When people think of Computer Science they often just think of programming, but there are many more aspects to the field, including interaction design, communications and networks, software design, computer security, information systems, big data, machine learning, graphics, operating systems, educational systems, artificial intelligence, and embedded systems (processors that are embedded in everything from mobile phones to cars). All of these areas are experiencing rapid growth both in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally, and there is a strong demand for Computer Science graduates.
Computer Science is about helping people do their work efficiently and effectively by analysing needs and constructing appropriate solutions. It goes way beyond programming, as it is about knowing how to design systems that are fast, usable, reliable, secure, scalable, and make a positive impact on society and our environment.
Computer Science students learn techniques to tackle these challenges for applications as diverse as monitoring the condition of patients in hospitals to designing educational games for smart phones.
- UC is located in Waitaha Canterbury – the 'Silicon Plains' of Aotearoa New Zealand, where there are dozens of large, hi-tech companies employing UC graduates. Further afield, our graduates are in demand overseas and many come up with an idea for a product while studying, going on to become business owners and employers themselves.
- UC is acknowledged as a leader in Computer Science education in Aotearoa. It is the home of the award-winning Computer Science Unplugged project, and the internationally recognised Intelligent Computer Tutoring group. Several members of staff have awards for their work as computer science educators.
- We have a vibrant student community that encourages meeting up with like-minded students through clubs, including CompSoc and Women in Technology clubs. There is a good interface with industry, including an annual careers fair where students meet a host of employers.
It is possible to enrol in our courses with only a general computing background, but it is a significant advantage to have completed the NCEA achievement standards in programming and computer science (or IB/Cambridge equivalent).
A strong background in Year 13 calculus or statistics is recommended. A mathematical background is important for students who intend to advance beyond first year.
If you have very good results in NCEA programming and computer science (or IB/Cambridge equivalent), you can apply to join an advanced ('overdrive') class. Students with outstanding achievement in NCEA (or IB/Cambridge) and who have completed the Computer Science STAR programme can be considered for direct entry into second-year Computer Science courses, with a view to completing an honours degree in three years.
UC offers a major and a minor in Computer Science as part of the Bachelor of Science.
Computer Science major
To complete a major in Computer Science within the Bachelor of Science, you will need to take the following courses throughout the degree:
- COSC 121 Introduction to Computer Programming
- COSC 122 Introduction to Computer Science
- MATH 102 Mathematics 1A
- MATH 120 Discrete Mathematics
- COSC 261 Formal Languages and Compilers
- Two 200-level COSC courses (which can include ENCE 260 Computer Systems and SENG 201 Software Engineering I)
At least 60 points (around four courses) chosen from the following:
Computer Science minor
For the Computer Science minor in the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Sport Coaching, or Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership, you will need to take these courses throughout your chosen degree:
- 75 points in 100 to 300-level COSC courses, with at least 45 points at 200-level or above
There is a strong demand for graduates who are qualified in Computer Science, particularly those who combine technical skills with good communication skills and teamwork ability. Waitaha Canterbury's leading-edge IT sector is facing a shortage of qualified graduates, meaning that UC-qualified Computer Science graduates are in high demand.
Many employment opportunities exist with organisations that run large computer-based systems, such as finance companies, airline industries, government departments, state-owned enterprises, consulting companies, and computer organisations themselves. Work with these organisations often involves international travel opportunities. Many of our students start up their own software companies, and end up being employers rather than employees.
Apart from a professional career in computing, a degree in Computer Science can be used as a good basis for a career in the many areas in which computer systems are applied. Graduates are employed in fields including education, computer forensics, embedded systems and computer graphics, and in a variety of positions including software engineer, programmer, analyst, computer consultant, webmaster, internet developer, GIS analyst, games developer, and computing tutor.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Computer Science.
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