Taught course

Advanced Computer Science

University of Cambridge · The Computer Laboratory

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK First class Honours Degree.

If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country.

The First-class Honours Degree, or equivalent, should be in computer science. Alternatively, applications will be considered from those holding a degree of equal status in engineering, science, or mathematics and where the applicant can demonstrate significant relevant preparation for the Cambridge MPhil course.

Mathematics to A-level standard or equivalent and programming experience will be presumed.

Months of entry


Course content

The aim of the course is to provide preparation appropriate for undertaking a PhD programme in computer science. Students select five taught modules from a wide range of advanced topics in computer science from networking and systems measurements to denotational semantics, and from natural language processing to current applications and research in computer security. Students may also choose from a selection of topics borrowed from the Department of Engineering. Additionally, students take a mandatory, ungraded course in Research Skills which includes core and optional topics.

Students also undertake a research project over two terms and submit a project report in mid-June. Research topic selection and planning occurs in the first term and the work is undertaken in subsequent terms. The taught modules are delivered in a range of styles. For example, there are traditional lecture courses, lecture courses with associated practical classes, reading clubs, and seminar style modules.

The course aims:

  • to give students, with relevant experience at first-degree level, the opportunity to carry out directed research in the discipline;
  • to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests;
  • to provide preparation appropriate for undertaking a PhD programme in computer science;
  • to provide the Faculty with an extended period in which to train students and then to judge the suitability of students for PhD study;
  • to offer a qualification that is valuable and highly marketable in its own right that equips its graduates with the skills and expertise to play leading roles in industry and the public sector.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, the students will have:

  • a comprehensive understanding of techniques, and a thorough knowledge of the literature, applicable to their chosen area;
  • demonstrated some originality in the application of knowledge, together with an understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their chosen area;
  • shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research and research techniques and methodologies;
  • demonstrated some self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research.


The minimum requirement for continuation to the PhD programme in Computer Science is that MPhil students achieve an overall Pass in the taught modules and, separately, the project. The Pass mark is 60% however higher minimum requirements may be set at the discretion of the Department and Degree Committee. Continuation to the PhD Degree is dependent on the approval of the Department and Degree Committee.

Fees and funding

The Department has limited funds to support partial and full scholarships for UK and eligible EU students. Applicants will automatically be considered for these awards. Since only limited funds are available, applicants should not rely on receiving financial support from the Department and should explore all available funding opportunities.

Qualification and course duration


full time
9 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations25
Written coursework / continuous assessment25
Dissertation50 (15000 words)

Course contact details

Student Administration Manager
+44 (0)1223 334656
+44 (0)1223 334678