Computer Science at Oxford

Student profiles

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Joseph Root

2011/2012

Originally from London, before arriving in Oxford I completed a BEng in Computing at Imperial College.

I settled upon Oxford as a result of the department’s reputation and the course’s well-balanced transition from learning through to in-depth project work.

The department’s academic prowess, coupled with its breadth of study, offered the perfect opportunity to explore new areas whilst building upon existing knowledge in others. As such, the taught course allows students to touch upon a range of interests or conversely focus on a more specific field of study. Class supervision and practicals proved valuable in working through difficulties and the time offered to students by academics helps distinguish the course. Alongside the taught learning sat a superb range of talks and seminars held throughout the year, presenting the chance to hear from experts both within and outside of the department.

The MSc project offered both time and academic supervision in tackling a serious body of work built upon interests developed during the taught portion. Students take on a diverse range of projects, with many supervisors more than willing to discuss potential avenues and ideas. Broader university elements proved equally as fulfilling. The collegiate system presents an interesting and diverse community of fellow graduates with the college serving as a hub for numerous social activities and events. Furthermore, University-wide societies, lectures and debates provide the perfect setting to explore any number of extra-curricular interests.

Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale
Nathan Hale

2011/2012

I'm from the United States and before coming to Oxford I studied for a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering at Columbia University. Following my time as an undergraduate I worked for five years in industry as a software engineer.

What attracted me to Oxford first and foremost was its outstanding reputation as a place of learning and research. These academic expectations that I had going into the course were more than fulfilled by my time on the course itself. The taught portion of the course featured a variety of courses that allowed me to challenge myself with fields I hadn't considered and to delve deeply into subjects that I'd been interested in heading into the course.

The project portion of the course, meanwhile, was a great way to apply many of the ideas from the taught portion to a real problem in an academic environment. The flexibility was also nice, freeing some students up to do highly theoretical research while others such as myself were able to gain experience with research in an academic environment while directly applying techniques from the taught portion to a large software project.

The other thing that attracted me to Oxford was the historical and social environment of the University and the college system. Having had friends who attended the University in the past, I knew that the city was vibrant and the opportunities for balls, formal meals, and interaction with world-class scholars were unlike any other. Additionally, the city itself is beautiful and overflowing with history. I've gotten involved with my MCR Committee and on the guidance committee for the MSc Programme itself, in addition to attending events that I wouldn't be able to attend anyplace else.

Quincy Prentice

Quincy Prentice
Quincy Prentice

2008/2009

I come from the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis. I completed my undergraduate studies in Computer Science at York University (Toronto, Canada).

I chose to pursue the MSc course at Oxford because of the strong theoretical content of the course, the research component of the course and the rich tradition and strong academic standing of Oxford University and the Computing Laboratory.

Oxford provides excellent opportunities to interact with individuals within and outside of one’s course. Guest lectures such as the one on String Theory delivered by Dr. Michio Kaku provided insight into the world of theoretical physics whose research also impacts Computer Science. St. Cross College provided an engaging and informal atmosphere where I could interact with fellow students and faculty on a daily basis either at lunch or one of the many dinners, I also participated in the St. Cross College choir.

My course selection was a combination of two of the core areas provided; Concurrency & Artificial Intelligence. This gave me a foundation to explore issues involved in Autonomic computing in my thesis: “Emergence in an Autonomic Computing Environment”. This aspect of the course proved to be the most challenging and personally gratifying.

Since graduating I have returned home, and I am presently working as a Senior Systems Analyst with the Nevis Island Administration.

Edward Grefenstette

Edward Grefenstette
Edward Grefenstette

2008/2009

While originally from France, I went to University in the UK, first in Sheffield where I received a BSc in Physics and Philosophy, then at St Andrews where I received an MLitt in Philosophy.

I came to Oxford to first do the MSc and now the DPhil in computer science because I was interested in using my education in mathematical logic in practical contexts, as well as applying concepts from philosophy of language to work in artificial intelligence.

The MSc offered the right balance between research preparation and filling in the gaps in my knowledge of Computer Science, while the supportive environment of the computing laboratory has encouraged me to take interest in the work of other researchers in similar fields of mine.

One key highlight of both the MSc and the DPhil is the fantastic amount of attention and personal time one gets from academics, be it in the form of class teaching, practical directing, or supervision meetings. This really helped me make rapid progress during the MSc and feel more confident about the direction of my research during my present DPhil.

The other key highlight of Oxford life on the whole is the collegiate system, which provides great support in terms of academic work, pastoral care, and social facilities. I am currently sitting on Balliol's MCR committee, as well as rowing for Balliol's boat club and playing for the MCR men's cricket team.


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