Computer Laboratory

MPhil in Advanced Computer Science

The MPhil in Advanced Computer Science (the ACS) is designed to prepare students for doctoral research, whether at Cambridge or elsewhere. Typical applicants will have undertaken a first degree in computer science or an equivalent subject, and will be expected to be familiar with basic concepts and practices. The ACS is a nine–month course which starts in early October and finishes on 30 June. It covers advanced material in both theoretical and practical areas as well as instilling the elements of research practice. The course combines lectures, seminars and project work in various combinations tailored to the individual student; more details are given below. Prospective applicants should note that the MPhil in Advanced Computer Science is not a conversion course.

Course Code

The course code for the MPhil in Advanced Computer Science is CSM3. The deadline for applications for admission in October 2014 has passed. Applications for admission in October 2015 will open in September 2014 and the deadline for submission or complete applications is 31 March 2015. Please note that European and international students wishing to apply for Gates funding support needed to submit applications to the University's Graduate Admissions Office no later than Tuesday 2 December 2014.


Applicants for the M.Phil in ACS are expected to have met the following prerequisites

  • First-class honours degree, or equivalent, in computer science. Alternatively, a degree of equal status in engineering, science, or mathematics where the applicant can demonstrate significant relevant preparation for the Cambridge MPhil course.
    • Minimum academic requirements for the University of Cambridge may be found at International Qualifications.
      Note: The minimum academic requirements for the M.Phil in Advanced Computer Science are higher than the University's minimum requirements.
    • Please contact us via email to if you would like us to check the suitability of your qualifications informally before applying. We advise doing this at least three weeks before the application deadlines below.
  • Mathematics to A-Level standard or equivalent
  • Some programming experience


It will be assumed that applicants will have some programming experience and that they have mathematics to A-Level standard. Applicants will need to indicate in which broad areas of research they are interested. Please do this within the section of the GRADSAF which asks for a research topic.

  • All applicants will be asked to complete an in-house questionnaire once the Faculty's Graduate Education Office receives the application from the University's central Graduate Admissions Office. The questionnaire will require the submission of a brief project proposal of no more than 500 words. The project proposal will help the MPhil Admissions Panel to identify potential supervisors and is indicative only. The Faculty is under no obligation to accept a project proposed in the questionnaire for the examination of the M.Phil in Advanced Computer Science.
  • A complete application will consist of the following:
  • Completed online application form
  • Two academic references to be uploaded by the referees
  • Undergraduate and (where applicable) postgraduate transcripts and degree certificates: originals and certified translations to be uploaded by the applicant
  • A good IELTS or CPE score is also required where an English language qualification is necessary.
  • Completed additional questionnaire

Application forms

Formal application for admission for the M.Phil degree must be made through the University's central Graduate Admissions Office using an online application form. Please note that there is an application fee.

All supporting material, transcripts, academic references and degree certificates, must be received by the Graduate Admissions Office by no later than the deadlines published.

Uploading supporting documents: Applicants are asked NOT to upload scanned documents as JPEGS. Please convert scanned material and .docx documents into PDF before uploading them with your application.

Please note that your application will not be activated by the Graduate Admissions Office until supporting documentation has been received. All supporting documents must be received by the Graduate Admissions Office within two weeks of submitting the application. Online applications will be withdrawn and may not be reinstated if supporting material is not received by the relevant closing date. It is therefore very important to have all your supporting material, including references, transcripts and research proposal, ready to submit before you apply.

The deadline for applications for this course is 31 March, but earlier application, in January or February, is strongly recommended. The deadlines for receipt of complete applications from students wishing to be considered for the funding competitions are much earlier.

Funding competitions

For admission and scholarship consideration in October 2015 (applications will open in September 2014):

EU and international students

15 October 2014: date by which US applicants wishing to be considered for Gates funding must submit complete applications to the University's Graduate Admissions Office

2 December 2014: date by which other international (other than US) and EU applicants wishing to be considered by the Gates and other Cambridge Trust funding competitions must submit applications to the University's Graduate Admissions Office. The Trusts usually allow two weeks to upload all other supporting material. Please check the list of deadlines for graduate and scholarship applications and requirements carefully.

