Computer Science - 3978

Program Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Engineering


Campus: Kensington Campus

Career: Undergraduate

Typical Duration: 3 Years

Typical UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC Per Semester: 3

Max UOC Per Semester: 27

Min UOC For Award: 144

UAC Code: 425011

ATAR: 91  

International Entry Requirements: See International Entry Requirements


Bachelor of Science (Major)

Bachelor of Science (Double Major)

Bachelor of Science (Minor)

Bachelor of Science (Honours)

Information valid for students commencing 2013.
Students who commenced prior to 2013 should go to the Handbook's Previous Editions

Program Description

Computer Science involves the study of the design, construction and uses of computer systems. It is concerned with the representation of data and data structures in computer systems and the design of algorithms for automatic manipulation of this information by programming languages and machine systems. It is very much concerned with the design and development of hardware and software tools by which computer applications may be developed, but not so much with the applications themselves. It is, however, noted that non-computing elements (such as human interface or psychological aspects) can often dictate the level of success of computing systems. At UNSW, particular emphasis is given to comprehension of the basic principles behind computing tools, operating systems, compilers and translators, and computer hardware.

Students in other programs may take some Level 1 and Level 2 Computer Science courses. Level 3 studies in Computer Science are only available in other specified combined programs. Appropriate disciplines are Physics and Computing, Mathematics and Computer Science.

Minors - that is, recognised sequences of related courses in disciplines other than Computer Science - are available in the Computer Science program. For details, see the Science program 3970 entry in this Handbook.

Program Objectives and Graduate Attributes

Please contact the School of Computer Science and Engineering for information on the Program Objectives and Learning Outcomes.

Program Structure

Year 1
And ONE of:
And ONE of:
  • Electives (18 UOC)
Note: ENGG1000 (Engineering Design) is designed for students with a Computing Major to choose it in semester 1 and is highly recommended. ENGG1811 (Computing for Engineers) is not designed for students with a Computing Major.

Electives: Computer science has mathematics and computing courses in year 1, representing five out of eight courses for a full-time student. Electives are chosen from physics, information systems, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, geography, economics and many other disciplines. ENGG1000 is a recommended elective.

Students may complete a maximum of 30UoC of First Year electives.

Year 2
  • Electives (24 UOC)
  • General Education (6 UOC)
Common electives include GMAT4900, mathematics (many choices), psychology, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, economics, arts, more first year courses, material that follows on from first-year electives, and information systems.

Year 3
  • Level 3/4 Computer Science Electives (30 UOC)
  • Electives (6 UOC)
  • General Education (6 UOC)
Students can do COMP3xxx, COMP4xxx , and COMP9xxx courses to meet the requirements of Level 3/4 Computer Science Electives.

With the approval of the Program Director, students in this program wishing to fulfil the requirements for a major in a second discipline, as well as the Computer Science requirements, may substitute a course from the other discipline for one of the level 3/4 computing electives. Please note that not all electives are offered each semester.

The flexibility of the Computer Science Program allows specialisations within the program such as Robotics and Computer Games as well as combining it with minors such as Commerce and Japanese. The requirements of the Computer Science majors are available here. You can specialise in the following areas:

COMPA13978 Computer Science
COMPG13978 Computer Game Design & Construction
COMPI13978 Artificial Intelligence
COMPH13978 Human Computer Interaction
COMPR13978 Robotics
COMPE13978 Electronic Commerce
COMPN13978 Computer Networks
COMPD13978 Database Systems

It is possible to combine a minor in many other disciplines with Computer Science. Specialisation options are listed below.

General Education Requirements

UNSW wants all students to develop skills in a broad range of areas, not just in their specific study discipline, and so students in all degrees are required to undertake a number of general studies courses outside their discipline. Students should select courses from disciplines that are not available in their program as core or elective courses.

See UNSW on General Education for more information.


Year 4 Honours (Optional) COMPAH3978

Computer Science Honours takes one year full-time or two years of part-time study.

Normally, students are expected to have attained an average mark of 65 (according to NewSouth Student calculations) to qualify for entry to the Honours year. Students who do not meet this expectation may be admitted in special circumstances. Students who have graduated with a three-year computer science degree from UNSW or another university can apply for admission to Honours. Application forms are available from the Student Office of Computer Science and Engineering in K17 G01. Detailed information about the program is available at the Honours website at:
Computing Electives
(subject to approval of the Program Director)
Level 3/4 Computer Science Courses 12 UOC
Level 4 Computer Science Courses 18 UOC

Computer Science Honours students must at least complete 18UOC level 4 elective courses. Students may substitute level 4 courses from other schools with the permission of the Program Director.

Academic Rules

Please refer to Program Structure for the Academic Requirements relating to this program.


For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:

Professional Recognition

The Australian Computing Society

The peak professional body for computing in Australia is the Australian Computing Society (ACS) -

The objectives of the ACS can be found here and include: "advanc[ing] professional excellence in information and communications technology, and further[ing] the study, science and application of information and communications technology."

Again, students who want to join ACS should go to Member Application

Area(s) of Specialisation