What we are looking for
Hertford College plans to admit up to four students per year. We are looking for candidates who are technically able (for which performance in Mathematics is often the best indicator), with real interest in both sides of the degree. But there is no expectation that successful candidates will have studied either Computing or Philosophy at school. Mathematics is the only requirement, after which we would most strongly recommend taking Further Mathematics (if your school provides it), and subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, and History which encourage rigorous and critical thinking. An A-level in Computing is worthwhile, but ICT is best avoided (as a rough guide, learning to write computer programs in a general-purpose programming language such as Java, Pascal, Python, or VB can be good preparation, whereas IT skills in office packages such as Word and Excel, or web design skills in HTML and CSS, count for little academically). Although we do not expect any formal qualification in Computing, candidates are strongly encouraged to gain some informal experience in programming, perhaps from systems such as those at www.philocomp.net/programming (three of which were produced by Oxford tutors).
Candidates must sit a Mathematics Aptitude Test (lasting two and a half hours) in early November, usually in their own school or college. For further details, see the Department of Computer Science website. Candidates will not be expected to submit any written work (note that this is contrary to some earlier information, and reflects changes to Mathematics & Philosophy and to Physics & Philosophy). For more details about the course and University entrance procedures, please see the University website and the Department of Computer Science website. For general discussion about the many links between the two disciplines, please see www.philocomp.net.
Hertford College expects to give all applicants who pass the Aptitude Test two interviews, and all such candidates will be interviewed by at least two colleges. Peter Millican will be overseeing the process very carefully with the aim of ensuring that the strongest candidates are accepted by the University, irrespective of their college of application.