Subject focus: Bachelor of science in Australia and New Zealand

 James Cook UniversityThis month's subject focus looks at the variety of Bachelor of Science degrees available in Australia and New Zealand. There are many different areas of science, usually grouped into formal sciences (mathematics, statistics etc); physical sciences; life sciences; social sciences and earth and space sciences. At undergraduate level, most of these science subjects are studied within the Bachelor of Science. The BSc is typically a broad-based qualification which will allow you to study a wide range of science subjects while at the same time working towards one specialising in one chosen area.

In New Zealand and Australia, general bachelors degrees in areas such as science are much more flexible than the equivalent degrees in the UK. When you enrol on one of these degrees you’ll select a ‘major’ (the subject you want to specialise and graduate in) but will also have the opportunity to study a number of different subjects during each year of your course. These are known as ‘electives’. This broad approach allows you to effectively construct a degree that is unique to you and your interests, and which is individually tailored to your future career goals.

The standard of science research and teaching in Australia and New Zealand compares very favourably with other World universities, you can find out more about the different ranking systems here.  The two countries are also at the forefront of marine and environmental science study internationally, and often Bachelor of Science programmes offer you amazing opportunities to access and study the natural environment, using Australia and New Zealand’s incredible natural surroundings as living laboratories.

Bachelor of Science at James Cook University, Queensland

Students at James Cook University (JCU) enjoy exceptional opportunities to gain practical experiences through field trips, with easy access to the World Heritage regions of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforests. Facilities at JCU include marine and freshwater field research facilities and field stations, JCU’s own research vessels and state-of-the-art wet/dry laboratories.

Our Bachelor of Science is a broad and flexible degree where you gain a deeper understanding of scientific principles while focusing on a key study area. You can choose from a wide range of study areas to suit your interests and careers goals. These include:

  • Aquaculture Science and Technology
  • Environmental Earth Science
  • Marine Biology
  • Zoology and Ecology

Aquaculture Science and Technology

The Bachelor of Science majoring in Aquaculture Science and Technology will prepare you for a future in one of the world’s fastest growing primary industries. Our strong links with peak aquaculture industries and research providers gives students valuable practical and research experience based on latest developments in the industry. As well as teaching fundamental aquaculture principles, the programme has a strong emphasis on the sustainable aquaculture of tropical species and you will examine such topics as species propagation, stock improvement, feeding and nutrition, and sustainable practices.

Outstanding facilities include JCU’s Marine and Aquaculture Research Facility in Townsville and the Orpheus Island Research Station on the Barrier Reef. The Orpheus Island Research Station, located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, allows students to work in the field with sponge, reef fish and mollusc culture, while having easy access to temperature controlled rooms, laboratories and lecture theatres.

Graduates can choose from a range of career options, ranging from technical positions in hatcheries and grow-out facilities, to managerial and research roles. Graduates can pursue careers as business managers, policy developers or government administrators in commercial fish farms; public and private hatcheries; aquaculture and aligned support industries (food production, pollution and disease control and specialist equipment); biotechnology companies; fisheries management; environmental protection; and conservation.

This major is available at our Townsville campus only.

Environmental Earth Science

Shaped by many different systems and processes, our natural environments continue to change and evolve. Along with this is our constant demand for the Earth’s natural resources and the need to correctly manage the effects of those demands. Environmental Earth Scientists develop ways to minimize the impacts of humans on the natural environment and to effectively manage the earth’s sediment, soil, oceans, freshwater supplies and atmosphere and you will examine such topics as hydrology, sedimentology and geomorphology. You will learn to measure and record environmental features as well as study, assess and develop methods to control or minimise the harmful effects of human activity on the environment. This may include managing soil and contaminated land, ground water assessments, mine environment management, and waste planning.

