Bachelor of Science in Environmental Earth Science

Courses and Study Australian courses Bachelor of Science in Environmental Earth Science

Environmental Earth Scientists develop ways to minimise the impacts of humans on the natural environment and to effectively manage the earth’s sediment, soil, oceans, freshwater supplies and atmosphere.

Townsville; Cairns
Start dates
February, July
3 years full-time
Part time available
Study mode
On campus
Chemistry, English, Maths B

Career opportunities

Our graduates enjoy well-paid careers in Australia and overseas including in private and public sectors. Specific jobs include hydrologists, soil scientists, climatologists, environmental geologists, oceanographers, weather analysts and environmental managers. You can also get jobs as research assistants or support staff for teaching positions. With further qualifications, graduates can work as secondary school teachers.

Graduates are eligible to join a variety of professional associations including the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Water Association, the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology, the Australian Institute of Horticulture, and Soil Science Australia.

Course highlights

JCU is ranked in the top two Australian universities and top 30 in the world in Environmental Sciences and Ecology*. You will learn from some of JCU’s best researchers so you can gain the most from your studies.The course takes advantage of our proximity to the wet and dry tropics, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the regions’ resource rich mining areas; allowing you to experience the impact of humans on these natural environments. A wide variety of field trips to terrestrial and tropical environments provide you with the practical skills to collect, analyse and interpret data.

*2014 US News and World Report and 2014 NTU global rankings

Course overview

The course covers a range of topics including hydrology, sedimentology and geomorphology.

You will learn to measure and record environmental features, as well as study, assess and develop methods to control or minimise the harmful effects of human activity on the environment. This may include dealing with soil and contaminated land, ground water assessments, mine environment management, and waste planning.
Through scientific assessment, you will learn to develop cost effective and innovative techniques to provide solutions for environmental management.

Joint degree options

Joint degrees give students expertise in a complementary discipline in reduced time and can enhance their career prospects. At JCU, the Bachelor of Science degree can be combined as a joint degree in:

How to apply

Check the QTAC information and apply by clicking on the relevant link below depending on where you wish to study.

Take note of the QTAC code for this course in the location you've chosen because you'll need to enter it as part of your QTAC application.

Townsville (316321) - Apply now
Cairns (326321) - Apply now


All students in the course will study these three core subjects in their first year.

SC1101:03 Science: Nature, Knowledge and Understanding

SC1102:03 Modelling Natural Systems

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

All students must choose a Major to study in detail (see subject list below). You have the option of focussing on another key study area by taking a Second Major, or broadening your scientific knowledge by selecting science subjects from many disciplines. For the rules about the full course structure, please visit the Bachelor of Science handbook page.

Major Structure


Level 1

EA1110:03 Evolution of the Earth

EV1005:03 Environmental Processes and Global Change

Level 2

EA2006:03 Hydrology

EA2404:03 From Icehouse to Greenhouse

EV2401:03 Australian Landscape Process and Evolution

EV2502:03 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

Level 3

EV3401:03 Coastal and Catchment Geomorphology

EA3007:03 Field Studies in Tropical Water and Soil Science

EA3640:03 Advanced Environmental and Marine Geoscience Technologies and Applications


Select 3 credit points of specified subjects from List 1

List 1

EA3008:03 Advanced Hydrology

EA3800:03 Earth and Environmental Geochemistry

EV3406:03 Coral Reef Geomorphology

Pathway into course

On successful completion of the Diploma of Higher Education you may be eligible to continue into this degree, and you may be able to receive some credit for successfully completed subjects.

The Bachelor of Science – General also gives you a pathway into our other Science majors.


Bachelor of Science

Course code


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 accredited by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI). Graduates are immediately eligible for non-corporate membership of RACI and, with an additional three years’ experience in chemistry, may register as a Chartered Chemist with Corporate Membership of RACI.

