Home > Computer/Technology, Programming, UoM > Unofficial Guide – BSc Computer Science at University of Mauritius (UoM)

Unofficial Guide – BSc Computer Science at University of Mauritius (UoM)

Looking forward to study Computer Science at UoM? Well, it’s your lucky quarter! Read on…

Post Updated on 23-Jul-10

Here is a post i’ve been wanting to do. I just completed my first year in BSc Computer Science. So, i thought, why not share it to you guys and gals? Then i thought, what to actually share? Am i going to briefly describe the course? Give an overview of the each module? Give you tips? Insider news? Well i am not going to give you just the taste of it, but also all the sauce and flavor served with it and ingredients to tackle it successfully. Note that the appropriate target audience for this post is (1) person contemplating doing CS at UoM, (2) You are a newcomer and need a guideline, (3) You wanna jump into the IT field ’cause you read some nice job ads, (4) You are a computer geek and wanna learn some formal stuffs, (5) You have nothing else to do and curious by nature, (6) You’ve heard there’s gonna be a lot of hardcore Math and you’re scared shitless. πŸ˜†

Welcome to the new, exciting, University life. This isn’t college anymore. Gone are the days of afternoon tuitions! Forget your A-Level results. Good or Bad, just forget it. It doesn’t matter now. Who cares for your A-Level result when you will be working as a Software Engineer for instance. It is your skills at work which counts. This is on what your employers will assess you. You are now grown up and need to be more self-dependent. You’ll have to do lot of work on your own and don’t expect your lecturers to spoon feed you. Just scroll down at the bottom of this post and look at the figures for number of failures. Yes, it won’t be easy and you’ll be spending a few sleepless nights as well! If you input just the right amount of effort, your output will be successful. If not, then you will need to do some debugging :). OK, your first bookmark should be the departmental website of Computer Science and Engineering. CSE for short. Actually learning the URL by heart will be better and handier than bookmarking it. Please go take a look at it if you haven’t, it will give you a good overview. Second one should be the academic resources website of the Computer Science & Engineering department. As its impressive name suggests, it contains all the resources you will need. To put it in another angle: the lecture notes. It is affectionately called moodle by the lecturers. I always thought it was pretty stupid to call it by that name. You are no longer in secondary school where your note taking skills is stretched. Everything will be there- at the mercy of your personal lecturer of course. Let me debrief you on the courses that fall under the Faculty of Engineering which contain the “IT” element in its name: (clicking on it give you the programme)

Can you guess the common element in all these programmes? (Spare me the word IT plz). Can you? **Drum roll** if you factored out the word programming then you are spot-on. But there are subtle differences. The first three are very different from the last two. They have different aims and objectives. Personally i have a hard time trying to find the differences between ECS and ICT. They are practically the same. It is much more Engineering oriented, contains lot of stuff on computer engineering and focus heavily on Electronics. If you are more of a hardware guy than a software one then you are probably better cut for these two. Don’t underestimate them, these programs are tuff. They are also much more mathematically oriented than CS/CA/IS. They have in them the famous and vicious MATH1111 module + the all-rounder Analytical Methods which you dont get in CS/IS/CA. Math savvy love those stuffs actually. There scope is completely different. Besides, they both fall in love under the Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) Dept. Not CSE.

Time for CS/IS/CA triplets and the merry CSE dept to kick in. These nice and cunning looking programmes have a lot of element in common but they also have some subtle differences. Actually CS is quite different and has a different scope to the IS/CA duos. And what are the differences between IS and CA? I don’t know. There Aims and Objectives vaguely mean the same thing. Note that CA was only introduced in 2009. It is new. Is this an excuse of taking an additional 100 students? Maybe. Most probably. Only difference is that IS students get into the bath quicker than their CA friends. Actually the first year IS has almost the same depth as the first year CS. In the past (before the new syllabus in 2009) CS and IS for first year were identical. They were yearly as well but now it’s reverted to semester-wise, which is a good thing. And the amount of students failing in a module in IS is astounding! CA starts very smoothly compared to IS. It’s pretty empty in the first semester. You will be doing modules whose name start with “Intro to” and “fundamentals of”. Surprisingly in CA, you will start writing computer programs in the second semester. Well i know i’m making CA sounds like something very easy -its not. Don’t be lured in this trap. Things will get pretty even and on par with IS by the second year.

