How to Get Into Computer Science at Oxford

Computer Science is one of the most competitive courses at Oxford University. Just 6% of applicants are successful in receiving an offer to study Computer Science and the application process is designed to be challenging.

If you’re thinking of applying for Computer Science or just curious about what it takes to get into the best university for Computer Science in the UK, this guide contains everything you need to know – from entry requirements to tips on how to prepare from our expert Computer Science tutors.

The Profs’ Computer Science tutors have first-hand experience of the admissions process and what is required to succeed at each stage. Thanks to our expert support, students who work with The Profs are more than three times more likely to receive an offer from Oxford University. Reach out to our team today to maximise your chances of success.

What is the Computer Science course at Oxford like?

Oxford is ranked as the best university in the UK for Computer Science. Its undergraduate Computer Science course concentrates on creating links between theory and practice and covers a wide variety of software and hardware technologies and their applications. The course covers a range of modules across three (BA) or four (MCompSci) years, including design and analysis of algorithms, functional programming, models of computation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer security and more.

Computer Science is a very quantitative course and Oxford particularly looks for students with evidence of strong mathematical ability. You will then develop this ability into skills that can be used for a range of applications as well as quantitative and technical careers.

What are the entry requirements for Computer Science?

Computer Science is an extremely competitive course at Oxford and requires applicants to achieve excellent grades and show great potential. The table below shows the entry requirements for Computer Science:

QualificationGradesSubject requirements
A LevelsA*AAAt least an A in Mathematics, with the A* in Mathematics, Further Mathematics or Computing/Computer Science. Those taking Further Mathematics A-level or AS-level are required to achieve at least Grade A.
Advanced HighersAA/AABA in Mathematics.
International Baccalaureate (IB)39 (including core points) with 766 at Higher Level.The 7 must be in Higher Level Mathematics.

Worried that you won’t achieve the necessary grades to study Computer Science at Oxford? The Profs’ A level and IB tutors can help. We have extensive experience helping students excel in their coursework and final exams and achieve the entry grades for this competitive course. Reach out to our team for support.

Which subjects are recommended?

Officially, the only compulsory subject to apply for Computer Science at Oxford is Mathematics at a grade A* or A. However, from 2018-2020, 97% of successful applicants took Further Mathematics at A-level and Further Maths is therefore highly recommended at a grade A or A* (or equivalent).

Which admissions test do you need for Computer Science?

Applicants to Computer Science at Oxford are required to take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT). The MAT is designed to assess your mathematical ability. While it is based on AS-level and a small section of A-level Mathematics, it is designed to separate out the most competent applicants to the top universities in the UK, so it is challenging and requires plenty of preparation. Find out more about the MAT and how to prepare in this helpful guide:

How to prepare for the MAT

What score do you need to get in the MAT for Computer Science?

There is no ‘cut-off’ score set by Oxford that you need to achieve in the MAT to secure an offer for Computer Science. Instead, the average score among successful applicants changes slightly each year. See the table below for the average MAT score of successful applicants to all courses and those applying for Computer Science.

Course(s)Average score amongst all applicants (2021)Average score of successful applicants (2021)
Mathematics and Computer Science46.974.3
All other courses51.173.5

How hard is it to get into Computer Science at Oxford?

Getting into Oxford to study Computer Science is no mean feat. Not only do you need to achieve the grade requirements and score highly in the MAT, but you also need to perform well in the interview. The table below shows the average percentage of applicants that were interviewed and successful getting into Computer Science at Oxford.

Average percentage (2019-2021)
Interviewed19%
Successful6%

The Profs’ Oxbridge admissions tutors can help you triple your chances of getting into Oxford to study Computer Science. Thanks to our network of experienced tutors, many of whom are Oxbridge graduates and ex-admissions officers themselves, we have the very latest and best knowledge on what Oxford is looking for in top Computer Science applicants. Get in touch with us today to chat with a member of our team about how we can help you.

What are the fees for Computer Science at Oxford?

The table below shows the fees for Oxford’s Computer Science course for both home (UK) and overseas students:

Student statusCourse fees (per year)
Home£9,250
Overseas£39,010

You can find out more information about what fees you will pay on Oxford’s fee status page. You can also use Oxford’s fees, funding and scholarship search to see the funding options available to you.

