Physical Sciences

Physical Sciences at James Cook University encompasses the fundamental science disciplines of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Our teaching and research programs are multi- and inter-disciplinary, enabling our graduates to build careers in many areas of science and technology within Australia and overseas.

Why should you study Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry at JCU?

Studying Mathematics will give you strong theoretical underpinnings and ways of working quantitatively that can be applied in almost any discipline. Students of mathematics and statistics at JCU benefit from having to study high level subjects in cognate disciplines which provides an opportunity to apply skills learnt in those disciplines. For example, our students typically study one of physics, marine biology, engineering and education and use their skills in the disciplinary context. All lecturers in mathematics and statistics at JCU are learning and teaching experts having been recognised and funded nationally for their efforts.

Students who study physics at JCU will come out with an accredited degree from the Australian Institute of Physics. They will receive attentive individual support from staff who are recognised nationally through teaching awards and who are actively engaged in world leading research funded through the Australian Research Council. They will have the opportunity to be involved in diverse real world research projects (from atomic and molecular physics, molecular and organic electronics, plasma physics, oceanography, meteorology, geophysics and spectroscopy) as well as in industry practice including medical physics, agriculture, fisheries and general consulting. Students will have the opportunities to observe and practice physics in a tropical environment, including field trips in meteorology (studying weather and climate in the varied dry and wet tropics and the cyclone belt) and oceanography (ocean, tropical estuaries and the Great Barrier Reef).

The chemistry major at JCU is accredited with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and is taught by staff actively engaged in world-leading research funded by the Australian Research Council. Chemistry can be taken as a double major with virtually all other science disciplines. With small class sizes in 2nd and 3rd year there is strong close staff-student interactions. Students studying chemistry have the unique opportunity for field-based work in tropical marine and environmental chemistry as well as laboratory work. There is a strong solar chemistry feel at JCU and the location of Townsville with 300 days of sun annually is ideal for developing these green technologies. Inorganic Chemistry is a well funded and regionally connected strength at JCU with research encompassing the rare earth and transition metals and structural chemistry.

Excitingly, in 2017, elements of Physical Sciences will be moving into the new “The Science Place” building at JCU which will be equipped with new state-of-the art laboratories and learning spaces.

“Chemistry is one of the pure sciences, but it’s an applied science at the same time. It is the applied nature of chemistry that I really like, compared to maths and physics which are a lot more theoretical. For all Science disciplines at JCU, regardless of your major, you do general science subjects which cover a lot of science for the Tropics.”
- Jamie (Bachelor of Science in Chemistry)