Department of Computer Science and Technology

Research students

The basics

The Faculty: what and where?

The Faculty of Computer Science and Technology consists of a single academic department, known as the Computer Laboratory. The Laboratory was founded in 1937 as the Mathematical Laboratory, then part of the Faculty of Mathematics. The name was changed to the Computer Laboratory in 1969 and the Laboratory was set free of oversight by any Faculty. This continued until about 2000, when the Faculty of Computer Science & Technology was created. The Faculty is part of the Graduate School of Technology along with Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology, and the Judge Institute of Management.

The Computer Laboratory was originally housed on the New Museums Site in the city centre. It moved out to West Cambridge in 2001, to the purpose-built William Gates building.

Our address is:
Faculty of Computer Science and Technology
William Gates Building
15 JJ Thomson Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 0FD

The Computer Lab occupies the whole of the William Gates Building. Rooms are labelled by a four character code.

You will be allocated a room with other research students in your research group and, within reason, close to your supervisor’s room.

Being a research student

The Faculty

The Faculty of Computer Science and Technology is part of the School of Technology, one of Cambridge’s six Schools. In Cambridge, a Faculty is ‘a body of persons…for the purpose of furthering the study of a subject or subjects’ – and it is not used to describe either an individual member or group of academic staff, they are instead members of the Faculty. The Faculty is run by a Faculty Board and is largely self-governing. Certain aspects require reference to the Council of the School of Technology, the Board of Graduate Studies, or the University’s central governing bodies.

The Faculty has a Degree Committee, which is the principal administrative committee with which you will have to deal. The Degree Committee comprises academic representatives from across the Faculty. It is the Degree Committee that has oversight of supervision, graduate education, and examinations in the Faculty.

Probationary status

Research students are admitted on a probationary basis in the first instance. All research students are initially registered for the Certificate of Postgraduate Studies in Computer Science (CPGS). They are transferred to the Ph.D. Degree after a successful completion of the first-year registration process, which includes passing the CPGS.

Supervisors and second advisers

Each student is assigned an individual who acts as his or her principal supervisor. A second person is appointed to act, in a less formal capacity, as second advisor for the student. Usually the second advisor provides informal backup support, but sometimes will be the main person supervising the student. An independent assessor is also appointed to assess the first and second-year reports.

College membership

Every graduate student is a member a College. Colleges are social and academic communities, offering moral support, companionship and enrichment through intellectual diversity. They provide some of the key practical services and infrastructure that help students to flourish in Cambridge, such as accommodation and communal meals. These enable students to focus on their work and to make the most of their time in Cambridge. Each graduate student is assigned a Graduate Tutor or equivalent (the title may vary) at the College, who is intended to be a source of personal advice and pastoral care. The Graduate Tutor is unlikely to be familiar with their student’s subject areas, but is likely to be able to help with information about financial support, counselling, medical services, accommodation, and other practical matters.


Research students in the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology are admitted on a full-time basis only. It is not possible to take paid work while you are studying full-time at Cambridge, and you must not expect to provide additional income in this way. The only exception is:

If you are a full-time graduate student reading for the PhD, MSc or MLitt Degree you may, without obtaining special permission, undertake teaching work for the Colleges (‘supervisions’) or your Department or Faculty for up to 6 hours a week including necessary preparation. A further 4 hours a week including preparation (10 in all) may be undertaken if the permission of your Supervisor has been obtained. No larger portion of your time may be devoted to teaching work and no time may be devoted to work other than research upon the approved subject without special permission from the Board.

The Faculty of Computer Science and Technology recommends that in your first year you do no more than three hours per week supervisory work.

As a Graduate student, you are expected to work on your research around 40 hours per week and will be expected to be resident in Cambridge for this period unless you have

*You may take vacations during Computer Laboratory closure dates such as Christmas and Easter and, with your supervisor's agreement, a period over the summer.


Students need to live (or reside) within the University's precincts in order to keep residence. This means finding accommodation within the 10 mile radius of Great St Mary’s church. If, however, there are good reasons for this not being possible or convenient, you can apply to live outside this limit.
Application forms for residing outside the University's precincts are available from your Self-Service pages. See also the Student Registry's pages on Terms of Study.

Code of Practice

Please see the Student Registry's Code of Practice for Graduate research degrees and certificates of postgraduate studies for information on responsibilities and mutual expectations.

The Graduate Education Team
September 2012