A Computer Science/Christ Church outreach initiative

Discover Computer Science is a sustained engagement programme for Black and Mixed-Black women led by Oxford’s Computer Science Department and Christ Church. It consists of four online sessions, with an in-person graduation day at Christ Church, Oxford.

The online sessions will offer students in-depth investigations of topic areas outside of the school curriculum, combining theory with interactive exploration. We aim to help students explore the world of Computer Science and hope to inspire them to continue their engagement with the subject.

The final day of the programme will be an in-person graduation day held in Oxford. The participants will be invited to bring a parent/carer to accompany them on the day. Sessions designed to support students in their progression to university – for example, in supporting A-Level choice – will also form part of the programme alongside the academic elements. There will also be a careers panel talk with Computer Science alumnae during the programme and a chance to meet current students.

Who is it for?

We wish to encourage better representation of black and female students in Computer Science and joint schools at the University of Oxford, and other higher education institutions.

To take part in this programme students need to meet all of the following criteria. Participating students must be:

  • Black African or Caribbean students, or students of mixed race with Black African or Caribbean heritage;

  • self-identify as female;

  • who are in Year 11 (Scottish S5 or NI Y12);

  • attend a UK state-funded school at the time of applying;

  • are academically strong. We would expect students to be on track to achieve at least 5 8s-9s at GCSE. If a pupil is close to this mark, some flexibility is possible at the discretion of the school representative;

  • have attained or are predicted to achieve an 8-9 in Maths GCSE;

  • are planning to take A Level Maths & Further Maths or the equivalent;

  • are enthusiastic about Mathematics and Computer Science.

Attendees will be required to attend all classes in the series and to complete the extra learning activities between the sessions.

UK State schools are invited to nominate up to four students per school. If several pupils match the criteria above, then it is up to the school representative to add any additional criteria to identify their top four candidates to attend the masterclasses.

The 2024 programme

For 2024 the majority of the programme will run digitally, after school, and students must have access to a computer, laptop or tablet and the internet, plus a microphone and speakers/headphones.

The programme will run as follows:

  • Session 1 online: Wednesday 10 January, all students participating: 4.15pm–5.15pm

  • Session 2 online: Wednesday 24 January, Stream 1: 4.15pm–5.15pm, or Stream 2: 5.30pm - 6.30pm

  • Session 3 online: Wednesday 7 February, Stream 1: 4.15pm–5.15pm, or Stream 2: 5.30pm–6.30pm

  • Session 4 online: Wednesday 28 February, Stream 1: 4.15pm–5.15pm, or Stream 2: 5.30pm–6.30pm

  • Graduation Day in person, in Oxford: Saturday 23 March Times TBC

How do I apply?

This programme is open for applications. Teachers in eligible schools are asked to nominate up to four students, according to the nomination criteria above.

Teachers, please contact us via ChChCS@cs.ox.ac.uk using a school email address to receive nominating information. We will then provide teachers with a digital letter to pass on to your chosen students, which contains a link to the combined student application/parent consent form. Nominated students (with the help of their parents/guardians) will need to fill out this short online form in order to complete the application process. 

The application deadline for the 2024 programme has now passed, but please check again next academic year for updates on 2025.