BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD

Design Computing USYD - Fact Sheet

Considering studying a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD?

Are you a computer whiz? A design fanatic? Or just want to learn more about the limitless world of technology? Then Design Computing may be the perfect degree for you! 

If you want to find out everything there is to know about the units, culture, assessments and what it’s really like to study a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD then keep on scrolling. 

What is a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD?
Core Units for this Degree
How to Get into a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD?

Good question! In fact, a lot of information about the vast field of Design Computing comes from USYD itself — it was actually one of the first institutions to undergo research into design and computing technologies. It’s also the only uni in NSW to teach User Experience Design at a Bachelor’s level. 

By studying a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD, you’ll be learning from a university that has not only laid the foundations but has coined the name of Design Computing. You’ll have access to the facilities that have lived through over 50 years of research!

What we’re trying to say is that you’ll be in some pretty safe and experienced hands. 

What actually is design computing? 

Design computing is a field that translates ideas into technological reality. It involves the practice of designing and innovating technologies that can be developed through advanced computing methods. 

In your course, you’ll be taking a look at the role and impact of the internet, mobile apps, virtual reality, coding, digital media production and visual design. It’s a one of a kind degree but also one that can take you anywhere. 

Can I study this degree in conjunction with another?

The main double degree that USYD offers students to combine with their Bachelor of Design Computing is the Bachelor of Advanced Studies. 

Studying a Bachelor of Advanced Studies in conjunction with a Bachelor of Design Computing is perfect for those interested in disciplines beyond design computing or for those who would just like to broaden their uni experience.

A Bachelor of Advanced studies can really be anything you make it. There is a vast variety of majors to tailor the degree to suit you! Some of the majors that the Bachelor of Advanced Studies offers include:

  • Arts and Social Sciences 
  • International and Global Studies 
  • Media and Communications 
  • Languages 
  • Politics and International Relations 
  • Exercise and Sport Science

Studying a double degree with Design Computing is definitely not a requirement. It’s only for those who are keen on graduating with two degrees through fast-tracked learning and a lot more course work. 


USYD offers an Honours program for students in the Bachelor of Design Computing program who have achieved a pass degree once they graduate. 

If you’re keen on an additional year of study and have achieved the grades for it, you should look into the Bachelor of Design Computing (Honours) at USYD. You can apply through the uni once you receive your final grades. 

You can check out more about USYD’s Design Computing Honours program here!  

Career Paths

As we mentioned earlier, this degree encompasses so many elements of the design and computing world that you’ll be equipped with the skills to secure a position in a range of different fields. A few examples include:

  • Product Designer 
  • Digital Producer
  • User-Experience (UX) Designer 
  • Service Designer 
  • Data Visualisation Specialist 
  • Creative Technologist 
  • Front-end developer 
  • Digital Producer 

Learn about other careers in IT here!

Core Units for this Degree

To graduate from a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD, you’ll need to successfully complete 144 credit points. Credit points are a way in which universities measure the workload of subjects. At USYD, most of your subjects are worth either 6 or 12 credit points each.

You’ll be taking about 20 subjects throughout your degree. With 3 to 4 classes each semester. By undertaking this subject load, you’ll be on track to finish your degree in 3 years. 

Can you take electives?

Most of the subjects that you’ll take as a design computing student and USYD are relatively structured and remain the same across your cohort. However, USYD is also pretty generous in their elective opportunities, giving students 8 elective choices across their degree.

This means that while your degree will focus on all the components that make up design computing, you’ll also have the chance to broaden your knowledge in a variety of different areas. Electives are offered in almost every subject that you can think of! 

Course Structure

At USYD, your Bachelor of Design Computing is broken up into 3 parts:

  • 24 credit points of Foundation Units 
  • 12 credit points of Advanced Units 
  • 48 credit points of Elective Units 

Finally, you’ll choose 96 credit points from a list that you can find here. 

First Year

In your first semester you will take the following subjects as well as one elective:

Core UnitsDescription
Design Process and MethodsThis unit will introduce you to a wide variety of interactive technologies and environments. You’ll learn about the theories and methods used in human-centred design. You’ll cover ideation, prototyping, user evaluation and user research. 
Design ProgrammingIn this unit, you’ll be introduced to creative coding and the foundations of computational thinking to build interactive design applications. You’ll learn how to design with the development of code. 
Visual CommunicationThis subject will provide an introduction to the concepts and principles of visual design. You’ll learn about different theories, the impact of colour and the role of typography. You’ll learn how to use software like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to successfully communicate ideas through visual media.  

