Bachelor of Science

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Bachelor of Science

Develop your passion for innovation and challenge yourself to go further, to make a genuine difference to your community or the environment. With a focus on current industry needs, you will conduct real-world experiments in World-Heritage listed reef and rainforest environments.

You will learn the fundamentals of science in your first year and build key employability skills in your chosen science disciplines throughout your degree. Whichever specialisation you choose, get valuable hands-on experience through state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities such as The Science Place.

With strong industry connections and lecturers renowned for their research, be supported throughout your degree and excel.

Develop knowledge in your chosen major of:

  • Aquaculture Science and Technology
  • Chemistry
  • Data Science
  • Earth Science
  • Marine Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Physics, and
  • Zoology and Ecology.
Townsville, Cairns
Start dates
February, July
3 years full-time
Study mode
On campus
Assumed knowledge
English (4,SA), Maths B (4,SA). Recommended: at least one of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Geography, Maths C or Physics (4,SA)

Career opportunities

Be equipped to work in a variety of fields with the flexibility of this Science course. With 75% of the fastest growing occupations requiring Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths skills (STEM)*, be prepared for jobs that have not been invented yet.

Depending on your chosen area of specialisation, you can work in a growing number of career fields such as:

  • Aquaculture
  • Fisheries management
  • Chemistry (petrochemical, pharmaceutical, mining, agriculture, biotechnology)
  • Geologist, geographer, hydrologist, soil scientist, environmental scientist, oceanographer
  • Marine biologist
  • Mathematician (in various sectors including information technology, business and finance, cryptography, robotics)
  • Molecular and cell biologist
  • Physicist (in various sectors such as health, meteorology, mining, environmental monitoring, energy production, scientific communications and instrumentation)
  • Conservationist or rehabilitation scientist
  • Environmental and policy consultant
  • Wildlife consultant or animal carer

*Chief Scientist 2014, “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future”

Course overview

Throughout your degree, you will have access to world-renowned lecturers who are experts in their field. Develop your skills with direct, hands-on experience in diverse natural environments with access to first-class research laboratories.

This degree is flexible and allows you to choose the subjects that interest you. You will study a selection of core subjects and your preferred major. Each major provides you with in-depth knowledge in that study area. You can choose a second major, or select two minors, which can complement your studies, or broaden your area of expertise. You are also able to choose from a range of elective subjects to diversify your skills.

Please note, not all majors are available at JCU Cairns, and not all majors are available for mid-year entry. Refer to the handbook for a detailed explanation of the course structure.


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.

How to apply

Take note of the duration, cost and campus availability of your selected course. You may wish to include a second course preference.

  1. Register using your full legal name as it appears on your passport.
  2. Gather electronic copies of your documentation including advanced standing application if relevant. You will need to provide original certified copies of your documents once your application has been approved.
  3. Complete all the questions and upload all your documents. You can save and continue the application later if you need to.
  4. Submit your application.
Apply now

Pathway into course

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


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 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

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

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

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 block 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 at block mode or limited attendance subjects on either the Townsville or Cairns campus. If students must attend block-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: Nature, Knowledge and Understanding

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


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




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.


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

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

48 credit points

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


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 19 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 MA1020:03, CH1020:03 or PH1001:03

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.

Entry requirements

As well as having studied the subjects listed in the prerequisites for this course, you must also meet necessary minimum academic entry scores and requirements.

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

If you meet the academic requirements for a course, but not the minimum English requirements, you will be given the opportunity to take an English program to improve your skills in addition to an offer to study a degree at JCU. The JCU degree offer will be conditional upon the student gaining a certain grade in their English program. This combination of courses is called a packaged offer.

Fees and costs

Annual Tuition Fee: AUD$36,280 (Estimate only.)

For more information, refer to the relevant course fee information in the 2019 International Undergraduate Guide (PDF, 8589 KB).

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

Student Visa holders must have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of their Student Visa (except Norwegian and Belgian citizens). Costs depend on the length of study and the number of dependants accompanying the student. For more information see Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Help with your application

If you need help with your application, or would like to change your preferences (e.g. course, campus, commencing semester) after you have submitted your application please contact JCU International Admissions:

Phone +61 7 4781 5601

Helpful links

Education agents and representatives
Scholarships and financial aid

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.