The University of Newcastle, Australia

About science and the environment

Studying science and the environment can help you be part of navigating some of the world's biggest issues. Within your degree you will learn to approach demands like the increasing need for energy, land, food and water. Those who study in the fields of science and the environment have an important role to play in the ongoing health of our world, and ultimately mankind itself.

The future is bright for Australia’s graduate scientists. With the 2015 launch of the National Innovation and Science agenda, there is a national coordinated approach and investment in the industry. Matched with a global demand for science skills, degrees in this area create a launch-pad like no other.

Why study science and the environment at UON?

  • We are research leaders, ranking well above standard in 14 science disciplines and home to 2012 NSW Scientist of the Year Laureate Professor John Aitken.
  • Learn through experience - all our degrees in this area incorporate practical training like fieldwork, lab work, and projects with industry partners.
  • Connect with industry through practical placements at organisations such as LandcareNSW National Parks and Wildlife Service or water and mining companies.
  • Build international networks with cultural immersion tours, workshops, masterclasses or lectures at overseas universities.
Video: Nathan is forging new career paths in science and the environment.​
75% ? of the fastest growing occupations now require Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills
$10.1 Billion ? government investment in Science, Research and Innovation 2016-17
World top 150 ? for geography
World top 200 ? for environmental studies
Top 3 in Australia ? for cognitive sciences

Undergraduate science and environment degrees

We understand that sometimes you don't know exactly which degree you'd like to pursue, especially in a discipline as diverse as science and the environment. You might, however, know which scientific field excites you. Use these areas of interest to narrow down your study options based on your interests and career goals.

All degrees

Degree name Selection rank
Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Biomedical Science
Bachelor of Biotechnology
Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours)
Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours)
Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Honours)
Bachelor of Computer Systems Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Development Studies
Bachelor of Development Studies (Honours)
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Business
Bachelor of Development Studies / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Honours)
Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management
Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (Honours)
Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management / Bachelor of Business
Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science
Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition (Honours)
Bachelor of Mathematics / Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Natural History Illustration
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science (2019 onwards)
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

Biology

Biology is the science of life. Within a biology major you will study the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and distribution of living organisms. Biology is an integral part of society due to our reliance on the natural world for our survival. The study of biological sciences spans a wide range of interests from genes to the environment.

Career examples

  • Animal Biologist
  • Biochemist
  • Biologist
  • Plant Scientist

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Science (major in Biological Sciences)
  2. Bachelor of Biomedical Science
  3. Bachelor of Biotechnology
  4. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Biology)
  5. Bachelor of Natural History Illustration

Chemical engineering

Chemical engineering graduates learn to apply their knowledge of the synthesis and processing of chemicals to convert raw material into useful products. Your degree will prepare you to help develop everyday products like toothpaste, beer, puff pastry, chocolate, lipstick, paracetamol and petrol. Chemical engineers work in fields such as energy production, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

Career examples

  • Biotechnology Engineer
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Chemical Safety Manager
  • Water Treatment Designer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours)

Chemistry

Almost everything you touch in the modern world will have a chemist’s input at some stage. Chemistry students study the manipulation of atoms and molecules for real-world applications and it plays a key role in virtually all sciences. Within a chemistry major, students learn how to help solve problems affecting the world we live in. Chemistry graduates are involved with developing new drugs, new computing devices and better energy storage materials.

Career examples

  • Environmental Chemist
  • Forensic Chemist
  • Geochemist
  • Pharmaceutical Scientist

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Science (major in Chemistry)
  2. Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours)
  3. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Chemistry)

Earth sciences

Earth science is the study of the Earth and its neighbours in space. It is made up four basic areas: geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy. We live in a time where graduates who have learned how to approach the challenges faced by the Earth and its inhabitants are in high demand. Your degree may focus on issues such as climate change, alternate energy sources, over-population and natural disasters, just some of the issues Earth scientists are dealing with.

Career examples

  • Climatologist
  • Geologist
  • Oceanographer
  • Spatial Scientist

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Science (major in Earth Sciences)
  2. Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (major in Earth Systems)
  3. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Earth and Environmental Science)

Ecology

By studying ecology you will specialise in the scientific analysis and study of interactions between organisms and their environment. Your science degree will focus on understanding plant and animal populations and communities, as well as their ecosystems. Ecology students learn to research everything from tiny bacteria’s role in nutrient recycling to the effects of tropical rain forests on the Earth’s atmosphere. There are many practical applications of an ecology major in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management, city planning, community health, economics and human social interaction.

Career examples

  • Bushland Assessment Officer
  • Conservationist
  • Fisheries Officer
  • Park Ranger

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (major in Ecosystems and Biodiversity)

Environmental engineering

Environmental engineering graduates learn to apply their knowledge of chemistry, geomechanics, hydrology and land surface processes to find solutions for complex environmental problems, such as water pollution and soil erosion. Your degree will prepare you to be responsible for developing sustainable engineering practices that have a profound impact on our health and quality of life. Studying in this major will show you how environmental engineers work with other specialists to optimise the use of resources and minimise long-term impacts on the environment.

Career examples

  • Water Reclamation Project Designer
  • Environmental Remediation Technician
  • Environmental Impact Consultant
  • Toxic Materials Control Engineer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Honours)

Exercise science

Exercise science explores the complex nature of human movement and how the body reacts to acute and chronic physical activity pursuits such as general fitness regimes, recreational activities and elite sports. With the increase of health problems due to lifestyle and inactivity and the high profile of elite sport, there is an increasing need for qualified specialists with an understanding of the relationship between exercise and health.

