Bachelor of Advanced Science

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Bachelor of Advanced Science

Townsville, Cairns
3 years full-time
Part-time available
Attendance mode
Entry Requirements
OP 6 | English (4,SA), Maths B (4,SA).
ATAR 88.95 | English (Units 3/4,C), Mathematical Methods (Units 3/4,C).
Recommended: at least one of Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths C or Specialist Mathematics
CNS: 326361
TSV: 316361
  • Career Opportunities

  • What to expect

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The scientific and environmental challenges of the future are increasingly interdisciplinary and quantitative, and they require scientists who can work comfortably with the cutting edge methods of scientific analysis and modelling that now pervade all of the sciences. By graduating with a Bachelor of Advanced Science, you’ll demonstrate that you have prepared yourself to meet these challenges head-on.

So, regardless of whether your passion is Marine Biology, Aquaculture, Earth Science, Chemistry, Mathematics, Molecular and Cell Biology, Physics, or Zoology and Ecology, this is your opportunity to get the best preparation to be a leader and innovator in your field.

Moreover, the high transferability of quantitative and computational skills ensure that you’ll be responsive to the dynamic, rapidly-changing nature of science. This adaptability is essential for anyone hoping to make a lifelong career in the sciences.

The Bachelor of Advanced Science is an elite program for high-achieving students passionate about science and not afraid to be challenged.

JCU Advanced Science students are educated to be the science and research leaders of the future. High-achieving students choose JCU because of the university's reputation for leadership in finding solutions to the scientific and environmental challenges facing the tropics.

You'll learn the advanced conceptual and analytical capacity that will ensure you stand out from the crowd when you graduate, and importantly, you'll meet experts in their fields who will open your eyes to the possibilities that the future holds for you.

You will be able to choose from the same majors as students in the Bachelor of Science, but this will be paired with a set of core Advanced subjects that develop computational and quantitative skills to a higher level than in the Bachelor of Science. This allows you to select the major/s you feel passionate about, while simultaneously developing crucial analytical and modelling skills that are in high demand throughout the sciences.

Within this course, there are eight majors to choose from — a major is your area of expertise. You can choose to study one or two majors. Not all majors are available at all campuses.

Aquaculture Science and Technology

With lecturers who are world-leaders in tropical aquaculture research and development, discover the sustainable practices of aquaculture. Access to the JCU Marine and Aquaculture Research Facility will enhance your knowledge and provide current practical skills.

Throughout this major, you will explore the scientific and practical applications of breeding, rearing and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments. You will understand the biodiversity of species and how they are farmed, the design of aquaculture systems, and the basics of nutrition.

With a focus on tropical species, our researchers’ strong links to industry will give you a sound professional network when you graduate. Career opportunities include jobs in hatcheries, stock nutrition programs and management, fresh water and marine farming, or aquaculture research.


Study in award-winning laboratories and gain an insight into the industry with excursions to local companies in the chemistry industry. You will benefit from small class sizes and the personalised approach of our lecturers.

Gain current skills and explore the many areas of chemistry including analytical chemistry, synthetic, organic and inorganic chemistry, and kinetics and mechanisms of chemical reactions. In your third year, you will learn a number of instrumental techniques widely used in the industry.

Accredited by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), this chemistry major will open up career opportunities both nationally and internationally. Working across a number of industries, job prospects could include analytical chemists, research chemists, clinical diagnosticians, forensic scientists or environmental scientists.

Please note: mid-year entry is not available for the Chemistry major.

Data Science

Data and analytics capabilities have made a leap forward in recent years. The volume of available data has grown exponentially, more sophisticated algorithms have been developed, and computational power and storage have steadily improved.

Career opportunities in data science, big data and analytics are growing dramatically. Data scientists work in every industry – from defence departments to internet start-ups and financial institutions – and tackle big data projects on every level. They are among the most sought-after jobs in the tech world today.

The Data Science major packages existing data science subjects together with new subjects on Data Visualisation, Big Data and Machine Learning.

Earth Science

Offered on both the Cairns and Townsville campuses, access the biodiverse region of North Queensland. Gain relevant practical skills by studying and assessing the surrounding environments such as both the Wet and Dry Tropics, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Experience field trips where you will collect, analyse and interpret data. You will gain a thorough understanding of the effect of humans on the natural environment and build skills to develop solutions to lessen the impact. With access to the JCU Fletcherview Research Station, you will learn about resource and environmental impact assessment, mine site rehabilitation, and soil and water science.

