BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Science at UNSW

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Science at UNSW

Bachelor of Science UNSW - Fact Sheet

If you’re Interested in everything science-related but not quite sure where you should specialise, you don’t need a microscope to see that a Bachelor of Science at UNSW would be a great pick for your university studies.

To make things just a little more stress free, we’ve lined up everything you need to know about this degree so your application will be as easy as Pi (sorry I couldn’t help myself)!

Read on for more!

What is a Bachelor of Science at UNSW?
Core Units and Majors
How to Get into a Bachelor of Science at UNSW
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Science at UNSW?

Think of a Bachelor of Science as the Bachelor of Arts equivalent of, well, Science. It’s a jack-of-all-trades degree that dips its toes in a variety of different scientific studies so you can find your Cinderella slipper! It can, however, be structured straight from the get-go if you already know what you’d want to major in.

The Bachelor of Science at UNSW offers an impressive catalogue of 24 different majors. Biology, Genetics, Bioinformatics, Physical Oceanography, the list really does go on. Whatever you choose to specialise in, the structure of the degree will encourage you to expand your general understanding of science by taking a broad range of courses, especially in your first year.

Career Paths 

A Bachelor of Science at UNSW will set you up for a number of career options, such as:

  • Public policy 
  • Occupational health and safety 
  • Food manufacturing 
  • Market research and product development
  • Management, technical and environmental consulting
  • Data analytics 
  • Science communication
  • Journalism
  • Teaching

One thing to keep in mind though is that with flexibility comes lots of responsibility. For example, the degree does not have any compulsory units related to work experience or an internship and if you want to go on to Honours, it’s up to you to find a mentor. 

A Bachelor of Science UNSW is also very research heavy, to the extent that it may feel like it’s preparing you for a career in a lab. For this reason, if you’re not interested in a career in research it’s definitely recommended to put the effort into finding an internship on your own.

Of course this doesn’t mean that everyone ends up in research. If you take the time to look around, you really can find a Bachelor of Science UNSW graduate in almost any company with a scientific leaning.

Discover other careers you can pursue with a Bachelor of Science here!

Studying a Bachelor of Science at Other Universities

UNSW isn’t the only university that offers this degree and deciding which institution you’d like to study at isn’t just a snappy choice that you make. If you’re thinking about which university will best suit your needs, you can check out what it’s like studying a Bachelor of Science at:

Core Units and Majors 

Bachelor of Science UNSW - Student Quote

What are the Core Units?

In the first year of a Bachelor of Science at UNSW, you will end up taking on lots of science-related courses, which you can expect to be very general.

These courses will most likely be the entry-level subjects in BABS (Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences), Chemistry, Maths and Immunology. This structure is designed to set you up for whatever you choose to major in later on in the course.

Because you don’t have to choose your major until your second year, it’s a good idea to explore a variety of different subjects so you can find your perfect major!

In order to graduate, you need to complete 108 Units of Credit in science-related subjects.

The majority of these credits will be taken up by your major, but you will also be required to take extra science elective courses outside of your major. This is how you’ll be exposed to a variety of Science subjects.

What are the Majors?

As we said earlier on, The Bachelor of Science UNSW offers a whopping 24 possible majors. To give you an idea what to expect, below is an outline of a few of those majors.

Genetics

If you’re interested in genes, genetic variation or the development of rare hereditary disorders, this major is for you.

By choosing this specialisation, you will be exposed to a variety of sub-categories within the discipline including molecular genetics, human genetics, plant and microbial molecular biology, and conservation biology. The specialisation also walks hand-in-hand with microbiology and biochemistry, so it’s a good idea to take electives in those subjects. 

The courses generally involve lengthy computer labs, which leave students to be pretty autonomous and require less group work than other subjects. 

Biology 

If you’re into counting leaves, going on field trips and becoming one with nature you will jump at this specialisation!

Within Biology, you will be given the opportunity to explore botany, ecology, marine biology and zoology. Unlike genetics, biology requires a lot of group work and you will be spending much more time doing practical work.

Some of the field trips can even take you to Taronga Zoo, which is objectively fun, also giving you practical exposure to conservation.

Climate Dynamics

Concerned about the future of our planet? This is your major.

A specialisation in Climate Dynamics will turn you into a master of the earth’s climate, with an emphasis on the atmosphere and ocean. You will learn to interpret a range of fluid flow models, which will be useful in many disciplines of science.

Plus with increasing environmental issues, this is definitely a future growth industry.

For more details about every major click here!

Is there an internship program available?

Unfortunately, no. There is, however, a silver lining. UNSW offers a Science Work Placement course (SCIF2199), which can be taken as one of your free electives

We cannot stress enough how much we recommend taking this course! Having professional experience under your belt before you graduate will definitely put you a step ahead of the majority of your cohort.

