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Practicals:  2022-2023


The purpose of practical exercises for the Computer Science courses is to help you understand the application to practical programming of the theory that is taught in lectures; you will learn skills like programming, testing, and implementing and evaluating programs you have created. You must complete the practicals for each course in the year you study the course. You may not do some of the practicals for a particular lecture course in one year and some in another year.

Demonstrators at the practical sessions are there to help you get the most from the sessions. There are normally four 2-hour sessions for each course during the term.

During the first two weeks of the term you will be required to sign-up for a practical group, for each course with practicals. Most courses have two or three groups at different times in the week; please consult the online timetable for more information. Sign-up is done online using the Minerva database.

You can find information on the content of the practicals exercises on the webpage for each course, and guidance on how to write your practicals report in the course handbook.


Because we want to make sure that you’ll get all the guidance you need, and progress well, attendance at practical sessions is compulsory until you have completed the practical. The demonstrators will keep a record of your presence and update attendance and practical completion details on Minerva.

If you are unable to attend a practical session, for example because of illness, you should inform the demonstrator in charge, if possible before each session. You can find information on how to contact him or her on Minerva.

Practical Assessment (Signing off):

To show that you have completed the practical you will write a report on you work. Practicals and reports are assessed by the demonstrators during the practical sessions. As part of the assessment you will demonstrate and discuss your work, including your report. The demonstrators keep a record of who has attended the practical sessions and completed each practical exercise associated with a lecture course. 

The following scale of marks is used by the markers; the descriptions attached to each mark indicate the rough level of performance expected, but may be adjusted to take into account the degree of difficulty of the practical exercise.

S+ The student has either completed the compulsory parts of the exercise and submitted an exemplary report, or completed all parts of the exercise and submitted an adequate report.

S The student has completed the compulsory parts of the exercise and submitted an adequate report.

S- The student has completed only part of the exercise, or has submitted an inferior report.

Should the department have to move teaching online, we will get in touch with you with updated instructions.


Practical Report Submission:

By noon of Friday of Week 5, Trinity Term you will have to submit an electronic copy of your practicals to the academic admin team - you will be sent instructions nearer the time. The Examiners will give you no credit for practical work that was not submitted for marking by the deadline and signed by a demonstrator, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Likewise, the demonstrators will not mark work that is late, unless there are extenuating circumstances. If there is a good reason why you can't submit your practical on time, for example because you were ill, then you may, with your tutor’s written permission, submit your practical late. Please note that we will accept only one report for each practical - you will not be able to submit another version of your practical report if you decide to do the practicals twice.

In examinations, the marks for practicals are treated separately from those for written papers. Practical marks do not affect the class of degree that you will be awarded, provided that you achieve a pass mark. However if you fail to reach the required standard in your practicals the examiners may decide that you failed the examination or reduce your overall classification, as stated in the exam conventions. A good performance across all practicals can result in being awarded a distinction in practical work which is noted on your degree transcript.


Students are formally asked for feedback at the end of the course. Students can also submit feedback at any point here. Feedback received here will go to the Head of Academic Administration, and will be dealt with confidentially when being passed on further. All feedback is welcome.

Taking our courses

This form is not to be used by students studying for a degree in the Department of Computer Science, or for Visiting Students who are registered for Computer Science courses

Other matriculated University of Oxford students who are interested in taking this, or other, courses in the Department of Computer Science, must complete this online form by 17.00 on Friday of 0th week of term in which the course is taught. Late requests, and requests sent by email, will not be considered. All requests must be approved by the relevant Computer Science departmental committee and can only be submitted using this form.