Computer Laboratory

Academic exchanges with other universities

Students at the Computer Laboratory occasionally work away at other universities for the summer vacation or for an entire academic year. Students from other universities occasionally spend time at Cambridge in the same way.

Cambridge's system of synoptic examination at the end of the year means that exchanges for part of a year are not possible.

Cambridge-MIT Exchange

MIT students visiting Cambridge

MIT students can take Part IB of the Computer Science Tripos instead of the third (junior) year of Course VI (EECS):

  • Applications and all arrangements are handled by MIT. Check the details of the exchange at MIT and background information from the Computer Laboratory.
  • Part IB of the Computer Science Tripos can only be taken in its entirety. It is not possible to pick and choose individual 'modules'.
  • The work load is quite demanding, so there will be little or no time for other studies. Applicants from MIT should make sure that they have already secured adequate HASS credits, and should not expect to be able to work towards a minor or double major while at Cambridge.

Cambridge students visiting MIT

Cambridge students can spend their third (Part II) year at MIT. The details are a bit complicated:

  • Students will be expected to undertake a further year of study at Cambridge after their return before graduating; this will normally be Part III of the Computer Science Tripos. Cambridge students wanting to spend a year at MIT will therefore need to be qualified to continue into Part III by the end of Part IB. This requires first class honours in both the first and second year examinations (the exceptional Part I criterion in the application procedure).
  • A generous donation from BP provides bursaries for Cambridge students spending a year on exchange at MIT. This covers the half of the fees that is no longer be available on loan from the government, together with administration costs and the cost of medical insurance. Exchange students are still responsible for all their own travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. The bursaries are managed by the Department of Engineering.
  • If you are interested in exploring the possibility, please contact the Exchange Administrator (currently Peter Robinson) by the end of the Michaelmas Term nine months before the beginning of the intended exchange. Any arrangement for a visit to MIT would be conditional on attaining first class honours in Part IB of the Computer Science Tripos in order to meet the criteria for continuation into Part III.
  • However, the best plan for Cambridge undergraduates who want to experience MIT is to complete a BA degree here and then apply to MIT for a master's degree. Further negotiations are being conducted by the universities to simplify this transfer.

Other universities

Computer Science at Cambridge operates as a closely integrated undergraduate course over three years followed by a further year of advanced study for the integrated or free-standing Master's degree. Exchange in or out of the undergraduate course is difficult, and students who would like an international experience are advised to complete an undergraduate course in one university and then transfer elsewhere for postgraduate study.

In particular, the Computer Laboratory does not accept visiting students under the European Erasmus scheme run through the University's International Office.

Some other universities have private arrangements with individual colleges to send students to Cambridge for all or part of the academic year. These visiting students should matriculate as members of the University, and so can attend lectures for the Computer Science Tripos. However, they can not be candidates for examination, so all supervision and assessment is arranged by the host college and not by the department.

Summer internships

Cambridge undergraduate students often work with research groups in the Computer Laboratory over the summer (from July to September). Some funding is available for specific undergraduate research opportunities, but these often have restrictions on eligibility. Check the project page for details and information about how to apply.

It is not usually possible to offer financial support to other students, but we can sometimes waive bench fees if the project is suitable and no assessment is required. Restrictions imposed by the UK Border Agency make it very difficult to obtain visas for students from outside the EU. If you would like to apply, send a brief description of your background and interests together with a 300-500 word proposal for the project that you would like to undertake to the relevant member of staff. Remember to include details of how you would pay for your visit. Please do NOT contact several members of staff independently, as this wastes a lot of time through duplicated effort.

Graduate exchanges

Graduate students in the Computer Laboratory often spend summers as interns with groups in other universities or commercial research laboratories. Discuss the possibility with your supervisor in the first instance.

The Computer Laboratory is approached by many students from elsewhere who would like to visit for a few weeks and it is departmental policy not to follow up any unsolicited requests.