For current opportunities click here!

How to Get into a Bachelor of Science UNSW

An ATAR of 75 is enough to get your foot in the door, but if you want guaranteed entry you’ll need an ATAR of 85

A Bachelor of Science UNSW also has assumed knowledge for the following subjects: Chemistry and Advanced Mathematics as well as Biology, Earth and Environmental Science, Physics, and Mathematics Extension 1 (depending on the chosen area of study).

Scholarships

UNSW offers a variety of scholarships for each different faculty, which can be found here

What’s the Teaching Format?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but any plans you had for a long mid-year holiday will no longer be happening with UNSW’s transition to trimesters. You will, however, finish off your degree faster than the majority of your friends at other universities, so it all balances out in the end.

With the trimester format, you will be studying, at most, 3 subjects per academic session. Luckily though, you are able to take one trimester with only 2 subjects per year, while still being considered a full-time student (sounds pretty chill, right?).

What are the classes like?

The Bachelor of Science UNSW is a very contact-heavy degree, which will require you to attend lectures, labs and in some cases tutorials too. Each course will have up to 8 contact hours per week (yikes!).

Bachelor of Science UNSW - Class Structure

Lectures

These bad boys are spaced out throughout the week, with most courses having 2 to 3 lectures that go for 1 to 2 hours each. It’s more than likely that there will only be one lecture stream for each course, meaning that every enrolled student will be there.

Because of this, lectures are pretty big with around 200 to 400 people. This number will go down as you progress through the degree.

Lectures are designed to introduce the content and for this reason some sort of note-taking apparatus (enter the humble pen and paper) will be more than necessary. 

Labs 

Unlike lectures, you’ll only have to take one lab per week. This means that they’re a bit longer, ranging from 3 to 5 hours each.

Labs are a bit more intimate with at most 80 other students, but most likely will be smaller than that with somewhere around 30 other members.

Labs focus on the more practical components of the course. Here you will be assessed on your “core” and “non-core” laboratory skills, this is also where you will be keeping a lab book, which will act as an assessment.

A large amount of time in your lab will be quite passive (i.e. making observations) and can also be used to complete assessments. 

Tutorials 

Not every course will have one of these, but if it does, there’ll only be 1 per week, going for 1 hour. Tutorials are quite peer driven and will only have around 30 other people

Tutorials give you the opportunity to interact with the course content, with the guidance of a teacher. They will prepare you for the final exam, with tutorials questions that you will need to respond to (it’s a good idea to have your answers ready before the class because there’s almost never enough time to get through them all).

What to Expect for Assessments

Assessments will be spaced out throughout the academic period. You’ll most likely have a lab book assessment, wherein you take notes of what you do every week.

There will be midterm exams that cover lecture content up until that point. A practical exam is likely just before the exam block starts and to top it all off, you’ll be slapped with a final exam during the exam period which will cover the entirety of the lecture content (good luck!).

Skills That You Will Gain

Bachelor of Science UNSW - Skills

Because the degree is so varied, you will gain a diverse arsenal of skills; spending a lot of time in a lab obviously means that you’ll know a microscope like the back of your hand. You’ll also refine your research abilities, especially in conjunction with emerging scientific technologies. 

A Bachelor of Science at UNSW will also hone your communication skills and ability to work well in a team, due to a large amount of group projects. These skills will extend to other industries, so you know to work with people in marketing, government and even beer brewing (wow, right?) once you’re out in the real world. 

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

Students of a Bachelor of Science at UNSW will definitely bond over at least one thing. What is that one thing you ask? Being busy

Studying a Bachelor of Science is definitely not easy, but it is a good way to build a connection with your cohort. The degree’s focus on group learning also means that inevitably you will be spending a lot of time working together.

Basically the Bachelor of Science at UNSW offers a super fun and accessible culture! 

The Science Society hosts an event every Friday, which is a great way to meet people from all different levels of study (including postgraduate). Attending this event will give you a rare opportunity to network and find out what other people are doing with their degree.

Side note: they offer free drinks!

Interested in the pros and cons of Science at UNSW? Check out our article here!


Cody Williams is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education. While Cody studied a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and French Studies at UNSW, he quickly realised that his dream job would have him sit happily behind a keyboard. Cody’s digital writing career started with an internship at Bauer Media where he was writing for ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR’s online publications. Once he had a taste for writing he never looked back, moving to Brisbane soon later to work as a Producer for Channel Nine Queensland. After a year in television media, he dusted off his online writing shoes so he could put them to good use, stamping out some scorching-hot career and educational resources at AOS.

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