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Study Computer Science at Otago

Computer Science forms the basis for all information technology.

Study Computer Science at Otago and take control of your future. Doors open to many areas – from machine learning, computer animation, computer games, software design and robotics, through to legal,  financial and business careers.

Computer Science forms the basis for all information technology and it is a fast-changing and rapidly growing field. Computing is now central to the way our modern society works, and it will remain that way. Computer scientists analyse, design and implement computer algorithms and computer systems. Their skills are desperately needed in New Zealand and worldwide.

At Otago, we cover all core areas of Computer Science and actively research at the cutting-edge in areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, computer graphics and vision, distributed computing, databases, search, biological data science and theory.

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Why study Computer Science?

Computer scientists are in demand across the world and attract excellent salaries. Technologies change rapidly and there is always something new and exciting to learn – whether as a programmer, software engineer, systems architect or chief technical officer.

A career as a Computer Scientist is challenging and rewarding. If you like solving problems, then a major in computer science is for you. It is hard to describe the joy involved in designing and implementing a complex system and then seeing it all work in front of your eyes.

A minor in Computer Science is an invaluable supplement to any degree, whether in science, health sciences, business or the humanities. Technical expertise in computing in addition to expertise in another  field opens doors to many exciting careers. It will change the way you think about your chosen field and make you more effective in your work.

Choosing Computer Science papers as electives will open doors in your mind to the possibilities of computers, will make you more effective at using computers, and will look great on your CV.

Career opportunities

There is currently a worldwide shortage of IT professionals and they are in high demand in New Zealand, Australia, the USA and the UK.

You will  find Otago Computer Science graduates at work worldwide in every aspect of commerce, government, education, research and media in a variety of interesting roles: programmers, software engineers, systems analysts, network managers, consultants and advisers, web programmers, interface designers and database administrators.

Some of our recent graduates have exciting careers: making CGI movies, developing software for driverless vehicles, writing control software for Formula 1 racing cars, designing computer games, and programming the latest high-performance computers. Others are working in medical informatics, as an entrepreneur, as a weapons engineering officer in the Navy, as a database analyst, and as a patent attorney.

Background required

There are no special requirements or prerequisites, but taking Digital Technology for NCEA is useful. For students wishing to major in Computer Science, NCEA Level 3 Mathematics (preferably Calculus) would be helpful.


Computer Science as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree


COMP 162 Foundations of Computer Science

One of:
COMP 101 Foundations of Information Systems
COMP 151 Programming for Scientists
COMP 161 Computer Programming

Note: COMP 161 is usually required as a prerequisite for COMP 162, but is not necessary for students who have gained entry to COMP 162 by passing COMP 151 with a grade of at least B or via an Advanced Placement Test.




One of:
COSC 201 Algorithms and Data Structures
COSC 202 Software Development
COSC 203 Web, Databases, and Networks
COSC 204 Computer Systems


300-levelOne of COSC 301-38518
PlusOne further paper from COSC 201, COSC 202, COSC 203, COSC 204, COSC 301-38518
Total 90

COMP papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
COMP101 2024 Foundations of Information Systems 18 Semester 2, Summer School
COMP111 2024 Information and Communications Technology 18 Not offered in 2024
COMP120 2024 Practical Data Science 18 Semester 1, Semester 2
COMP151 2024 Programming for Scientists 18 Semester 1
COMP161 2024 Computer Programming 18 Semester 1, Semester 2, 1st Non standard period
COMP162 2024 Foundations of Computer Science 18 Semester 2, Summer School
COMP210 2024 Information Assurance 18 Semester 2
COMP270 2024 ICT Fundamentals 15 Not offered in 2024
COMP371 2024 ICT Studio 1 15 Not offered in 2024
COMP372 2024 ICT Studio 2 15 Not offered in 2024
COMP373 2024 ICT Studio 3 15 Not offered in 2024
COMP390 2024 ICT Industry Project 30 Not offered in 2024

COSC papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
COSC201 2024 Algorithms and Data Structures 18 Semester 1
COSC202 2024 Software Development 18 Semester 1
COSC203 2024 Web, Databases, and Networks 18 Semester 2
COSC204 2024 Computer Systems 18 Semester 2
COSC301 2024 Network Management and Security 18 Semester 1
COSC312 2024 Cryptography and Security 18 Semester 2
COSC326 2024 Computational Problem Solving 18 Semester 1
COSC341 2024 Theory of Computing 18 Semester 2
COSC342 2024 Visual Computing: Graphics & Vision 18 Semester 1
COSC343 2024 Artificial Intelligence 18 Semester 2
COSC344 2024 Database Theory and Applications 18 Semester 1
COSC345 2024 Software Engineering 18 Semester 2
COSC349 2024 Cloud Computing Architecture 18 Semester 2
COSC360 2024 Computer Game Design 18 Summer School
COSC385 2024 Research Project 18 Semester 2, Full Year
COSC402 2024 Advanced Computer Networks 20 Semester 2
COSC412 2024 Advanced Cryptography and Security 20 Semester 2
COSC420 2024 Deep Learning 20 Semester 1
COSC431 2024 Information Retrieval 20 Semester 1
COSC440 2024 Advanced Operating Systems 20 Semester 2
COSC444 2024 Advanced Database Technologies 20 Semester 1
COSC450 2024 Computer Vision and Graphics 20 Semester 1
COSC470 2024 Special Topic: Machine Learning 20 Not offered in 2024
COSC471 2024 Approved Special Paper 20 Not offered in 2024
COSC480 2024 Applied Project 40 Full Year, 1st Non standard period
COSC490 2024 Dissertation 40 Full Year, 1st Non standard period

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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