Babbage Difference Engine #2, by Larry Johnson ( used under CC-BY 2.0 license

Studying Computer Science and joint schools at Merton

Computer Science is an extremely relevant degree subject, with direct application to daily life, and striking practical impact. It covers a vast array of fascinating topics and is constantly developing and pushing existing boundaries.
Joint school courses

Computer Science & Philosophy: These two disciplines embrace many common interests and work extremely well together in multi-disciplinary research. You will cover core foundational topics in both subjects, and will then have many optional papers to choose from, examples of which can be found on the Computer Science & Philosophy course page. This course, in particular, combines theory and practice.

Mathematics & Computer Science: Natural partners, the study of mathematics is integral to, and complements, that of computer science. All computer scientists require a solid grounding in the use of mathematical tools, and mathematicians now often make use of computing tools for problem solving; this degree course allows further investigation into this overlap and mutual relevance. Example papers/topics can be found on the Mathematics & Computer Science course page.

Course structure

Undergraduates at Merton are taught by active researchers who are passionate about teaching and communicating their research to students. The University’s Department of Computer Science offers a wide range of optional topics to all students, run by specialist experts in each area. You will be taught in a variety of formats, including lectures, practical skills classes, design and research projects, and college tutorials.

Computer Science, Computer Science & Philosophy and Maths & Computer Science are four-year degree courses leading to Masters degrees. If they wish, students may leave at the end of the third year, receiving a BA qualification instead.

The teaching team

Computer Science at Merton is led and directed by Professor Chih-Hao Luke Ong, alongside our Mathematics and Philosophy tutors. Teaching at Oxford is coordinated by the Department across all colleges, creating a collaborative learning environment where students have access to all areas, topics and academics (they are not constrained to their own college’s areas of expertise).

Graduate mentors (current postgraduate students) are available to provide additional help and support with all aspects of the course.

The benefits of studying Computer Science and joint schools at Merton
  • Computer Science and Joint Schools at Merton constitute one of our largest subject groups overall as they are run alongside Mathematics and Joint Schools courses. This large collection of students with similar academic interests makes for lively discussion and debate, and a strong sense of community.
  • Merton’s student-run mathematical society holds a variety of events, social activities and talks throughout the year, which are ever popular.
  • Merton provides generous academic grants and funding for research projects and travel.
  • Eminent mathematician Sir Andrew Wiles, well-known through his proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, is a Fellow at Merton.

Our policy is to admit the strongest candidates. Intercollegiate arrangements for the interviews of all candidates ensure that each candidate is considered by several colleges and that all suitably strong candidates find places in the University, regardless of their first choice college.

Applications are welcomed from all able and well-motivated candidates. In addition to Maths and Further Maths candidates are also advised to take a science subject at A-Level (or equivalent). Prior experience in programming is helpful though not necessary.

Key facts
Average intake at Merton:



All candidates must take the Mathematics Aptitude Test (MAT).

Written work:

None required.

Specific subjects:

Mathematics is essential; Further Mathematics is highly recommended. We expect you to have passed any practical component in your chosen sciences.

Deferred entry:

Applications for deferred entry will be considered on their merits.