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Computer Science

Programme Specification: Part IA Computer Science

This course is taught by the Computer Laboratory. Undergraduates taking this course will sit Paper 1 of the Computer Science Tripos.

(The Biology of Cells and Computer Science options cannot be combined.)


  1. to provide Natural Science undergraduates with a thorough grounding in computer structure and programming, algorithm design, and the fundamental theories of computer science;
  2. to develop skills in programming and analysis of computational problems;
  3. to provide Natural Science undergraduates with a taste of academic Computer Science.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students should:

  1. have attained a solid foundation in the fundamentals of computer science, including computer structure, algorithm design and analysis, floating point and numerical computation, and computer programming;
  2. have developed practical programming skills through a range of assessed exercises and practical classes.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures (60), supervisions (ideally one for every 3 to 6 lectures), assessed exercises, and practical programming classes.


Assessment for this course is through:

  • unseen written examinations;
  • submission of practical exercises.

Courses of Preparation

Essential: A Level Mathematics or equivalent.
Computer Science students are assumed to be taking NST Part 1A Mathematics in parallel with NST Part 1A Computer Science.

Recommended: AS- or A Level Further Mathematics and/or a physical science.

Additional Information

Further information on each subject is available in the Subject summary and on the Course Websites pages.