Home' The Good Universities Guide : The Good Universities Guide 2015 Contents SCIENCES 145
will be an advantage to study at a university with an established
track record in science research.
Most students contemplating a science degree are likely to
have 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 at different institutions, see the ‘How tough is it to
get in?’ tables in Section 4.
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 is
based on 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.
Further, there is 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
introduced to fix the problem. Mentoring programs such as the
federal government’s Scientists in Schools program pair
scientists with teachers and students with the aim of engaging
students in science education through a fresh, applied approach.
University programs, such as the University of Sydney’s Institute
for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IISME),
also promote new ways to learn science. Other initiatives include
the New South Wales Government’s teaching scholarships and
the Victorian Government’s Science Graduate Scholarship, which
provide students with financial incentive to train as science
Olivia — Bachelor of Science majoring in neuroscience
Why did you choose to study
After completing Year 12 I didn’t really
know what I wanted to study. I received
good results for the sciences at school
(biology and chemistry — not physics!)
and also really enjoyed studying them
so I figured I might as well continue with
science at university. I had also studied Japanese at high
school and the degree allowed me to continue Japanese as
my elective subject each semester.
What was the best thing about your course?
I loved the variety of the degree; there are so many pathways
you can follow. From first year I was interested in the
biological sciences so I completed subjects such as anatomy,
biochemistry, physiology and neuroscience, but I had friends
who majored in chemistry, mathematics, information
technology and agricultural science. The other ‘best thing’
was the numerous friendships I made. There were more than
1000 other students in my year level so I was always meeting
new people. And, although science had more contact hours
than some of the other undergraduate degrees, there was still
time for socialising!
What was the worst thing about your course?
For someone who knows exactly what career they want to
head into, science would be rather frustrating, as you need to
complete further study in order to be employable afterwards.
Also, the elective subjects are really what you make of them.
You can study languages (like Japanese), which, although
really rewarding, can very time consuming.
Alternatively, you can study subjects that require very little
input, but you might find these to be a waste of time.
What did your course involve?
The three years were comprised of numerous lectures,
tutorials and practicals. At the beginning of the degree I was
at university five days a week; however, as I chose subjects
with less practicals (not intentionally!) my contact hours were
cut down to three to four days a week.
Have you found work in your field?
I haven’t yet tried to find work in my field. The year after I
graduated I had a ‘gap’ year working in retail, babysitting and
travelling. And the following year I started a postgraduate
What advice would you give to students considering
I would recommend this degree to students who don’t really
know exactly what they want to do after finishing school and
enjoy science. It is broad but with the career advice available
at university you really can head down any pathway. Attend
all your lectures (or at least listen to them online). Finally, get
involved in university clubs and societies. Try everything from
the science society to sports clubs for their social activities.
Have you completed further study?
Yes, I have recently started the doctor of medicine. In order to
apply for this degree I had to complete specific subjects
during my science degree (anatomy, biochemistry and
physiology) and I also had to sit an external examination
called the GAMSAT.
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