Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - Computer Science and Software Engineering - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Bachelor of Science - Computer Science

The B.Sc. in Computer Science is a very flexible degree, and the main requirement is that you have enough credits at 300 level to graduate, which in turn will require corresponding pre-requisites at 200 and 100 level. You can choose to do a larger or smaller number of computer science papers depending on your interests.

We’re often asked about the difference between a Software Engineering degree and a Computer Science degree. Both degrees have many courses in common, but here are some key differences:

Software Engineering is part of a B.E.(Hons), which is a four-year degree that has a fairly strict structure, including prescribed first year (intermediate) courses, and three professional years with most courses prescribed; you must also complete practical work requirements. There is a strong focus on large projects and teamwork.

Computer Science is part of a B.Sc. degree, which is initially a three-year degree, but if you do well you can then continue to a 1-year B.Sc.(Hons), or a 1-year Post-graduate diploma in Science, or a two-year Masters degree. The degree is extremely flexible, and can be done with a very heavy emphasis on computer science, or could have a minimal core of computing and be combined with a second major. Computer Science undergraduate majors can take all of the software engineering papers except SENG202, but usually do more of the technical computing topics such as graphics, artificial intelligence, networks and security. There are no practical work requirements for the B.Sc., although students are well advised to get experience where they can via summer jobs.

There is strong demand for graduates in both areas, and our advice is to choose the direction that suits your interests the best.

  • At first year all students would usually take COSC121 and COSC122 plus some maths and/or statistics papers (MATH120 is a graduating requirement), and most students would take most of our 200-level papers the following year.
  • Not all the Computer Science papers are prefixed with "COSC", which can be confusing. Papers that count towards a B.Sc. in Computer Science are all those listed here except SENG202. There is currently an error in the full online list (as at 12 Feb 2015) that can be found here; when it is corrected it will show more than just COSC courses. In particular, there are several ENCE and SENG papers that are considered to be full Computer Science papers (they overlap the Computer Science, Software Engineering and Computer Engineering requirements).
  • If you aren't sure whether you should take a Computer Science major or a Software Engineering degree, you can leave both options open by taking the Software Engineering intermediate courses as these include all the pre-requisites for second year Computer Science.
  • There is strong demand for graduates in both areas, and our advice is to choose the direction that suits your interests the best.
  • Further Information on the Bachelor of Science Qualification, and its Computer Science Major.
  • Regulations for the Bachelor of Science.
  • Frequently Asked Questions


Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering
Telephone: +64 3 364 2362


  • Phone: +64 3 364 2362
    Fax: +64 3 364 2569
  • Computer Science and Software Engineering
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800, Christchurch
    New Zealand
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