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Department of Computer Science and Technology


What is the CPGS?

The Certificate of Postgraduate Study (the CPGS) is used, in most cases, as an "end of first year assessment exercise." Students who intend to study for a period of between 3 and 4 years to obtain a Ph.D. Degree are not registered for that qualification on admission. Rather, they are registered for the CPGS and, after fulfilling the requirements, are registered for the Ph.D. Degree, backdated to their date of admission. Other potential Ph.D. students, not initially registered for the CPGS, will also be subject to a similar first-year assessment exercise: the first-year report and thesis proposal.


  1. Certificates of Postgraduate Study shall be awarded for advanced study and training in research in Computer Science.
  2. The study and training shall include:
    1. courses of lectures approved by the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology;
    2. practical work carried out in one or more of the following ways:
      1. organized experiments or theoretical exercises of an advanced type,
      2. assistance with a piece of research,
      3. a small research investigation,
      4. training in some technique.
  3. At the discretion of the Examiners the examination for the Certificate may include (in addition to the submission of a dissertation and an oral examination as laid down in General Regulation 5) one or two written papers on subjects cognate to the lectures attended by the candidate.
  4. The dissertation shall be of not more than 10,000 words in length, exclusive of tables, bibliography, and appendices.


All students in the first year of their research studies will be required to successfully complete 12 units from the Research Skills Programme. Other courses in the undergraduate Tripos and M.Phil in ACS may also be recommended by the supervisor. Those who previously took the MPhil in Advanced Computer Science are not required to complete all the Core Units element of the RSP course, but choose to retake a Core Unit if they like.

First Year Report: PhD Proposal

All probationary research students submit a PhD Proposal. See CPGS First Year Report: PhD Proposal for submission deadlines and further details.

All submissions should be made to the Secretary of the Degree Committee in Room FS03 of the William Gates Building.

Students intending to take up internships during the vacations which begin on, before or shortly after the submission deadlines, must submit their reports/dissertations one month before departure to enable the examination process to be completed before the internship begins. No other extensions will be permitted unless otherwise agreed between the Secretary of the Degree Committee and the supervisor.


Attention is drawn to the University's guidance concerning plagiarism. The University states that "Plagiarism is defined as submitting as one's own work that which derives in part or in its entirety from the work of others without due acknowledgement. It is both poor scholarship and a breach of academic integrity." The University's guidance concerning plagiarism and good academic practice can be found at


Secretary of the Degree Committee, September 2018