Undergraduate study in the sciences

Courses and specialisations

Science is a large and diverse field at undergraduate level. Many undergraduate science degrees (the bachelor of science, for example) are quite broad and allow students to explore a number of specialisations. Specialisations usually focus on the traditional academic disciplines, including astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, geology, physics and zoology. These general courses allow you to enter many different careers in your chosen discipline, but may require further study at the postgraduate level in order to specialise and qualify for specific positions.

For students who have a specific career in mind, there are also a number of more applied science specialisations, including animal science, biotechnology, food science, forensic science, marine science, and medical science. These may be offered as specific degrees (a bachelor of forensic science, for example) or as specialisations within a general bachelor of science degree. You could also pair science with courses like law, commerce or engineering through a double degree. Those who would like to complete further research in their specialisation can complete a bachelor honours degree.

Students who complete more general science degrees, who are aiming to qualify for more senior employment positions or who would like to work as academics may need to complete further study at honours or postgraduate level to improve their employment prospects.

Applicants must meet academic and English language entry requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Some undergraduate courses in science require the completion of prerequisite studies in mathematics and science in secondary school or relevant work experience. For more information about undergraduate qualifications and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Undergraduate.

Where to study

Science is a very large field of study, so you can study science-based degrees at almost all Australian universities as well as through some TAFE institutes and colleges. Note that some specialisations may only be available at a limited number of institutions or better executed in certain parts of the country (coastal areas for marine science courses, for example).

Your choice of course will depend on your area of interest and your career goals. If you are unsure about which area of science you are interested in, you might consider a general science course (a bachelor of science, for example) that will allow you to sample a range of science fields. If you know the scientific area that interests you, you may wish to select one of the more specific courses (a bachelor of marine science, for example).

If you are hoping to complete research through an honours degree or a postgraduate research degree after finishing your undergraduate degree, it will be an advantage to study at a university with an established track record in science research.

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