BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW

Computer Science UNSW - Fact SheetAre you thinking of undertaking a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW?

We’ll give you all the info you could want about the degree, including insights on requirements, subjects, dual degrees, uni culture and more! 

Check it out! 

What is a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW?
Core Units and Majors
How to Get into a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW?

Computer Science involves the study of the design, construction and uses of different computer systems. You can expect to look into data and data structures in computer systems, the creation of algorithms for automatic manipulation of information by programming languages and machine systems.

This degree very much focuses on the design and development of hardware and software tools by which computer applications may be developed. 

This degree is useful to people who want to further develop their computer literacy, programming prowess and flex their brain with analytical thinking!

Career Paths

The career paths for this degree are extremely broad! The potential career opportunities include but are not limited to:

    • Software engineer/developer
    • Chief technology officer
    • Digital security specialist
    • Database developer/administrator
    • Game developer
    • Systems analyst

Can I study this degree in conjunction with another?

The Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW can be studied as its own degree. However, it can also be studied as a double degree, meaning that at the end of studies, students will have two qualifications!

Many students decide to do a double degree with this course. Popular courses to combine with the Bachelor of Computer Science include Economics, Mathematics, Advanced Science, Arts or even Engineering.

UNSW Computer Science - Student Quote

For more information on Bachelor of Computer Science double degrees offered at UNSW, check out the handbook here

Core Units and Majors

What Majors are available?

A multitude of majors can be chosen with a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW. The following are some you can choose from:

Database SystemsExposes students to both the foundations of Database Management Systems architecture, as well as to the principles behind leading-edge applications of databases, including commerce and data mining. 
eCommerce SystemsStudents are introduced to a range of core network, database and interface technologies, as well as the principles behind them, techniques for analysing them, and the exploration of how these technologies can be used to create effective online services. 
Artificial IntelligenceShows students the foundations of Artificial Intelligence and the core technologies related. This includes machine learning and knowledge representation that is required to apply Artificial Intelligence in the real world. 
Programming LanguagesTeachers students the foundations of programming languages, how they are designed, how they can be implemented, and how they can potentially be best exploited by programmers. It considers procedural languages, functional languages, object-oriented languages and parallel languages. 
Computer NetworksShows students the foundations of computer networks, computer network architecture, their management and emerging application areas. 
Embedded SystemsExposes students to both the underlying hardware technologies and the techniques for controlling hardware programmatically.
Security EngineeringStudents who choose Security Engineering as their major are equipped for careers in penetration testing, incident response, software assessment, malware analysis, forensics, military or law enforcement and security consulting. 

To find out more about the majors have a look here!

What are the Core Units?

Throughout this degree, all Computer Science students are required to complete certain core units in conjunction with subjects related to their chosen majors. Some core units include Data Structures and Algorithms, Discrete Maths and Object-Oriented Design and Programming.  

One of the first-year compulsory units is titled Programming Fundamentals. Within this unit, students are given an introduction to programming, which helps students develop proficiency in using a high-level programming language

Another first-year core unit is titled Software Engineering Fundamentals where you can learn about software engineering principles, basic software lifecycle concepts, modern development methodologies, conceptual modelling and how these activities relate to programming. This unit also introduces the basic notions of team-based project management

Are there built-in internships or placements?

There are no compulsory internships or placements for the Bachelor Computer Science degree at UNSW. 


How to Get into a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW

The ATAR cut off for a Bachelor of Computer Science is an ATAR of 93. Even if you don’t achieve this ATAR, there are still other ways to get into this course!

An alternate pathway to this degree is the Faculty of Engineering Admissions Scheme (FEAS). If you are only 10 points below the required ATAR of 93, you may still be evaluated for a spot to study Computer Science.

Your ability in maths, physics and other sciences, as well as your attitude and motivation, will be credited for suitability to undertake an undergraduate degree at UNSW Engineering. More can be found about the Admissions Scheme here.

Are there any prerequisites?

This degree has one prerequisite subject; the completion of at least Mathematics Extension 1 is required to get into this course.

What scholarships are available?

There is a broad range of scholarships available at UNSW and in the field of Computer Science. To have a look at the scholarships on offer, have a look here!

What’s the Teaching Format?

Studying a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW means you’ll have to get used to the trimester system. This just means that the teaching periods are broken into three sessions with breaks in between each session.

Class Structure

Within this degree, you’ll engage with your learning through lectures, tutorials and labs.

UNSW Computer Science - Class Structure

Lectures last for around 2 and a half hours, and have the teacher speaking to the students in an auditorium, via zoom, or even in pre-recorded lectures! The size of this learning environment can be quite large, up to 300 people

Tutorials generally go for an hour and help to consolidate the knowledge learned in the lectures, with much smaller class sizes (24 at most). This environment is much smaller as opposed to lectures, and a tutor will generally have the help of an assistant teacher.

Content varies in each tutorial, but you can expect to listen to the tutor talk about topics covered in the lecture or to be able to join a group coding system. Multiple people can code on a file at the same time.

Labs typically last for 2 hours and consist of the same tutorial group, with 24 people at most in a class with the tutor and assistant tutor. Students tend to engage in an extensive exercise, or a series of small activities to get through that are programming related

What are Assessments like?

There are lots of different ways to be assessed within this degree. The following are assessments you can expect to complete:

    • Weekly quizzes
    • Formal examinations 
    • Assignments 
    • Open problem-solving questions

Skills That You Refine and Learn

UNSW Computer Science - Skills

Within this degree, a multitude of skills is developed and refined. Real-life type scenarios are presented to students, emulating what the workforce in the field will be like. Through this teaching style, students develop problem-solving skills relevant to their discipline such as creating, producing and developing online code and programs as well as answering mathematical questions.

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

The Bachelor of Computer Science degree is a part of the Engineering Faculty. This faculty is one of the largest of its kind in Australia!

UNSW accommodates for a large variety of students from many different disciplines. The university is also known for its inviting and welcoming culture, from student clubs to enthusiastic tutors!

If you choose to study here, you’ll have access to helpful and enthusiastic lecturers and tutors, who are willing to listen to any questions and supply resources.


If you study a Bachelor of Computer Science at UNSW, you’d probably want to join the Computer Science and Engineering Society (CSESoc). The society gives students from Computer Science and Engineering courses a fun way to network with fellow students, as well as training and workshops run by their peers.

Another Program to look out for is WIE, Women in Engineering. This club promotes and encourages women to pursue a career in an engineering field, through workshops, networking opportunities and support for female students in the Engineering Faculty at UNSW!

What resources and support programs can you access?

The UNSW Engineering Society Peer Mentoring Program provides support for first-year students by matching them with mentors a year or so above. Ideally, mentors will be studying the same degree as their mentees; but if this is not possible due to numbers, the mentor is still a part of the engineering faculty.

Through this program, bonds are formed, social activities are planned, but most importantly, the mentee will be able to ease into uni life with a buddy who can guide them! 

Now you’ve got all the facts, learn about what people really think about UNSW Computer Science!

Matilda Elliott is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and a Communication graduate with a major in Journalism at Western Sydney University. You can find some of her published work in a range of platforms including SBS World News, The Music Network and within her own creative exploits with her twin sister. Matilda is a lover of listening, helping people to tell their stories, making genuine connections, clowning around in her circus troupe and dancing like no one is watching at live music shows!


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