Here is a layout of your second semester subjects. Like your first semester, there’s also an elective unit for you to choose:

  • Introduction to Web Design 
  • Principles of Animation 
  • Design Theory and Culture 

There are your first year subjects. How cool! Just from looking at the titles and briefs, it’s clear that a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD will offer an extremely hands-on and practical approach to learning about the ins and outs of computing.

Second Year

Now, we can take a look at your second year subjects:

  • User Experience Design Studio 
  • Advanced Web Design 
  • Elective 

Here’s what your subjects will look like in the second semester of your second year:

  • Interaction Design Studio
  • 3D Modelling and Fabrication 
  • Elective 

There are only three because your Interaction Design Studio subject will be worth 12 units. So you’ll be completing double the work. 

Third Year

In the first semester of your third year, you’ll only be taking 2 electives and a 12 credit point subject called Information Visualisation Design Studio.

  • Visualisation Design Studio: This unit evaluates and analyses the ways in which data can be meaningfully represented and communicated to people through interactive and automated ways. Since this is a 12 unit subject, you can expect this unit to be double the workload than the previous subjects you would have completed. This is why you’ve only got 3 subjects this semester. 

Your last semester of your final year in your undergraduate degree will yet again include 2 electives and a 12 unit subject called Interactive Product Design Studio.

  • Interactive Product Design Studio: This will be one of your final classes in your design computing degree. You’ll be undertaking a hands-on approach to your coursework by applying innovative, technical and creative methods of production to develop and refine a final portfolio. 

You can take a deeper look at USYD’s handbook here! 

Are there any placements?

There are no required placements or internships in the Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD. With this being said, there are still plenty of opportunities to experience what a career in design computing will look like for you in the future!

Since you have plenty of electives throughout your degree, you can always look into taking an internship or work experience unit. The main work experience unit that USYD offers is their Internship Program which is equivalent to 6 credit points once you complete it. 

Internships are awesome for your own professional experience and also look great on a resume. You should definitely consider taking an internship subject if you can! 

How to Get into a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD

To secure a spot in the next cohort of the Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD, you’ll need to get an ATAR of at least 80. If you haven’t quite gotten that ATAR, don’t stress!

Alternate Pathways

There are plenty of other ways to get into your dream degree. You may want to see if you can add on some adjustment factors or check out USYD’s alternative admission pathways. 

You could look into applying to a similar course with a lower ATAR or you could also look into ways to transfer across degrees. 

USYD offers alternative entry pathways for students who have graduated Year 12 on the basis of specific circumstances. These may include:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs 
  • Academic and school leadership 
  • Disrupted schooling 
  • Elite athletes and performers 
  • Financial hardship and regional students 
  • Portfolio and audition pathways 

Whatever you need to get you into your top course, USYD is there to help you all the way. 

Discover the top universities in Australia for an IT degree here!

Assumed Knowledge

The only assumed knowledge that USYD recommends for its Bachelor of Design Computing students is HSC level Mathematics. If you’ve graduated with maths, then you’re good to go.

If not, you can definitely still apply although you may want to look into taking electives that hone in on these maths skills. 


USYD offers a wide range of scholarships for its potential students. These may be awarded on the basis of financial hardship, community engagement, academic excellence, leadership potential or for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

You can check out all of USYD’s scholarship programs here! 

What’s The Teaching Format?

As a Bachelor of Design Computing student at USYD you can expect to complete your studies through a two session system (semesters). This means that your program will be split up into 2 main study blocks on a yearly basis — you’ll also be getting some pretty generous breaks in between. 

Class Structure

The format of your course will be broken up into 3 main components. This will include lectures, tutorials and studios.

Design Computing USYD - Class Structure

Your lectures and tutorials will last around 1 to 2 hours whereas your studio classes will be allocated in 3 hour blocks. Since you don’t start studio classes until your second year, you can expect to be on campus for about 15 hours a week in your first year — this will account for tutorials, lectures and some independent study to consolidate your weekly material.

As you progress through your degree, you’ll probably be spending a little over 20 hours on campus each week. Still, your contact hours will vary depending on how many classes that you’ll need to take that semester. 


