Subject focus: Computer Science, Design and I.T. programmes in Australia

Programming at Monash UniversityThis month's subject focus looks at a range of programmes available within the areas of Computer Science, Design and Information Technology.  Although often grouped together (as we have done here), these three subjects areas are all quite different.

Computer Science programmes look at the design, construction and uses of computers and computer systems.  Depending on the focus and direction of the programme you choose, this subject could cover areas including software, web design, artificial intelligence and human-computer design.  There is some crossover between Computer Science and the discipline of engineering, especially around the areas of designing and manufacturing technologies.

Likewise there is some crossover between Computer Science and Art & Design, where a number of programmes are taught within design faculties. Studying a design programme, you can choose either to study the design of computer applications, for example digital media, games, and other types of interactive media; or to study design with computer applications for example 3-D animation; and other types of computer-aided design.

Information technology takes the computer as its start point and looks at all the things that can be done with it, particularly in a business setting. Many IT degrees focus on this, and are designed to give students an understanding of the principles and techniques involved in the analysis, design, implementation and maintenance of computer systems within a business environment.  Some of these programmes within Information Technology will also offer specialisations in non-traditional areas including human-computer interaction; cyber forensics; and information security and management.

There are lots of different study journeys to take when it comes to studying computers, here is just a small selection of the options available at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Australia.  If you want to talk more about your options, contact a Study Options student advisor.

Information Technology and Computer Science


Bachelor of Design (Games and Interactive Media) at RMIT University

Step into a world where art and design meet digital know-how with RMIT University’s Bachelor of Design.

Merge your passion for creativity with superior technical skills and open doors to a range of fulfilling careers in the flourishing gaming and interactive media industries.

Develop your digital art and design talents to create characters, environments and worlds for platforms such as computers, consoles and mobile devices.

You’ll study in creative studio and workshop environments that encourage artistic and intellectual investigation. Strong industry connections will give you valuable workplace experience so you’ll graduate ready to work in this rapidly expanding field. 

Choose from one of the following three specialisations: 

Animation and Interactive Media

The Bachelor or Design (Animation and Interactive Media) is one of the most popular animation programmes in Victoria, where you’ll become a specialist in animation and interactive media design including:

  • animation (2D and 3D)
  • motion graphics
  • special effects
  • interactive media.

This programme looks at animation in all its forms, from the animated character to motion graphics across linear and interactive environments. Presented in a creative and supportive environment, the programme focuses on intellectual investigation and conceptual development.

Upon graduating, you will demonstrate aesthetic and intellectual maturity and strong technical abilities within design, media and art disciplines.

Students and staff enjoy wide national and international acknowledgement and exhibit in festivals and conferences such as Siggraph, MIAF, LIAF, MILIA and Annecy. 

Through a successful historic culture of animation at RMIT all staff are practising artists, designers and industry practitioners. They are experienced educators actively engaged in research in their areas of expertise. 

This programme has intakes in February 2017, July 2017, February 2018 and July 2018.

Digital Media

The Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) will teach you to be a digital media design specialist in interactive media, digital video, digital sound or digital environments.

You will focus on some of the core disciplines of the field including, visual effects and compositing, motion graphics, interactive and mobile media design, sound design and digital media theory.

You will gain a solid grounding in contemporary digital media design theory and practice and will explore how digital content can be planned, produced, applied and integrated.

This programme has intakes in February 2017, July 2017, February 2018 and July 2018.


Become skilled in producing rich interactive experiences by developing your conceptual game design and specialist art skills in the Bachelor of Design (Games).

This unique programme provides specialist training in computer-generated design with particular emphasis on game studies and art practice. You'll study design, narrative, imaging, modelling and animation (2D and 3D), concept art and game environments. 

RMIT has developed two dedicated games research groups with a specific focus on international world-leading research, attracting expert staff who teach the most up-to-date and cutting-edge ideas.

This programme has intakes in February 2017 and February 2018. 

Programme details

Duration: 3 years

Start Date: February or July for Animation and Interactive Media, and Digital Media; February for Games.

2017 Fees: AU$29,760 for Animation and Interactive Media, and Digital Media; AU$30,720 for Games. 

RMIT University

Bachelor of Science (Computing) at Curtin University

Curtin's computing courses cover a range of areas essential to the growing IT industry. You can learn how to program computers, administer networks and create design software and multimedia, study computer games and learn how to develop them, or use artificial intelligence in real life situations. You can also study cyber security and learn how to protect computers and systems from hackers. You'll get the chance to explore new technology and show your creative flair and eye for technical detail. It's a rapidly changing industry that can lead to diverse and interesting career paths.

