Master of Science (Computer Science)

Course MC-SCICMP (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Year and Campus: 2012 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 062189B
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 24 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Dr Aaron Harwood



Melbourne Graduate School of Science
Faculty of Science
The University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010

Tel: + 61 3 8344 6128
Fax: +61 3 8344 3351


Course Overview:

The Master of Science (Computer Science) is a research training stream of the Master of Science.
The Master of Science gives students the opportunity to undertake a substantive research project in a field of choice as well as a broad range of coursework subjects including a professional skills component, as a pathway to PhD study or to the workforce.


Upon completion, a graduate of the Master of Science (Computer Science) should:

  • Have a broad grounding across the breadth of advanced Computer Science;
  • Have specialist knowledge in (at least) one of knowledge systems, programming languages and distributed computing, or in an applications area in information systems, mathematics/statistics, spatial information science or linguistics;
  • Have attained research maturity, including the ability to independently carry out a research survey, and plan, execute, interpret and report on a computational experiment.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

All students must complete 200 pts including:

  • Discipline Core subjects (50 points);
  • Discipline Elective subjects (at least 37.5 points);
  • Professional Skills subjects (12.5 - 25 points);
  • Research Project (75 points).

With permission of the Course Coordinator, a total of up to 50 pts of study may be taken from one of the following: The Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Geomatics discipline within the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, or the Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, provided that department is willing to accept the student’s enrolment.

Subject Options:

Discipline Core

Students must take the following subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 2

Students who have taken any of these subjects or equivalent as part of their undergraduate studies are exempt from taking those subjects, and will be required to make up an equivalent number of subject points from the pool of Discipline Elective subjects. Students will normally take Research Methods in their second or third semester of enrolment, concurrent with or subsequent to the commencement of their Research Project.

Discipline Electives

Students are required to select at least three discipline elective subjects from one of the following three research themes. Each theme will have at least one subject available each semester.

Knowledge Systems Theme (pre-requisite subject = COMP90049 Knowledge Technologies):

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2012

Programming Languages Theme (pre-requisite subject = COMP90048 Declarative Programming):

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2012

Distributed Computing Theme (pre-requisite subject = COMP90015 Distributed Systems):

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2012
Not offered in 2012

Alternative Research Themes:

With permission of the Course Coordinator, and where a case can be made for a cohesive sequence of study that complements the discipline of Computer Science, students will be permitted to nominate an Alternative Research Theme including at least 37.5 pts of discipline elective subjects. The Alternative Research Theme may be aligned with research in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, or the Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics.

Additional Elective Subjects:

In addition to the 37.5 pts of discipline elective subjects, students who require extra subjects to make up a total of 125 pts of coursework will be permitted to take any subjects listed under the discipline elective themes, as well as any other non-project postgraduate subjects for which approval is granted by the Course Coordinator. As part of the selection process, students may be recommended to enrol in ENGR90021 Engineering Communication (12.5 pts) in their first semester of enrolment. Students may also, with the approval of the Course Coordinator, select up to two 300-level Computing and Information Systems subjects, including COMP30018 Knowledge Technologies and COMP30020 Declarative Programming.

Professional Skills

Students must take one to two subjects from the following:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

*Students who enrol in ENGR90021 Engineering Communication must take 12.5 pts only of Professional Skills subjects, and may not take SCIE90012 Science Communication.

Research Project

Students are required to undertake a 75 pt Research Project, normally to commence in the second semester of their course, in the research theme where they have focused their discipline elective subject selection. The Research Project will be carried out under the supervision of academics in the Department of Computing and Information Systems. Students will gain research experience in Computer Science by completing a thesis of approximately 25,000 words (contributing 90% of the grade for the Research Project subject) and giving an oral presentation of their project work prior to submission of the thesis (contributing the remaining 10% of the Research Project grade). The thesis will be examined internally within the Department of Computing and Information Systems.

The research project will be taken over three consecutive semesters and will begin on the Monday of the second semester of enrolment (semester 1 or 2) (indicative for 2012: Monday 27th February or Monday 23rd July) and continue until the end of the final semester of research project enrolment. The research project work continues over summer and winter breaks, minus recreation leave of 4 weeks per year

For how long and at what time within the enrolment the actual period of leave is to be taken needs to be negotiated with a student's supervisor.

The thesis will be due for submission at the end of the formal examination period of the final semester of research project enrolment (usually fourth semester) if an earlier date is not specified.

Students may enrol in a combination of research project subjects and coursework subjects as long as once the Research Project is commenced, the consecutive enrolment requirement is met and to ensure they have completed a total of 75 points for the research project by the end of their course.
You should consult your supervisor to discuss an appropriate study plan prior to enrolling in your subjects online through the Student Portal. In particular, it is important that you agree an appropriate combination of research project points and coursework point enrolment each semester. Students may need to enrol in a subject of the same credit point value more than once which is why there are multiple Computer Science Research Project subjects of the same points value.

An enrolment example is available on the Melbourne Graduate School website - . Students are encouraged to review this example to inform their ISIS enrolment.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Entry Requirements:

An undergraduate degree with a major in Computer Science, with at least an H3 (65%) in the major, or equivalent, including at least 25 points of university-level Mathematics or Statistics subjects. (In addition, some knowledge of formal logic and discrete mathematics, such as in COMP20004 Discrete Structures, and second-year University-level Mathematics/Statistics are recommended.)

Quotas may be applied and preference may be given to applicants with evidence of appropriate preparation or potential to undertake research. Entry is subject to the capacity of the department to provide adequate supervision in, and resources for, a research project appropriate to the interests and preparation of the individual student and may be subject to the agreement of a member of academic staff to supervise the project module. Selection is not automatic and, in particular, is subject to competition.

Core Participation Requirements:

The Master of Science (Computer Science) welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and degree policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the degree. The Master of Science (Computer Science) requires all students to enrol in subjects where they will require:

a) The ability to comprehend complex science and technology related information;
b) The ability to clearly and independently communicate a knowledge and application of science, and technology principles and practices during assessment tasks;
c) The ability to actively and safely contribute in clinical, laboratory, and fieldwork/excursion activities.

Students must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students. There may be additional inherent academic requirements for some subjects, and these requirements are listed within the description of the requirements for each of these subjects. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the relevant Subject Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit:

Further Study:

The Master of Science offers a pathway to a PhD.

Graduate Attributes:

The Melbourne Experience enables our graduates to become:

  • Academically excellent
  • Knowledgeable across disciplines
  • Leaders in communities
  • Attuned to cultural diversity
  • Active global citizens
Links to further information:

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