Computer Science

Number of students per year: 4 - 5 

Typical offer: A*A*A at A-level or 7 7 6 (42+ overall) in the IB. For other qualifications, please click here.

Essential subjects: A-level/IB Higher Level or equivalent in Mathematics.

(Please note that IB applicants starting the new IB Mathematics syllabus are expected to take IB Higher Level 'Analysis and Approaches' if it's available at your school. If this isn't an option for you, please drop us an email at and we'll be very happy to advise you.)

Useful subjects: Physics and Further Mathematics are valuable preparation for studying Computer Science. Computing A-level is not required, but may be a useful way to gain practical experience.

Computer Science at Clare 

Computer Science covers a broad range of topics, including the design of computer hardware and systems software, computational techniques for applications such as graphics and databases, and technologies such as digital communications and computer security. Today there is an increasing focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, etc.

Clare is one of the few colleges where the Director of Studies in computer science is a professor engaged in active research. The University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory is probably the world’s oldest computer science department. It built one of the world’s first digital computers. It still leads hardware and systems, while also having strong research groups in security, theory, artificial intelligence and other subjects.

Computer science at Cambridge is an entirely different subject from ICT. Our course offerings should appeal to anybody who loves mathematics, electronics or engineering.

Our graduates are highly sought after: our most recent annual recruitment fair had over 80 firms advertising their employment options.


Key People


Professor Larry Paulson

Director of Studies & Professor of Computational Logic

I came to computer science with a background in mathematics and logic. At Caltech I had the privilege of meeting N. G. de Bruijn, who had distinguished himself in several branches of mathematics and gone on to do pioneering work in the formalisation of mathematical proofs by computer.

I have devoted most of my research career to this area, though others have pursued de Bruijn’s particular way of doing it. The main application of automated proof is to verify the correctness of computer hardware and software; as we all know, computers are not reliable and the majority of their faults lie not in manufacturing flaws but in logical design errors. Such errors could, in principle, be identified using mathematical techniques.

My best-known work concerns the verification of security protocols, which all Internet users come into contact with when they visit secure websites. I have investigated the SSL protocol, which is running when your web browser displays the padlock symbol.

Clare student Aga talks about why she chose to study Computer Science at Clare, how the course works, and what her favourite things about it are!