Curtin is ranked fourth in Australia for Mathematics and Computer Science according to the CWTS Leiden Rankings 2015 based on the proportion of publications that have been co-authored by academics from two or more countries.

We are also ranked fifth in Australia for the proportion of publications that belong to the top ten per cent most frequently cited in that field in the same year.

Curtin University is the only university in Australia to house a CISCO centre. There are only eight in the world.  The Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre (CIIC) is a newly established industry and research collaboration centre at Curtin University, established by Cisco with foundation partners Curtin University and Woodside Energy. With over 80 researchers and links to advanced facilities and a global industry network, the Centre will bring together start-ups, industry experts, developers and researchers in an open environment to create ground-breaking and innovative solutions that foster growth, provide jobs and help build sustainable economies.

There are so many programmes under computer science and IT, engineering and design at undergraduate and postgraduate level, for instance: Bachelor of Arts (Animation and Game Design); Master of Science (Computer Science); Master of Internet Communications.  Contact Study Options to find out more about any of these other programmes.

Bachelor of Science (Computing)

Computer scientists, software engineers, programmers and other computing professionals are experts on how technology works and how computing can address even the most complicated and intricate problems.

In your first year, you will develop your programming skills and study the fundamental theoretical knowledge of computing. Topics covered will include C++, Java, Linux and object oriented programming.

In your second year, you can specialise in one of the following streams:

Computer Science

In this stream you will develop an in-depth knowledge of software design and algorithm analysis, as well as artificial intelligence, computer communications, databases and graphics. Your study will focus on the knowledge required to build operating systems and design new programming languages. As computer science theory and applications are mathematically based, there is a strong emphasis on mathematics.

Cyber Security

This stream focuses on the key concepts and challenges in data and resource protection and computer software security. You will examine the high level (cryptography theory, data access policy development and security program management) and low level (computer forensics, network intrusion detection and incident handling) practical aspects of computer security.

You will develop skills in identifying appropriate applications for specific scenarios, with an understanding of cultural and ethical issues related to protecting individual rights.

Information Technology

In this stream you will learn the technological and applied aspects of computing, with less emphasis on theory. You will study system programming, software design and engineering, networking (including the internet and the web), artificial intelligence for decision support, and graphics.

Software Engineering

This stream aims to produce graduates who are well versed in the principles of design, measurement and analysis applied in the context of the development of software-based systems.

You will receive a strong foundation in computer science, with further emphasis on software requirements gathering, design, implementation and testing. You will also focus on communication skills, professional responsibility, ethics, interpersonal relationships, teamwork and time management. In your final year, you will undertake an industry-based project. 

Professional recognition

Graduates are eligible to apply for Professional Level accreditation of the Australian Computer Society. The Cyber Security specialisation meets the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Association for Computer Machinery and the Australian Computer Society standards related to data encryption, computer security protection and management.

Entry requirements

Applicants require a relevant high school diploma and maths.

Programme details

Duration: 3 years

Start date: Semester one (February) and semester two (July)

Tuition fees (2017): AU$35,500 per year 

Watch a YouTube video about Computer Science at Curtin University

Curtin University

Master of Engineering (Computer Engineering) at RMIT University

RMIT University’s computer engineering programmes are accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework. They cover the design and development of hardware and embedded systems - devices including smart phones, sensors, robotics, medical equipment and multimedia technology.

Choose from one of the following specialisations:

Computer Aided Engineering and Design (Masters by Coursework)

The Master of Engineering (Computer Aided Engineering and Design) aims to integrate advanced digital engineering design and digital manufacturing technologies with product lifecycle management.

This programme focuses on technologies supporting the entire life cycle of an engineering product. This incorporates all design aspects for manufacturing and maintenance, and the disassembly, disposal, recycling and reuse of industrial products. 

You will develop the skills to meet the global demand for specialist engineers and industrial designers. The programme provides a holistic understanding of the engineering lifecycle management process based in integrated computer aided engineering (CAE) platforms. These platforms are now regarded by industry as best practice.

