COSC2500 – Numerical Methods in Computational Science

Lecturer Dr Timo Nieminen
Course Link UQ Site
Faculty Science
Prerequisites SCIE1000 or (CSSE1001 and MATH1051)
Contact Hours 2 Lecture hours, 2 Practical or Laboratory hours
Semester(s) Taught Semester 2
Course Units 2
Submit reviewView reviews (3)


Total average


Learning Materials ( 75 )
Learning Activities ( 63.3 )
Blackboard Management ( 91.7 )
Course Content ( 61.7 )
Course Structure ( 71.7 )
Contact Availability ( 96 )
Course Difficulty ( 86.7 )

Reviews (3)

COSC2500 – Numerical Methods in Computational Science 94.0

(Actually taken 2019 sem1)

You will legitimately become so much more competent at Matlab after this course, but you need to be willing to put in the effort. The grading system makes it reasonably easy to get a 5, but its still a lot of time required. A 6 or 7 (mostly a 7) requires lots of time and effort invested in the course.

The first assignment is by far the hardest, mostly because you realise you know nothing about matlab, but it gets easier. You do need to be quite patient though and be willing to put in some effort .

The C programming assignment is quite difficult depending on your major. Software engineers will find it quite easy, but maths majors tend to struggle a great deal.

Timo is a wonderful lecturer and course coordinator, and really makes the content interesting.

Keep in mind that the learning is in the assignments. The lectures are short and few, and there are no tutorials. You will learn by doing the assignments and asking questions about it during the practical sessions. You need to be able to code in matlab, but this is not a main learning objective. The main point of the course is to understand your results, and where error can occur in numerical methods.

Semester taken

Semester 1 - 2017

Your program/major


Is lecture attendance necessary?


Is the textbook necessary?

Yes (but its easily accessible by free pdf)

  • Good lecturer/coordinator
  • Learn how to program a lot better
  • Need patience
Posted on November 7, 2019 9:18 pm
COSC2500 – Numerical Methods in Computational Science 79.3

As someone who really hated matlab, this course was a challenge at the beginning. I was extremely close to dropping the course but I decided to stay because it was either this or MATH2100. I'm glad I stayed because I learnt a lot of valuable matlab skills.

The C coding assignment was very challenging (taught by guest lecturer), I found that the lectures weren't that helpful and the best thing to do was just figure it out by yourself. If you are impatient, I definitely would not recommend as I am impatient myself and found my self in fetal position several times.

Matlab assignment questions referenced the textbook, so I would definitely recommend that you get a pdf version because no one has the money to legally purchase that textbook.

The grading was weird but it does give you good grade security if you want a 6 or 7. Required marks are considered separately to additional marks. In order to achieve above a 5, I think you had to average about 5 on required assessment (which is not hard) and then you must gain additional marks for 6 or 7. If the additional marks reach a certain mark threshold, you have secured that mark and they can't decrease (there's no averaging). There were lots of opportunities to earn additional marks.
However the additional questions were quite challenging.

Timo was very lenient with assignment extensions which I am very thankful for.

Semester taken

Semester 2 - 2015

Your program/major


Is lecture attendance necessary?

yes-sometimes wrote on the whiteboard

Is the textbook necessary?


  • Timo was chill
  • grading style
  • learnt valuable skills
  • C programming, debugging
  • matlab/assignments
  • Murphy's law but applied to coding
Posted on July 9, 2016 10:07 pm
COSC2500 – Numerical Methods in Computational Science 60.7

First and foremost a very easy 5! Very weird structuring of assessment so you need to complete extra work to achieve anything above a grade of 5. Personally, the course was very different to what I expected. I was expecting a lot more applications and problem solving where in reality much of the course is spent doing monotonous coding. You do get the applications in guest lectures and in some extension tasks however. To fully understand the coding I would suggest having completed MATH1052 however it is only a slight extension on MATH1051. If you have only done SCIE1000 I suggest the math concepts might be slightly difficult. The lecturers are super helpful and relaxed about extensions if you are struggling though! If you go to the contacts they are more than happy to show you how to do any of the required questions. All in all, it was an easy 5 but I personally did not find it very exciting and it became a subject I just wanted to pass rather than excel at.

Semester taken

Semester 2 - 2014

Your program/major

B Adv Sc - Maths

Is lecture attendance necessary?


Is the textbook necessary?


  • Easy Pass
  • Lecturers Super Helpful
  • Notes/Textbook comprehensive
  • Need MATH1052 to understand completely (extension on MATH1051)
  • Required assessment is boring and dull
  • Must complete additional work to get above a 5
Posted on November 26, 2014 9:50 pm

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