4 tips on how to get into Computer Science at Oxford

1. Prepare thoroughly for each stage of the admissions process

When applying to study Computer Science at Oxford, there are many stages of the admissions process to consider, and you should prepare for each one thoroughly.

  • Your grades – preparation for your Computer Science application really starts from the moment you start studying for your A-levels (or equivalent). Excellent grades are essential in order to be considered for a place at Oxford, so you should be aiming for A*AA in your A-levels (or equivalent) as a minimum.
  • Your UCAS application – the first official stage of your Computer Science application is completing your UCAS application online. As well as your grades, this includes your personal statement. This is the first chance you’ll get to showcase your suitability for Computer Science and prove to Oxford that you are interested and committed to the subject areas.
  • The MAT admissions test – you are also required to take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) when applying for Computer Science at Oxford. This admissions test is designed to be challenging, so it’s really important that you prepare for it just as you would for any other exam.
  • The interview – if your UCAS application and MAT score are impressive enough, you may be invited for an interview at Oxford. This is your last chance to impress the university and prove that you are an excellent candidate for the course. Oxbridge interviews are like oral admissions tests and there is often even a mark scheme your interviewers will be scoring you against, so it’s important to seek professional help to prepare effectively.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.

2. Show your passion for the subject

Many schools don’t offer Computing or Computer Science at GCSE or A-level, so it’s important that you show your passion for the subject in other ways. There are many ways you could showcase your interest in Computer Science, for example:

  • Learning coding or programming languages – Any proactive learning you have done outside of school can help to show universities that you are self-motivated and well-suited to independent, university-level study. Learning a coding or programming language in your own time will help your application to stand out from other applicants.
  • Making your own website or coding a computer game – Making a website, coding a computer game, or taking on another project will show that you are not only able to learn new skills, but apply them as well. It doesn’t have to take long; programmes such as Game Maker Studio can allow you to drag and drop your first game within a few hours.
  • Volunteering to help people with computer skills – Similarly to work experience, volunteering shows that you are passionate and committed to your subject area.
  • Participating in relevant competitions, clubs or challenges – We recommend showcasing your mathematical ability by participating in Maths competitions such as UK Maths Challenge, as this is a great way to help your application stand out and prove that your academic ability goes beyond the school setting.
  • Getting work experience at a computing-related company – This shows that you are motivated and dedicated to the subject area outside of a school setting. It also gives you real-life insights and experience of what a career in Computer Science might involve and which skills are important to succeed.

3. Research specific modules on Oxford’s Computer Science course

Another way to stand out from other applicants in the admissions process is to research specific modules on Oxford’s Computer Science course. Focus particularly on modules that interest you or align with your future career plans. While you can’t reference these specific modules in your UCAS personal statement (this gets sent to all of your chosen universities, not just Oxford), you can mention the topics they cover and why they interest you in your statement.

You can instead discuss specific modules in your interview with Oxford. This will show your interviewer that you are ambitious and committed to Oxford’s Computer Science programme, as well as showing your genuine interest in the subject area. It might also help you to build a rapport with your interviewer, especially if modules you have researched are in areas that they specialise in.

4. Seek help from an expert Computer Science admissions tutor

Computer Science is one of the most competitive courses at Oxford and requires you to perform well in multiple stages to be in with a chance of securing an offer. Unfortunately, schools and colleges are oftentimes not equipped to provide specialist Computer Science preparation due to a lack of experience, expertise or resources. As a result, we advise seeking a professional Computer Science admissions tutor to help you through the process.

The Profs’ Computer Science admissions tutors have many years of experience helping students develop their academic profiles, tailor their application to Oxford’s admissions criteria, prepare for the MAT exam, and excel in the admissions interview.

If you work with one of The Profs’ tutors, you are more than three times more likely to get into Oxford. You’ll also gain invaluable independent study skills that will prepare you for study at an elite UK university, as well as a deeper and broader understanding of the skills and knowledge needed to study Computer Science at degree-level. Reach out to our experienced team today to get started.