Honours in Computer Science Programme
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The honours programme in Computer Science, CSC4000W/CSC4003W/CSC4016W, is designed to provide students with the professional basis for a career path in the computer industry, and/or to embark upon a research programme at Masters level. CSC4000W is taken by students with a BSc with a major in Computer Science from UCT. Students in their final year of the Bachelor of Business Science (Computer Science) take CSC4003W. All other students take CSC4016W.
The number of places in the Honours programme is limited and students are selected on merit from the list of applicants each year. Criteria for selection are your Computer Science mark achieved in each of your three years of undergraduate studies and, to a lesser degree, the marks achieved in mathematics. Students who have not achieved at least a 65% average in their final year of Computer Science will only be admitted in exceptional circumstances.
Honours Module Credits
An honours coursework credit corresponds to 2.4 lectures worth of material. A 10 credit module would thus correspond to 24 lectures on the honours timetable. The practical assignments associated with a module can either be included in the course or can make up an additional 5 credits. If the practical work is considered part of a module then proportionately fewer lectures are given and this will be stated in the entry for the module.
The Honours Year
The honours year commences two weeks before the undergraduate courses. Since the courses given in the initial period are compulsory, it is not possible to excuse any student from attendance during this period. The Professional Communication Unit (PCU) segment of the Research Methods module is completed during the first two weeks of honours. The New Venture Planning module and the rest of the Research Methods modules also commence in this period.
The optional modules are given in three blocks: the first two blocks correspond roughly to the first two quarters of the first semester while the shorter third block is at the start of the second semester; after the third block students devote themselves exclusively to their full-time projects. The only exceptions to this structure are in the case of external modules taken by students.
All modules given in a block will be completed by the end of that block and no extensions will be granted to complete work after this period. The projects will be allocated by the start of the second quarter and various project related milestones have to be met from then on until the final report for the project is due in early November.
A total of 160 credits must be obtained during the course of the academic year. These credits are awarded as follows:
Research Methods and New Venture Planning are compulsory modules that must be completed by every student. You may select any remaining modules as electives, subject to the credit limits cited in Course Work.
This is an intensive full time course and may not be taken together with other courses or employment. Permission to deviate from this will only be given in exceptional circumstances by the Programme Coordinator. Your weekly workload will be between 40 and 48 hours per week.
For each lecture hour you should allocate at least two hours of extra work to review material and for the associated tutorials and practicals.
Approximately eight weeks have been reserved in the final term to allow students to focus entirely on their honours project. All lectures and practicals will be concluded before this period commences. Before this final eight week block you should allocate at least 5 hours per week to supervisor meetings, planning your project, reading background material etc., during the second and third quarters.
Although this eight weeks project block is available, you should allocate at least 3 hours per week to supervisor meetings, planning your project, reading background material etc.
You should also allocate one hour per week to attend departmental colloquia. Please note that attendance of at least 50% of the colloquia is mandatory. A register will be kept if necessary.
The department offers sufficient modules at Honours level for you to fulfil your course work requirement. Subject to restrictions mentioned below you may take selected modules from other courses and Departments. You may take the Computer Graphics module from the Games Course for 10 credits. You may also take modules from other departments, provided they are of an appropriate level and have relevance to Computer Science. Unless such modules are listed in this document you have to obtain permission from the Honours Course Coordinator before they will be accepted.
As noted above you can only gain credit for a particular module if you obtain 40% in the final assessment for the module.
To fulfil the course work requirement the following rules apply:
Students are encouraged to take External Modules (given by other UCT departments) to broaden their education. Note, however, that any module you register for outside the department must be approved by the programme coordinator.
Most lectures are scheduled for periods 1 — 5 however Monday and Friday afternoons may also be used for lectures in periods 6 — 8. The timetable is drawn up in consultation with lecturers to best accommodate their lecture commitments and even out the work load. Computer Science colloquia are normally held during the lunch hour and normally on a Thursday.
A list of the modules available for the year will be handed at the start of the course. You will be asked to indicate your choice of modules within the first 2 weeks of the course. You may not register for more than 120 course credits all together. Only the registered modules will be considered in calculating your final mark.
Additional modules for credit may be offered during the year to take advantage of the expertise of visiting lecturers.
Apart from such additional modules you may only drop or add a module with the approval of the lecturer concerned and the programme coordinator. Such approval must be requested and given in writing and will not be granted if more than 1/6th of the lectures have already been given in the module concerned.
Modules are usually examined after the completion of the block in which the module was given. External courses are usually examined in the University examination periods (May/June and October/November). However, the Department is free to schedule examinations at any sensible time after the completion of the relevant coursework. Examinations written outside the department are scheduled by the department in question. There is typically one two-hour examination per two credit module in Computer Science Honours. Open book and take-home examinations are preferred by some lecturers.
