Thinking about pursuing a Bachelor of Advanced Science at UQ?
Well, a science degree can be an excellent way to engage your lateral and critical thinking skills, setting you up for a dynamic career. If you love challenging yourself and diving into scientific research, a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) at UQ may be the perfect degree.
Keep reading to find out exactly what this course is like!
What is a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) at UQ?
The Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) is designed for the student who is set on a career in science. This is a challenging degree with a heavy workload, but you will receive experience in academic research and be taught by world-class tutors.
This degree differs from a usual Bachelor of Science at UQ by providing high-achieving students with the opportunity to pursue core specialisations and gain extensive research experience. In fact, you’ll be working with experts in their fields from the moment you start your course!
Honours is in-built to the course’s study plan, so you won’t have to apply throughout your degree. This allows students to examine research options early on in their study and find a specialisation that suits their interests best.
The University of Queensland restructured this degree in 2021, giving you even more flexibility to speciality.
Oh, you want a career in science but you’re not certain of exactly what you’d like to do? We hear you, and you’re in the right place!
There’s a lot of options with this degree, including:
- Bio diversity projects officer
- Exploration technician
- Biomedical engineer
- Wildlife manager
- Mine geologist
- Quantitative researcher
- Materials scientist
- Academic research
- PhD study
Because this degree offers specialisations from second year, there are a wide range of career areas available. Many graduates explore the scientific research pathway, which this course places particular emphasis on.
Your specific career path will depend on what specialisation you take, which we will flesh out further below.
Ultimately, studying a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) will provide you with skills to forge a highly specialised career!
Core Units and Specialisations
What are Specialisations?
We’ve been bouncing this word around a lot, so you’re probably itching to know more!
Basically, a specialisation (like a really big, extended major) will make up the bulk of your degree. It’s a way to get very detailed understanding in a certain topic, often for research purposes.
The specialisations you can choose from are:
Woo, that was a lot. As you can see, a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) gives you a lot of scope to specialise in a particular field.
So, what will you actually be studying?
Alright, let’s talk subjects — this course is a little different to most Science degrees, as it only has three core subjects. The degree is broken into three categories:
- Your core subjects
- 26 units of general science subjects
- A specialisation of 32 units
All students complete a specialisation, which is the bulk of your study program. However, your general science elective units can also be arranged into majors and minors, giving you another area of knowledge when you graduate.
Importantly, this degree has subjects broken into ‘levels’ of study, from 1-3, rather than distinct years.
Now, this can be a rather confusing process to get your head around, because there are just so many options! We are going to use the Physics specialisation as an example, but you can find a helpful breakdown of choosing subjects and specialisations here.
The core subjects, completed by all Advanced Science students, are:
|Advanced Theory & Practice in Science||An in-depth introduction to key tools that will come up in the degree, including mathematical, analytical, conceptual and computational skills.|
|Introduction to Scientific Research||Teaches the breadth of scientific research, the scientific process and critical thinking. Students work in groups to examine different research areas.|
|Analysis of Scientific Data OR Advanced Analysis of Scientific Data||In both these subjects, students learn to analyse data and experiments, design experiments and content ethical research on their work. The Advanced course also teaches understanding of randomness and probability distributions.|
What is a Physics specialisation like?
For a Physics specialisation, students must complete 2 units of Level 1 Physics, 6 units of Level 2 Physics, and 8 units of Level 3 Physics.
The compulsory subjects for a Physics specialisation are as follows:
You’ll be required to study Mechanics & Thermal Physics before commencing this specialisation.
In Electromagnetism & Modern Physics, students learn about electricity, magnetism, optics and quantum physics through a series of experiments.
These are your subject options for this level of study:
- Thermodynamics & Condensed Matter
- Quantum Mechanics 1 OR Advanced Quantum Mechanics 1
- Fields in Physics 1 OR Advanced Fields in Physics 1
Your capstone for the course is Perspectives in Physics Research, which is taken by all Physics students. It focuses on elements of scientific communication, ethics in research and research experience.
You’ll also be studying:
- Statistical Mathematics OR Advanced Statistical Mathematics
- Quantum Mechanics 11
- Fields in Physics 11 OR Advanced Fields in Physics 11
As you can see, a Physics specialisation, like any other, is going to give you an extremely detailed understanding of the subject area.
Though this degree doesn’t offer any specific placements required work experience, students do have great research opportunities.
The Summer and Winter Research Programs allow students to work in the lab of experts, researching and pioneering new areas of science.
Students can complete two winter and two summer programs throughout their degree, with summer research running across 6-10 weeks and winter across 4-5 weeks — and as a nice bonus, these are paid positions!
How to Get into a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) at UQ
The ATAR cut off in order to be admitted into this degree is 96.
Successful candidates for this degree must have completed a Year 12 General English subject (or equivalent), Mathematical Methods (or equivalent), and two of Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Specialist Mathematics or Physics.
