Oriel provides 4 years of accommodation, which saves a lot of trouble in finding a place to live.
What do you enjoy the most about your course?
Mostly the ability to choose from courses in both the Maths and Computer Science departments. I can choose to be a pure mathematician by selecting all pure math courses or to be a pure computer scientist or a combination of both. The variety of modules allows me to discover what I am interested in, and also allows me to study additional material if I want to.
How is your subject taught?
In our first year, all compulsory courses are taught, from Analysis and Linear Algebra to Algorithm and Programming (Functional and Imperative). We don’t have to learn about Digital System as Computer Science students do, or Dynamics/Geometry as Maths students do. But in the second and third years, things are a lot different: we can choose almost all the modules from the Computer Science and Maths departments. The only constraint is the compulsory subjects of Models of Comp. and Algorithm in Computer Science and Metric Space & Complex Analysis and Linear Algebra in Math.
“In the second and third years, things are a lot different: we can choose almost all the modules from the Computer Science and Maths departments.”
In the Maths part of my course, after COVID broke out, all the lectures were taught online, which I felt more comfortable with as I can pause or accelerate the video, and watch the lecture when I want to. Normally we have 4 tutorials arranged by College in a term per module, so 4 problem sheets in a term.
For Computer Science, in addition to lectures and tutorials, we have practicals to do for almost every module. They are usually just some programming work related to the subjects and aren’t too much effort. We have on average 3 practicals per module and have to go to the computer lab to do these (which is located in the Engineering department).
What made you decide to apply for Oxford/Oriel and do you have any top tips on the application process?
Mostly the geographical position of the college in Oxford as it is right in the city centre. Also, Oriel provides 4 years of accommodation, which save a lot of trouble in finding a place to live in this already busy town. As a Computer Science student, Oriel provides a “consortium” model, which saves us from going to departmental classes as we can instead attend tutorials with students from 3 other colleges.
The one and only top tip I have for the application process is to not think “I just want to get a place, any place, in Oxford”, but to think more on “Do I really want to study this subject?”
“Before my interview I tried a lot of interview-like problems and practiced speaking English and explaining my solution to my friends and teachers.”
How did you prepare for your interview?
Even though it’s a joint subject, the one and only core are Mathematic, and before my interview I tried a lot of interview-like problems and practiced speaking English and explaining my solution to my friends and teachers. One of the great resources is a TBO problem sheet. Also, I tried to study more on algorithms by reading preliminary material for Introduction to Algorithm. I would encourage prospective applicants to study more about permutation and functions sketching.
What advice do you have for prospective students interested in studying your subject?
I believe whoever chooses to study this subject will have a strong Maths background and is willing to apply it in the field of Computer Science. It’s okay not to decide which exact part of the subjects you like, as you can explore it during the study of the course. Also, you don’t have to learn a lot of programming languages in order to be “good at compsci”. It’s the idea behind the language that’s most fascinating.
What do you like the most about being an Orielensis?
Apart from all I mentioned previously, the best thing is being able to borrow a book in the library and not return it until the end of Trinity term. Also, I love the tuck shop, as there is nothing better than some snacks in the middle of the night.