With an understanding of how to develop cost-effective and innovative techniques for environmental management, job opportunities exist in many sectors. You can work as a consultant, in government or industry. Potential career options could include geologist, geographer, hydrologist, soil scientist, climatologist, environmental scientist or oceanographer.

Marine Biology

Learn from lecturers who are world-leaders and be equipped to address critical challenges facing marine and coastal ecosystems. You will study in a location that gives you access to one of the most diverse and fragile marine ecosystems in the world, the Great Barrier Reef.

By studying the surrounding habitats of the Great Barrier Reef, you will discover the impact that humans have on the marine environment and how the oceans and atmosphere interact. You will gain valuable employability skills through practical experiments and opportunities to visit the JCU Orpheus Island Research Station.

Benefit from our researchers’ strong links with industry including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), TropWater and CSIRO Townsville. As a marine biologist, you could work in conservation biology and policy, environmental and resource management, fisheries biology, ecosystem restoration and marine impact assessments.


Develop the problem-solving, analytical and quantitative reasoning skills that are highly sought-after by employers worldwide. With small class sizes, you will get the one-on-one support required to excel as a mathematician.

Understand a number of mathematical techniques, data analysis, and multivariate statistical methods. You will learn how to formulate mathematical models to illustrate science and engineering problems, and use various techniques to help find solutions.

To enhance your employability skills, you have the flexibility to combine this major with another science major. As a mathematician, you can work in many sectors such as information technology, animated films, business and finance, astronomy and space exploration, climate study or meteorology, cryptography, and applied research.

Molecular and Cell Biology

Learn how to amplify and edit DNA sequences and conduct laboratory-based and field-based projects. Throughout your degree, you will study the basis of health and disease at a molecular level and analyse the functions of a whole cell.

Gain hands-on experience using cutting-edge equipment and techniques. Study biochemistry, microbiology, biotechnology and bioinformatics, and have an in-depth understanding of molecular genetics. These structures and processes form the basis of all living matter and provide insights into complex biological interactions.

Develop the foundations needed to work towards developments of modern medicine and biotechnology. You will have the knowledge to work across a breadth of industries — job opportunities include working in research laboratories, hospital and diagnostic departments, and biotech or pharmaceutical companies.


Explore some of the universe’s most challenging questions. Accredited by the Australian Institute of Physics, this major will give you a broad range of practical and theoretical skills across various physics disciplines.

Physicists study the laws of nature; you will learn the fundamentals of energy, quantum mechanics, relativity, antimatter, weather and climate. Develop your ability to think critically and be experimental by exploring biophysics, molecular electronics, and organic solar cells. You will study the structure of matter, atomic and nuclear physics, quantum physics, oceanography and meteorology, and thermodynamics.

As a physicist, your skills are relevant to a diverse number of careers. Job opportunities exist in industrial, scientific and educational occupations in fields such as health, meteorology, mining, environmental monitoring, energy production, telecommunications, and aerospace.

Please note: mid-year entry is not available for the Physics major.

Zoology and Ecology

Have the opportunity to learn from lecturers with global standing, study amazing rainforests and diverse species, and go on field trips to Borneo or the Galapagos Islands. Offered at both our Townsville and Cairns campuses, you will study in one of the most biodiverse regions in Australia.

Study the science of the biology of plants and animals and the natural world that they live in. Discover many of the environmental threats to the Tropics by studying the effects of deforestation, infrastructure expansion, habitat fragmentation, over-hunting, and invasive species.

You will access the various environments of the Wet Tropics and our Daintree Rainforest Observatory to learn about biosecurity, behavioural ecology, conservation biology and ecological modelling. Potential job opportunities include wildlife or environmental consultant or zoologist or ecologist for a conservation, quarantine or biosecurity organisation.

Refer to the handbook for a detailed overview of each major and minor available.

Additional information

Are you ready to join an elite team passionate about becoming the next generation of scientific leaders? Do you have what it takes to meet the environmental and scientific challenges of the 21st century and find innovative and effective solutions? If this sounds like you, the Bachelor of Advanced Science at James Cook University could be your path to excellence.

Be in high demand with your advanced skills and practical, hands-on experience with JCU’s advanced science degree. You will be leading the way in addressing modern society’s most pressing scientific needs.

A Comprehensive Background

Become an elite, innovative professional with a world-class education that develops highly adept conceptual and analytical thinkers. Your advanced science degree from JCU gives you a firmer grasp on what you know, challenges your thinking, inspires your creativity, and provides a wealth of hands-on experience.

