8 Computer Science Course Outline | University of Oxford
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Computer Science - Course Outline

First Year


Core Courses:

  • Probability
  • Functional programming
  • Imperative programming
  • Calculus and linear algebra
  • Digital hardware
  • Discrete mathematics, logic and proof
  • Design and analysis of algorithms


Students need to take five written papers and practical exercises

Second Year


Core Courses (37.5 %)

  • Concurrency
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Models of computation

Options (62.5%) including:

  • Computer graphics
  • Computer architecture
  • Concurrent programming
  • Numerical analysis
  • Compilers and programming languages
  • Formal program design
  • Advanced data structures and algorithms
  • Networks and operating systems


Students need to take four written papers and practical exercises

Third Year


Options (67 %)

  • Databases
  • Computer security
  • Intelligent systems
  • Machine learning
  • Computational complexity
  • Integer programming
  • Logic of multi-agent information flow

Further Second-Year Options

  • Project work (33 %)


Students need to take three written papers, a project and practical exercises

Fourth Year


Options (67 %) such as:

  • Computer animation
  • Game semantics
  • Information retrieval
  • Program analysis
  • Computational linguistics
  • Theory of data and knowledge bases
  • Computer-aided formal verification
  • Software verification
  • Automata logic and games
  • Database systems implementation
  • Probabilistic model checking
  • Randomised algorithms
  • Project work (33%)


Students need to take four written papers, a project and practical exercises

Application Procedure

Candidates should follow the application procedure as mentioned on how to apply page of the university website. The information given below provides specific details for candidates who intend to apply for this course. Candidates do not need to submit any written work when they apply for this course.

Written Test

Candidates ought to take an Aptitude Test in Mathematics on the prescribed date by the university. Candidates may take this test at their own college or school. For more details such as sample interview and how to apply, candidates are advised to see the university website.

The University of Oxford seeks for students with strong mathematical ability, the ability to use and absorb new ideas, the capability to think and work independently and have a great deal of enthusiasm. The university uses these criteria and the result of the Aptitude Test to shortlist candidates.

Computer Science may be studied for three years, which leads to the award of a BA degree or four years that leads to the award of Master of Computer Science. The forth year of the Master of Computer Science degree offers the opportunity to study advanced topics and carries out a more in-depth research project. Students do not need to decide between these options while they apply. They may choose at the starting of their third year whether to stay for either one or more.

In the first part of the course, the course is divided between lectures, practical classes and tutorials. In tutorials, students have an excellent opportunity to discuss ideas in depth with an expert computer scientist, generally, with one or two other students. Students shall be expected to spend a significant amount of time enhancing their own understanding of the topics covered in lectures, preparing for tutorials and answering questions designed and modified in order to check their understanding. In the course, students need to work in small classes on more specialized topics. They shall spend approximately a third of their time in third and fourth years working on an individual project on their choice of topics.

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