Career examples

  • Biomechanist
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Sports Scientist

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science

Food science

Food science is the study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food; and the concepts underlying food processing. Food science degrees draw from many disciplines such as biology, chemical engineering, and biochemistry to help students learn about food processes and ultimately improve food products for the general public. Your study will focus on the physical, microbiological, and chemical makeup of food. Food science graduates are responsible for developing safe, nutritious foods and innovative packaging that lines supermarket shelves everywhere.

Career examples

  • Flavourist
  • Food Chemist
  • Food Technologist
  • Research Scientist

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Geography

The Geography major focuses on the study of the environment of humans, and the complex ways humans and environments shape each other. Students aim to understand the processes that form cultural and physical environments, the geographical organisation of human practices and physical phenomena. Through their study of geography, graduates learn to analyse the interplay between human practices, environments and social political objectives.

Career examples

  • Development Compliance Officer
  • Demographer
  • Environmental Geographer
  • Transport Geographer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Science (major in Geography)
  2. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Geography)

Marine science

When you major in Marine science, you will explore the impacts of fishing, climate change, pollution and how to manage these resources given our reliance on the marine environment for food, recreation, transport and energy. Students will learn about the interaction between humans and marine ecosystems within the approximately 16.1 million square kilometres of coastal shallows and ocean floor for which Australia is responsible. This specialisation produces graduates prepared for a range of challenges including the conservation of resources, control of pollution and management of species in these areas.

Career examples

  • Biological Oceanographer
  • Fisheries Officer
  • Hydrographer
  • Marine Biologist

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Science (major in Marine Science)
  2. Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (major in Marine Science)

Medical research

Medical research is conducted to aid and support the development of knowledge in the field of medicine. The study of medical research is heavily grounded in biology and can either focus on biomedical science or biotechnology. Biomedical science students learn about the human body, its structure and function in health and disease. Students who study biotechnology, however, will learn about the use of living organisms to modify products for a specific human purpose. Biotechnology plays a key role in the development of genetically modified crops or the creation of vaccines.

Career examples

  • Biotechnologist
  • Embryologist
  • Geneticist
  • Molecular Biologist

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Biomedical Science
  2. Bachelor of Biotechnology
  3. Bachelor of Medical Science / Doctor of Medicine (Joint Medical Program)

Medical radiation science

Medical radiation science is a field that’s constantly evolving. Medical radiation science degrees create healthcare professionals who perform complex testing and treatment to help diagnose and solve medical issues. Students can study three main branches of this scientific field: diagnostic radiography, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy.

Diagnostic radiography is an important first step to diagnosing, treating and managing injuries and disease. Nuclear medicine scientists conduct nuclear medicine scans of a person’s body using radioactive material called radioisotopes. Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, uses sophisticated radiation technology to target and destroy cancer cells and shrink tumours – allowing cancer to be treated, managed and cured.

Career examples

  • Chief Radiographer
  • Nuclear Medicine Scientist
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Sonographer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Honours) (Diagnostic Radiography)
  2. Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Honours) (Nuclear Medicine)
  3. Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Honours) (Radiation Therapy)

Photonics

Photonics students study the science of producing, manipulating and detecting light. You will learn how this field incorporates optical fibres and their use in modern communications technology, which is the only apparent solution for the growing societal demand for bandwidth. Photonics underpins technologies of daily life from smartphones, laptops and the Internet, to medical instruments and lighting technology. A major in photonics has led students to diverse career paths.

Career examples

  • Laser Engineer
  • Optical Engineer
  • Optical Research Scientist
  • Photonics Engineer

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Science (major in Photonics)

Physics

Physics is one of the oldest natural sciences dedicated to the study of how the universe works. Majors in this branch of science are concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. Students will learn how physics explains the fundamental mechanisms of the other sciences, underpins the technologies that are the focus of engineering and opens up new areas of research.

Career examples

  • Nanotechnologist
  • Astrophysicist
  • Space Scientist
  • Optical Physicist

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Science (major in Physics)
  2. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Physics)

Psychology

By studying psychology, students will learn about the science of human behaviour, the human brain and its effect on the way we act and why. Your psychology degree covers a broad range of areas such as memory, decision-making and developmental studies. As a psychology graduate, you can apply this field of study in a broad range of industry sectors, enabling you to choose the career path that’s right for you.

Career examples

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Market Researcher
  • Neuroscientist
  • Human Resources Consultant

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Psychological Science
  2. Bachelor of Arts (major in Psychology Studies)
  3. Bachelor of Science (major in Psychology Studies)
  4. Bachelor of Social Science (major in Psychology)

Sustainability

The study of sustainable resource management is about learning how to strike a balance between protecting and using our environment. Achieving sustainability in the management of Australia’s natural resources is vital if we are to ensure the country’s ongoing social, economic and environmental well-being. A degree in sustainability and resource management will prepare graduates for diverse career opportunities.

Career examples

  • Biodiversity Conservation Officer
  • Environmental Officer
  • Sustainability Educator
  • National Park Ranger

Degrees

  1. Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (Sustainability)
  2. Bachelor of Science (major in Sustainable Resource Management)
  3. Bachelor of Development Studies (major in Environmental Sustainability)
  4. Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (major in Earth and Environmental Science)
Scholarships Apply for a science and environment scholarship

Browse degrees by study area