Graduate Diploma of Science

Courses Australian courses Graduate Diploma of Science

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Graduate Diploma of Science

Expand your science knowledge with this flexible postgraduate science degree and go further in your career. In the diverse environmental region of Tropical North Queensland, you will gain valuable practical experiences relevant to the Tropics.

Designed for those with a bachelor degree in an applicable field, you will learn from world-class researchers and have access to state-of-the-art teaching facilities.

Choose to specialise in; Aquaculture Science and Technology, Environmental Earth Science, Environmental Management, Fisheries Science and Management, Geology, Marine Biology, and Tropical Biology and Conservation.

Townsville, Cairns
Start dates
February, July
1 year full-time
Part time available
Study mode
On campus
AQF level 7 bachelor degree in science, or equivalent

Course highlights

You will develop hands-on, industry relevant skills to compliment the theory learnt throughout this degree. Deepen your scientific knowledge with the wide range of subjects available within each specialisation.

Each stream has a particular focus on working and researching in tropical environments. Sustainability is a consistent theme throughout each subject and you will build connections working with research partners across various industries.

Upon graduation, have the skills to progress your career or continue study. You may be eligible to gain credit for the subjects you successfully complete and enter the Master of Science.

Course overview

Develop your research and critical thinking skills to be ready to work in higher-level positions within the industry, or continue your studies.

Within this postgraduate science diploma, you have the option of choosing from seven discipline streams. Each stream has a variety of subjects, which means you can shape this course to match your interests.

Along with studying your area of expertise, choose subjects from a list of electives that either compliment your specialisation or develop your knowledge of a different field.

Choose to study any of the discipline streams at the Townsville campus — Tropical Biology and Conservation is also available at the Cairns campus.

Review the handbook for detailed information about the subjects included in each stream.

How to apply

Complete an online application through our Online Application Portal.


Graduate Diploma of Science

Handbook year


Course code


Course type

Graduate Diploma (AQF Level 8)


Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Completion of an AQF level 7 bachelor degree in science 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.

Post Admission requirements

Some subjects require attendance at block mode 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

24 credit points

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.

On successful completion of the Graduate Diploma of Science, graduates will be able to:

  • Integrate and apply advanced theoretical and technical knowledge in one or more science disciplines

  • Retrieve, analyse, synthesise and evaluate knowledge from a range of sources

  • Plan and conduct reliable, evidence-based laboratory and/or field experiments/practices by selecting and applying methods, techniques and tools, as appropriate to one or more science disciplines

  • Organise, analyse and interpret complex scientific data using mathematical, statistical and technological skills

  • Communicate complex scientific ideas, arguments and conclusions clearly and coherently to a variety of audiences through advanced written and oral English language skills and a variety of media

  • Identify, analyse and generate solutions to unpredictable or complex problems, especially related to tropical, rural, remote or Indigenous contexts, by applying scientific knowledge and skills with initiative and high level judgement

  • Explain and apply 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

Select one of the following 15 credit point discipline streams:


Select 9 credit points of any level 5 AQ, BS, BZ, CH, EA, EV, MA, MB, MI, SC or TV subjects

Stream 1: Aquaculture Science and Technology

Select 6 credit points from:

AQ5002:03 Aquaculture: Feeds and Nutrition

AQ5003:03 Aquaculture: Propagation

AQ5006:03 Aquaculture: Principles and Practices

AQ5015:03 Sustainable Aquaculture


AQ5012:06 Hatchery Techniques


Select 3 credit points of specified subjects from List 1 (Skills)

Stream 2: Environmental Earth Science

Select 6 credit points from:

EA5016:03 Hydrology

EA5017:03 Soil Properties and Processes

EA5046:03 Earth and Environmental Geochemistry

EA5404:03 From Icehouse to Greenhouse


EA5018:03 Field Studies in Tropical Land and Water Science


Select 6 credit points of specified subjects from List 1 (Skills)

Stream 3: Environmental Management

Select 6 credit points from:

