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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Area of Study

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered byClayton School of Information Technology
Course coordinatorAssociate Professor Bernd Meyer (Clayton School of Information Technology)


In our computerised society, no modern scientist should be without knowledge of computers. First-level computer science is a general introduction to computing and is suitable either for students whose major interest is in another science discipline, or students who wish to become computer scientists with an understanding of all the basic aspects of computing.


On completion of the sequence in computer science students will:

(a.) have knowledge of:

  • problem solving strategies and common techniques for algorithm design
  • the formal theoretical basis of computer science
  • algorithms and data structures used in common application areas
  • different programming language paradigms and their limitations
  • software design strategies such as top-down and object-oriented

(b.) have an understanding of:

  • limitations of algorithmic solutions for undecidable and intractable problems
  • the underpinning of information technology by computer science
  • how high level applications can be understood and are implemented in various levels of abstraction ranging from a high-level programming language to assembly language
  • the various components in the hardware of a typical computer and their roles
  • the various components in the software of a typical computer system and their roles

(c.) have the ability to:

  • design well-structured programs
  • write, test and debug substantial pieces of software
  • find or develop an efficient algorithmic solution to a problem
  • reason theoretically about and empirically evaluate the complexity of a program or algorithm

(d.) have attitudes which enable them to:

  • behave in an ethical and professional manner
  • recognise the importance of theoretical underpinnings for practice
  • recognise the need to keep up to date with developments in computer science
  • develop safe, secure, reliable and dependable software
  • adapt readily to changing technologies.

In addition students taking the extra honours year will have:

  • an understanding of how to formulate and approach a computer science research problem
  • the ability to undertake a significant independent computer science research project, and to present research results orally and in a written report.


Level one

Level two

Level three

  • FIT3014 Analysis and design of algorithms
  • FIT3036 Computer science project
  • FIT3042 System tools and programming languages
  • FIT3080 Artificial intelligence
  • FIT3081 Image processing
  • FIT3082 Programming languages and paradigms
  • FIT3084 Multimedia programming and the world wide web
  • FIT3085 Numerical computing
  • FIT3088 Computer graphics

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in computer science (24 points)

Major sequence in computer science (48 points)

Double major sequence in computer science (72 points)

In addition to these requirements, students completing a major sequence in computer science are required to have completed at least 12 points of approved mathematics units.

Graduates who have completed at least the 48-point major sequence in computer science are eligible for level-one membership of the Australian Computer Society.

Note: Students who commenced the sequence prior to 2006 should follow the requirements published in the 2005 Handbook.


The sequence of both FIT1002, which covers basic programming skills, and FIT1008, which extends those programming skills, is highly recommended for all students, whether or not they intend to become computer scientists.

Level one

The level-one units serve both as a general introduction to computer science and as a prerequisite for further studies. Thus they may be taken either by students wishing to major in computer science or by students whose major interest is in some other branch of science. FIT1002 covers basic programming skills for problem-solving. FIT1008 gives an introduction to computer science, developing an understanding of algorithms, data structures and computer systems.

Students who are considering completing a major sequence in computer science should also take at least 12 points of approved mathematics units at level one or equivalent.

Level two

The core level-two units aim to develop a firm foundation in the fundamental concepts of computer science, namely algorithm development and the theory of computation. In addition, the elective level-two units introduce new topics to broaden the student's view of computation and its applications.

Level three

Students intending to complete a major sequence in computer science must take FIT3036 and FIT3014, which provides advanced study of algorithms, and at least 6 points of additional level-three computer science units (which may not include another project).

Students intending to proceed to honours should complete at least the 48-point computer science major sequence to ensure they have sufficient breadth to undertake the honours coursework units offered each year. It is recommended that in addition to the core project unit FIT3014, these students take at least four other level-three computer science units listed above.


Coordinator: Dr Jon McCormack, (Clayton School of Information Technology)

Honours in computer science is suitable for students who want to gain a deeper understanding of computer science. Students with honours are particularly sought after by employers and can choose from more interesting research and development positions because of their extra skills and proven abilities. An honours degree also leads on to postgraduate study, which is necessary for an academic career or a career in industrial research.

Full details regarding entrance requirements and course structure for honours is described in the course entry in this Handbook for the course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.