many of the colleges, departments, libraries and other facilities are a short walk or bike ride away so there is no need to spend money on public transport in Oxford.
Every Oxford student has access to the Bodleian Library. It's a copyright library, which means that when a book or journal is published in the UK, the publisher has to give the library a copy. With over 153 miles of shelving, you're pretty much able to find any book you could want there!
Terms at Oxford are only 8 weeks long. Some of our students choose to gain work experience, and will do summer internships. Students talk about their summer internships here. The Careers service and Oxford Foundary are also available to help our students.
The Bodleian Library Cutting-edge science in a historic (and central) setting
Join the top-ranked Computer Science institution in Europe, according to the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities, and become part of the oldest university in the English-speaking world that has been educating world-changing leaders for over 800 years. Oxford is a lively and beautiful city, with much to offer both students and visitors. A relatively compact city, most colleges (plus accommodation) and departments (including us) are in and around the city centre, so only a short walk or cycle ride away from other college and University buildings. Oxford is just 57 miles (90 km) northwest of London, so you can be in the capital in an hour by train.
We have excellent facilities both for academic work and for sporting, artistic, creative and social activities Our courses are intense, but our students (albeit a bit sleep-deprived at times) still have time to try out new hobbies and pursue other activities. There are also extensive academic support facilities —from the careers service, Oxford Foundary and the Bodleian libraries to the world's most famous debating society the Oxford Union, and the Oxford University Student Union, plus dedicated support for international students. There's also an undergraduate social area within the Department so you can make yourself a drink or catch up on your emails between lectures.
Support from your college
The University is divided up into more than 35 different colleges. This collegiate system is at the heart of the University's success, giving students and academics the benefits of belonging to both a large, internationally renowned institution and to a smaller, interdisciplinary, college community. This makes it easier to settle in and meet people. Each college provides accommodation and food, as well as clubs, societies, and facilities like a dining room, bar and common room. Colleges are, however, much more than just accommodation. The relatively small number of students at each college allows for close and supportive personal attention to be given to the induction, development and welfare of individual students. There's lots of advice available on choosing a college.
Strong industry links
Strong industry links and our reputation for excellence mean our graduates are extremely sought after.
- Researchers and faculty are working in collaboration with an impressive array of industry, academic and governmental partners, sharing knowledge and effort to solve tomorrow's problems, today. Partner institutions in our research include Samsung, AWS, Morgan Stanley, Intel, Dyson, GSK, Google DeepMind, and other leading universities which include UC Berkley, the Universities of Pennsylvania and McGill. Our staff also contribute to international academic networks such as European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) and established and ongoing collaborations with international research centres such as the Max Planck Institute, and the Sirius SFI (Centre for Research-based Innovation) at the University of Oslo. Current projects encompass topics such as AI, natural language processing, responsible innovation, heart and cancer modelling, and protecting endangered species.
- There's an annual Careers in Computing fair. Between 30 and 40 companies pay for the privilege of meeting our students in the hope of recruiting them for jobs and internships. These exhibitors have included big name global companies such as Cisco, Google, IBM, Credit Suisse, Bloomberg, Fujitsu and Vodafone, plus charities and start-ups.
- Oxford's Entrepreneurship Centre provides students with free courses, conferences & networking opportunities.
The outstanding mix of people
You will meet an outstanding mix of people, and join a community where you live and study alongside people who are as passionate about your subject as you. Learning and debate doesn't stop when you leave the lecture theatre.
- We have over 350 undergraduate students across all three programmes. There are roughly equal numbers of students on the Computer Science and the Mathematics & Computer Science degrees, and a smaller cohort taking the newer degree in Computer Science & Philosophy.
We offer a full-time taught graduate course: the MSc in Computer Science (approx 50 students). Additionally, around 15 students per year take an MSc in Mathematics and the Foundations of Computer Science (which is administered by the Maths Institute).
Two part-time graduate programmes for professionals are also offered: the MSc in Software Engineering has about 225 students, with the MSc in Software and Systems Security about 150 students The Department's doctoral programme has over 160 research students (studying for a DPhil - the Oxford term for a PhD) working across a wide range of subjects in Computer Science and Software Engineering. The Department is also home to around 150 academic and research staff. You can find out more about our people and our history elsewhere on this website.
- During term-time the Department hosts regular seminars and lectures, often given by visiting international speakers, which you are welcome to attend
- The Oxford University Computer Society (Compsoc) is a student-run society, which organises social events, talks, and practical courses. The Oxford Women in Computer Science Society (OxWoCS) exists for all women in computer science, be they students, faculty, or staff. OxWoCS runs a number of academic, social, and career events throughout the year, including weekly coffee meetings, talks by distinguished female speakers, and industry sponsored events.
Unique interview process
Some students (those from outside the EU) are interviewed by video calls. But the majority of shortlisted candidates come to Oxford for interviews. Our interview process takes place over three days, where we wine* and dine you. During this time you will be interviewed by at least two different colleges. Accommodation and food is free, and you get to stay in college accommodation. It gives you ample time to understand us as well as for us to understand you; and we guarantee you won't be asked to come back for another interview on a separate occasion. This three-day process helps you to get a feel for Oxford as a city and a University, as well as the time to make new friends and gives you a taster of the student life that you can expect. There's no prolonged pooling system: you come to interview in December and we'll let you know in January if you're going to offer you a place or not. Some students even tell us they really enjoyed the interview period. (*By "wine" we actually mean non-alcoholic beverage, but you get the idea.)
No lectures on Saturdays (or Sundays)
But don't just take our word for it...
Some of our current students talk about why they chose Oxford to study Computer Science, about their experiences of the application process and what they think about their time in Oxford so far, elsewhere on this site.