Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

Undergraduate major in Computer Science

Subject description

FoS infographic - Computer Science is ranked in the top 100 worldwide (QS World University Rankings by subject 2016)

More and more of our lives are affected by Computer Science. The demand for technology just keeps growing, and so does the demand for specialists to imagine, develop and maintain it. Computers are now so indispensible in fields such as education, medicine, commerce, engineering, and just for fun, that we can’t imagine what we would do without them. And the list just keeps growing. Google, Facebook, YouTube - computers and related technologies are now part of our day-to-day lives.

Undergraduate Computer Science

Computer Science gives you an understanding of the conceptual building blocks of computers, software, and communications between computers. For example, an incredible amount of information is available on the internet. The ability to retrieve, organise and manipulate that information in a useful manner needs Computer Science.

An ability to understand and use computers effectively and creatively will greatly improve your value to almost every employer or if you are self employed. The study of Computer Science also involves logical thinking, problem solving, abstraction and analytical skills – all useful life skills that can be adapted to many situations.

The subject includes the following topics:

  • How computers and computer systems work – architecture, systems software, programming languages, data communications, networks and robotics
  • How computers manage information – algorithms, data structures and data management
  • Applications of computers in society – artificial intelligence, world wide web, multimedia, computer graphics, computer vision, and human-computer interactions
  • The limits of computers – computability and complexity theory
Image of computer scientists and a robot

Postgraduate Computer Science

The subjects covered by the Department in its courses and research lie mostly in the two general areas of "software systems" and "theory of computing". Other areas of informatics are covered in more depth by other departments in the University. The Department of Management Science and Information Systems (within the School of Business) specialises in data base systems, groupware, and applications of computers to business and management. The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Faculty of Engineering) has interests in computer systems engineering and software engineering.

Within the broad areas stated above, the department offers graduate programmes leading to the MSc and PhD degrees with specialisations including (but not limited to): algorithmic information theory, artificial intelligence, combinatorics, data compression, data communications and networks, distributed computing, graphics, image processing, multimedia and hypermedia systems, neural networks, parallel computation, programming languages and systems, robotics, software engineering, software security, theory of computation, and visual programming.

The Department has many research-active staff and excellent national and international links, both to commerce and academia.



Bachelor of Science (BSc) - Computer Science major

Single or first major must include:

Second major must include:

Stage I courses

To enrol in Stage I Computer Science courses you do not necessarily need to have any previous experience with computing. If you are intending to major in Computer Science you will need to complete COMPSCI 101 and COMPSCI 105 at Stage I level. These courses are prerequisites for courses offered in Computer Science at Stages II and III.

Supporting courses in Mathematics and Physics are recommended.

Plan your degree with our Computer Science planner.


Career opportunities

The field of information technology is wide open. The job you might get with your degree in Computer Science may not even have been thought of when you set out on your programme of study.

The demand for skilled computing specialists remains strong – and this is worldwide. A quick search on the internet will prove this is so. New Zealand has been quick to adopt new technology products and systems. The information technology sector here has been expanding rapidly over the last decade. A prolonged computing skills shortage threatens to hold up New Zealand’s potential for economic prosperity.

For this reason, Computer Science graduates who are adaptable and who have demonstrated skills in computing, analytical thinking and communication will always find work. Graduates can get jobs designing and implementing software. This can include work involving web development, interface design, security issues, and mobile computing. They also find work devising innovative ways to use computers or developing effective ways to solve computing problems. Computer Science graduates can also be involved in planning and managing the technology infrastructure of companies and other large organisations.


Help and advice

For further information, refer to the Computer Science Undergraduate Handbook or contact:

Science Student Centre
Room G20, Level G, Building 301, 23 Symonds Street
Phone: +64 9 923 7020
Email: scifac@auckland.ac.nz


Further information