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Study Software Engineering at Otago

Future-proofing software.

Computer information and control systems have become increasingly embedded into the very fabric of human society. They control our clocks, washing machines, motor vehicles, traffic lights, the electric power to our homes, and the essential processes of our production economy.

These computer systems are complex and can no longer be thought of as standalone entities. They are typically components of much larger, complex systems involving hardware, software, people, and all the unpredictable events in the natural world. So it is essential that those building these complex systems be equipped with advanced techniques not taught in ordinary computer programming courses.

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Why study Software Engineering?

Software engineering requires modelling and understanding complex interactive systems, as well as identifying how the performance of computer information systems can be improved. It also includes managing the construction of the information system components, and ensuring procedures are in place for continual testing and maintenance.

You'll be able to join a highly sought-after profession. New Zealand's (and the world's) future depends on having technical experts who can oversee the construction of the complex information systems that will underpin the new knowledge-based society.

You'll gain the expertise to enter a fast-growing industry with highly-paid job opportunities, where innovation is rewarded.

You'll discover the satisfaction of devising and modelling systems, and then testing them under a range of operating conditions.

Career opportunities

Software Engineers are among the highest-paid professionals in most countries of the world. Countries like Japan and the United States are relaxing their immigration laws in order to address critical shortages in this area.

Software engineers are not only in demand at software  companies, but are also sought after in a range of other organisations involved in the development of significant information systems. This includes governments, telecommunications companies, the chemical industry,  biomedical industries, financial institutions, agribusinesses, pharmaceuticals, healthcare sector corporations, engineering and manufacturing firms.

While the work of software engineers can often involve developing interactive, user-friendly applications to be used by companies and individuals, it can also involve the development of a considerable amount of “behind the scenes” software. This can include systems to improve the management of e-commerce, or to improve the security and privacy of Internet transactions.

There is enormous scope to establish new start-up organisations throughout the information technology and telecommunications industries. This might mean anything from designing an interactive application for use on the Web, to developing your own line of software to meet the needs of a particular sector, such as tourism or finance.

Software Engineering at Otago

What will I learn?

You'll learn about databases, mathematical applications, software development, and strategies for using computers to solve real-life problems. You'll cover issues like systems design, where you'll assess software on issues like usability and visual appeal. You'll also learn how to manage and coordinate a software project, taking into account modelling, costing, risk, organisation and resourcing.

What will I study?

The required papers at 100-level are: COMP 101, COMP 160, and one of MATH 151, 160, 170, FINQ 102.

From second year, you'll study a wide range of information science and computer science papers, which lay the foundation for advanced papers in Software Engineering. There you'll look at the development process of large scale, reliable, and maintainable software.

NB: Check the latest paper details in the Guide to Enrolment published with enrolment material each year.

How will I study?

As well as attending lectures, you'll spend a lot of time in Otago's well equipped computer labs, gaining valuable hands-on experience.

Background required

Students from a range of backgrounds are welcome to study for Otago's Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. There is some flexibility in entry requirements, but Year 13 mathematics is recommended. Experience or familiarity with computing also helps, but it is not essential.


Software Engineering 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 101 Foundations of Information Systems

COMP 161 Computer Programming

COMP 162 Foundations of Computer Science

Note: Students are exempt from COMP 161 if they have gained entry to COMP 162 by passing COMP 151 with a grade of at least B or via an Advanced Placement Test.





INFO 201 Developing Information Systems 1

One of:
INFO 202 Developing Information Systems 2
COSC 202 Software Development




INFO 310 Software Project Management

Total 108

SENG papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
SENG490 2024 Dissertation 40 Full Year
SENG580 2024 Research Project 40 Full Year

More information

Contact us

Professor Tony Savarimuthu
Tel +64 3 479 5143
Fax +64 3 479 8311

Studying at Otago

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

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