COSC131-22SU2 (C) Summer Nov 2022 start

Introduction to Programming for Engineers

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 14 November 2022
End Date: Sunday, 12 February 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 27 November 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 22 January 2023


Computer programming in a high-level language with special emphasis on numerical computation. This course is required for engineering intermediate and is an alternative to COSC121 as a prerequisite for COSC122 and all 200 level COSC and SENG courses. COSC131 teaches the fundamentals of computer programming using the Python language and can be taken by students who have no previous programming background. Topics include expressions, assignment, selection and iteration, structured data (lists, dictionaries, tuples, arrays), functional decomposition, file processing, numerical computation with numpy, graph plotting with matplotlib, some basic numerical algorithms and an introduction to object-oriented programming.

2021 Covid-19 Update: Please refer to the course page on AKO | Learn for up-to-date information about your course, including lectures, labs, tutorials and assessments.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:
Understand the fundamental Python data types and their applications.
Be able to implement basic algorithms using selection, iteration and function calling.
Be able to apply their understanding of the Python language in designing, implementing and testing programs to solve simple problems in science and engineering.
Be able to (re)structure code using functions to reduce complexity.
Be able to use the numpy numerical library to perform a range of numerical calculations and to use the matplotlib library to plot graphs.
Be familiar with several basic numerical algorithms for root finding, numerical integration and series evaluation.
Be familiar with simple object oriented programming in Python.
Be able to review and assess the quality and maintainability of Python code.


1) MATH101, or
2) NCEA 14 Credits (18 strongly recommended) at level 3 Mathematics (including the standards 'Apply differentiation methods in solving problems (91578)' and 'Apply integration methods in solving problems (91579)'), or
3) Cambridge: D at A level or an A at AS level in Mathematics, or
4) IB: 4 at HL or 5 at SL in Mathematics, or
5) approval of the Head of Department based on alternative prior learning.


Timetable Note

There will be an introductory lecture/meeting in the first week and two lab sessions to help students get set-up. There will be weekly lab sessions during the semester - the time for these will be decided after consulting with the class.

Computer labs are optional.

The mid-semester test will be run as an online quiz that students can do from anywhere.

Students must attend the final exam on campus.

Course Coordinator

Paul McKeown


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Weekly Learning Modules 15%
Weekly Drill Quizzes 8%
Assignment 27 Jan 2023 7%
Test (online) 16 Dec 2022 10%
Final Exam (on Campus) 10 Feb 2023 60%

Note:  Students must attend the on-campus final exam

Textbooks / Resources

There is no prescribed textbook for the course, as the lecture notes, videos and learning modules should be sufficient for most students. However, those wanting extra reading might wish to consider some of the recommended reading given on the Learn site of the course.

Additional Course Outline Information

Assessment and grading system

Assessment and grading system
The Computer Science department's grading policy states that in order to pass a course you must meet both of the following two requirements:
1. You must achieve an average of at least 50% on the combined assessment items.
2. You must achieve a mark of at least 45% on the Final Exam as this is the sole invigilated assessment item.
If you satisfy both these criteria, your grade will be determined by the following University-wide scale for converting marks to grades: a total mark of 50% is sufficient for a C- grade, a total mark of 55% earns a C grade, 60% earns a C+ grade, 65% earns a B- grade, and so forth. However, if you do not satisfy both the passing criteria you will be given either a D or E grade depending on marks. Marks are sometimes scaled to achieve consistency between courses from year to year.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $892.00

International fee $4,563.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Fees Note


Your usercode on our computer system enables you to access a range of services. Some of these services are not free and you are responsible for ensuring that your account contains sufficient funds to cover any charges you incur. If your account balance becomes negative then you may be unable to use any computer facilities until you have cleared this debt. The Computer Science Department is not involved with the financial details of your account - you should go to the Information and Communications Technology Services (ICTS) Department for this.
The main chargeable service you are likely to make use of is printing. To use chargeable services you will need to have money loaded on your Canterbury Card.

See the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) Department home page for details of services and charges.

For further information see Computer Science and Software Engineering .

All COSC131 Occurrences