Now it is time to focus on Computer Science. First semester was OK but second semester was heavier (and harder). For description on individual module please see the programme. Here is a quick personal review of the modules (I love this part of the post, lol):

First Semester

Computer Programming (2 + 2):

You will be using the Python Programming language as your first language

2 + 2 doesn’t equals to 4 but equals to 2 hours lecture (in a class preferably) and 2 hours practical (an Internet-enabled computer with a python interpreter will do the job). Per week.
THE most important module. If you are an ΓΌber geek, you can safely skip this read :). You better focus on the ACM – ICPC programming contest. For others, you need to master this one. I love programming but do you? Some persons have a lot of difficulty in this. Programming is an art, like painting or writing. Are you a computer artist? You may love computers (like have an amazing browsing, MSN, facebook and other kinds of social skills ability) but you may suck at programming. Like Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) once said, Apple have great artist that happened to be computer scientist too. You should possess problem solving skills. It’s like a puzzle. If you actually fail to clear this module, its better you step aside and back off, i.e., quit this course. I may sound crude and cruel but it’s a fact. I had a friend that i had to motivate a lot for him to stay. He failed it. He’s an intelligent guy but not a skilled programmer. You will program in Python. If you are at home doing nothing, you better get your hands dirty. You will be using Python Programming: An introduction to Computer Science [e]Book. Sadly it is not easily available in Mauritius, you will have to order it (it costs 1500rs) or buy it from amazon which is cheaper or simply get an ebook. It is lying free on the internet – search for it :lol:. Now repeat with me: Do All the Labsheets. Repeat again (loop) 10 times. It is the key. And >60% of the exams questions you gonna get will come from labsheets. You will also realise the importance of the famous quote “practice makes perfect” in this module.

Database Systems I (2+2):
Very boring at start with theories but ultimately uplifting. You will be in a sleepy mood in the lectures lol. A decent module to score! It is not difficult. You will work in Postgre SQL. You will have a practical test on SQL. Then you’ll do stuff such as Relational algebra and relational calculus which is not as scary as it sounds.

Mathematics for Computing (3+0)
You are going to do lot of intimidating manoeuvres with matrices, like a whole month dedicated to it. Then enter the mighty statistics. You better brush up your S1 and S2 mad skillz with that Crawshaw book before getting to the stats part. There isn’t any calculus (integration/differentiation) involved. You will have an assignment to complete using Python. Your skills on manipulating digits and performing calculations will be tested. And oh, the exam was pretty hardcore! You have to be quick or u’ll be dead. It was by far the most difficult exam for the first semester.

Formal Logic (3+0)
A cool module by all means. It’s also interesting and something new. You must know all your forumla well though, you’ll gonna have a lots… Side note: the last chapter was difficult to handle. I didn’t personally handle it at all which cost me dearly in exams.

Digital Logic (3+0)
I loved this one. A lot hated it. This module was taught by a teacher from the EEE dept. A class i never missed cause it was darn interesting. You might be a bit lost in the beginning classes – a lot were. But you will ease into it. You will be doing electronic circuits designs and schematics. Gates/K Maps/Boolean algebra/Multiplexers/flip flops/registers and so on. It is important you keep yourself up-to-date with it. Note that there won’t be doing any hardware programming language like HDL for instance.

Communication Skills (3+0)
I got a cool lecturer that made life easier. It can be a stressing module. You may pass through it or collapse. You will have to do 2 speeches (1 on special occasion and one on a prepared topic!). Ouch. Exam was smooth though :P. Everything i revised on the eve was on the paper, lucky me!

Second Semester

For this one prepare yourself for an overdose of new programming languages and concepts. It was heavier as compared to semester I as i said before.

You will have Web tech I where you need to make an assignment which is 25% of the module. A module that cry for the following line: “learn on your own and cope with it”. You’ll use HTML, PHP, CSS and some Ajax if you can. You will be doing a lot of coding [initially] by looking at other codes on the Internet, believe me. You will be confronted with the terrible individual presentation where the lecturer comes to you menacingly and will ask you questions on this and that. Lady luck must be on your side. I personally had a bad experience with this which cost me a lot of marks even though it was a carefully crafted website that worked flawlessly.

