Frequently asked questions

If you have a question that is not answered here, or elsewhere on our site, we encourage you to e-mail or phone 905-688-5550 x3513 with your query.

Computer Science is the study of computers, especially the interaction of their hardware and software. Computer Scientists develop software that makes the best use of hardware while providing ease of use and speed to the user. They develop operating systems, database management systems, artificial intelligence programs, animation and multimedia programs, as well as business and medical applications.

Faculty are readily available for student consultation. Both our Mentor and our Student Support Coordinator are also available in assisting students.

We follow a rigorous curriculum (ACM) regularly brought up-to-date. For instance we have been teaching and using Java as our main language of instruction since 1996, and have had a course on Computing Ethics since 1997.

Java is our language of instruction for programming. It is a modern object-oriented programming language used in industry. It is also an excellent language to use when learning computer programming.

Many of our top students have elected to continue their studies towards a master’s or doctorate degree at a variety of universities including Waterloo, Dalhousie, Simon Fraser, Guelph, University of Alberta, Cambridge (England), the University of Buffalo and of course Brock.

We encourage excellence in teaching and research. Many projects and research papers are integrated into our undergraduate courses. In particular, our Project courses produce many publications by students, which is a great selling point for employers and graduate schools. Courses on advanced topics (such as Genetic Algorithms, Machine Learning, Neural Networks) are directly linked to our faculty’s research areas.

Students are not only required to design and write programs, but several courses require them to give presentations and to participate in seminars.

We have a full-time staff member whose main objective is to mentor our first year students.

Our full-time Student Support Coordinator advises students in all years of our program, and helps students navigate our curriculum.

A professional experience component is available (Co-op) allowing a student to work full time in a job related to Computer Science for a total of 1 year of on-site job experience.

We have wireless Internet access within the Department for those students who wish to bring in their own laptops.

Our Computer Science Club organizes pizza lunches to mingle with faculty and other students, film evenings, games nights and peer tutoring.

All students are required to design and code many programming assignments in their various courses. Students can normally complete a lot of this programming work on their own computers, but our labs are available for use 24/7; Teaching Assistant help is during scheduled lab times.

We complete against other universities and colleges at the annual East Central North America Regional ACM Intercollegiate Programming Contest. Our teams routinely rank among the top teams at this contest.

All students are required to complete a group project in their 4th year (COSC 4P02) which is something sought after by employees mainly because of group dynamics. Students who complete one of our project courses (COSC 3P99 or 4F90) can show employers that they are also capable of individual work.

Honours concentrations: Software Engineering gives exposure to software development, networks, operating systems. Intelligent Systems: exposure to robotics, machine learning, computational intelligence.

We have a BCB (Bachelor of Computing and Business) degree for the computer professional with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Brock University regulations define the broad requirements for a second degree. The departmental requirements supply more details.

Here are answers to a few common questions regarding a second degree:

1. What courses should I take?

This is a typical course selection pattern for an Honours second degree:

  • Year 1: COSC 1P02, 1P03, 1P50, MATH 1P12, MATH 1P66, 1P67 and 1P98.
  • Spring: COSC 2P03
  • Year 2: COSC 2P05, 2P12, 2P13, 3P03, 3P32, 3P71, MATH 1P05 and 1P06
  • Year 3: COSC 4P01, 4P02, 4P61, and two COSC credits numbered 3(alpha)90 or above

Note that a prerequisite to a course means that you must have prior credit in that prerequisite. Also, you normally need 60% in the prerequisite in order to proceed.

2. Must I take COSC 1P02?

Yes! See Note 1

3. Can I complete the second degree in one year?

No! You still need to follow the main pre-requisite chain of COSC 1P02/3, 2P03 and 4P01/2.

4. How many credits must I take?

For a second degree, you need to take 11.5 Brock credits.

5. I have been given a transfer credit for MATH 1P97 (for instance). How does that affect my course selection?

You must replace the credit with an elective from Year 2 or higher. It is logical to choose this elective credit from COSC and/or MATH. But note that you must still complete 11.5 Brock credits!

That’s not a big problem because the first year course, COSC 1P02, is an introduction to Computer Science intended for students without programming experience. If you’ve never used a computer before, you can still succeed in the course, if you’re willing to spend some additional time in the computer labs getting to know your way around.

For those not interested in majoring in computer science, an alternative is to take an Applied Computing course, like APCO 1P00 or APCO 1P01, to get acquainted with computers and some commonly used software. An APCO minor is highly recommended as well.

If you’re thinking of the pocket-protector type, think again! What you need to succeed in Computer Science is imagination, intelligence (not genius), creativity, persistence and, above all, the desire. People from all walks of life study Computer Science for varied reasons, but many are propelled by the simple quest for knowledge; to know how these mysterious machines work their magic and to find ways of making them more useful, easier to use, and faster. Sweatshirts and jeans are the rule; pocket-protectors the exception.

Java is a modern, object-oriented programming language that is an excellent language for learning computer programming. It also has the advantage of being able to interface with just about any computer system platform, which is why so many World Wide Web (WWW) and Internet applications are being written in it. It is also used in industry.

Typically, a first year COSC course has over 150 students registered for lecture, and those students have lab sessions in smaller groups of about 25 with a teaching assistant (TA) present to answer questions and assist with problems.

Second and third year courses are often in the range of 80-120 students, and fourth year courses usually have only 20-40 students enrolled.

Additional types of assistance are available for students with special needs, from specialized computers and technical aids to note-taking services. You can obtain more information about these services from the Student Success Centre.

Every student, male or female, is encouraged to share his or her ideas and concerns about obstacles to success in Computer Science at Brock, particularly those issues which may discourage or prevent women from fully participating in a Computer Science degree program. The Department has Women in Computing meetings throughout the year. This encourages women in the department to meet together to socialize and share their experiences.

Brock University offers access to computer labs, but space and access times may be limited.

Students wishing to use their laptop or desktop for course work should note the following operating requirements * (updated in May 2021):

  • Processor: Intel Core or AMD Ryzen processors (quad-core or better)
  • RAM Memory: 8GB minimum (ideally 16GB)
  • Storage: 128GB minimum (SSD drives are recommended on laptops)
  • Dedicated Graphics Card: if included, CUDA-capable models are advised **
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (Linux OS for a few courses)


* Minimum requirements are based on the system requirements of third-party software and may change without warning.

* Brock University is not responsible for changes in technical requirements, and students should confirm these specifications at the time of purchase.

* We do not guarantee that all courses can be run on personal hardware due to special hardware and software requirements.

** Some upper-year Computer Science courses (3PXX and 4PXX) benefit from CUDA-enabled GPUs.