UK and EU students

9 January 2015: date by which UK and eligible EU students wishing to be considered for Computer Laboratory funding must submit complete applications for admission in October 2015 to the University's Graduate Admissions Office.

A limited number of studentships may be available to exceptional UK and eligible EU applicants.

The Admissions Panel for the M.Phil in Advanced Computer Science considers each successful UK and eligible EU applicant for one of a limited number of internal awards.

Self-funding students who do not wish to be considered for support from the Cambridge Trusts have until 31 March 2014 to submit their complete applications. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

Course structure

The course nominally consists of 12 standard length modules. A student replaces six modules with a research project.

  • Research Project Option: 6 taught modules and a research project report of no more than 15,000 words (excluding appendices and bibliography) on a subject approved by the Degree Committee.

The project can be research or application oriented and industrial collaboration is possible. Project selection and planning occurs in the first term and the project is undertaken in the following two terms. A final report is submitted at the end of the project in the second week of June.

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.

Choosing modules

The ACS is modular with a wide variety of choices; as such no two students will necessarily follow identical paths. Successful applicants will have a Course Adviser appointed in the summer leading up to the start of the academic year who will be able to guide and provide advice about appropriate module selections given a student's particular research interests.

The list of modules should help you in making your choice. Please note that the full syllabi for the next academic year will be available from mid-July before the academic year begins. In the meantime you will be able to consult the individual course pages from the current academic year.

Additional questionnaire

All applicants will be asked to complete an online questionnaire in addition to the online GRADSAF application form. You will be sent a link to a page once your application has been logged by Graduate Education staff in the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology. Applicants are required to complete the questionnaire and submit it within seven days of receiving notification from the Graduate Education Office. Failure to complete will leave the application incomplete. An incomplete application cannot be processed further.

The questionnaire will ask applicants to consider which modules they will select as a course of study over the three terms from a those offered in the current year. This gives us an indication as to whether you have considered the course carefully and selected modules that will provide you with a good background to undertake your project. Applicants are asked to consider the prerequisites for each module carefully.

The modules offered change from year to year and the initial selection is not binding. Successful applicants will be asked to submit a second selection of modules over the summer once the list of modules for the new academic year have been approved and published.*

*The Degree Committee for the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology reserves the right to withdraw any module with five or fewer enrolments and to adjust selections should there be oversubsubscription.

Projects and research proposals

Students will spend a considerable amount of their time carrying out an individual research project under the supervision of a member of faculty. As a result, applicants are required to submit one or two research proposals each of no more than 500 words. This should identify the area in which you wish you work and identify possible research problems in that area. It is recommended that before submitting the research proposals on the additional questionnaire, time should be spent considering the research currently undertaken in the Computer Laboratory. Applicants who are not yet certain of their area can visit the web pages of the various research groups and faculty members for inspiration. Please see the research groups' web pages for some ideas.

The proposal and module selections are not by any means binding; rather they serve to help us with our assessment of your application as well as identify potential supervisors. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to alter their module selections, under the guidance of an appointed Course Adviser, before the start of first term.

Further information

Please contact the Faculty's Graduate Education Office with any questions not answered above.


Tel.: +44 1223 334652 or +44 1223 334656
Fax: +44 1223 334678

Applicants should apply using the online application form. However, if it is impossible to do this, applications and/or supporting documents may be submitted by post or by courier. Applicants are warned, however, that at busy times of year the processing of applications received by post may be delayed and may not be recorded as having been received by the funding deadline.

We strongly recommend obtaining a tracking number and include your application number in all correspondence with the University's Graduate Admissions Office or CL Graduate Education Offices.

Graduate Admissions Office
Academic Division
4 Mill Lane
Cambridge CB2 1RX