This major takes advantage of our strategic position, with access to a varied collection of tropical landscapes (including the Great Barrier Reef), hydrological and climate regimes, and proximal to a range of important industries (such as mining) in which graduates from this programme could seek employment. The course is focused on understanding and dealing with earth surface processes, deposits and landforms, including those in the marine and coastal realm.

Graduates in this programme will work in a diverse range of occupations, including geomorphologists, soil scientists, hydrologists, research scientists, environmental geoscientists with remediation expertise, and marine geoscientists, with opportunities in industry, government departments, consultancies and research organisations.

Marine Biology

JCU is recognised around the world as a leading institution for studies of marine organisms, their biology, evolution and ecology. JCU has earned an international reputation for excellence in both teaching and research and takes a field-oriented, hands-on approach to its teaching endeavours. Our location gives students ready access to a wide variety of tropical marine systems including coral reefs, tropical estuaries, mangrove habitats and seagrass beds. Your studies will address topics such as coral reef ecology, fisheries science, marine conservation biology, and marine ecology and environmental assessment.

Outstanding facilities include our research station on Orpheus Island and numerous research vessels, providing easy access to the Great Barrier Reef’s coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves. Research aquarium and well-equipped laboratories support teaching at an advanced level. Students are exposed to real world projects and industry practice through JCU’s involvement with The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, which plays a leading role in multinational research programmes and is based on JCU’s Townsville campus.

Marine Biology graduates work around the world in private and public agencies, or as private consultants in fields such as conservation policy and environmental management, impact assessment, tourism and education. Graduates with higher qualifications and research experience can pursue research careers in universities or research organisations.

This major is available at our Townsville campus only.

Zoology and Ecology

The tropical world is our classroom and Australia’s regions of the highest biodiversity and environmental complexity are at our doorstep. Easy access to rainforest, coral reefs, savannah woodlands and extensive estuarine systems provides a diversity of local habitats and environments to explore. You will gain an in-depth understanding of the evolution, behaviour and ecology of animals and plants, including how ecosystems function and how animals and plants respond to environmental changes.

You will have numerous opportunities for fieldwork starting from your first semester and finishing with an opportunity to spend 2 weeks doing research in the tropical forests of Borneo. Your studies will include topics such as adapting to environmental challenges, evolutionary biology, tropical flora and fauna of Australia, vertebrate and invertebrate fauna, animal behaviour, plant and animal evolution, and the relationship between animals, plants, humans and the environment.

Zoologists and Ecologists are sought after across a range of careers including wildlife education, environmental consulting, conservation consulting, quarantine and biosecurity, media presenters, ecological restoration and national park management.

This major is available at either Townsville or Cairns campus.

Aquaculture Science and Technology

This course focuses on tropical aquaculture of fish, shellfish and pearls. Research programmes in nutrition and diet, reproduction, larval development and culture, growth regulation, and husbandry for fish, molluscs and crustaceans present a range of study options. This major provides training in the principles and techniques in Aquaculture Science and Technology, as well as hands-on experience. Students devise a study programme to meet their professional needs in consultation with relevant staff. Research components may be included under special circumstances.

This major is available at our Townsville campus only.

Programme Details

Duration: 3 years

Start Date: Semester 1 (February) or semester 2 (July)

Fees (2017 indicative fee): AU$33,000 per year 

James Cook University are offering first year tuition fee scholarships to all Study Options students starting a Bachelor of Science in 2017. Find out more here.

Find out more about James Cook University

Bachelor of Science in Marine Science at Murdoch University, Western Australia

Marine Science at Murdoch will enable you to develop an understanding of the complex physical, chemical, biological and ecological processes in the ocean. You will learn to assess the state of the marine environment as well as identify and mitigate impacts.  Specialised units covering marine biodiversity, marine biology, oceanography, marine ecology will allow you to develop skills in coastal and marine management

This Bachelor of Science is a flexible degree which gives you the opportunity to build deep understanding and practical experience as well as to supplement your studies by engaging with industry and the community on relevant problems. Many students undertaking the Marine Science major chose to study one of our recommended double majors of Biological Sciences; Conservation and Wildlife Biology or Environmental Science. This allows you to broaden your understanding of the way in which science operates in relation to social, business, health and policy environments

