Course Title: Preliminary Computer Science Honours Thesis

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Preliminary Computer Science Honours Thesis

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


140H Computer Science & Information Technology


Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 1 2019

Course Coordinator: Dr Ke Deng

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3202

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 14.9.12

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment, by email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Research Methods COSC2148 (co-requisite)

Each honours student must take the Preliminary Computer Science Honours Thesis (12 credit points) before the Computer Science Honours Thesis (36 credit points). The whole honours research project is worth 48 credit points in total. For part-time mode, part 1 and part 2 (24 credit points each) should be taken.

Note it is a condition of enrolment at RMIT that you accept responsibility for ensuring that you have completed the prerequisite/s and agree to concurrently enrol in co-requisite courses before enrolling in a course.

Course Description

The honours research project is designed to introduce students to the skills and character of computer science research. It is a substantial work of supervised research or development.

This course is the preliminary component of the honours research project. You will conduct a literature review and plan your research under the guidance of your supervisor.

For more information on the honours research project, see the Program Information Book, available from:

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes:

  • Enabling Knowledge:

You will gain skills as you apply knowledge effectively in one or more computer science and information technology disciplines. In doing so, you will:

-- demonstrate coherent and advanced knowledge of the underlying principles and concepts in computer science and information technology, including advanced understanding in some areas

-- recognise research principles and methods applicable to computer science and information technology.

  • Critical Analysis:

You will learn to accurately and objectively examine, consolidate and synthesise computer science and information technology (IT) concepts, evidence, theories or situations, and exercise critical thinking and judgement in developing new understanding, in particular to:

-- analyse and model requirements and constraints for the purpose of designing and implementing software and IT systems

-- evaluate and compare designs of software and IT systems on the basis of organisational and user requirements

-- design and use research in a project.

  • Problem Solving:

Your capability to analyse problems and identify and provide solutions to complex problems with intellectual independence as you learn to: design and implement software solutions that accommodate specified requirements and constraints, based on analysis or modelling or requirements specification.

  • Communication:

You will learn to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences through a range of modes and media, in particular to: present a clear, coherent and independent exposition of systems, alternative IT solutions, and decision recommendations to both IT and non-IT personnel via technical reports of professional standard and technical presentations.

  • Responsibility:

You will be required to accept responsibility and accountability for your own learning and make informed decisions about judging and adopting appropriate behaviour in professional and social situations. This includes accepting the initiative and responsibility for independent life-long learning.

  • Research and Scholarship:

You will have technical and communication skills to design, evaluate, implement, analyse and theorise about developments that contribute to professional practice or scholarship; specifically you will have cognitive skills:

-- to demonstrate coherent and advanced theoretical knowledge and adapt knowledge and skills in diverse contexts

-- to plan and execute project work and/or a piece of research and scholarship with some independence.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  • identify a task or problem relevant to computer science and/or IT
  • search and review of the relevant literature
  • propose a partial solution to the task or problem
  • establish effective research practices under supervision
  • present a survey of the research literature and research plan in written form.

Overview of Learning Activities

Work on the honours thesis actually takes place during the whole of the honours program, not just in one semester. The initial work on the research project is done as part of the course Research Methods and Preliminary Computer Science Honours Thesis.

The preliminary work (this course) aims to better prepare each honours student for the subsequent Computer Science Honours Thesis. Under guided supervision and through regular consultation with your supervisor, you will learn how to identify problems, conduct a literature review, use research methodologies, and exercise critical thinking. From this, you will produce a literature review and a project plan report in preparation for your honours thesis.

Overview of Learning Resources

For extra support with study organisation, assignment planning or learning skills you may wish to contact any of the following:

Study and Learning Centre:
To make appointments or just drop-in for learning support, see location, times, and contact details, as well as self-help learning support resources, via:

Overview of Assessment

The preliminary thesis course will be assessed based on your research plan report, which describes research objectives, scope, methodologies, hypotheses, potential research contributions, including a literature review report and an outline of the thesis. The proposal will be assessed by at least 2 examiners.

For more details on the assessment criteria and process see the program information book.

For standard assessment details, including deadlines, weightings and requirements relating to Computer Science and IT courses see: