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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Advanced Computer Science is no longer accepting new applications.


The MPhil in Advanced Computer Science covers advanced material in both theoretical and practical areas as well as instilling the elements of research practice. It combines lectures, seminars and project work in various combinations tailored to the individual student. Students choose five modules from an extensive list of topics. Students also undertake a course of core and optional units from the Research Skills Programme.

One to one supervision

Students are assigned a course adviser during Michaelmas term who will offer advice about module selection, the course structure and finding a project supervisor. Course advisers communicate with students before the start of the first term and will then schedule meetings throughout the term. In the second term, students are transferred to the project supervisor, who provide regular supervisions and progress meetings throughout the second and third terms.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

Reading group modules are taught in a seminar style and usually comprise eight two-hour sessions per term. Reading group modules are indicated in the syllabus with the suffix 'R' followed by a number. Students may also attend research group seminars and discussion groups and are expected to attend the regular Wednesday seminar series.


Modules taught by lecture will include up to 16 hours of lectures and may include seminar-style sessions and/or practical classes. Lecture-based modules are indicated in the syllabus by an 'L' followed by a number.


Modules taught by practical experimentation attend one or two-hour sessions throughout a term; the MPhil practical room is booked for continued study after the end of the session. These modules are indicated in the syllabus by a 'P' followed by a number.

Other modules may include practical work and this may include demonstrated sessions as well as self-study.

Small group teaching

Module classes vary in size according to demand. The average number of contact hours per module will be 16 hours per term.

Journal clubs

Some reading group modules include journal club-style classes and the number of hours spent will vary from module to module.

Literature Reviews

Some modules include literature reviews as part of the assessment.

Posters and Presentations

Students are not expected to produce posters but are expected to present regularly, especially in the modules designated as reading groups.  Students will be expected to present their research as part of the research skills unit, one-minute madness/elevator pitch, and will also present their research project after submission of their project report in June.


Research placement opportunities may be available between finishing the MPhil and commencing the PhD.


Students receive feedback on all graded coursework. This may include oral and electronic feedback as well as more detailed written feedback. Results from in-class and take-home written tests are provided in termly letters.

Students receive regular project supervisions throughout the second and third terms and assistance from the supervisor in the selection of a research project in the first term.

Course advisers and project supervisors provide progress feedback via formal termly reports.


Thesis / Dissertation

All students submit a research project report on a topic approved by the Degree Committee, of no more than 15,000 words (excluding bibliography, photographs, diagrams and data listings, but including narrative text in tables, captions, footnotes, and appendices). The examiners’ guidance is that the project report should be no more than 50 pages in length.


Individual modules may include a final assessment piece by an essay or a mini-project report of up to 4,000 words.

Individual modules may include weekly assignments of up to 1,500 words.

Individual modules may be assessed by written in-class test or by take-home test.

The Degree Committee will publish a list of available modules in each year, with accompanying information about the form of assessment for each module.

Written examination

Students taking a course borrowed from another approved programme may be required to take written examinations. This option is available only in exceptional circumstances.

Modules offered by the Department of Computer Science and Technology may be assessed by written in-class test or by take-home test.

Practical assessment

Modules may include a proportion of practical assessment.


Modules may include a proportion of assessment of student presentations and participation in reading group discussion.

Modules may also include a proportion, not more than 10 per cent of the overall assessment, of ungraded exercises which are assessed on a pass/fail basis.

The examination may include, at the discretion of the examiners, an oral examination on the work submitted by the candidate, and on the general field of knowledge within which such work falls. 

Key Information

9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Computer Science and Technology

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Feb. 28, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

2023 Entry

Applications per place: 6
Number Accepted: 79

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