BlogUniversityPros and Cons of a Bachelor of Science at UNSW

Pros and Cons of a Bachelor of Science at UNSW

So you’ve got the lowdown on studying UNSW Science!

Now it’s time to get a little more real. We’ve heard about the logistics of the degree but we’re about to get personal. We sat down with UNSW Bachelor of Science graduate, Kenzie, to hear her honest opinion about the degree, with all the good parts and the bad parts. 

Scroll down to see what she had to say!

Why should you study a Bachelor of Science at UNSW?
Top 3 Pros of a Science Degree
Top 3 Cons of a Science Degree
Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make
Things to Know Before Starting UNSW Science
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying UNSW Science
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study a Bachelor of Science at UNSW?

Bachelor of Science UNSW - Student Quote

UNSW’s Bachelor of Science is a super varied course. If it’s science related, you can specialise in it — I mean, there’s 24 different majors to choose from. 

So if you’re interested in Science, but you’re still trying to figure out how to turn that passion into a career, then this degree is the perfect place to start. As Kenzie says, it’s also very practical — if you want a Science-focused degree that’s flexible and lets you get your hands dirty, well then we’ve got a winner.

Top 3 Pros of a Bachelor of Science at UNSW

#1: Lots of practical hours and field trips

One thing’s for sure, you won’t be stuck inside. “I spent a lot of time out on the field, and really got to get hands on. Sometimes all I was doing was counting leaves, but it was nice to learn while doing,” says Kenzie.

Science is all about making observations, and with UNSW you won’t only be doing this in a lab. Getting out is a great way to give context to what you are studying, and more importantly, it’s pretty fun. 

#2: You’re encouraged to try different types of Science

According to Kenzie, “You have to do a certain amount of credits in Science that aren’t your Major, so you’re kind of forced to explore different areas.” As it were, this is exactly how she stumbled upon her Major in Biology — “I started in Genetics, but after doing a few courses in Biology, I loved it and switched my Major.”

It may seem kind of irrelevant now, but flexibility is definitely a huge perk. Not all of us are lucky enough to know exactly what we want to do after HSC. With a little bit of breathing room, you have the luxury to explore which area(s) works for you.

#3: You learn how Science relates to other fields

Science is a varied field, and if you’re not planning on making a career in research, you’re also going to have to learn to work with people in different areas.

Kenzie says, “You kind of get exposed to a lot of different things… in Ecology you pick up skills in Agriculture. In one course we even learned how to brew beer, which meant we also had to understand how to work with the seller.” 

Science doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Learning how to use your knowledge and to apply it to different areas is essential if you want to make a career. And hey, knowing how to make beer is a cool party trick anyway.

 

Top 3 Cons of a Bachelor of Science at UNSW

#1: There’s not much professional support

UNSW Science doesn’t have an internship component and it isn’t very hands-on when it comes to career support. “When I finished the degree, it was like great, what do I do with this now?” explains Kenzie. 

At times it might feel like you’re only really learning how to make a career in research. This is definitely a big bummer for people that are more focused on getting a job that isn’t in a lab.

It is possible to find an internship on your own, but because it isn’t embedded in the degree you might feel a little bit like you’re on your own.

#2: Heavy contact hours 

“Generally courses had 2-3 lectures per week, a 3-5 hour lab and sometimes there was a tute thrown in the mix too. It was around eight contact hours per week for each subject,” says Kenzie.

If you’re doing three subjects, then you’re looking at 24 contact hours per week. Throw in at-home study and assignments, and it’s pretty much impossible to fit in a part-time job on the side. You basically need to dedicate all your time to this degree, which isn’t always possible for everyone.

#3: Honours is not easy to access

Even if you qualify for Honours, you’re still going to have to do a lot of leg work. First and foremost, you need to graduate with a WAM of 65-75 (depending on the subject).

Then things get a little more difficult. Kenzie says, “You have to be really proactive if you want to get in. You’re the one that has to work to find a supervisor.” 

Unlike other degrees, good grades won’t necessarily be enough to secure an Honours year. If you’re keen on graduating with Honours, you’re going to have to organise everything yourself.

Any regrets?

I regret not being able to do an internship while at uni. It was basically impossible to fit in because the study load was so heavy. I think it really would have come in handy if there was a course that accounted for it,” Kenzie explains.

What do you wish you had known before starting the degree? 

“I wish I had started off in Biology. I’m glad that I did Genetics and realised that it wasn’t for me, but it would have been a bit easier if I had started in the area I wanted to graduate in.” She says. 

That being said, it’s definitely not too difficult to change Majors in UNSW Science. All you need to do is make sure you complete a certain amount of credits in your new Major. You don’t even need to change degrees.

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

#1: The Community

Having good resources and a high-level of education is one thing, but community is definitely something that shouldn’t be overlooked. “There’s a lot of group work so everyone gets along really well […] We all kind of bonded over how hard it was. There’s also a lot going on socially, I ended up going to a lot of Balls.” 

#2: Practical hours

We may have already spoken about this part, but it really is a big game changer. According to Kenzie, “People at USYD had nowhere near as many field trips. It’s definitely something that makes a big difference about choosing UNSW.” 

If you’re keen on getting outside and putting your back into your education, UNSW is probably your best option.

What inspired you to choose this degree?

“Actually, I’m a bit of a rare case. My mum was a mature age student at UNSW, studying a Bachelor of Science, while I was doing my HSC. I was always on campus as a result, and it just clicked,” Kenzie says.

What are the possible career paths?

UNSW Science - Careers

UNSW Science will set you up for a number of career options. Some of them could be directly related to Science, while with others your Scientific background may be a nice perk.

Here’s an idea of a few of things you might pursue:

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

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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