The major is structure as per below:

Year 1

  • Building Blocks for Science Students
  • What is Science
  • Introduction to Marine Biology
  • Fundamentals of Chemistry
  • Foundations of Chemistry
  • Foundations of the Environment
  • Statistical Data Analysis
  • Plus 1 General Elective Unit

Year 2

  • Research in the Physical and Life Sciences
  • Animal Speciation, Radiation, Evolution
  • Marine Botany
  • Oceanography and Marine Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Plus 2 General Electives Units

Year 3

  • Advanced Research Methods in Science
  • Marine Ecology
  • Coastal and Marine Management
  • Plus 4 General Elective Units

Hands-on experience

Both within the degree and extracurricular, there is plenty of opportunity to gain valuable hands on experience, industry relevant experience. These range from week long camps and day cruises collecting valuable marine environment samples, extensive lab work and group projects.

There is also opportunity to get involved with research.

Tropical Marine Biology is a unique, broad-ranging advanced marine biology unit offered in Winter Term as a general elective that gives you an opportunity to study tropical marine biology and ecology in Australia’s longest fringing coral reef and one of the world’s largest, Ningaloo Reef. It provides an introduction to Western Australian biogeography and habitats, covering advanced topics in biology, physiology and ecology of marine plants and animals. Human impacts and conservation of tropical marine environments are addressed.

The 10-day field trip to the Coral Bay Research Station on the Ningaloo Reef provides an immersive field research experience in a tropical marine environment. During the field camp laboratory sessions will provide training in algal and coral identification and survey techniques. Assessment of this component is group reports and presentations of the field projects.

Employment prospects

Through a combination of required and elective units, you can direct your studies towards employment opportunities in marine environmental management, fisheries, aquaculture, the offshore oil and gas industry, tourism and recreation, marine biotechnology, biodiversity conservation and marine ecology.

Programme details

Duration: 3 years full time

Tuition fee (indicative 2017): AU$31,560 per year

Start dates: Semester 1 or 2 (Semester two due to sequencing of units will require 3.5 years to complete)

Entry Requirement: GCE A Levels: Minimum of 6 points taken form the best 2 or 3 subjects where A*=6, A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1. (AS Levels are equivalent to half points e.g. A=2.5, B=2 etc) or higher.

There are no prerequisites for admission however it is highly desirable for students to have undertaken Chemistry or Mathematics.  

Scholarships

Murdoch University Academic Excellence Award (MUAEA) acknowledges and rewards commencing student who have a record of high academic achievement in their previous studies. Students must have an average of 75% or higher in their last course prior to application. Amount: AU$5,000

Find out more about Murdoch University here

Bachelor of Science in Animal Health at Murdoch University, Western Australia

This major will equip you with knowledge of the principles of animal health and disease. You will develop a scientific understanding relevant to a number of disciplines within the field of animal health with a strong emphasis on application of theory to the health and well-being of domestic animals and wildlife. You will also develop the skills required to work in teams to address problems and communicate outcomes related to a number of disciplines within the area of animal health.

This Bachelor of Science is a flexible degree which gives you the opportunity to build deep understanding and practical experience as well as to supplement your studies by engaging with industry and the community on relevant problems. Many students undertaking the Animal Health major chose to study our recommended double major of Animal Science, which can be used as a pathway should you wish to apply for entry into Veterinary Science.

