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Bachelor of Science

Townsville, Cairns
February, July
3 years full-time
Part-time available
Attendance mode
Entry Requirements
OP 16 |
ATAR 59.4 |
Rank 66
Recommended: At least one of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science or Earth and Environmental Science, Geography, Maths C or Specialist Mathematics or Physics (Units 3/4,C) or Physics (4,SA)
CNS: 326061
TSV: 316061
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Develop your passion for innovation and make a genuine difference to your community and the environment. Undertake real-world research in unrivalled locations including the World-Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest and dry savannahs.

Access state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities, like JCU’s The Science Place. Experience a leading-edge education from the world’s best institution for marine and freshwater biology studies and biodiversity conservation*.

JCU students have the opportunity to tailor their degree to suit their passion. Learn the fundamentals of science in your first year, then select one or two specialisations to continue to build knowledge and skills in your chosen discipline.

Expand your knowledge by choosing to study a minor or include elective subjects in your degree. Throughout your degree, you will develop key employability skills in your chosen science discipline.

Graduate with valuable hands-on experience and distinguish yourself with your breadth of knowledge and skills.
Additional information

About JCU's BSC Bachelor of Science in Queensland

Work alongside world leaders in their scientific fields to discover solutions for pressing problems within the physical world. Be a force for positive change and a leader in discovering innovative solutions by studying a Bachelor of Science degree from JCU.

Study Science at University and be Ready Today for Tomorrow

Learn the skills and specialisations you need to excel in your chosen field, from earth science to marine biology, chemistry to aquaculture through your Bachelor of Science courses.

Work in government, advising on policies that affect us all. You might work with private research facilities developing cutting-edge medical techniques. You could go on into academia, preparing others for their future, or work as a consultant to private corporations to help them develop sustainable economic solutions.

A Bachelor of Science Course with World-Class Education

Be inspired by living laboratories with your BSC (Bachelor of Science) degree from JCU. Your world-class education begins here, with state-of-the-art facilities and lecturers at the top of their research fields.

Access some of the most unrivalled research locations in the world at the Daintree Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, and JCU's the Science Place. Build your practical skills at the JCU Daintree Rainforest Observatory, JCU Orpheus Island Research Station and the JCU Fletcherview Research Station.

Grow your professional network and make valuable peer connections as you work alongside world leaders in biodiversity, aquaculture, and sustainability.

Envision a Future of Diversity with a BS Degree at JCU

Experience some of the Earth’s most diverse areas – right on your doorstep. Study science where rainforest meets the reef and put theory into practice in world-class facilities with your Bachelor of Science in Queensland.

Work in award-winning chemistry laboratories and research stations, benefiting from small class sizes supported by lecturers committed to student success. Through your Bachelor of Science in Queensland you will learn how to communicate and collaborate with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Experience Has No Substitute

Excel in your field with well-developed practical experience. As you study with JCU, build on your knowledge and skills through extensive hands-on practical work.

Take the theoretical and technical knowledge you learn in the classroom and apply it in the field, in the lab, and in research settings of every type. Understand first-hand how scientific methods apply in the real world and how to use those methods to gather and analyse data effectively.

Launch a Successful Career With a JCU Bachelor of Science Degree

Your science studies at JCU will help you develop into an organised, creative, critical and analytical thinker. Be ready to enter the workforce with a foundation of knowledge and theory, extensive experience in practical skills, and the ability to use the latest technology.

As you develop your communication skills and ethical judgment, you will learn how to work with others, collaborating while making independent judgements when necessary. JCU graduates are in demand and leaders in their fields.
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View the handbook for a detailed overview of available subjects.

*Centre for World University Rankings 2017

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.

Career Opportunities

JCU Science graduates are broadly skilled and equipped to work across a variety of fields. They have the advanced analytical skills needed to enter the workforce and make a meaningful impact on the world.

Depending on your area of specialisation, you could work in a growing number of fields including aquaculture, fisheries management, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, mining, or biotechnology.

You could be employed in roles such as geologist, environmental scientist, oceanographer, mathematician, marine or molecular and cell biologist, physicist, ecologist, conservationist or rehabilitation scientist, environmental and policy consultant, wildlife consultant or chemist.

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

Townsville (316061) - Apply now
Cairns (326061) - 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 Science

Handbook year


Course code


Course type

BAC – Bachelor Pass (AQF level 7)

Professional accreditation status

The Physics major for the Bachelor of Science is accredited by the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP). Graduates are automatically eligible for membership of the Australian Institute of Physics.

The Chemistry major for this course is currently going through a reaccreditation process  with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI).  Once accredited, 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.


Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Assumed Knowledge: English (4,SA); Maths B (4,SA) or equivalent

Recommended Study: At least one of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Geography, Maths C or Physics or equivalent

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

Applicants who have not completed high school intermediate level Mathematics B (or equivalent) must select MA1020: Preparatory Mathematics as part of their study plan to successfully complete the Bachelor of Science.

CH1020: Preparatory Chemistry may also need to be selected, depending on the major. Students must familiarise themselves with the subjects needed to complete their chosen major.

Students should undertake the above subject/s in intensive mode where available and be aware that restrictions may apply to electives if they wish to complete in the normal three (3) year timeframe. These preparatory subjects typically start earlier than the standard course commencement date. Contact JCU on 1800 246 446 for more information.

