Course Details

Course Code COMP3901/COMP3902
Course Title Special Project A/B
Convenor John Shepherd
Admin John Shepherd
Units of Credit 6/12
Course Website
Handbook Entry

Course Summary

This course aims to give excellent students an opportunity to work closely with a member of academic staff in a small research project or a substantial development project.

Assumed Knowledge

Students should have a solid grounding in computing fundamentals (programming, data structures, discrete maths).

This course is only available to students who meet the following criteria:

  • enrolled in a CSE stream (COMPx1, BINFAH, COMPBH, SENGAH)
  • completed all first and second year core requirements of the stream
  • WAM >= 80 in COMP/SENG/BINF courses
  • agreement from a suitable CSE academic supervisor.

Getting Enrolled

You can't enrol yourself in this course like other courses. Here's the process for enrolling:

  • check that you meet the entry requirements
  • find a supervisor and decide a topic with them
  • get the supervisor to enter the topic in TMS
  • ask jas@cse to organise your enrolment
  • apply for the topic in TMS and get supervisor approval

Student Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students wil be able tol:

  1. work under supervision on a research or development project
  2. communicate the results of a project in both written and verbal form.

This course contributes to the development of the following graduate capabilities:

Graduate Capability Acquired in
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems Project work
Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change Project work
Professionals capable of ethical, self- directed practice and independent lifelong learning Project work
Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way Project work


Item Due Marks
Presentation Week 11 20%
Report/System Week 11 80%

The precise deliverables will depend on the nature of the project. A highly theoretical project would require a report, preferably of publishable quality. A project involving quantitative research should similarly produce a report that is potentially publishable. A software development project would require a complete, tested system with analysis of usage, as well as a report on the development, and documentation. Ideally, the system would be able to be deployed in CSE (e.g. like Webcms3).


This gives a rough schedule for how the project might progress. Different projects may adopt different schedules.

Week Activity Notes
0 Meet with supervisor to determine nature/scope of project, sort out TMS entry -
1 Research: carry out background research/literature review
Development: produce detailed specification of system to be built
2 Research: complete literature review
Development: develop implementation plan; commence implementation
3-7 Work on Project -
8 Research: work on proofs; OR complete data collection and start analysis
Development: finalise implementation (MVP); start user testing
9 Research: complete proofs; OR complete data analysis
Development: refine system based on testing results
10 Research: Finalise report
Development: Complete user testing, write documentation
11 Give seminar on project; submit project report -

Teaching Strategies

This course is based entirely on research/development carried out by the student.

It is expected that the student meets weekly with their supervisor to report on progress.

Student Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct ( Information , Policy ) sets out what the University expects from students as members of the UNSW community. As well as the learning, teaching and research environment, the University aims to provide an environment that enables students to achieve their full potential and to provide an experience consistent with the University's values and guiding principles. A condition of enrolment is that students inform themselves of the University's rules and policies affecting them, and conduct themselves accordingly.

In particular, students have the responsibility to observe standards of equity and respect in dealing with every member of the University community. This applies to all activities on UNSW premises and all external activities related to study and research. This includes behaviour in person as well as behaviour on social media, for example Facebook groups set up for the purpose of discussing UNSW courses or course work. Behaviour that is considered in breach of the Student Code Policy as discriminatory, sexually inappropriate, bullying, harassing, invading another's privacy or causing any person to fear for their personal safety is serious misconduct and can lead to severe penalties, including suspension or exclusion from UNSW.

If you have any concerns, you may raise them with your lecturer, or approach the School Ethics Officer , Grievance Officer , or one of the student representatives.

Plagiarism is defined as using the words or ideas of others and presenting them as your own. UNSW and CSE treat plagiarism as academic misconduct, which means that it carries penalties as severe as being excluded from further study at UNSW. There are several on-line sources to help you understand what plagiarism is and how it is dealt with at UNSW:

Make sure that you read and understand these. Ignorance is not accepted as an excuse for plagiarism. In particular, you are also responsible that your assignment files are not accessible by anyone but you by setting the correct permissions in your CSE directory and code repository, if using. Note also that plagiarism includes paying or asking another person to do a piece of work for you and then submitting it as your own work.

UNSW has an ongoing commitment to fostering a culture of learning informed by academic integrity. All UNSW staff and students have a responsibility to adhere to this principle of academic integrity. Plagiarism undermines academic integrity and is not tolerated at UNSW. Plagiarism at UNSW is defined as using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own.

If you haven't done so yet, please take the time to read the full text of

The pages below describe the policies and procedures in more detail:

You should also read the following page which describes your rights and responsibilities in the CSE context:

Plagiarism will be particularly firmly dealt with in this course.

Resources for Students

Part of the work for this project is discovering your own resources, guided by your supervisor.

Course Evaluation and Development

Too few students take this course for it to be feasibly surveyed in MyExperience.

However, feel free to submit feedback to the Convenor on your experience.

Resource created Tuesday 06 September 2022, 02:39:42 PM, last modified Tuesday 06 September 2022, 02:54:51 PM.

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