COSC131-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024

Introduction to Programming for Engineers

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2024
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 28 July 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 29 September 2024


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 and an introduction to object-oriented programming.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:
1. Understand Python data structures and flow control constructs and their applications.
2. Be able to apply their understanding of the Python language to design, implement and test programs that solve simple problems in science and engineering.
3. Be able to (re)structure code using functions to reduce complexity.
4. Be able to use the NumPy numerical library to perform a range of numerical calculations and to use the Matplotlib library to plot graphs.
5. Be familiar with simple Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) in Python.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.


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 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 09:00 - 10:00 A1 Lecture Theatre
15 Jul - 21 Jul
Computer Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 10:00 - 12:00 Jack Erskine 010 Computer Lab (15/7-19/8, 9/9-14/10)
Jack Erskine 001 Computer Lab (15/7-19/8, 9/9-14/10)
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
02 Tuesday 13:00 - 15:00 Jack Erskine 010 Computer Lab (16/7-20/8, 10/9-15/10)
Jack Erskine 001 Computer Lab (16/7-20/8, 10/9-15/10)
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
03 Wednesday 10:00 - 12:00 Jack Erskine 010 Computer Lab (17/7-21/8, 11/9-16/10)
Jack Erskine 001 Computer Lab (17/7-21/8, 11/9-16/10)
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
04 Friday 16:00 - 18:00 Jack Erskine 010 Computer Lab (19/7-23/8, 13/9-18/10)
Jack Erskine 001 Computer Lab (19/7-23/8, 13/9-18/10)
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct

Course Coordinator

Andrew Bainbridge-Smith


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Learning Modules 11% Weekly
Programming Assignments 14% Two Assignments
Test 1 5%
Test 2 15%
Final Exam 55%

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 course's Learn site.

The software used in the course is free and is available on all course laboratory computers. It can be installed on nearly all reasonably modern home computers except Chromebooks.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $942.00

International fee $4,988.00

* 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.

For further information see Computer Science and Software Engineering .

All COSC131 Occurrences