Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

Computer Science at Corpus Christi

The Director of Studies for computer science at Corpus is Dr David Greaves who is a University Lecturer at the Computer Laboratory, specialising in electronics design and with a broad interest in music technology.

The computing science faculty in Cambridge is known as the Computer Laboratory and is located in the William Gates Building in West Cambridge. Second and third year lectures take place in the Gates Building. Corpus is located adjacent to the New Museums Site, where first year lectures in Computer Science are held.

Courses: Computer Science Tripos


As explained in the general admissions prospectus, Computer Science undergraduates must also select an additional Natural Sciences option to study in their first year, but the second and third year courses are devoted full-time to Computing. A fourth year option (called Part III) is also available for those currently applying as first years.

The usual conditional offer given by Corpus is A*AA at A Level, with one of the subjects required to be Mathematics and with Further Mathematics also highly favoured. Similar offers are also made on the basis of appropriate qualifications such as Scottish Advanced Highers or the International Baccalaureate.

Admission is based partly on A level performance and school references and partly on interview. As part of the interview process candidates are required to sit the Thinking Skills Assessment Test (TSA), further details of which may be found at In the subject interview, candidates will be asked to work through three or four brief exercises designed to reveal deep understanding of A-level subject material. Similar questions may also be asked in the ` interview.

A year off?

Deferred entry is acceptable particularly if the focus is on relevant work experience. An ideal placement would start as a summer student in the research division of a large UK or multi-national company. Extending a summer studentship to the whole year can be extremely worthwhile and some companies will go to on to offer sponsorships to gap students.

M Phil in Advanced Computer Science The M Phil in Advanced Computer Science was a new course, first offered in October 2010. Corpus is accepting students for this course.

PhD in Computer Science

Corpus welcomes postgraduate computer scientists reading for the PhD degree. Applicants should read the departmental web pages in order to find a programme or topic of research that they would like to follow and then apply via the Board of Graduate Studies.

Other Aspects Library

The College Taylor Library has a very good selection of books on Computer Science. All of the main books recommended by the faculty for specific courses are purchased as a matter of course and external funds are available for purchase of specialist books to help with projects and so on.

CCC Cronies Computerists Club: A number of recent graduate students in Computing Science from Corpus live or work locally in Cambridge and participate alongside the current students as part of the Cronies Computer Club. The club is an invaluable introduction to the local computing infrastructure, known as The Cambridge Phenomenon. Notable club activities are the Compsci Curries, that take place once or twice a term and RPG gaming mornings on some Saturdays.

Example Interview Questions

With so many people achieving top marks in their examinations, the interview remains a very important part of the applications procedure. Interview questions seek to not only discover whether a candidate is completely fluent with mathematics and related subjects, but also to explore whether they deeply understand the material and so can address it in fresh directions.

Interviews generally involve the candidate sketching diagrams or equations with pen and paper as the interviewers watch and encourage.

Here are some typical interview questions:

We do not necessarily expect any programming experience from candidates: just a strong interest in computers in general. Candidates will only be asked to sketch out code fragments if they have previously studied programming.

All questions copyright DJ Greaves, Corpus Christi College, 2012.


Dr James Bridge

Following two decades spent in electronics research I became a mature student at Corpus when I returned to university to do the Diploma in Computer Science. My PhD in the Computer Laboratory was on applying machine learning to theorem provers under the supervision of Professor Larry Paulson. I am now a Research Associate at the Computer Laboratory working on the MetiTarski project and am a Corpus Research Associate.

Microsoft Research Fellows

The Governing Body of Corpus Christi College Cambridge and Microsoft Research Ltd jointly invite applications for a stipendiary Research Fellowship supporting research in the field of human-computer interaction (including topics such as ubiquitous computing, situated technologies, new genres of communication, tangible computing, sensor-based computing, etc.). Applicants, who may be from disciplines including computer science, electrical engineering, psychology, sociology, and design, should hold a Ph.D. Degree or should be expecting to have submitted their thesis prior to commencement of the Fellowship.

Xiang Cao

Xiang Cao now works the Human-Computer Interaction Group at Microsoft Research Asia. His research is in the general field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), with current focuses being next-generation interaction technologies and digital tools to support creativity. His other interests include computer-supported cooperative activities and user performance modeling.

Helena Mentis

LINK. Helena Mentis is the current Microsoft/Corpus Research Fellow. She works within the Socio-Digital Systems (SDS) group at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. Her research focuses on the use and design of information technology for communication and collaboration. She is most interested in the introduction of ICTs in healthcare, emergency management, and other critical domains.

Lorna (Brown) Wall

Is now Senior User Researcher at Sony in User Experience, Human Computer Interaction and User Communities. She has particular expertise in usability for video games and mobile devices. While at Corpus she worked on the (then top-secret) Microsoft Kinekt.

Previous Computing Fellows

Dr Christian Urban

Christian Urban is now a lecturer in the Department of Informatics at King's College London. Works on theoretical logic and proof systems to assure the correctness of computer systems.

Prof Andy Hopper

Prof Hopper (current head of the Computer Laboratory in Cambridge and chairman-elect of the IET) was a Fellow of Corpus for many years.

Fun with Maths and Computing.

Do you enjoy mathematics and are you good with digital technology ? Would you like to read Computer Science at Cambridge ? If so, check out the following information for prospective students:

Computer Science at Cambridge is a half-time subject in your first year and is full time for each of your second and third years. When accepted by Corpus, or any other Cambridge College, you are granted automatic admission to the world-famous Cambridge Computer Laboratory. You must enjoy mathematics, and have at least one, and preferably two, A-levels (or international equivalents) in mathematics.

Fun with Maths and Computing: Forthcoming Activities.

Evening event: 'Mathematics of Sound: Synthesis and Perception'.

An evening of applied mathematics and computing science around the topics of `Mathematics of Sounds: Synthesis and Perception.'
Host: Dr David Greaves, Director of Studies in Computer Science,
xxth July 2009,
McCrum Lecture Theatre, Corpus Christi College,
Cambridge, UK.

How many songs can I store on my iPOD and why? Why are there eight notes in an octave? What is the formula for 'flanging' or reverberation? How does MP3 trick the ear? How can I synthesise a duck's quack or a whole farmyard? What frequency range can I hear in mono and stereo? How many bits per second are needed for recognisable music ? What is a decibel ? Why should a submarine captain be interested in cheap downloads ? How can a record company clamp down on file sharing?

Dr Greaves will illustrate the answer to each such question using a mathematical formula and a computer program that implements the formula, giving an audio result. Using a sequence of demonstrations, he offers insight into the close relationship between sound technology, computing and mathematics.

In a break-out session, groups of students can tackle some similar questions from a help sheet using calculators, pen and paper. Then in the concluding session, the answers can be tested out.

About the speaker: As well as teaching Computer Science at Corpus, David Greaves is active in the field of audio electronics and sound synthesis. He has designed equipment used in many studios and by famous artists and his `Nature Sound' synthesiser is used in hospitals to relax premature babies and soothe accident victims in casualty departments.

Corpus Computing Science Essay+Programming Competition

Potential undergraduates are invited to enter the Corpus Computing Science Essay+Programming Competition.

This competion is a new idea, but if successful, we expect to run it each year.

Contenders must enter by post, sending their written work to the College and the authors of the top three submissions will be invited to make a presentation of their work in person at the College or via Skype. The judges are the current staff and students ...

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