However, UQ offers some pathway options for students who have not met selection criteria. If you’re missing a prerequisite subject, bridging courses are available in Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry. These are offered over four weeks in November to December.
If your mark wasn’t quite what you hoped it would be, you may also be able to take a Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) to determine if you are fit for the course you have chosen. This multiple choice test can be taken by any school leaver over 18, however the maximum selection rank adjustment is capped according to degree.
You can find out more here!
UQ offers a number of entry schemes that boost your chance to study your dream course.
The Subject Incentive Scheme offers up to 2 bonus points for students who receive a grade of C or higher in approved Language other than English courses or Specialised Mathematics.
If you are successfully completing a university enrichment program, you may also be eligible. Students can receive a maximum of 5 bonus points.
There are a number of scholarships available for this course. Take a look at the full list here!
What’s the Teaching Format?
UQ degrees are delivered over two semesters each year. Students complete different subjects each semester.
In a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours), there are roughly 25 face to face hours a week.
“Classes change a lot from first to fourth year — it becomes increasingly specialised.” — Germain Tobar, Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) IV at UQ
Lectures run for three hours a week per subject. During this time, students are introduced to key concepts in their study.
Theories, experiments and calculations are explained and are often built up across the semester. Throughout first and second year, you can expect to be studying alongside 60 to 70 students, while cohorts become smaller and reduce to around 35 students in third year.
Students then have a weekly tutorial for each subject, which is a great opportunity to ask questions and delve into difficult concepts that are raised in the lecture. This is often a time for students to extend their specialist skill set.
Typically, there will be 15 to 20 students in attendance.
Subjects that have labs run for three hours a week. Students take on practical experiments and calculations which can support their research.
During these classes, students are often working with experts in their field and there are usually 15 to 20 students attending.
In fourth year, or Honours year, students partake in a couple of lectures a week but focus on an individual research project.
This is an assessment-heavy degree. Each subject has four to five assignments across the semester, which means an assignment every two to three weeks.
Students also complete two labs reports for each subject, based on the practical experiments they have undertaken. These reports detail results, methods and analysis.
Almost all subjects have a final exam, which is worth 50-60% of the student’s grade. Some subjects even have a mid-semester exam!
Skills That You Refine and Learn
The Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) offers many transferable skills. It is a degree that challenges analytical thinking and encourages problem-solving based on data.
You will also learn to work independently, considering different options for research.
Some of these skills are:
- Problem solving
- Self-directed thinking
- Logical reasoning
- Detailed research
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?
The UQ Science Faculty boasts several notable staff members — Professor Andrew White, a quantum physicist, teaches a first year subject. His colleague, Professor Tamara Davis is an expert in dark energy and has insights into the Mars landing!
“A lot of students really like having her [Professor Tamara Davis].” — Germain Tobar
The students taking on this degree are described as one that are devoted to their learning and really enjoy working together!
UQ Science Societies
This university has an excellent student culture, with many societies to choose from.
UQ Student Association of Science Societies (UQ SASS) encompasses seven science groups who collaborate to put on events like pub crawls, trivia and a Careers Week. To become a member of UQ SASS, you simply have to join an associated society.
The Physics Acronym In Need (PAIN) Society is one of many groups that offers friendly activities each week. It’s a really great way to meet people!
“We have Friday socials every week through PAIN.” — Germain Tobar
UQ SASS is also home to the Women In Science Association (WISA), which is an excellent way to meet other females and network with industry professionals.
UQ has several Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Advisors who can provide Student Access Plans (SAPs) if you suffer from any form of illness or disability. SAPs ensure students can excel in a classroom setting, complete exams and feel confident whilst studying.
For general academic help, you can visit the Student Services Team, who can answer study questions, provide feedback and connect you with a Learning Advisor. UQ also offers a number of online study skill workshops.
If you’ve ever wondered about great mentoring programs, look no further than UQ. This university hosts over 20 active mentoring initiatives that you can explore.
Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) students may join the Science Mentors program — you may like to join Chemistry Peer-assisted study sessions that offer workshops with academic staff.
The Pharmacy Peer Mentoring Program runs for a semester for first year students. You will be grouped with other students based on your shared passions and goals to learn together.
The Get Set Mentor Program is a six-week opportunity for you to meet peers and mentors as you settle into uni life.
If you’re considering a science degree, this is certainly a great option to add to your list! No matter what you end up deciding, we want our resources to guide and inform you.
Lucinda Garbutt-Young hopes to one day be writing for a big-shot newspaper… or maybe just for a friendly magazine in the arts sector. Right now, she is enjoying studying a Bachelor of Public Communication (Public Relations and Journalism) at UTS while she writes on the side. She also loves making coffees for people in her job as a barista, and loves nothing more than a sun shower.