EV5020:03 Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation

EV5107:03 Environmental Management, Policy and Governance

EV5200:03 Natural Resource Management or EV5701:03 Managing Coastal and Marine Environments

EV5209:03 Principles and Practices of Protected Area Management


EV5110:03 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment


Select 6 credit points of specified subjects from List 1 (Skills)

Stream 4: Fisheries Science and Management

Select 6 credit points from:

EV5020:03 Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation

MB5003:03 Fisheries Science

MB5014:03 Managing Tropical Fisheries

MB5610:03 Fishing Gear and Technologies


MB5300:03 Sampling and Experimental Design or SC5502:03 Design and Analyses in Ecological Studies


Select 6 credit points of specified subjects from List 1 (Skills)

Stream 5: Geology

Select 6 credit points from:

EA5048:03 Minerals and Magmas

EA5211:03 Structural Geology and Tectonics

EA5320:03 Earth Resources, Exploration and Environment

EA5650:03 Sedimentary Environments and Energy Resources


EA5044:03 Geological Mapping


Select 6 credit points of specified subjects from List 1 (Skills)

Stream 6: Marine Biology

Select 6 credit points from:

MB5004:03 Marine Conservation Biology

MB5055:03 Biological Oceanography

MB5190:03 Coral Reef Ecology

MB5270:03 Coastal, Estuarine and Mangrove Ecosystems


MB5300:03 Sampling and Experimental Design or SC5502:03 Design and Analyses in Ecological Studies


Select 6 credit points of specified subjects from List 1 (Skills)

Stream 7: Tropical Biology and Conservation

Select 6 credit points from:

BZ5061:03 Behavioural Ecology (Townsville)

BZ5215:03 Conservation Biology (Cairns, Townsville)

BZ5220:03 Population and Community Ecology (Townsville)

BZ5230:03 Ecological Research Methods (Cairns)

BZ5235:03 Biological Invasions (Cairns)

BZ5740:03 Wildlife Ecology and Management (Townsville)

BZ5745:03 Tropical Entomology (Cairns)


MB5300:03 Sampling and Experimental Design or SC5502:03 Design and Analyses in Ecological Studies


Select 6 credit points of specified subjects from List 1 (Skills)

List 1 (Skills)

AQ5004:03 Aquaculture: Stock Improvement

BC5203:03 Advanced Bioinformatics

BS5260:03 Modelling Ecological Dynamics

BZ5450:03 Ecological and Conservation Genetics

BZ5990:03 Toolkit for the Field Biologist

CH5203:03 Analytical Chemistry (Advanced)

EA5018:03 Field Studies in Tropical Land and Water Science

EA5044:03 Geological Mapping

EA5330:03 Field Techniques

EA5640:03 Advanced Marine Geoscience Technologies and Applications

EV5110:03 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

EV5502:03 Advanced Geographic Information Systems

EV5505:03 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

EV5506:03 Remote Sensing

MA5405:03 Data Mining

MB5300:03 Sampling and Experimental Design

SC5202:03 Quantitative Methods in Science

SC5232:03 Marine Sensor Technologies and Applications

SC5502:03 Design and Analyses in Ecological Studies





Only Streams 2 and 7 are available in Cairns

Mid-year entry is available


Mid-year entry is available


Expected time to complete

1 year full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

4 years

Maximum leave of absence

1 year


Course progression requisites


Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Special assessment requirements


Professional accreditation requirements


Maximum allowed Pass Conceded (PC) grade


Supplementary exam for final subject

Not applicable

Advanced Standing


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

Maximum allowed

6 credit points, unless part of an approved articulation process


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 14 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


Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviation


Inclusion of majors on testamur

Not applicable - this course does not have majors

Exit with lesser award

Students who exit the course prior to completion, and have completed 12 credit points of study, may, depending on the subjects studied, be eligible to receive the award of Graduate Certificate of Science.

Course articulation

Students who complete the Graduate Diploma of Science are eligible for entry to the Master of Science, and may be granted advanced standing for all subjects completed under the Graduate Diploma.

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.