The application of cutting-edge technical knowledge and expertise in the creation of products and associated services will have strong potential to bring sustainable growth and high economic return.

Created in partnership with industry, the programme uses a project-based learning approach that will expose you to advanced CAE concepts and skills. You will use CAE in practical activities and industry-led projects based on 3D real-time life-like learning experiences. 

You will be exposed to state-of-the-art infrastructure at the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct. This facility is equipped with the latest 3D visualisation technology and advanced digital manufacturing machines to realise your designs in physical form. You will also have access to the super-computer facilities that are available in the VPAC High Performance Computing facility.

Telecommunication and Network Engineering (Masters by Coursework)

Rapid developments in global telecommunication and network technologies present exciting career opportunities for graduates of this programme.

The Master of Engineering (Telecommunication and Network Engineering) enables you to:

  • develop expertise in the analysis, design, implementation and operation of telecommunication devices, systems, networks and services
  • enhance your professional development skills in research, problem solving, communication, teamwork and, leadership and project management
  • advance your career in the telecommunication and network industries.

Electrical & Electronic Engineering (Masters by Research)

Master of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) allows you to develop your advanced engineering skills and contribute to industry focused research projects, identifying real-world solutions to electrical and electronic engineering problems. 

Our areas of research strength are:

  • biomedical engineering
  • communication technologies
  • complex systems and information processing
  • micro/nano materials and devices
  • power, energy and control.

Under expert supervision, you will develop your skills and join researchers already active in:

  • biomedical electronics
  • biomedical signal processing
  • intelligent control systems
  • micro and nano-electronic devices
  • micro/nanofluidic systems
  • photonic devices and systems
  • power electronics
  • radio frequency circuits and devices
  • telecommunication networks
  • video/image/audio signal processing.

Much of our electrical and electronic engineering research is conducted in the following centres and groups:

  • Communication Technologies Research Centre (CTRC)
  • Centre for Advanced Electronics and Sensors (CADES)
  • Micro/Nanomedical Research Centre (MNRC)
  • Functional Materials and Microsystems Group.

We also host a node of the ARC Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS).

Much of the work in these research centres and group is supported by the MicroNano Research Facility (MNRF).

In the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia assessment electrical and electronic engineering at RMIT was ranked at 'well above world standard'. In the 2015 QS world rankings we are ranked in the top 100 universities in the world in this area based on academic reputation, research citations and employer satisfaction.

Programme details

Duration: 1 year for Computer Aided Engineering and Design; 2 years for Telecommunication and Network Engineering, and Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

Start Date: February Computer Aided Engineering and Design; February and July for Telecommunication and Network Engineering, and Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

2017 Fees: AU$34,560 for Computer Aided Engineering and Design, and Telecommunication and Network Engineering; AU$35,520 for Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

RMIT University

Master of Information Systems Management at UNSW Australia

The Master of Information Systems Management (MISM) programme is for the information systems or computer science graduate or professional, looking to advance into management and leadership roles in the industry. The programme is comprehensive, challenging and contemporary, based on a set of Information Systems executive core competencies established through extensive US and EU research on Information Systems skills.

The Master of Information Systems Management aims to develop the core skills needed to succeed as an industry leader in information, communications and technology. You will obtain strong analytical and technical skills to assess, design, implement, and manage business information systems in a fast-changing business environment, across multiple organisations.

The objectives of the MISM are to provide:

  • The competencies needed for contemporary mid-level to senior level IT management, including:
    • A thorough understanding of the conceptual, theoretical and practical frameworks underpinning a broad range of IT management functions
    • The application of these concepts, theories, frameworks, techniques and skills.
  • An awareness of contemporary issues and development in the new and emerging national and international IT management landscape.
  • Exposure to world-class industry thinkers and leaders in IT management. 
  • The critical thinking and problem solving skills to develop your personal career ambitions. 
  • A dynamic, interactive, team-based learning environment with professional and experienced colleagues. 
  • An awareness of the career paths and option that exist for you. 

Professional Accreditation

The Master of Information Systems Management has been accredited by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) at the Professional Level, preparing graduates for professional practice in information and communications technology (ICT).

Students who complete INFS5700, INFS5710, INFS5720, INFS5730 will be eligible for a SAS Certificate in Business Analytics (awarded jointly by UNSW and SAS). SAS Certification credentials are globally recognised as the premier means to validate SAS knowledge. With a SAS Certification credential, you can set yourself apart from others and prove that you have the SAS knowledge to make a difference within an organisation.

