Transferring to Part IB Computer Science from another Tripos
Part IB of the Computer Science Tripos is normally taken as the second year of the course. It is, however, possible to transfer into this having taken the first year of another course. It is also possible to take it in your third year.
When can you transfer?
It is possible to transfer to Part IB at the start of the second or third year. You can then continue to Part II in your third or fourth year.
Whose permission do you need?
You need to have the permission of your College but not permission from the Faculty or University. Each person's case is considered individually on its merits. You need to talk to your Tutor and your College's Director of Studies in Computer Science.
From which other Triposes?
It is theoretically possible to transfer into Part IB Computer Science from any other Tripos, provided that you have obtained honours in an honours examination. In practice, students need a certain level of mathematical preparation in order to tranfer successfully. As a guide, students who are best placed to transfer have studied either the Mathematical Tripos or the Engineering Tripos or the Natural Sciences Tripos (having taken Natural Science Mathematics in their first year).
What extra work is required?
Students who took the Computer Science option in Natural Sciences Part IA
Students who read Computer Science Paper 1 in the Natural Sciences Tripos are in a good position to transfer, provided they took the Natural Sciences Mathematics course. Such a student should be advised by their College to read and understand the lecture notes for the Paper 2 courses in the Long Vacation. Students who did not take the main Natural Sciences Mathematics course need to be carefully assessed by their College as to whether they have the appropriate mathematical preparation for Part IB.
Students who took the Computer Science option in PPS Part I
Students who read Computer Science Paper 1 in the PPS Tripos are in a weaker position than a Natural Scientist because they have not taken the first year mathematics paper. The College will need to judge carefully as to their mathematical preparation for Part IB. If the College approves the transfer then such a student should be advised to read and understand the lecture notes for the Paper 2 courses in the Long Vacation.
Students who have not read Computer Science Paper 1
It is certainly possible for such students to transfer into Part IB, but they need to acknowledge that they are taking on a considerable amount of work if they are to transfer successfully. These students will need to work through all of the lecture notes for the Paper 1 and Paper 2 courses in the Long Vacation. In particular, they will need to be fully up to speed with Java in order that they can complete the Java programming exercise that is due in the third week of Michaelmas Term and participate fully in the Group Project.
Are there alternative ways to transfer into Computer Science?
Any student who wishes to transfer but is judged unable to cope with Part IB can consider degrading and re-starting their degree with Part IA of the Computer Science Tripos. This has financial implications so any student considering this route must talk to their Tutor at the earliest opportunity.
Can you take Part IB as your final year and still get a BA degree?
While we expect most students to continue on to Part II, it is currently possible to graduate having taken Part IB as your final (third) year. Under current (2008) University regulations, a student may proceed to a BA degree with Honours having passed any three honours examinations or certain combinations of two honours examinations. It is therefore possible to graduate having taken Parts IA and IB of some other Tripos followed by Part IB of the Computer Science Tripos. At Cambridge, each examination is classed individually and there is no overall classification for the degree itself, so it is up to you how you present the different Tripos results on your CV.