The University of Newcastle, Australia

Why study science and the environment?

All our degrees incorporate practical training like fieldwork, lab work, and projects with industry partners meaning you'll have plenty of opportunities to help make life-changing discoveries. See yourself here.

World top 200 ? for geography
ERA 5 ? Well above world standard for biology research
86.6% ? of Computing and Information Systems graduates found employment within four months

About science and the environment

There’s no one type of scientist. Career opportunities are exciting and always evolving. You might work in a lab, discovering life-changing scientific breakthroughs. You could work in science education, sharing your passion and knowledge with the next generation. Maybe you see yourself using science to shape government policy – or something else entirely. A science degree gives you the flexibility to explore your interests and make an impact through the pathway that’s right for you.

  • We are research leaders, ranking well above standard in 16 science disciplines (Excellence in Research Australia assessments 2018)
  • Learn through experience – all our degrees in this area incorporate practical training like fieldwork, lab work, and projects with industry partners.
  • Access world-class facilities including our nanoscience and chemistry laboratories.
  • Tailor your majors and combine a mix of specialisations and professional pathways to achieve your career goals.
  • Be recognised – depending on your area of study, you can gain professional recognition with the Hunter Environmental Institute, Australian Ecology Society, Australian Wildlife Management Society, Birds Australia, Australian Mammal Society and the Australian Society of Herpetology.
  • Connect with industry through practical placements at organisations such as Landcare, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service or water and mining companies.
Video: Learn essential laboratory and fieldwork skills by studying a Science degree

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 Climate Science and Adaptation
Bachelor of Coastal and Marine Science
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 Psychological Science (Advanced)
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science (Advanced)
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)


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


  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


  1. Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours)


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


  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


  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)


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


  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


  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


  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


  1. Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition


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


  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


  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


  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


  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 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


  1. Bachelor of Science (major in Photonics)


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


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


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


  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)


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


  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)


Watch Joseph's story

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Read More

Are you driven by curiosity to seek knowledge and solve problems? Biotechnology (Honours) alumnus and current PhD Candidate in Biological Science Joseph Pegler credits his own curiosity as the reason he became a scientist, studying how to create plant life that will survive climate change.

“I got into science research out of pure curiosity about how the world around us works,” says Joseph. “In third year, I was paired up with an academic on a placement. His research and his enthusiasm for plant-based research really drove me to the field.”

Specifically, Joseph went on to study how to maintain food security in the event of catastrophic global warming.

“By the year 2050, the global population is supposed to reach 9.5 billion people. And conditions surrounding global warming are supposed to get worse. Being able to maintain yield in the face of climate change will provide food for such an exponentially growing population” says Joseph.

Through the University of Newcastle, he earned the opportunity to travel to Katowice, Poland, to attend the COP24 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2018. Joseph describes the experience as a key milestone in his scientific career.

“[The conference] brings together like-minded people who want to make a difference in the face of climate change,” says Joseph.  “The conference left me feeling motivated and inspired to make a difference.”

Another proud moment in his professional journey was a project that aimed to use plant-based science to improve lives in Kenya.

“I was a part of a project that aimed to bring clean drinking water to a small community in Kenya” he explains. “We aimed to use plant seeds to filter dirty water to allow people to drink it.”

“It’s always motivating to do research when you can see there’s real world application for the findings and discoveries you made.”

When Joseph reflects on his chosen field, he feels grateful to be making a difference while doing what he loves, at an institution that supports him.

“The University of Newcastle encompasses all the positive features and activities students seek from their tertiary education. Quality learning facilities and academics, a range of educational and entertaining activities, and an inclusive and encouraging space for students from a diverse range of personal and cultural backgrounds.”

He’s eager to spread his love of science on to future generations.

“Science is pretty amazing. You’re pushing the envelope with knowledge to try to develop new approaches and solutions to issues facing the world” he says.

“When I finish my PhD I want to get into academics, so I can inspire the next wave of students the same way I was, and also continue my research.”

Why study at Newcastle?

Emilee Fights for Plastic-Free Oceans

Emilee, a Bachelor of Science student at the University of Newcastle’s Central Coast campus, has a vision of the world’s oceans free of plastic pollution.

What's it like to study a Bachelor of Science?

Meet current Bachelor of Science students Lachlan and Levena and hear first-hand why they chose to study science at the University of Newcastle

Meet Sadia, Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours) student

A breakthrough new microscope opening up a new window into the scientific world has been unveiled by a team at UON led by Professor Paul Dastoor.


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