Quick Facts

The MSIM requires completion of a total of 72 units of credit (UOC), normally completed full-time over three semesters. Up to four courses may be awarded based on previous studies and professional work experience.

Students can commence this programme in either Semester 1 (late February) or Semester 2 (late July).

Entry Requirements:

For the 1.5 years full-time programme

To be eligible for the programme, you need to have:

To apply with credit and study the Master of Information Systems Management as a 1 year full-time programme you need to have:

Either: A recognised Honours degree (with a research thesis) in information systems, information technology or computer science, with a Second Upper Class (2.1) or better

Or: A recognised bachelor degree (or equivalent qualification) in information systems, information technology or computer science with a credit average as determined by the UNSW Postgraduate Coursework Entry Calculator; and at least 2 years full-time relevant work experience

Programme details

Duration: 1.5 years (1 year with credit)

Start date: Semester 1 (February) or semester 2 (July)

2017 fees (indicative): AU$63,720

UNSW Australia

Master of Data Science at Monash University

What's the most attractive job of the 21st century? According to Harvard Business Review, it's being a data scientist. A job devoted to giving structure to large quantities of formless data. Ever-changing, ever-challenging big data.

The Master of Data Science (MDS) teaches you how to explore data and discover its potential – how to find innovative solutions to real problems in science, business and government, from technology start-ups to global organisations. With a degree in science, engineering, arts or computing, you can pursue a Master of Data Science, gaining skills in data management, data analytics and data processing – skills needed in this fast-growing field.

About the Master of Data Science

The MDS expands your knowledge of the analytical, organisational and computational aspects of data. You learn to manage data and gain an understanding of its impact on society.

The MDS caters to students from a variety of backgrounds by including foundation units in programming, databases and maths or statistics. However, if you have this background from previous studies or work experience, you may accelerate your study with an exemption from these units, or choose to take more data science electives.


The core coursework covers data science objectives, data analysis and data management. You then select data science electives such as applied data analysis, visualisation, data pre-processing, big data handling and data in society. You can also choose to take the Advanced Data Analytics stream where you build deeper skills in data analytics and machine learning.

Our highly regarded faculty takes great pride in developing the most up-to-date material while maintaining a solid core of established theory and platforms, including Python and R (two of the most popular open-source programming languages for data analysis), Hadoop and Spark (for distributed processing). You also gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art tools and get exposure to key industry players.

Industry Experience

In your final semester, you will take part in an Industry Experience team project, working with industry mentors to develop data-driven IT solutions. Or you will undertake a minor-thesis research project, investigating cutting-edge problems under the supervision of internationally recognised researchers.

Students wishing to exit early can complete with a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma of Data Science

Degree structure

This programme is structured in three parts:

PART A. Foundations for advanced data science studies

These studies will provide an orientation to the field of data science at graduate level. They are intended for students whose previous qualification is not in a cognate field.

PART B. Core Master's study

These studies draw on best practices within the broad realm of data science practice and research.  You will gain a critical understanding of theoretical and practical issues relating to data science. Your study will focus on your choice either of data science or advanced data analytics.

PART C. Advanced practice

The focus of these studies is professional or scholarly work that can contribute to a portfolio of professional development. You have two options.

The first option is a minor thesis research programme, consisting of a research project and a research methods training unit. Students wishing to use this Masters course as a pathway to a higher degree by research should take this first option.

The second option is a programme of coursework involving advanced study and an industry experience studio project.

Students admitted to the course, who have a recognised honours degree in a discipline cognate to data science, will receive credit for Part C, however, should they wish to complete a 24 point research project as part of the course they should consult with the course coordinator.

Entry requirements

Prospective students will need to hold an Australian undergraduate degree (or equivalent from another country) in any field.

Application process

Admission into this degree is assessed on the results of previous studies, where these studies have taken place and meeting other requirements, including English language.

Merit Scholarship

High achieving students applying for this programme could be eligible for a AU$6,000 scholarship.  Students will be automatically assessed for this opportunity when making an application. Contact Study Options or download the Monash University application form here.

Programme details

Duration: 2 years

Start date: Semester one (February) or semester 2 (July)

Tuition fees (2017): AU$37,000 per year

Watch a YouTube video about Data Science at Monash University

Monash University

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