The examination timetable is the responsibility of the teaching assistant and lecturers concerned and is drawn up shortly before the examination period.
After the mid-year examinations, students may be given an indication of how they performed. Note that only a provisional symbol is released after the mid-year examination as it is University policy to release only a single mark for the whole Honours course and the exam papers will not have been seen by the external examiner at this stage.
The Major Project
Students are required to complete a major project under the supervision of a member of staff, possibly in conjunction with an outside supervisor. The project offers students the challenge of completing a substantial research or software development task in a professional way. Another objective of the project is to teach students to plan and work as a team.
Projects involving multiple students are required, but they are structured so that there are readily identifiable components for each person to complete. Your contribution to the overall project will be written up separately and so must constitute a piece of work that can be independently assessed.
The project topics are presented to the honours class towards the end of the first quarter and allocated to the teams by the start of the second quarter. You are expected to start work from the second quarter onwards and meet your project supervisor weekly. A final block of about eight weeks has been set aside in the last term, to allow you to work only on your project.
A great deal of importance is placed on making regular progress throughout the project period. A detailed list of milestones has been drawn up to help you plan your work. It contains deadlines and specifications of what has to be handed in or presented. The list is handed out when the projects are assigned.
Project Choice and Allocation
Normally academic staff will propose the projects, but you are welcome to submit your own project idea provided that the project has significant Computer Science content and that a staff member can be found to oversee the project. Contact the honours programme coordinator for the full requirements. The department does reserve the right to reject such proposals.
It is your responsibility to discuss the proposed projects with the supervisors concerned. You need to form a team of students with the right expertise to complete the task. You will then make a prioritised list of project preferences. You have about two weeks in which to make your choice after receiving the list of projects. As soon as possible thereafter the projects will be allocated. Every attempt will be made to accommodate your wishes while equalizing the workloads of staff.
Each project group is required to produce a formal project proposal which will be vetted by the staff. Guidelines for each of these will be distributed once the projects have been approved.
The final project report must be handed in to the Honours Coordinator no later than the specified due date. A maximum of three days beyond the official hand in time is permitted, but you will incur a penalty for such a delay. Extensions are only granted if the delays in completing the project are beyond the reasonable control of the student(s) concerned.
The project report should constitute a comprehensive description of your project. A document detailing what such a report should contain will be handed out when the projects are allocated. No report may be submitted without the prior approval of the project supervisor. The supervisor may require alterations and so the final draft must be available in good time for it to be read by your supervisor and revised by you.
The deliverables of the project may change from year to year but are likely to include:
Award for Best Project
The department has instituted an award for the best project in each year. This goes to the team who has achieved the best overall result in their project in a particular year.
2008: WiiRobot: Teleoperation of Rescue Robots in Urban Search and Rescue Tasks by Jason Brownbridge and Graeme Smith.
2009: Dynamic Content in Procedural Generation by Richard Baxter and Zacharia Crumley.
2010: Gesture-based Games with the iPad by Pierre Benz, Nina Schiff and Daniel Wood.
2011: A Sketch-based Interface for Modelling Trees and Plants by Matthew Black, Mark Dahoner and Neil Goldberg.
2012: Smart Security Systems in an Internet of Things Environment by Alexander Comer-Crook, Simon Groll, Shaun Michaels
Duly Performed Certificate
Students will only be allowed to proceed with the second semester if, by the end of the first semester, they have an overall average of 50% in their course work having gained credit for at least:
Students who do not meet these requirements will be listed as having been Refused a Duly Performed Certificate and their class record will show DPR. Such students will be entitled to a refund of 50% of their course fees and may apply to repeat the course as outlined here.
Computing the Final Mark
The final course mark will be computed as follows:
The following subminima are applied for the Honours in Computer Science programme:
A student who achieves each of the above subminima will pass the course.
Computer Science Department — Policy on Repeating Honours
Students have no automatic right to repeat honours if they failed to meet the requirements for awarding the degree. If a student wishes to repeat honours, a new internal honours application and a letter of motivation have to be addressed to the Honours Course Coordinator. Such applicants will be considered after all new students for the course who meet the criteria for admission have been accommodated. All applicants wishing to repeat the year as well as students who do not meet normal admission criteria will be considered together. All special applications for admission to honours have to be made by the end of last week of December.
 These two hours could be allocated as one hour of theory review and one hour of practical work for a standard module or some other appropriate combination for a more practical or theoretical module.
 We regard the CSC4003W course for Business Science students as one with only 80 credits of coursework. A course in Business Strategy is taken and no outside courses are counted. The average mark is therefore calculated as described on the best 80 Computer Science credits.
|Last modified: 06 February 2013|