Course type

Bachelor Degree (AQF Level 7)


Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

English, Maths B and Chemistry for all majors except:

General major (English only)

Physics major (English, Maths B, Chemistry and Physics, or (in lieu of Physics) 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 selection requirements

Queensland OP 6 (or equivalent) or better is required for entry in the advanced majors.

Special admission requirements

JCU students who have completed the first year of any major in the BSc (including the General Major) with a GPA greater than 5.5 (excluding MA1020 and CH1020) may apply to undertake an advanced major for which they have met the level one requirements. Approval will be subject to quota limits on each advanced major.

Post-admission requirements

Some majors require attendance at block mode or limited attendance subjects on either the Townsville or Cairns campus. Students may be required to attend block mode classes at a campus other than that at which they are enrolled, at their own expense.

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

72 credit points as per course structure

Additional course rules

A minimum of 15 credit points of science subjects must be taken at level 1.

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

A minimum of 15 credit points of science subjects must be taken at level 2.

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.

Preparatory subjects (MA1020 and CH1020) are available only under the General major and cannot be credited towards other majors in the course.

Not more than a total of 12 credit points may be credited from subjects from other Colleges.

Unless otherwise approved by the Dean of College, a student for the Bachelor of Science degree shall obtain a major from subjects listed in the course structure. Only subjects passed at a grade of P (Pass) or higher can be counted towards a major.

Additional completion requirements

Students enrolled in an advanced major in the BSc must attain a course GPA of 5.5 in order to graduate with that advanced major. A student who completes an advanced major with a GPA of less than 5.5 over their whole course will be eligible to graduate with the equivalent standard major.

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 available at



See Table A (SCIENCE/ADVANCED SCIENCE MAJORS) for availability of majors at each campus


See Table A (SCIENCE/ADVANCED SCIENCE MAJORS) for availability of majors at each campus


Expected time to complete

3 years full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

10 years

Maximum leave of absence

3 years


Course progression requisites

Must successfully complete 12 credit points of level 1 science subjects before attempting any level 2 science subject

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

Must successfully complete 12 credit points of level 3 science subjects before attempting any level 5 science subject

Students undertaking the advanced majors must maintain an annual GPA of 5.5 to remain in that major. Failure to so do will result in a transfer to the equivalent standard major.

Students enrolled in an advanced major in the BSc must attain a course GPA of 5.5 in order to graduate with that advanced major. A student who completes an advanced major with a GPA of less than 5.5 over their whole course will be eligible to graduate with the equivalent standard major.

Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Special assessment requirements


Professional accreditation requirements


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 major.

Supplementary exam for final subject

Not applicable

Advanced Standing


Students may apply for advanced standing for previous tertiary study in accordance with the Advanced Standing and Articulation policy associated procedures.

Maximum allowed

48 credit points


Advanced standing will be granted only for studies completed in the 10 years prior to the commencement of this course.


Advanced standing gained for any subject shall be cancelled 20 years after the date of the examination upon which the advanced standing 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 advanced standing may be granted at level 3.

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

Advanced Standing will not be granted for preparatory subjects completed under the other courses.

Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviation


Inclusion of majors on testamur

All majors except the General major may appear on the testamur.

Exit with lesser award

Students who exit the course prior to completion, and have completed 24 credit points of approved subjects may be eligible to receive the award of Diploma of Higher Education (Science).

Course articulation

Not applicable


Honours availability

Available as a separate one year (end on) course.


Application for entry to the Honours program is by approval of the College Dean.

Normally a minimum overall GPA of 5.0 (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.


The Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree is available for high-achieving students. It consists of extra study and the development of a personal research project and thesis. An Honours degree is usually essential for entry to research higher degrees. Please refer to the Bachelor of Science (Honours) Handbook for eligibility information.

What is Environmental Earth Science

This website is intended as general guide. Prospective students should contact the university to confirm admission requirements and the availability of courses. James Cook University reserves the right to alter any course or admission requirement without prior notice.