You’ll be attending 4 lectures each week during your first year of Design Computing. This means that you’ll have 1 for each of your subjects. Typically, lectures will have around 100 to 200 students in a theatre. 

Lectures give students a chance to passively engage with the content that you’ll be learning that week. They’ll involve a lecturer standing up the front of the theatre discussing the content from a presentation.

Lectures are a great way to take some initial notes and are usually taught quite formally. You won’t really have a chance to ask questions or conduct discussions in lectures — because that’s exactly what tutorials are for.  


As we mentioned before, tutorials are the perfect place to ask your tutor questions and participate in classroom discussions. There can be up to 40 students in each tutorial and you’ll be mainly completing hands-on activities to help with your current projects and assessments.

Tutorials are great for collaborating and provide a perfect space to get to know your tutor and peers. It’ll be a chance to ask questions, facilitate and lead discussions and consolidate your knowledge.  


You’ll take studio classes in the second and third year of your course. Studios are designed to give you a chance to work on your bigger projects and upcoming assessments with your group members and tutors.

As mentioned, you’ll undergo your studio sessions in 3 hour blocks to give you the chance to take part in self-directed practical work.

There’ll be around 20 to 30 students in each studio class and you’ll usually use them to work in smaller groups to crack on with assignments. You’ll need to use this time wisely because these studio classes are generally what you make of them. 

What are the assessments like?

Design Computing USYD - Student Quote

The Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD requires you to complete numerous project-based assignments — you won’t have to complete a single exam in your degree. This means that there will be some pretty extensive projects that will require long-term commitments to getting them done.

There’ll still be a few units which will have some short weekly quizzes for you to complete. Also, you’ll be completing a lot of group projects which is a perfect time to get to know your classmates and foster some great relationships! 

Skills That You Refine and Learn

Design Computing USYD - Skills

As a Bachelor of Design Computing at USYD student, you can expect to learn and gain experience from world class facilities and technologies. Problem solving and critical thinking will be essential throughout your degree as you’ll be learning to analyse data efficiently from the get go.

You’ll be developing your technical skills to effectively utilise advanced software like Figma, Adobe Suite, Blender and Final Cut Pro — just to name a few. 

Communication and creativity will also be extremely handy because a large part of the design computing course will focus on developing your ability to communicate data through visual imagery and design. 

Learn about the pros and cons of this degree here!

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

The Bachelor of Design Computing program makes up a branch of USYD’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning. This Faculty encompasses all of the design-focused and Architecture degrees that USYD has on offer. 

The members of the School of Architecture, Design and Planning are a group of welcoming and encouraging staff that are always willing to help you out with coursework, assignments or just general support if you need it. There are lots of tutors that are Design Computing alumni so not only will you have access to advanced and reliable equipment but you’ll also be taught and mentored by experienced teachers. 

The cohort in the design and computing program are a group of intelligent, creative and friendly students that are always willing to collaborate and foster relationships. You can be sure that you’ll be meeting a great group of friends that will support you throughout your degree. 

Societies and Clubs

USYD offers a variety of societies and clubs for students to meet other people with similar interests. They’re also a great chance to enhance your networks and just to have fun!

USYD runs over 200 clubs and it’s the perfect way to have a break from the study life at uni. You may want to join the Sydney Uni Experience Designers club, the Musical Theatre Ensemble or even the Dog Society! The options are endless. 

“I was a part of the SUEDE (Sydney University Experience Designers) Society where I met the majority of my friends. I highly recommend joining the faculty society if you want to make friends within your degree or exchange information about assignments, internships and job opportunities. It’s super fun but also a very valuable networking opportunity!” — Monica Gee

You can take a look at all of USYD’s clubs and societies right here! 


USYD offers all sorts of assistance and support for students who may need some extra help. Whether you’d like to attend a counselling session, want some dog therapy on campus or need some help mentally and emotionally, USYD will support you.

You can take a look at the resources that USYD offers here!

Gemma Billington is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and an undergraduate student at the University of Technology Sydney. While studying Journalism and Social and Political Sciences, Gemma enjoys spending her time at the gym or reading about Britain’s medieval monarchy – ideally not at the same time. She currently creates and administers social media posts for Central News and writes for the student publication, The Comma. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to study a Masters of Medieval History and is very excited about the prospect!


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