Develop a broad perspective and participate in seminars conducted by leading scientists. Study advanced subjects to gain specialised skills in quantitative methods and mathematical techniques. Engage in research that matters; research designed for publication in some of the most prestigious international scientific journals.

Experience has no substitute. Study in some of the most interesting places on Earth participating in hands-on experiments. Explore unrivalled research locations as you put theory into practice. Access World Heritage natural environments and state-of-the-art learning facilities.

Expand your scientific knowledge with international academic exchange programs. Develop personally, as you learn from other cultures’ scientific perspectives and diverse landscapes and professionally, as you build global networks. Be exposed to other natural ecosystems and have the opportunity to make your own contribution.

Gain real-world skills that set you apart for a distinguished career. You will learn how to collaborate with colleagues making significant scientific progress, articulate questions and arguments in constructive ways, and critically appraise your work and the role of science.

A Personal Perspective

What sets you apart, what motivates and inspires you? As you work towards your Bachelor of Advanced Science, thrive off the inspiration that comes from studying your passion.

Choose the major that appeals most to you, and prepare yourself for the places you want your career to take you. Work in data science, earth science, marine biology, aquaculture science and technology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, molecular and cell biology, or zoology and ecology.

Your advanced science degree also offers you the option of choosing between a second major or a minor with classes in advanced scientific fields. Choose a second major to complement your first. Choose a minor that opens up new possibilities.

Forward Thinking

Take the first step towards a career that makes a difference to people and societies, the natural world and the built environment with an advanced science degree. Be prepared for tomorrow’s challenges with JCU’s world-class education.

Gain the Bachelor of Advanced Science Honours degree with an additional year of study. This is your capstone year as you develop a research project from start to finish.

Work with the world’s oceans and help to conserve precious marine life in marine biology, or set the tone for society’s interactions with the natural world with an emphasis in zoology and ecology. Help discover new and innovative ways of preserving natural resources while protecting vulnerable people as you work in earth science or chemistry.

Whatever field you choose, your greatest contribution to the natural world and people and societies will be the highly transferable skills you develop. With an agile mind, critical thinking skills, and an interdisciplinary outlook, be poised to lead in the fast-paced scientific world.

Ready Today for Tomorrow

Build on your intellectual capabilities, ethical convictions, and professional passion with a Bachelor of Advanced Science degree.

Develop a solid foundation of technical knowledge to advance your skills and the analytical thinking to apply that knowledge and think outside the box to solve important questions.

Systematically collect data and design testable hypotheses based on your findings. You will know how to draw the right inferences from what you see.

Understand the ethics that have governed scientific advancement for centuries and why they are important in the context of modern-day science. Differentiate yourself with your ability to work effectively, but also responsibly and safely and with consideration for cultural frameworks.

Differentiate Yourself

The world needs scientists that are ready and willing to meet the problems of designing a sustainable future. Step up to meet the challenge with us and graduate with an advanced science degree from JCU.
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An Honours degree is an additional one-year study program (full-time or equivalent) that includes the development of a personal research project and thesis. The three-year Bachelor of Advanced Science is ideal preparation for the rigours of an Honours year, and Advanced Science students are encouraged to consider this option. Honours is especially recommended for students who wish to pursue a career with significant involvement in scientific research. An Honours degree is usually essential for entry to research higher degrees.

Note the course QTAC code for the location you've chosen. You'll need to enter it as part of your QTAC application.

Townsville (316361) - Apply now
Cairns (326361) - Apply now

OP Score/Rank is indicative only. Entry scores will be finalised in the major offer round.

  • Handbook

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Bachelor of Advanced Science

Handbook year


Course code


Course type

BAC – Bachelor Pass (AQF level 7)

Professional accreditation status

The Physics major for the Bachelor of Advanced Science will be seeking accreditation by the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) in 2019. Once accredited, graduates will be automatically eligible for membership of the Australian Institute of Physics.

The Chemistry major for this course is accredited by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI).  Graduates will be eligible for non-corporate membership of RACI and, with an additional three years’ experience in chemistry, may be eligible to register as a Chartered Chemist with Corporate Membership of RACI.


Division of Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course Pre-requisites

Required: English (4,SA); Maths B (4,SA)

Recommended Study: At least one of Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths C

Minimum English language proficiency requirements

Applicants of non-English speaking backgrounds must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 1 Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

Additional Course Requirements

Students who do not have Chemistry to Year 12 and wish to undertake the Chemistry major or the Molecular and Cell Biology major will be required to undertake the preparatory subject, CH1020: Preparatory Chemistry in their first year of study.

