Mathematics and Computer Science | University of Oxford
Mathematics and Computer Science
The entrance to the Mathematical Institute.
(Credit: Mathematical Institute)

Mathematics and Computer Science

mortar boardUCAS codeGG14calendarDuration

3 years (BA)
4 years (MMathComSci)

pencilEntrance requirements

A*AA (with A*A in Maths and Further Maths (FM) or A* in Maths if FM is not taken)

HeadSubject requirements  Maths
  Further Maths
tickAdmissions test(s)ox.ac.uk/matcrossWritten workNone
bar chartAdmissions statistics

Interviewed: 37%
Successful: 12%
Intake: 35

phoneContact

+44 (0) 1865 615205
Email Maths
+44 (0) 1865 273821 / 283507
Email Computer Science

Subject requirements:       Essential       Recommended       Helpful – may be useful on course

This joint degree offers the opportunity to combine an appreciation of mathematical reasoning with an understanding of computing. Mathematics is a fundamental intellectual tool in computing, but computing is increasingly used as a key component in mathematical problem-solving.


The course concentrates on areas where mathematics and computing are most relevant to each other, emphasising the bridges between theory and practice. It offers opportunities for potential computer scientists both to develop a deeper understanding of the mathematical foundations of their subject, and to acquire a familiarity with the mathematics of application areas where computers can solve otherwise intractable problems. It also gives mathematicians access to both a practical understanding of the use of computers and a deeper understanding of the limits on the use of computers in their own subject.

The first year and part of the second year of the course are spent acquiring a firm grounding in the core topics from both subjects; students are then free to choose options from a wide range of mathematics and computer science subjects. In the second year students take part in a group design practical, which may be sponsored by industry.

 Mathematics Institute“For me the best bit of the course is the practical element, such as imperative programming. I like to see new techniques for algorithms and structures because I find it exciting to see how they could be used in the real world. I find the tutorial system very helpful – I think it is the best thing about Oxford. The people here are very competent and the facilities are well suited to the course.”
JESSICA

A typical week

The typical weekly timetable for a student in Mathematics and Computer Science is similar to that for Computer Science or Mathematics.

Tutorials are usually 2-4 students with a tutor. Class sizes may vary depending on the options you choose. There would usually be around 8-12 students though classes for some of the more popular papers may be larger. Lectures may be up to 100 students.

Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by staff who are tutors in their subject. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some teaching may also be delivered by postdoctoral researchers or postgraduate students who are studying at doctorate level. 

To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.

Course structure

Mathematics and Computer Science can be studied for three years, leading to the award of a BA degree, or for four years, leading to the award of Master of Mathematics and Computer Science. The fourth year of the Mathematics and Computer Science degree provides the opportunity to study advanced topics and undertake a more in-depth research project. Students do not need to choose between the three-year and four-year options when applying; all students apply for the four-year course, and then decide at the start of the third year whether they wish to continue to the fourth year (which is subject to achieving a 2:1 at the end of the third year).

YEAR 1

COURSES

  • Core Mathematics (50%)
    • Analysis
    • Continuous maths
    • Groups and group actions
    • Introduction to complex numbers
    • Introduction to university maths
    • Linear algebra
    • Probability
  • Core Computer Science (50%)
    • Design and analysis of algorithms
    • Functional programming
    • Imperative programming

ASSESSMENT

Five exam papers

YEAR 2

COURSES

  • Core Computer Science (25%)
    • Algorithms
    • Models of computation
    • Group design practical
  • Core Mathematics (30%)
    • Linear algebra
    • Complex analysis
    • Metric spaces
  • Options in Mathematics (20%)
  • Options in Computer Science (25%)

ASSESSMENT

Six exam papers (two Computer Science and four Mathematics)

YEAR 3

COURSES

  • Mathematics
    Options including:
    • Number theory
    • Communication theory
  • Computer Science
    Options including:
    • Computer security
    • Machine learning
    • Computational complexity
    • Lambda calculus and types

ASSESSMENT

Up to ten exam papers

YEAR 4

RESEARCH

  • Mathematics
    Advanced options including:
    • Model theory
    • Category theory
    • Lie groups
    • Probabilistic combinatorics
  • Computer Science
    Advanced options including:
    • Advanced machine learning
    • Computational game theory
    • Computational learning theory
    • Automata, logic and games
    • Quantum computer science
    • Concurrent algorithms and data structures
    • Advanced security

Lists of options offered in Years 2, 3 and 4 are illustrative only, and may change from time to time. Further information about all of our courses: www.cs.ox.ac.uk/ugadmissions.

