Now that you know what a UQ Science degree entails, you might be wondering exactly why it’s worth studying. Will you learn a lot, will you make friends?
We chatted to Montana, an Honours year students who recently completed a Bachelor of Science (Plant Science) to find the pros, cons and all things in between of a UQ Science degree!
Keep reading to find out all the inside secrets.
Why should you study a Science degree at UQ?
“For me, it’s been a really amazing experience. There’s a lot of connection and opportunities. [The university] pushes you to get involved, have extra-curricular experiences and learn different skills,” Montana said.
Montana also explained that this degree gives great opportunities for career development, even whilst studying.
And she must love it, because she’s stuck around for Honours!
Top 3 Pros of a Science degree
#1: Practical study
This course, particularly a Plant Science major like what Montana has studied, has a lot of hands-on activities. Students have pracs for most subjects, which provides an opportunity to work with classmates and tutors.
In fact, there’s a whole street of glasshouses called Glasshouse Road! Similar facilities exist for different majors, including specialist labs.
“Having very experienced people be able to share their knowledge is really exciting,” Montana explained.
All academics in UQ Science have had professional research or field degrees outside of teaching, so they know exactly how to guide students through experiments.
#2: Good connections
Montana explained that in a reasonably small cohort, it was easy to get to know people!
“At the end of three and a half years, I can walk around campus feeling like [I actually] know people. I know them by name and they know me by name. That’s pretty cool,” Montana reflects, especially on such a large campus.
Montana has had the opportunity to work with classmates on projects and experiments, both for assessments and extracurricular activities.
Great connections don’t just stop at students. Montana said staff make an active effort to know their classes, including their names and interests. This is a valuable aspect to feeling at home in your degree, and is perhaps a reason to consider UQ.
#3: Extracurricular activities
UQ has more than 220 clubs and societies that students can join.
“That’s been a fantastic opportunity,” Montana said. “I think it was another level of networking for me, and even just [in terms of uni experiences], it enhanced what other opportunities were available.”
The Science Leaders Academy offers various industry and alumni events which develop leadership, management, public speaking and various soft skills. In fact, Montana can now comfortably do a 30-minute presentation with no palm cards!
Montana also explained that UQ Global Exchanges and various overseas internships are an excellent way to learn hands-on skills. UQ even offers employability grants of up to $1000 to help students fund these trips.
Top 3 Cons of an Arts degree
Montana took a lot longer to think about cons, which is testament to how much she’s enjoyed her degree! However, she does have a couple to share with us.
#1: Campus construction
UQ is currently undergoing a lot of construction to create new buildings. While this is great in the long-run (who doesn’t want brand-spanking new facilities?), it can take a long time to walk to class.
“Sometimes because our campus is so big, it can take a really long time to walk everywhere. You normally need to leave a 10 minute buffer anyway, so the blockages make things a little more difficult!” explained Montana.
Access to many buildings currently have alternative routes due to building and footpath closures, so you definitely need to be mindful of the longer distances when planning your commute. No one wants to be the kid that’s always 10 minutes late to class!
#2: Class time
Most Science students are on campus five days a week throughout their degree.
“For me, it was sometimes difficult to come up here [to uni] everyday… I couldn’t really go and work and then come back,” Montana explained.
A lot of face-to-face classes are common in Science degrees, but is still something that can be intense for students. Many students find it particularly difficult to balance part time work with uni when studying such a full-on course.
“The best option is actually working on campus! A number of students doing this work in the food outlets, shops or as tutors privately or for classes,” Montana explained.
Importantly, the number of days you must be on campus does vary according to semesters, majors and your personal timetable. If you study a more common major, like Chemistry, you may have more scope for selecting class times.
#3: Cutting it short
This seems to be a common theme when interviewing UQ students — they don’t have a third con! We’re not sure if this is because of the uni, or because Science students are really nice.
Either way, it seems to be a pretty good testament to the quality of UQ Science degrees.
It is important to remember that Montana’s study experience may be different to yours. Everyone has a unique uni experience!
“Maybe not getting involved as early as I could have. I did take until about second year to actually get involved due to my commute but once I did get involved, I made friends really quickly and got some really cool opportunities,” she mentioned.
Though Montana thinks she could have enjoyed extra-curricular activities earlier, she stressed that she didn’t miss out on any opportunities. She did a lot of things throughout her uni degree!
This is important, because it shows that even if you don’t get it right every time, uni still has great experience available to everyone.
Extracurricular activities, including clubs, mentorships and exchanges, are usually designed to be flexible and fit in well with your schedule. It’s definitely worth checking what is available to you, but don’t stress if you can’t take it all on straight away!
What do you wish you had known before starting UQ Science?
“We have some really amazing lecturers… who are very passionate, especially when they get into their areas. They’re really keen to help students out,” Montana described.
Montana began her studies with a Science/Arts dual degree, which gave her a different outlook on her study and broadened her perspective. However after realising the calibre of passionate staff in Science and the range of subject options available, she switched to a straight Science degree to continue down the science path.
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
UQ is in the city, and that “helps with connections,” Montana said. Students can meet professionals in close proximity to their uni.
This degree is also very hands-on, which Montana believes gives it a distinguishing touch.
“We have a lot of resources and a lot of very hands-on pracs, as well as many different ways to add to, enhance or gain more of those hands-on experiences throughout your degree,” Montana said.
This degree also offers a wide range of majors, which is what pulled Montana in — not many places offer Plant Science!
At UQ, there is also the option to study an Advanced Science degree. This program is more research-based with a different structure.
Students pick a stream, and then select a major out of their stream. In Advanced Science, it is also compulsory to take advanced courses. A Bachelor of Science is it’s more flexible counterpart!
What inspired you to choose UQ Science?
“It’s really amazing to be part of a degree where you’re encouraged to ask questions, and you’re encouraged to say you don’t know… it’s an opportunity to learn, create an experiment or find out. It’s cool to be part of a degree that is encouraging of… the pursuit of knowledge.”
Montana also said she loved how this degree offered so much scope and a combination of interests. Sometimes, she has no idea what her friends from other majors are talking about!
What are the possible career paths?
Being a degree with many majors, your career options are going to change based on your specialisation!
You may work in the industry, teaching or as a researcher in your area. This degree is also a great stepping-stone to postgraduate study.
Some keys jobs you could take on include:
- Research officer
- Food chemist
- Data scientist
- Marine biologist
- Laboratory technician
- Materials scientist
- Conservation Officer
- Environment and resource manager
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.