Students should undertake this subject in block mode where available and be aware that restrictions may apply to electives if they wish to complete in the normal three (3) year time frame. This subject typically starts earlier than the standard course commencement date. Contact JCU on 1800 246 446 for more information.

Special admission requirements

JCU students who have completed the first year of the BSc (including receiving a pass result in SC1109: Modelling Natural Systems-Advanced) and who have a GPA greater than 5.5 (excluding MA1020, CH1020 and PH1001) may apply to transfer to the Bachelor of Advanced Science.

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

72 credit points as per course structure

Additional course rules

A maximum of 30 credit points may be taken at level 1.

A minimum of 18 credit points of science subjects must be taken at level 3 or higher.

Students may seek permission to enrol in more than one level 5 subject.

Course learning outcomes

The graduates of James Cook University are prepared and equipped to create a brighter future for life in the tropics world-wide.

JCU graduates are committed to lifelong learning, intellectual development and to the display of exemplary personal, professional and ethical standards. They have a sense of their place in the tropics and are charged with professional, community, and environmental responsibility. JCU graduates appreciate the need to embrace and be acquainted with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of Australia. They are committed to reconciliation, diversity and sustainability. They exhibit a willingness to lead and to contribute to the intellectual, environmental, cultural, economic and social challenges of regional, national, and international communities of the tropics.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Advanced Science at James Cook University will be able to:

  • Integrate and apply a coherent body of theoretical and technical knowledge, including underlying concepts, principles, and models, in one or more science disciplines.
  • Critically appraise the role and relevance of science in society, particularly in creating sustainable futures in the tropics, worldwide.
  • Demonstrate broad understanding of the methods of science, including the creative processes involved in developing scientific knowledge, and its contestable and testable nature.
  • Retrieve, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information from a range of sources, using advanced quantitative approaches.
  • Identify and articulate important, unresolved questions, problems, or knowledge gaps in the graduate’s chosen field of   expertise.
  • Create and analyse models of natural processes, in order to generate testable hypotheses about natural phenomena.
  • Design and conduct reliable, evidence-based laboratory and/or field experiments by selecting and applying methods, techniques and tools, as appropriate to one or more science disciplines.
  • Organise, analyse and interpret scientific data using mathematical, statistical and technological skills, applying an advanced, conceptually integrated understanding of the available methods.
  • Draw appropriate inferences from the outcomes of modelling, laboratory experiments, or field observations, taking account of the strengths and weaknesses of the data or models, and the methods of analysis employed.
  • Convey scientific ideas, arguments and conclusions clearly and coherently through well-developed written and oral communication skills and a variety of media.
  • Critically review regulatory requirements, ethical principles and, where appropriate, cultural frameworks, to work effectively, responsibly and safely in diverse contexts.
  • Reflect on current skills, knowledge and attitudes to manage their professional learning needs and performance, autonomously and in collaboration with others.

Course Structure


Level 1

MA1000:03 Mathematical Foundations

MA1003:03 Mathematical Techniques

SC1101:03 Science: Nature, Knowledge and Understanding

SC1109:03 Modelling Natural Systems-Advanced

Level 2

SC2209:03 Quantitative Methods in Science-Advanced


Select 3 credit points of subjects from List 1 (Skill Subjects)

Level 3

SC3003:03 Science Research Internship or SC3008:03 Professional Placement


Select 3 credit points of subjects from List 2 (Advanced Skill Subjects)


Select a major from Table A


Select one of the following Options

Option 1 (Second Major)

Select a second major from Table A


Option 2 (Minors and/or Electives)

Select a primary Science Minor from Table B that is different to your major


Select 9 credit points of any Level 2, 3 or 5 Science subjects PLUS 3 credit points of any Level 3 or Level 5 Science subjects


Select 6 credit points of any* Level 1, 2, 3 or 5 subjects PLUS 6 credit points of any Level 2, 3 or 5 subjects


Select a Minor from Table B

*Students who wish to complete the Chemistry or Molecular and Cell Biology Majors and have not completed high school level Chemistry must undertake CH1020 Preparatory Chemistry

NOTE: Students choosing the Physics Major must select 3 credit points of a Level 3 or Level 5 subject

List 1 (Skill Subjects)