Discrete maths is not difficult at all. The lighter of all modules. The most difficult chapter is probably the last on graph theory.

In the aptly named, Human Computer Interaction (HCI) you will have a bunch load of theory- for me it was annoying and disturbing! But nonetheless an important thing to learn on program interface design. You will also be having 2 assignments in visual basic .NET. Time consuming stuffs, but the lecturer was quite generous with marks. The focus will be on design rather than the codes and functionality.

Then the el magnifico Programming Paradigms, enter Java for OOP, Scheme for functional, PROLOG for logic. Again it is programming, things i said above applies here too. Needless to say it’s a daunting module for the uninitiated where you need to focus and practice a lot. It is time consuming.

Computer architecture a fascinating subject but actually you won’t be doing any actual assembly programming in MIPS or Intel x86, no no. Aargg.. hated that. It’s more preformance-centric and to a lesser extent theoretical.

And oh that GEM the most annoying module of all time :S. If you do entrepreneurship you will have to make a Business plan (containing accountings things such as Balance sheet and Cash flows). Note that it is 6 credits and a yearly module! pfff…

Practical training lasted for a week and will be carried out in holiday. That was cool and sometimes had fun. Not all the time! Coolest things was making a simple network by statically changing IP. And you will be making your own cross-over cable…

You may notice an alarming number of occurrence of the word “time consuming” here. It is the standout words for the second semester. The assignments may seem like an infinite loop!

Numbers for second semester
On a total of 125 students (~25 were Repeaters):

21 terminated.
65 failed in Web Tech I
60 failed in Programming Paradigms
55 failed in Computer Architecture

As you can see, its a lot. There weren’t a lot of “passed all modules” students. Even “good” student fail. Many cleared their module(s) with a D grade and passing with a D means you can’t retake the module. And it hurts your CPA. Never aim for a D in any module! The most probable outcome will be a F (for Fail). Failing on a module is very hard to swallow. Most of the time students who fail in one or more module(s) say did their maximum. What they lacked were proper learning techniques or methodologies. But there are cases where simply weren’t enough effort from them or took it too lightly.

I hoped you enjoyed reading it and this post will help you decide which IT Course is best suited for you. Replies are as always, welcomed πŸ™‚
–roshans89

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  1. July 13, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    This post is very nice to read, Roshan.

    I am happy that you are finding your studies interesting and that you like programming. Keep on working seriously and you’ll surely become an excellent Computer Scientist πŸ™‚

    • July 13, 2010 at 6:36 pm

      WOW, thanks for these kind words! And thanks for your advice, i will πŸ˜›

  2. Afzal
    July 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    nice intro sa roshan.. keep it up!
    hope li help motivate ban newcomers tousa.. πŸ˜›
    mo p pense start blogging soon la…

    • July 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

      Thanks Afzal πŸ™‚

      Blogging la ene very good idea, to kav improve to english and technical writing at the same time πŸ™‚ Et fer ene truk ki creatif in your free time.

  3. Mithilesh
    July 14, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    WoW…wat an innovative n creative idea of making this informative Blog!

  4. Deepika
    August 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    hi… gr8 wrk!!:)
    i`ve just strted CSE..
    just read ur blog.. from the start.. i was quit cool..wow..CS is nice..
    vers la fin.. sa me fait peur!!!!
    :S
    hehe

    • August 9, 2010 at 11:17 pm

      Hi Deepika! Well good luck for your studies. I hope you’ll enjoy it! Lol, yeah actually semester 2 was harder compared to semester I. Except only 1 person, everyone’s CPA dropped :S. (incl. mine)

  5. kavish
    August 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    nice job πŸ™‚

    si bne dimoun cuma tw pu les annΓ©es a venir, pu mari seryer:)

    bne newcomer la pu senti at ease

    best of luck for you studies

    πŸ™‚

  6. Vedika
    February 1, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Well couma to pe explique sa Computer Science and Engineering la li ok couma to p dire Computer Application li start lightly mais enfin kont Computer Application la plupart du temp pe faire zis practical compare to IS/CSE, BCA ena plus la chance pou gng en job ek pa bizin okan training pou rentrer coz BCA deja en practical skill
    till now BCA in fini faire practical lor COMPUTER ADMINISTRATION; couma work lor linux ek couma done user authentication.
    Network adminstration couma travail lor en reseau + practical touzour lor linux
    Event driven programming ; expertise lor vb.net

