Computer Science

Computer Science
Mathematics and Computer Sciencee

Keble offers two degrees that include a computing component, namely Computer Science (CS) and Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS).  The College does not admit for Computer Science and Philosophy. Like many courses elsewhere, both CS and MCS have an emphasis on the mathematical foundations of computer science, especially in the first year.  MCS is designed for students who wish to take a degree in Mathematics whilst gaining some in-depth knowledge of computer science, and computer science will take up about 25-50% of the coursework, the exact proportion depending on the options undertaken.  The computer science content of all the courses concentrates on the principles of computing, rather than current practice, as practice tends to change, and employers expect to train new employees for their equipment.  Thus there is emphasis on software design, rather than specific programming languages, and on hardware design, rather than specific computers or other computing hardware.  Experience shows that our undergraduates have little trouble finding employment, either in a computing field or elsewhere.

Advantages of Keble

Keble is very well placed to support undergraduates taking these courses.  There are two Tutorial Fellows in Computer Science (Keble is one of the few colleges in this situation). Keble is physically close to both the relevant Departments and the main undergraduate computing laboratory, which is located in the Thom Building of the Engineering Science department, and holds a mixture of PCs and workstations from Sun and Intel.  Keble has a computer room containing a number of personal computers and printers.  All computers are networked to a central file server and have full access to the Internet for email, world wide web, etc.  In addition all student rooms in College can be connected to the Internet, and a majority of students choose to work from College in this way.  There is also wireless access from an increasing number of the public areas in Keble.

Course structure - Computer Science

Information on the courses and how to apply can be found at the Computer Science page of the Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus.You take four papers at the end of the first year, namely: Functional Programming, Design and Analysis of Algorithms; Imperative Programming; Discrete Maths, Continuous Maths and Probability; Digital Systems, Linear Algebra and Introduction to Formal Proof. In the second year roughly half of the material is optional, and there is also a group project.  The third year is entirely taken up with further computing options, and a major project.  Examples of Computer Science modules include Intelligent Systems, Concurrency and Distributed Systems, Computer Architecture, Numerical Computation, Object-Oriented Programming and Computer Graphics.

An optional 4th year allows students to study a choice of topics in more detail, and to refine their practical skills.  Successful completion of the 4th year leads directly to a Masters qualification.

Course structure - Mathematics and Computer Science

Information about the course and how to apply can be found from the Mathematics and Computer Science page of the Oxford University Prospectus. The course structure is like that for Computer Science, but with a different set of papers available.  In the first year the first three papers are as for Computer Science, with two additional mathematics papers.  In the second and third years a number of mathematics papers replace some of the computer science papers, and no project is normally undertaken.  Like CS an optional 4th year is now available which leads to a Masters qualification.

Typical pattern of teaching

One or two tutorials, usually in pairs, each week form the College element of the teaching.  In addition, these are complemented by Departmentally organised lectures, classes, and laboratories, particularly using program development workstations (PCs running Windows™ or Linux).  Depending on the options chosen you will also work closely with the Mathematics tutors at Keble; this is also a strong subject here, you may find some of the information in the separate Mathematics information of interest.

Qualities sought for entry

Candidates for Mathematics and Computer Science are primarily judged on the same criteria as applicants for Mathematics.  In Computer Science, ability in Mathematics is still the primary concern.  There are no specific computational prerequisites for any of these courses, but you should have a strong interest in computing science, as exhibited by practical experience and/or background reading.  Some of the first-year coursework uses the languages Haskell and Scala, for which it is an advantage to have a working knowledge of a PASCAL-like language (e.g. C/C++/C#, Java, Pascal, Ada) before coming to Oxford.

Test prior to interview: Candidates applying to read Computer Science or Mathematics and Computer Science need to sit the MAT, for which there is a registration deadline.

There is further information on the interview available on the Department of Computer Science website.

Past papers may be obtained from the University Admissions Office, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD.


Approximate yearly intake Keble: 7 (including Joint Schools)
Department: 90
Department Website Department of Computer Science


Via the College Office.


Professor Stephen Cameron, Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow, geometric modelling, manufacturing, molecular modelling, and robot sheepdogs

Professor Standa Živný, Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow, algorithms and complexity