Now that you’ve read all about what it’s like studying a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne Uni, what’s next? If you are tossing up on the best science undergraduate for you, a look into the pros and cons of the degree can provide a clearer insight!
We’ve asked Brianna, a third-year Science student at Melbourne Uni, to give her take on studying Science at her university.
Want to know more? Read on!
Why should you study a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne Uni?
Melbourne University is one of the leading universities in Australia, standing at #2 for Natural Sciences according to the QS world rankings. Because of its high-ranked reputation, graduating from any degree at Melbourne University opens up a wide range of career options and connects you to the right people, especially as its on-campus services can help guide the way.
Since 2008, Melbourne University launched its unique “Melbourne Model”, which has prioritised its undergraduate degrees as a time for students to explore their interests and expand exposure to different subjects, and even different disciplines. As Brianna tells us, this can be seen as “lots of different majors to choose from and you can try out lots of different subjects“.
Top 3 Pros of a Science degree
#1: Flexibility in undergraduate degrees
Brianna says a pro of studying a Bachelor of Science is its flexibility — this is a quality that the Science Faculty at Melbourne Uni prides itself on. As mentioned above, there is a great emphasis on trying things out in the undergraduate degrees at Melbourne Uni.
During the first-year of a Bachelor of Science, students are not required to choose their major. Rather than diving blindly head-first, they actually get about one year, sometimes more (if they wish to switch majors half-way through their degree), to explore their initial interests; in addition, it is during the third year of study where students complete most of their major’s core units.
Since it is a completely normal experience to realise that your interests have changed, first-year units are structured by ‘subject sets’. Subject sets provide indicators to which units must be studied to pursue a particular major, while not being mandatory to complete.
In addition, ‘breadth units’ are units where students can study units from other disciplines or develop work-related skills such as communication and negotiation.
#2: Interesting range of majors
For Brianna, another pro is the interesting majors offered by Melbourne Uni’s Bachelor of Science — this relates to Melbourne Uni’s tenet of allowing students to explore different interests.
In your first-year, there are 42 majors and nine study areas to choose from.These study areas include:
- Biological sciences
- Chemical sciences
- Earth sciences
- Engineering systems
- Information technology
- Mathematics and statistics
- Physical sciences
- Psychological sciences
And, some of 42 majors are:
- Agricultural science
- Animal health and disease
- Bioengineering systems
- Human nutrition
- Mathematical physics
- Mathematics and statistics
Despite the broad range of majors, the staff for each school of science have industry connections such as postdoctoral research fellows, as well as state-of-the-art facilities such as new purpose-built research laboratories in the Institute of Molecular Science & Biotechnology building and 240 bioscience research projects with by a funding of about $100m!
#3: The on-campus experience
Lastly, Brianna says that the on-campus experience is amazing.
Since Melbourne Uni was founded in 1853, the Parkville campus combines a mix of historical and modern architecture; on weekdays of the semester, all the Melbourne uni campuses have a vibrant and motivating atmosphere with all the bustling people around!
Though, Brianna notes that “while the facilities are really great at Melbourne Uni, the classrooms can sometimes feel a bit out of date in certain buildings. But science students usually have classes in pretty much every building“.
Top 3 Cons of a Science degree
#1: Expect to feel lost sometimes
Brianna tells us that the difference between “the year levels can make you feel lost”.
As students transition from the flexibility of the first year to choosing your major, they may question their subject set and major choices, even if it is what they initially chose. In addition to the design of the Melbourne Uni model that encourages (sometimes even requiring) postgraduate study, the transition to later semesters can be a pivotal yet doubtful moment.
If feeling lost is the case, it’s recommended to speak to tutors or career advisors as they can speak from experience, suggest different pathways or give that extra motivation to pursue your current major!
#2: Difficult units
Brianna says that the study, regardless of your major, can be difficult.
Despite the low contact hours, a lot of time and effort is involved in understanding your coursework — on top of that, there are often weekly assessments in many Science units, which can add the pressure of overworking yourself in order to secure a good GPA.
#3: Not a social faculty
Though it may be the general feeling since online-learning, Brianna says that it can be hard to meet people. This can be shown through the drop from an overall student experience of 77.6/100 to 52/100, according to the 2020 SES Report.
While the purpose of going to university isn’t a social one, forming university friendships is nonetheless something that can boost your study experience and, in fact, help improve your marks through collaborative study!
However, this shouldn’t be something to fear as university societies, such as Melbourne University’s Engineers without Borders society, can offer opportunities to form friendships through its discipline-related and social events.
“I don’t really have any regrets,” Brianna says. “Maybe just knowing what subjects I should choose when I started my degree.”
Though it’s hard to prepare for your university pathway when you haven’t yet decided, some attention nonetheless should be given to what units you enrol in. This is especially true for your first year of study when you choose your subject sets!
What do you wish you had known before starting a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne Uni?
The importance of preparing her subject pathway from first year to third year is something Brianna wishes she knew before starting her degree — “I think I would’ve changed a few of my choices knowing what I do now,” she says.
For example, something to remember is that while there are technically 42 majors to choose from, you don’t get the full choice of 42 majors as the subject sets will narrow down the options for your majors.
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
“There is the Melbourne model which allows you to create your own degree!” Brianna tells us.
Through the flexible design which launched in 2008, the Melbourne Model is a learning model that has only been implemented by Melbourne University. This model places the focus on postgraduate study and exploration or “finding your feet” in undergraduate degrees.
What inspired you to choose this degree?
“I always wanted to study at Melbourne because it is convenient for me and one of the few universities that offers my major,” Brianna says. “I also wanted to follow the Melbourne model because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do.”
What are the possible career paths?
Career pathways for Science graduates depend on the major they have chosen, as this will determine the knowledge areas and skills they develop.
For Brianna, who studies a major in Bioengineering systems, she says, “I’m interested in research and really anything in the field of biomechanics!” Other career options include:
Lynn Chen is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is a Communication student at UTS with a major in Creative Writing. Lynn’s articles have been published in Vertigo, The Comma, and Shut Up and Go. In her spare time, she also writes poetry.