    If someone really need to discover new thing in programming or how these machines work so they better join BCA compared to IS/CSE only theory, less practical session

    • March 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm

      Work lor linux ek couma done user authentication covered dan practical training. Kuma install linux ek partition avek dual boot. Plus some basic shell commands.
      Enan 1 module Operating Systems fer system call dan linux in C.

      Reseau in fer imP dan practical training aussi.. connect 2 PCs using cross over cable and connect 5 PC using switch. Plus some basic commands (netstat,ping etc).

      Wep event driven lacking… mais in fer VB.NET dan HCI seman (GUI,coding and database connectivity).

      Mo preciser aussi ki 3rd year to choose TOU TO MODULES to envi fer. 1 tas enan practical content. (Maching learning, Operations research, simulations, parallel processing, software testing, VR, wireless networking, AI, Bioinformatics, distributed systems, game dvlopment, geometric modelling and animation entre autres). Bku practicals enan πŸ™‚

      Concernant “gagne job ek pas bizin training akoz fer CA” i don’t agree. I think nou tou bizin… si envi vraiem vin network administrator… bizin passe par CCNA. Pretty mandatory. Linux administrator pou prefer 1 dimun kne kernel, System calls instead of just shell commands ek dne user authentication.

      Lor event-driven – VB.NET – i agree.. CS pas vraiment bon pou sa. i guess to bizin apran on your own. But fer java and swing ki aussi event-driven.

      Bref CS al plus lower level. Module comme digital logic vraiment fer tw comprends kuma electronic circuits work dan PC. And aussi al deeper dan data structure and algorithms (and rigourous). Aussi CA/IS pas fer functional programming (Scheme), logic programming (Prolog). Aim CS c fer tw vin scientist, researchers and not how to master some API only πŸ˜›

    • Zoss
      March 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      We’re up to being engineers. Not technicians!

  7. RS
    February 4, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    With Grades such as the following can i get an entry at uom for computer science ? :
    General paper : c
    Mathematics : c
    Physics : E
    Computing : E
    French : c

    • April 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      it will be difficult, but not impossible. You can try to apply for IS/CA/SE too

  8. kushal
    February 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

    eski kan to ena degree dan cs to ggn b0n travail??
    t0 ggn 1 salaire valable?

    • April 28, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      Degree pas v dire to dir to pou gagne travail. Mais li pou bien aide tw, of course. To still bizin al interview, fer bien dan man itw technical, HR tousa lerla 1 compagnie pou kav pren tw. Enan bku competition mais zot p rod bku dimun aussi. I think IT field em 1 man domaine pli facil gagne work. To bizin enan 1 bon CV aussi. Programmer/Sys admin to kav aim start lor 18-22 mil de nos jours..

  9. Koyal
    April 24, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Hi wel im stil a stdnt of hsc, i wntd 2 study cmputr at univrsity aftr hsc, i wnt 2 do cmputer science or cmputer engineerng, bt i dnt knw actually wat r ze criteria 2 study cmputr. i got 7 in cmputr at ‘O’ level. Bt mo 2za prn cour priV pu cmputer, n me ena mo ban certifictes recognisd by city & guilds!

    • April 28, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      They will solely take you based on your HSC results. Check out the “indicative profile of student admitted” that UoM releases every year and you can see the trend. They are now taking even more students and have introduced a new course – Software Engineering. It is really nice if you are an aspiring developer.

  10. Dishay
    December 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    I’m planning to do CS at uom and my question is what would would be good a PC or LAPTOP?

  11. Vivek Hangsraj
    February 8, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Hi. I am wondering if i can do CS if i have not done computer in HSC ???

  12. Steph
    November 17, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Bonjour Mr Roshan,

    jai un fils de 14 ans que jaurai aimer initier au cours de java qui estceque je peux contacter.

    G

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