Select a subject which is not already in your Major

BC2013:03 Principles of Biochemistry

CH2103:03 Analytical Chemistry

CP2404:03 Database Modelling

EV2502:03 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

MA2000:03 Mathematics for Scientists and Engineers

MA2210:03 Linear Algebra

List 2 (Advanced Skill Subjects)

BC5203:03 Advanced Bioinformatics

BS5260:03 Modelling Ecological Dynamics

CH5002:03 Research Skills and Communication in Chemistry (Advanced)

EA5409:03 Mineralogy and Geophysics

PH5014:03 Research Skills and Communication in Physics (Advanced)

SC5502:03 Design and Analyses in Ecological Studies


Type of major

Mandatory, single or double

Credit points in major

24 credit points




Aquaculture Science and Technology


The first year of study may be completed in Cairns

Not permitted as a double major with Marine Biology or Zoology and Ecology however students may select these as minors (see Table B)



Students undertaking this Major will have successfully completed senior Chemistry or equivalent or will need to complete the preparatory subject within this course structure

Data Science




Earth Science




Marine Biology


The first year of study may be completed in Cairns

Not permitted as a double major with Aquaculture Science and Technology or Zoology and Ecology however students may select these as minors (see Table B)




Molecular and Cell Biology


Students undertaking this Major will have successfully completed senior Chemistry or equivalent or will need to complete the preparatory subject within this course structure



The Advanced Mathematics minor is compulsory for students studying the Physics major

Zoology and Ecology



Not permitted as a double major with Aquaculture Science and Technology or Marine Biology  however students may select these as minors (see Table B)


Type of Minor

Single or Double

Credit points in minor

12 credit points




Advanced Chemistry


Advanced Mathematics


This minor is compulsory for students studying a Physics major

Advanced Physics


Aquaculture Science & Technology


Due to prerequisites, this minor is only available to students studying a biological sciences major (Marine Biology or Zoology & Ecology).



Not available as a primary Science minor

Environmental Geochemistry




Field Studies in Earth Sciences




Marine and Environmental Science and Sensors


Marine Biology


Due to prerequisites, this minor is only available to students studying a biological sciences major (Aquaculture or Zoology & Ecology).



Not available as a primary Science minor

Physical Geography





Not available as a primary Science minor

Zoology and Ecology



Due to prerequisites, this minor is only available to students studying a biological sciences major (Marine Biology or Aquaculture).

Inter-Disciplinary Minors



Please refer to list for details of all minors available for selection

Please note - this minors list includes a Biodiversity Assessment minor and an Introduction to Marine Biology minor.





Not all majors and minors are available in Cairns




Expected time to complete

3 years full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

9 years

Maximum leave of absence

3 years


Course progression

Should successfully complete 18 credit points of level 2 science subjects before attempting any level 5 science subject.

Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Special assessment


Professional accreditation


Maximum allowed Pass
Conceded (PC) grade


Supplementary exam for
final subject

Not applicable



Students may apply for credit in accordance with the Credit and Articulation policy and associated procedures

Maximum allowed

48 credit points


Credit will be granted only for subjects completed in the 10 years prior to the commencement of this course


Credit gained for any subject shall be cancelled 19 years after the date of the examination upon which the credit is based if, by then, the student has not completed this course.

Other restrictions

A maximum credit of 6 credit points may be granted at level 3.

A maximum credit of 12 credit points may be granted for subjects outside the Science Schedule of Subjects.

Credit will not be granted for MA1020 or CH1020 or PH1001

Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviation


Inclusion of majors on

Any major may appear on the testamur

Exit with lesser award

Students who have completed 24 credit points of their course award requirements, and withdraw from or fail to meet the requirements for progression in the later years, may be eligible for the award of Diploma of Tertiary Studies.

Course articulation

Students who complete this course may be eligible for entry to the Masters of Science.


Honours availability

Available as an additional 24 credit points of study [end-on]


By invitation of the College Dean

Normally an overall grade point average of 5.5 is required across the bachelor (pass) degree, with credits or better in the discipline specific areas.

Quota restrictions on the number of honours places available may apply from time to time as determined by the College Dean.

Annual Tuition Fee: $9,306. (Estimate only)

Student Services and Amenities fee is also payable per subject up to a maximum amount per year.

A variety of Scholarships are available to suit different student types.

JCU offers pathway courses to help you move into a degree. Pathway courses provide you with an individualised study plan and specialised support as you transition to university. Contact us for more information.

Experience has no substitute

What better way to learn about coral than getting hands-on with the subject on the Great Barrier Reef? Experience JCU's Orpheus Island Research Station with our JCU Science degrees.