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Undergraduate Handbook

Science - 3970

Program Summary

Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Undergraduate
Typical Duration: 3 Years
Typical UOC Per Semester: 24
Min UOC Per Semester: 3
Max UOC Per Semester: 24
Min UOC For Award: 144
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Science (Major)

Program Description

The three-year Science degree has been designed for students who seek a 'generalist' degree in which there is a large element of choice. A student can combine courses from two or more Science disciplines, or take courses from outside the Science disciplines.

The basic rules for the degree are set out in the following sections under Program Objectives and Academic Rules. Students in the Science program need to ensure that they complete at least one Major (defined below). In addition, students may choose either a second Major or a Minor sequence (defined below. At least 84 units of credit (out of a total of 144) must be taken from Science. The remainder may be in another Faculty. Subject to certain conditions, a student may be permitted to continue into a fourth year to complete an honours degree.

Program Objectives and Learning Outcomes

This program has been designed to:
  1. Develop and sustain an interest in and knowledge of Science.
  2. Develop a working knowledge of scientific methods of investigation.
  3. Encourage curiosity and creative imagination and an appreciation of the role of speculation in the selection and solution of problems, the construction of hypotheses, and the design of experiments.
  4. Develop an appreciation of scientific criteria and a concern for objectivity and precision.
  5. Develop confidence and skill in formulating problems and in treating both qualitative and quantitative data
  6. Develop the ability and disposition to think logically, to communicate clearly by written and oral means, and to read critically and with understanding.
  7. Develop the habit of seeking and recognising relationships between phenomena, principles, theories, conceptual frameworks and problems.
  8. Promote understanding of the significance of science, technology, economics and social factors in modern society, and of the contributions they can make in improving material conditions.
  9. Provide opportunities for the development of students' motivations and social maturity, and an awareness of their capabilities in relation to a choice of career which will be fruitful to themselves and to society.
  10. Provide opportunity to study science in combination with other disciplines.
Academic Rules

Conditions for the Award of the Degree:
  1. A student must complete 144 units of credit (UoC) including 12 units of General Education.
  2. The degree must contain a Major sequence of study, defined in Table A.
  3. A student must complete at least 24 UoC and no more than 60 UoC in Level I courses from at least three Science Schools.
  4. No student may commence level II courses until 18 Level I units have been successfully completed.
  5. Students must declare their Major sequence before enrolling in Level II courses.
  6. No more than 18 Level 1 UoC in any one subject area may be counted towards the completion of the degree.
  7. A student must complete a minimum of 84 UoC from Science Schools.
  8. Progression to Stage 4 Honours is subject to academic performance: typically students require a Credit WAM. Students seeking to enrol in Honours are required to have the permission of the Head of School, to have completed all the requirements for Level 1, 2 and 3 of the BSc and to have satisfied prerequisite requirements as specified. All General Education must also have been completed. Students who have not qualified for the BSc at pass level will not be permitted to enroll in Honours.
  9. A Major sequence is defined in Table A as: at least 42 UoC at Level II and III in a single discipline or area of study, including at least 18 UoC at Level III.
  10. In the case where a student chooses to complete a Minor, a Minor sequence is defined as: 24 units of credit at Level II or III. The Minor may either consist of courses available within but not taken as part of a Major (Table A) or a sequence defined in Table B.
  11. In the case where a student chooses a second Major, and the Majors are in two cognate areas that have courses in common, a student may be permitted to have up to 18 UoC counted towards each Major sequence but only 6 UoC may be at Level III.
  12. "Science Schools" are defined in Table 1 below. Courses offered by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in the Environment and Society, History and Philosophy of Science and Philosophy Majors do not count towards the 84 UoC Science requirement.
  13. The Faculty of Science may award a Pass degree with Distinction to students who obtain a minimum of 75 WAM across the program and complete at least 72 UoC at UNSW.
TABLE 1. The definition of "Science Schools".

Courses which are offered by the following Schools and Departments can be counted towards the 84 UoC of Science required in Program 3970. The course prefixes that are associated with each School or Department are in bold listed below:
  • Aviation - AVIA
  • Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences - BIOS, BEES, GEOS, MSCI
  • Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences - BABS, BIOC, BIOT, MICR
  • Chemistry - CHEM
  • Computer Science - COMP
  • Food Science - FOOD
  • Materials Science and Engineering - MATS
  • Mathematics and Statistics - MATH, MSCI
  • Medical Sciences - ANAT, NEUR, PATH, PHPH
  • Psychology - PSYC
  • Physics - PHYS
  • Optometry and Vision Science - VISN
  • Risk and Safety Sciences - SESC
  • Science Communication - SCOM

Program Structure

Majors in Program 3970 are defined in Table A (Majors) and Minors in Table B (Minors).

TABLE A: Available Majors in program 3970
Biological Science 
Environmental Earth Science 
Environment and Society
Food Science
History and Philosophy of Science
Marine Science (Marine Biology)
Marine Science (Marine Geology)
Marine Science (Physical Oceanography)
Materials Science
Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Molecular Biology 
Physical Oceanography
Safety Science
Spatial Information Systems
Vision Science

TABLE B: Available Minors in program 3970.
The Majors listed above in Table A may also be taken as Minors or additional options are as follows:
Aboriginal Studies
Americas Studies
Asian Studies
Australian Studies
Business Economics
Business Law and Taxation
Business Statistics
Chemical Engineering and Industrial Chemistry
Chinese Studies
Civil Engineering
Critical and Cultural Theory (only available from 2010)
Development Studies
Economic History
Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications
Environmental Studies
European Studies
Film Studies
German Studies
Greek Studies
Hispanic Studies
Human Resource Management  
Indonesian Studies
Industrial Relations
Information Systems
International Business
International Relations
Japanese Studies
Jewish Studies (only available from (2010)
Korean Studies
Mechanical and Manufacturing Eng 
Media, Culture & Technology
Remote Sensing
Science Communication
Sociology and Anthropology
Surveying and Spatial Information Systems
Theatre and Performance Studies
Women's and Gender Studies

*See under Biological Science in the Specialisations list below.

Elective Courses

Students may take any course as an elective, subject to meeting prerequisites and the Academic Rules outlined above (including the Table A Major and a minimum 84 UoC in Science courses).

Graduation and Majors

In order to graduate, students must satisfy requirements for the award by passing all the courses and requirements specified for their program. Students who complete requirements will be awarded the degree of Bachelor of Science at Pass or Honours level with a Major in the area of specialisation (usually indicated by the name of the major). The award will appear on the testamur as:

Bachelor of Science in (name of Major)
Bachelor of Science with Honours in (name of Honours specialisation)

General Education Requirements

Students in this program must also satisfy the University's General Education requirements. For further information, please refer to General Education in the Table of Contents (see left-hand side of this page).

Academic Rules

Please refer to the above Academic Rules.


For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:

Area(s) of Specialisation

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.