The computer science department at Oxford is one of the longest established such departments in the country, having been set up in 1957. It is now the base for world-class research into core computer science, as well as computational biology, quantum computing, computational linguistics, information systems, software verification and software engineering. It has an award for encouraging gender diversity in science. Research and teaching happen in the lively Science Area, close to Wycliffe Hall and to the University Parks. Faculty, research staff, and students can socialise in one of the nearby University cafes.



Computer science at Oxford focuses on the principles behind current computing technology, not the technology itself, and so demands a very high level of competence in the relevant areas of mathematics. Students should have studied computer science and/or relevant areas of mathematics at their home universities for at least two years.



Teaching will happen in a mix of University lectures, which play a key part in computer science teaching, and/or departmental classes and/or tutorials (one to one meetings with a specialist tutor) and/or practical classes organised in the department. The mix will depend on the subjects chosen and will be designed to give students the best tuition organised in a way which most closely mirrors the experience of matriculated Oxford undergraduates. Students will prepare work for classes and tutorials, typically in the form of problem sheets. Students will not write essays (papers) for their computer science tutorials. Undergraduates are welcome to join the department’s research seminars and industry seminars, given by faculty and scientists from industry respectively. Full lecture notes and other supporting materials are available on the University’s virtual learning platform to which students will have full access once they are in Oxford.

Visiting Students may not undertake project work or an internship or practicum. 


Choosing tutorials

Because lectures, classes, and practicals are offered by the Computer science department in specific Oxford terms, SCIO strongly recommends that its students opt for a course which is taught in the department in the term in which they want to come. If this is not possible SCIO can try to arrange tutorials in the subject when it is not being taught in the department, but students will be less well integrated into the department and have correspondingly fewer opportunities to meet and work with other Oxford students.

Tutorial options marked * are taught only in Trinity Term (April to June) and so Visiting Students opting for those tutorials will never be able to join departmental lectures, classes, and practicals. Again, SCIO can try to arrange tutorials if a student needs to take such tutorials but would strongly recommend other tutorials.


Name of tutorial

Taught in Michaelmas Term
(Fall semester)

Taught in Hilary Term
(Spring semester)

Advanced security




Automata, logic, and games


Categorical quantum mechanics


Categories, proofs, and processes




Computational algebraic topology


Computational complexity


Computational game theory


Computational learning theory


Computer animation


Computer architecture


Computer graphics


Computer networks*



Computer security


Computer-aided formal verification


Computers in society





Concurrent algorithms and data structures


Concurrent programming


Continuous mathematics


Database systems implementation




Design and analysis of algorithms


Digital systems


Discrete mathematics


Foundations of computer science


Functional programming


Geometric modelling


Group design practical


Imperative programming part 3*



Imperative programming parts 1 and 2


Intelligent systems


Introduction to formal proof*



Knowledge representation and reasoning


Lambda calculus and types


Linear algebra


Logic and proof


Machine learning


Models of computation


Physically based rendering


Principles of programming languages


Probabilistic model checking


Probability and computing


Quantum computer science



More information is available on the Oxford Computer science department’s website, though you should ignore information about how to apply, interviews, the acceptance rate, examinations, etc as this is all intended for matriculated students registered for degrees at Oxford. Don’t be put off by the fact that the degree is called a ‘BA’ in computer science. All normal first degrees at Oxford are BA degrees, whether the discipline is in humanities, social science, or science. gives information about the courses listed above.