Postgraduate study in the sciences

Courses and specialisations

Science is a popular option at postgraduate level. There are many courses that are based on the pure academic disciplines (biology, chemistry and physics, for example), as well as courses that focus on applied scientific fields (biotechnology, food science, marine science and medical science, for example).

Coursework postgraduate courses include graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and coursework masters degrees. You may be able to find a degree that focuses on your chosen specialisation (a master of biotechnology, for example), or you may be able to study your specialisation within a more general science postgraduate degree (a master of science, for example). Postgraduate double degrees combining science with other areas (a master of science/master of commerce, for example) are available and may enhance graduate career prospects. Bachelor degree graduates may also consider completing a degree that will help them to apply their scientific expertise to employment in another field (becoming a science teacher through a master of science education, for example).

Science also has one of the highest proportions of research students, with around two-thirds of postgraduates undertaking research degrees. This is not surprising, seeing as science is one of the most significant, advanced and well-funded research fields in Australia. Research degrees include research-based masters degrees and research doctorates. Many research students are focused on the traditional science disciplines, but there are also many interdisciplinary and applied research opportunities provided by university research centres. Some research centres bring together research students from different science disciplines to apply their expertise to specific issues such as medical research.

Applicants must meet academic and English language entry requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Entry to most courses requires the completion of an undergraduate degree in science. For more information about postgraduate qualifications and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Postgraduate.

Where to study

There are many postgraduate degrees to choose from, which are available at universities around the country. You should note that your chosen specialisation may only be available at a limited number of universities or better executed in certain parts of the country (coastal areas for marine science courses, for example).

If you are considering a research degree, you should look for university departments and schools with an established research program in your area of interest. You should also investigate the support offered to postgraduate research students and possible supervisors.

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