The major is structured as per below:

Year 1

  • Building Blocks for Science Students
  • What is Science
  • Introduction to the Animal Body
  • Fundamentals of Chemistry
  • Foundations of Vertebrate Form and Function
  • Foundations of Cell Biology
  • Statistical Data Analysis
  • Plus 1 General Elective Unit

Year 2

  • Research in the Physical and Life Sciences
  • Comparative Mammalian Biochemistry
  • Principles of Infectious Disease II - Veterinary Parasitology
  • Animal Structure and Function
  • Principles of Infectious Disease I - Veterinary Microbiology
  • Plus 2 General Electives Units

Year 3

  • Advanced Research Methods in Science
  • Pathology and Diseases of Production Animals
  • One Health
  • Plus 4 General Elective Units

Professional recognition

Recognised by Ag Institute Australia. Ag Institute Australia is the peak body representing the interests of Agricultural and Natural Resource Management professionals. Students graduating with Major in Animal Health are eligible for professional membership.

Employment prospects

As a graduate in Animal Health you are strongly placed to pursue careers in a wide range of fields, including agriculture, companion animal industries and wildlife management. Employment opportunities include private industry, public sector (state and federal government), non-government organisations and research and development institutions. Other career options include research for further study fields (for example, Veterinary Sciences)

Programme details

Duration: 3 years full time

Tuition fee (Indicative 2017): AU$31,560 per year

Start dates: February (Semester 1) only

Entry Requirements: GCE A Levels: Minimum of 6 points taken form the best 2 or 3 subjects where A*=6, A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1. (AS Levels are equivalent to half points e.g. A=2.5, B=2 etc) or higher.

There are no prerequisites for admission however it is highly desirable for students to have undertaken Chemistry.

Scholarship opportunity

Murdoch University Academic Excellence Award (MUAEA) acknowledges and rewards commencing student who have a record of high academic achievement in their previous studies. Students must have an Average of 75% or higher in the last course prior to application. Amount: AU$5,000

Find out more about Murdoch University here

Bachelor of Science at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand

The University of Canterbury is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world in Computer Science, Earth and Marine Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Geography, Linguistics, Psychology and Statistics (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016). 

UC is the only university in New Zealand to offer Astronomy at all levels of study and operates an internationally important astronomical observatory at Mt John in Tekapo. The Geology department is leading the world in its studies of earthquakes.

Features of the Bachelor of Science at UC

  • Students benefit from cutting-edge research undertaken by UC staff, visiting international scholars and the many research centres and institutes based at UC
  • The unique network of field stations from Kaikōura to Antarctica and Nigeria, offer amazing active learning opportunities
  • Award-winning lecturers have been acknowledged both nationally and internationally for their teaching and research
  • NZ$216 million investment in state-of-the-art UC Science facilities in the next two years, in the Regional Science and Innovation Centre.

Subjects and courses

The Bachelor of Science is very flexible with 16 major subjects on offer and around 32 subject choices available in total. 

Major subjects are:

  • Astronomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Financial Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Statistics

It’s possible to study more than one major within the Bachelor of Science at the University of Canterbury, or you can tailor your degree by taking courses in a range of other subjects including: Accounting; Antarctic Studies; Communication Disorders; Engineering; Forestry; Freshwater Management; Health Sciences; Science and Entrepreneurship; Science, Māori and Indigenous Knowledge; Soil Science.

To find out more about the flexible nature of the University of Canterbury degree, please see this page, or contact Study Options.

Career opportunities

UC Science graduates find work in a range of different fields and sectors. Depending on your chosen path, you can become anything from a seismologist to a soil technician, a meteorologist to a marine biologist, a psychologist to a policy advisor, a software engineer to a science writer, a forensic analyst to a food technician, and much more.

Canterbury’s leading-edge IT sector is facing a shortage of qualified graduates, meaning UC Computer Science graduates are in high demand.

Programme Details

Duration: 3 years

Start date: Semester 1 (February) or semester 2 (July)

Tuition Fees (Indicative for 2017): NZ$28,200 - NZ$29,700 depending on subject

Scholarship Opportunity

The University of Canterbury are currently offering scholarships to all first year international students starting a Bachelors degree at the university. Deadline for application is 15 August 2016. Find out more here.

Find out more about the University of Canterbury here