Post admission

Some majors require attendance in intensive or mixed attendance mode subjects on either the Townsville or Cairns campus. If students must attend intensive mode classes at a campus other than the one they are enrolled at, they are responsible for their own expenses.

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 one or more Level 5 subjects.

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 Science at James Cook University will be able to:

  • Integrate and apply a coherent body of theoretical and technical knowledge, including underlying concepts and principles, 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
  • Plan 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
  • Convey scientific ideas, arguments and conclusions clearly and coherently through well-developed written and oral communication skills and a variety of media
  • Identify, analyse and generate solutions to unpredictable or complex problems by applying scientific knowledge and skills with initiative and well-developed judgement
  • 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

SC1101:03 Science, Technology and Truth

SC1102:03 Modelling Natural Systems or SC1109:03 Modelling Natural Systems-Advanced

Plus select 6 credit points of subjects from List 1 (Breadth Subjects)

Level 2

SC2202:03 Quantitative Methods in Science or SC2209:03 Quantitative Methods in Science-Advanced

Plus select 3 credit points of subjects from List 2 (Skill Subjects)

Level 3

SC3008:03 Professional Placement

SC3010:03 Sensors and Sensing for Scientists


Select a Major from Table A


Select one of the following Options

Note: Students who have not completed high school Mathematics B or equivalent must select Option 2

Note: Students who have not completed high school Chemistry or equivalent and wish to complete the Chemistry and/or Molecular and Cell Biology majors must select Option 2

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

*All students who have not completed high school level Mathematics B or equivalent must undertake MA1020 Preparatory Mathematics.  

*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 (Breadth Subjects)

Select subjects which are not already in your major

BM1000:03 Introductory Biochemistry and Microbiology

BS1007:03 Introduction to Biodiversity or BZ1006:03 Diversity of Life

BS1001:03 Introduction to Biological Processes or BZ1005:03 Introduction to Ecology

CH1001:03 Chemistry: A Central Science or CH1011:03 Chemistry for the Natural Sciences

CH1002:03 Chemistry: Principles and Applications

CP1401:03 Fundamentals of Problem Solving and Programming I or CP1404:03 Programming II

EV1005:03 Environmental Processes and Global Change

EA1110:03 Evolution of the Earth

MA1000:03 Mathematical Foundation

MA1003:03 Mathematical Techniques

PH1005:03 Advanced Stream Physics 1

PH1007:03 Advanced Stream Physics 2

List 2 (Skill Subjects)

CH2103:03 Analytical Chemistry

CP2404:03 Database Modelling

EV2502:03 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

MA2210:03 Linear Algebra


Type of major

Mandatory, single or double

Credit points in major

24 credit points




Aquaculture Science and Technology


Singapore (PENDING CPE)

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 and Maths B or equivalent, or will need to complete preparatory subject/s within this course structure

Not available for mid-year entry

Data Science



Singapore (PENDING CPE)


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)



The first year of study may be completed in Cairns

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

Molecular and Cell Biology


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



The Mathematics minor is compulsory for students studying the Physics major

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

Not available for mid-year entry

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


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 Biology


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

Marine & Environmental Science and Sensors




This minor is compulsory for students studying the Physics major

Not available as a primary Science minor except for students studying the Physics major

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 (Aquaculture or Marine Biology).

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 available in Cairns

Mid-year entry is not available in Cairns for students who require the preparatory maths subject.



Not all Majors are available in Singapore


Mid-year entry may have an early start date. Students who enrol mid-year and need to complete the preparatory Maths subject must take MA1020 in Study Period 7 if they wish to complete the course within 3 years.


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

Must successfully complete 18 credit points of Level 1 and 2 science subjects before attempting any Level 3 science subject

Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Special assessment


Professional accreditation


Maximum allowed Pass
Conceded (PC) grade

3 credit points

One PC grade only may be awarded with approval of College or Division examiners meeting, to allow a student to graduate, and that PC grade must not contribute to a core subject or a major.

Supplementary exam for
final subject

Not applicable



Students may apply for a credit transfer for previous tertiary study or informal and non-formal learning in accordance with the Credit Transfer Procedure.

Maximum allowed

48 credit points

Except where a student transfers from one JCU award to another, then credit may be granted for more than two-thirds of the new award, where there is subject equivalence between the awards.


Credit will be granted only for studies 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 the course of study prescribed for the degree.

Other restrictions

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

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

Credit will not be granted against MA1020, CH1020 or PH1001 where these subjects are available as options.

Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviation


Inclusion of majors on

Major/s studied will 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

Not applicable


Honours availability

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


By invitation of the College Dean

Normally a minimum overall GPA of 5.5 (i.e. credit average) is required across the bachelor 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: $9,345. (Estimate only)

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

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

An OP or ATAR is the score required for entry into most undergraduate courses. If you are not a Year 12 school leaver or do not have an OP or ATAR, you can be assigned an equivalent rank score. Ranks are calculated from previous study that you might have completed, either secondary, tertiary or vocational, or previous paid employment experience.

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 to find about more.

Experience the incredible

Gain real-life, practical experience in unrivalled locations and access World Heritage natural environments with a JCU Science degree.