Why Study Physical Sciences at JCU?

Degree programs in chemistry, mathematics, and physics are delivered by the Physical Sciences group.


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.


Besides the salary advantage and job opportunities for Mathematics graduates especially in the growing field of Data Science, studying Mathematics at JCU gives you quantitative skills that can be applied in almost any discipline. In world where career trajectories increasingly involve unexpected change, mathematics gives you transferable skills that allow you to turn challenges into opportunities with a variety of employers.
Students of mathematics and statistics at JCU benefit from having to study high level subjects in cognate disciplines which provides the opportunity to apply skills learnt to those disciplines. For example, our students typically study one of physics, marine biology, engineering and education and use their skills in the disciplinary context. Students also have the opportunity to further specialise their knowledge in the burgeoning area of Data Science and Big Data Analytics, by undergoing a minor or by engaging into research projects (in the honours program) under the supervision of internationally recognised researchers in this field. Most 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).

“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)