You have a very wide range of subjects from which to make up the credit points for your degree. In choosing the papers you wish to combine with those you must do to satisfy your COSC major subject requirement, bear in mind the following:
There are some recommended papers that do not form part of the COSC major subject requirement but have a professional relevance and may make you more attractive to prospective employers.
Courses offered by Information Science (INFO) also involve the use of computers, and it is worth taking a closer look at the relationship between Computer Science, Information Science, and Software Engineering.
Degrees are not random collections of papers. The BA degree should contain, in addition to the COSC major, some typical Arts papers. The BSc degree should contain, in addtion to the COSC major, some typical Science papers.
These topics are explained in detail below.
Papers recommended for all COSC majors
Whatever your chosen degree, if you are majoring in computer science we suggest that you seriously consider including at some stage the papers COMP112, BSNS115 and LAWS102.
COMP112 introduces web authoring, BSNS115 gives an overview of financial systems for the non-specialist, and LAWS102 is an introduction to law and new technologies.
These papers are optional, not required.
But we think they are likely to make you more attractive to potential employers and to make life easier for you if you enter the computing profession. After all, every business has a website, and you could be called upon to maintain or redesign it. Similarly, the first piece of software a business purchases is a financial system, and if you have to modify such a system it helps to have an overview of what it should do. Finally, most businesses would be grateful for employees who understand the possible legal ramifications of the technologies developed or marketed by that company.
The first six months of employment are stressful. By sensible preparation during your studies, you can take some of the stress out.
The relationship between COSC, INFO, and SENG
Like computer science, information science is about the use of computers. A computer science major can benefit by including thoughtfully selected INFO papers, but care must be taken to avoid overlap. Care should also be taken not to fill up your degree with papers that all involve computing, since a degree should achieve more than merely training you for a job.
In computer science, we place a great deal of emphasis on programming. Instead of looking at ways to use existing software to solve your problems, we teach you to produce your own software for the purpose. For example, in the graphics paper COSC342, you program your own ray tracer before using it to produce images. Thus the spine of the COSC major consists of the sequence of core programming papers COMP160, then COSC241, then COSC242, and then COSC326. This programming core may be augmented by specialised programming papers like COSC346 (object-oriented programming).
How does one choose between COSC, INFO, or SENG as majors?
Listen to your inner voice when you do COMP160 and COMP101. Students tend to prefer one of these to the other. If you prefer COMP160, you'll enjoy COSC. If you prefer COMP101, you should choose INFO. Of course, some students like both. If you have a strong interest in combining COSC and INFO, you should consider the BAppSc in Software Engineering.
The Department of Computer Science is in the Division of Sciences, while the Department of Information Science is in the School of Business.
Which offers better employment prospects, COSC or INFO?
It doesn't matter which you major in, since there is demand for both. Choose the subject that feels right to you, and if you need more information, you could send an e-mail to the adviser of studies for computer science.
You should also consult the adviser of studies if you want to add INFO papers to a COSC major.
Combining COSC with Arts papers
One chooses to do a BA degree if, in addition to the COSC major, one has an interest in subjects such as philosophy, history, anthropology or languages (to mention a few examples).
Most areas combine well with computer scence, for example:
Philosophy papers complement the 300-level papers on computability (COSC341) and artificial intelligence (COSC343). See in particular PHIL222 (Introduction to Formal Logic) and PHIL 312 (Advanced Formal Logic).
Linguistics complement artificial intelligence (COSC343).
Combining COSC with Science papers
One chooses to do a BSc degree if, in addition to the COSC major, one has an interest in subjects like biology, physics, mathematics or psychology.
Hardware (digital electronics) interests many COSC majors, who can learn more through papers like ELEC253 (for which you need some 100-level physics).
Psychology papers complement (for example) artificial intelligence (COSC343).
Mathematics papers (especially algebra and discrete mathematics papers like MATH272) combine well with all COSC papers.