University Of Canterbury Computer Science

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.

Computer Science is about helping people do their work efficiently and effectively by analysing needs and constructing appropriate solutions, such as designing 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 offers a major and a minor in Computer Science as part of the Bachelor of Science.

You can also study this subject as a minor within the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of CommerceBachelor of Sport Coaching, and Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership.

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 or COSC 131 Introduction to Programming for Engineers (available in 2021)
  • COSC 122 Introduction to Computer Science
  • MATH 102 Mathematics 1A
  • MATH 120 Discrete Mathematics

COSC 101 Working in a Digital World and STAT 101 Statistics 1 are also strongly recommended for those who haven’t studied computer science previously.


  • 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:

  • 300-level COSC courses (not including COSC 366)
  • DATA 301 Big Data Computing and Systems
  • ENCE 360 Operating Systems
  • ENCE 361 Embedded Systems 1
  • SENG 301 Software Engineering II
  • SENG 302 Software Engineering Group Project (30 points)
  • SENG 365 Web Computing Architectures

Computer Science minor

For the Computer Science minor in the Bachelor of ScienceBachelor of ArtsBachelor of CommerceBachelor 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

Career opportunities

There is a strong demand for graduates who are qualified in Computer Science, particularly those with technical skills and 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, consultancies, and computer organisations themselves. Work with these organisations often involves international travel opportunities. Many of our students start up their own software companies.

Your degree can also be used as a good basis for a career in the many areas where computer systems are applied, 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.

Why study Computer Science at UC?

  • 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.

Contact us

Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering

Phone +64 3 369 2777 
Email [email protected]

2nd and 3rd Floors, Erskine building – see campus maps

Postal address 
College of Engineering | Te Rāngai Pūkaha
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha 
Private Bag 4800 
Christchurch 8140 
New Zealand