Home' The Good Universities Guide : The Good Universities Guide 2014 Contents 204 GOOD UNIVERSITIES GUIDE
What majors can I study?
The following are just some of the majors you can study in this
What you’re in for
If you have a passion for discovery and problem-solving then a
course in science might be for you. Despite our comparatively
small population, Australia has produced some of the world’s best
scientific researchers who regularly make groundbreaking
discoveries, greatly adding to both Australian and global
knowledge and capabilities.
If you are interested in this field, you should also look at
related courses in computing and information technology,
engineering and technology, mathematics, surveying, the various
health fields and veterinary science.
Courses and specialisations
Many science courses focus on the ‘pure’ academic disciplines,
including anatomy, biochemistry, biology, botany, chemistry,
geology, microbiology, pathology, physics, physiology and
zoology. The advantage of this kind of broad education is that it
leaves many career options open. The downside is that you might
have some trouble finding a job.
Universities vary in the extent to which they allow you to mix
and match science subjects with those from other departments,
just in case you were thinking of dabbling in something more
vocational. That said, there are some ‘applied’ courses available
at both universities and TAFE institutes that can help to develop
your career pathway. You could also pair science with courses
like law, commerce or engineering through a double degree.
Where to study
When you are considering the options, it is important to think
about the quality of the education you will receive. Despite
repeated claims by science academics that the field is suffering
from low demand and budget cuts, science graduates enjoy their
courses and the way they are taught overall (see ‘The outcome’).
If you are thinking of doing postgraduate research, it will be an
advantage to study at a university with an established track
record in science research.
If you are thinking of completing a science degree or some
science subjects, you have probably done reasonably well in
science at school. This would be useful as most courses set
prerequisites (often one or more of maths, chemistry, biology or
physics). The sciences can be tougher to get into than the
humanities and social sciences, but are not too difficult overall.
That said, cut-offs can vary depending on the specialisation and
institution you choose. To compare entry difficulty and the cost of
Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) at different institutions,
see ‘What’s on offer and who’s there’. Note that while public
universities only offer CSPs, private higher education providers
may offer full-fee places in this field.
A key concern in this field of study is making science more
appealing to school students in the hope that this will lead them to
study science at a tertiary level. One factor that may increase
interest in the sciences is the introduction of the Australian
Curriculum in primary and secondary schools. The curriculum will
be based around three learning strands: science inquiry skills;
science as a human endeavour; and science understanding. It is
hoped that the human endeavour strand will appeal to students
who may not be quite as fascinated by science as others. It will
look at great Australian scientists and their discoveries and
include information about science careers.
There is currently a serious shortage of science secondary
teachers in Australia and a decline in tertiary students completing
degrees in these areas. A number of programs have been
1% $58 045
6% $55 442
12% $55 121
Is it worth it? (continued)
WHAT GRADUATES SAY
GETTING A JOB
For an explanation of abbreviations, see page 587
Food science and technology
To find out which higher education providers have courses with these
specialisations, use the Index on page 562.
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