ASSESSMENT

Written or take-home exams plus a dissertation or project report. Currently a 2:1 is required to continue to Year 4.

The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.

Academic requirements 

A-levels:A*AA (if Further Mathematics is taken, then including A*A between Mathematics and Further Mathematics; otherwise including A* in Mathematics)
Advanced Highers:AA/AAB
IB: 39 (including core points) with 766 at HL (the 7 must be in Higher Level Mathematics)
Or any other equivalent (see other UK qualifications, and international qualifications

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.  (See further information on how we use contextual data.) 

Subject requirements

  Essential: Candidates are expected to have Mathematics to A-level (A or A* grade), Advanced Higher (A grade), Higher Level in the IB (score 7) or another equivalent. If Further Mathematics is taken to AS-level only, we require an A in it.
  Recommended:Further Mathematics is highly recommended.

If, and only if, you have chosen to take any science A-levels, we expect you to take and pass the practical component in addition to meeting any overall grade requirement.

If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.

Applying

All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown in applying to Oxford. The information below gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions test

Test: MAT
Test date:30 October 2019            
Registration deadline:                   6pm 15 October 2019                                                                                                      

All candidates must take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) as part of their application. Separate registration for each test is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for these tests. We strongly recommend making the arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. Everything you need to know, including guidance on how to prepare, can be found on the MAT page

Written work

You do not need to submit any written work when you apply for this course.

What are tutors looking for?

The most important qualities we are looking for are strong mathematical ability, the ability to think and work independently, the capacity to absorb and use new ideas, and a great deal of enthusiasm. We use this set of criteria and the result of the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) to decide whom to shortlist for interview.

At the interview we will explore how you tackle unfamiliar problems and new ideas. We are more interested in how you approach problem-solving than whether you can get straight to a solution. We do not require any previous formal qualification in computing, but we do expect you to demonstrate a real interest in the subject.  For more detail on the selection criteria for this course, please see the Maths Department website.

Careers

This course gives training in logical thought and expression, and is a good preparation for many careers. About 30% of Mathematics and Computer Science graduates tend to go on to further study. Other recent graduates have secured positions as software and hardware professionals, in research and in finance and investment analysis, and include a product controller for an international bank, an actuarial consultant and an accountant.

Oxford University is committed to recruiting the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. We offer a generous package of financial support to Home/EU students from lower-income households. (UK nationals living in the UK are usually Home students.)

Fees

These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2019.

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU£9,250
Islands
(Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£9,250
Overseas£34,678

For more information please refer to our course fees page. Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Living costs

Living costs at Oxford might be less than you’d expect, as our world-class resources and college provision can help keep costs down.

Living costs for the academic year starting in 2019 are estimated to be between £1,058 and £1,643 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit our living costs webpage.

Financial support

Home/EU

A tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK)/EU students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2019 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of around £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to those from households with incomes of £16,000 or less. This support is available in addition to the government living costs support.  See further details.

Islands
(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)

Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.

Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:

States of Jersey
States of Guernsey
Isle of Man

Overseas

Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford Bursaries and Scholarships page.

*If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for Mathematics and Computer Science

There are no compulsory costs for this course beyond the fees shown above and your living costs.

Contextual information

The Key Information Sets provides applicants with statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford. But there is so much more to an Oxford degree that the numbers can’t convey.

The Oxford tutorial

College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.

During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your college tutorials will be from your year group, doing the same course as you and will normally be at your college. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.

Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education

College life

Our colleges are at the heart of Oxford’s reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

  • At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
  • Each college has a unique character, but generally their facilities are similar. Each one, large or small, will have the following essential facilities:
    • Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
    • Dining hall
    • Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
    • Student accommodation
    • Tutors’ teaching rooms
    • Chapel and/or music rooms
    • Laundry
    • Green spaces
    • Common room (known as the JCR).
  • All first year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
  • All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
  • While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.

More about Oxford colleges and how you choose

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