Elite Student Program

CSE runs a programme for elite undergrad students, which allows them some scope to vary their program to cover more challenging more challenging content or become involved in School research projects.

Computer science student robotics smile

Entry to the Programme

Students must apply to enter the programme.

New students from Australia and New Zealand can become eligible by attending at least two Informatics Olympiad training camps organised by the Australian Mathematics Trust.

New students from any country can become eligible by competing at the International Olympiad in Informatics, or in exceptional circumstances (e.g. in countries where IOI selection is especially competitive) by demonstrating equivalent achievement in elite high school programming competitions.

Current students can enter the programme by achieving an overall WAM of at least 95.

Applications are via email to the Elite Students Programme Coordinator, Raveen de Silva (r.desilva@unsw.edu.au).

Programme Guidelines

Students in this programme may apply to vary their program to a limited extent by substituting up to three core courses for other courses which emphasise technical depth or research.

To apply for a course substitution, email the Programme Coordinator, specifying:

  • the course you want to substitute
  • evidence that you have already met the learning outcomes of that course (which you can access using the Course Outline Finder (https://www.unsw.edu.au/course-outlines))
  • the course you want to replace it with in your program
    • This can be COMP3xxx/4xxx/6xxx/9xxx, or if appropriate a course offered by another School.
    • You do not have to enrol in this replacement course immediately; you are only committing to complete it at some point during your program.
  • brief justification of how your chosen replacement course provides technical and/or research expertise aligning with your study goals.

Substitutions must be approved by the Programme Coordinator and by the convenor of the course being substituted, and CSE reserves the right to reject any application. If approved, your substitution request will be directed to the Nucleus for processing.

If you later need to enrol in a course using a prerequisite that you have substituted (e.g. if you substituted COMP1511 and want to enrol in COMP1521), the prerequisite will be waived for you. Please contact the Nucleus and the Programme Coordinator if you encounter any issues in this regard.

Substitutions do not inherently impact the overall WAM (which appears on a student’s academic transcript). However, any higher level course will carry a greater weight in the Faculty WAM calculation (which is used to determine Honours Classes and University Medals in some programs, most notably Engineering (Honours)).


Students in the Programme are expected to maintain a high level of performance in their coursework, i.e. a WAM of at least 90.

Any students who do not meet this standard will be contacted by the Programme Coordinator. In the absence of mitigating circumstances, these students will not be considered for further course substitutions.

Prolonged performance below this level may result in removal from the program. Any prior substitutions will typically be honoured, but CSE reserves the right to revoke substitutions.