Study Environmental &
Biological Sciences

Scientists investigate and protect the natural world

Environmental and biological science graduates are experts in the science behind life. Working in a range of fields, scientists use their skills to explore the world’s diverse species and ecosystems. This knowledge helps us to understand the issues affecting the earth’s wildlife and environment, and work towards protecting and managing it.

Studying Science at UOW provides you with the opportunity to gain real, practical skills and make new discoveries that help support the natural world.

Belong to one of the best

Go beyond the textbook:

  • Nearly half the course is practical: Spend about half of your course hours in laboratories or out in the field - in coastal, freshwater, bushland and geologically diverse environments. This allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the theory and develop your practical skills which provides a solid foundation for your career in science.

    In 2021, many of the practical components of our courses will return to face-to-face learning in our state of the art facilities or out in the field, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the theory and develop your practical skills. Further details on individual subject delivery will be available when the timetable is released or alternatively, you can speak to the Academic Program Director. For more information, please visit the returning to campus website.

  • Modern, purpose built facilities: Our $35 million Sciences Teaching Facility is equipped with the latest technologies to assist your learning including purpose built laboratories and touch screen devices built into laboratory desks where data can be analysed as it's being collected.
  • The ideal natural environment: Our campuses neighbour diverse landscapes that are ideal for fieldwork, including coastal environments, mountains, rainforest escarpment, mining sites, forests, and fresh-water and terrestrial ecosystems.

UOW marine biology students on a boat collecting water samples

Discover your passion, then develop the specialist skills that employers want:

  • Common first year: Undergraduate students have the chance to try study areas before selecting or changing their major in second year.
  • A choice of majors: Undergraduates studying the Bachelor of Science degree have the choice to major in Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Environment, Geology or Physical Geography. 
  • Specialist skills: Follow your passion with a specialist postgraduate course or help advance knowledge in science with a postgraduate research degree.
  • Diverse graduates: At UOW, the skills you will learn are highly-transferable across a range of careers. 

UOW science academics dig through rock samples in a cave in Timor

Our science degrees rank among the best in the world:

  • 5-star university: UOW received 5-star ratings for Learner Engagement, Overall Educational Experience and Teaching Quality.
  • Number 2 in NSW: UOW ranked 2nd in NSW/ACT for the Quality of Educational Experience for undergraduate Science and Mathematics.
  • Top 200 in the world: UOW ranked among the top 150 universities in the world for Earth and Marine Sciences and ranked among the top 200 for Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021.
  • Graduate outcomes: UOW is consistently rated in the top 200 universities in the world for the quality of our graduates (QS 2020).

Two UOW Science students look at plankton through microscopes

Elevate your studies:

  • Challenge yourself: Extend your studies with a specialist postgraduate course in conservation, environmental sciences or science management. Our postgraduate curriculum reflects the latest approach to science education, and incorporates extensive use of existing and emerging technologies.
  • Contribute to science knowledge: You have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to science through a masters or doctorate level research degree. You'll make new discoveries to help advance society and protect our natural world. 
  • The home of research: Benefit from studying in a university that is deeply immersed in scientific research.

A UOW science research student stands in a laboratory wearing  a lab coat

A degree from UOW opens doors:

  • Industry collaboration: UOW has a strong research reputation in collaboration with industry. You'll study in the home of ground-breaking research.
  • Accredited: Our accredited programs will ensure that you graduate with the skills and attributes employers want. 
  • Access to experts: You'll learn first-hand from professional marine biologists, ecologists, chemists, oceanographers, biotechnologists, medical scientists and researchers.
  • Be rewarded: Earn an industry sponsored scholarship.
  • Travel: Study a short course, participate in a research program or semester exchange at our partner institutes in one of 45 countries.

IHMRI Professors look at a test tube in a medical research laboratory

Number 1

The latest QILT Employer Satisfaction Survey ranks UOW equal first among Australian public universities, with overall satisfaction of graduates at 89.7 per cent.

Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) 2021

Become one of the world's most employable graduates

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services is projected to increase 10.2% in employment growth in Australia from 2018 to 2023. This increase reflects ongoing strength and demand for the services of qualified and highly educated workers. Source: Employment Projections. 

At UOW, the skills you will learn are highly-transferable across a range of careers.

Here is just a sample of the careers you can pursue:

  • Agricultural adviser
  • Biochemist
  • Cartographer (Mapping)
  • Chemist
  • Coastal or estuarine management officer
  • Conservation biologist
  • Drug regulation officer
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Food chemist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Geologist
  • Laboratory assistant
  • Marine or fisheries biologist
  • Materials scientist
  • Medical biotechnologist
  • Medical researcher
  • Oceanographer
  • Science teacher
  • Veterinary researcher

Read more: What can I do with my degree? 

Meet Andrew

When it came to choosing a university, Wollongong's diverse natural environments and the quality of the science program at UOW were too much to ignore. The field trips and practicals were invaluable. My role at Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program means I'm on the beach most days and some nights undertaking digital mapping, spatial analysis and monitoring the turtles. Andrew BACHELOR OF MARINE SCIENCE (HONOURS)

Strengthen your curiosity

At UOW, you'll benefit from the diverse natural environment surrounding our campuses. Science students experience hands-on fieldwork, supported by laboratory analysis, to build real skills.

More alumni stories

I've always been passionate about geology and earth science, and learning about nature. In geology we actually have quite a lot of practical experiences. I think half the degree is practical work. One of the best practical experiences I think was going out to Flinders Ranges for two weeks and doing some mapping and hiking and identifying rocks and relationships. It was actually a fantastic experience –a once-in-a-lifetime experience I would say. The practical learning experiences are vital for geology, especially because you need to see the rocks in the field as they are. It really helps solidify that knowledge. It's an experience you can't get in a classroom.

Hands-on is everything in this industry. Getting your hands dirty, actually touching the rocks, understanding the processes, being able to take a concept in class, going out to the field without knowing anything about it. Taking those particular concepts to understand processes and then taking that information back to a lab to confirm that.

I get a lot of satisfaction out of understanding how things work on a really small scale and that's what biology allows you to do and so for me biology was a way of tying that curiosity about how the world works with understanding how the human body works, and also improving health outcomes at the same time. You really sink your teeth into what it's like to be a scientist, also how to investigate things independently, how to design and execute an experiment from start to finish and then also what to do with the knowledge you've gained from those experiments.

Study in the home of scientific research

UOW CABAH researcher Nathan Jankowski examines soil on Lake Mungo

ARC Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity & Heritage

CABAH undertake research that will safeguard our national heritage, transform research culture and connect with communities,

UOW academics stand in burnt out bush

Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires

The CERMB researches the quantification and management of bushfire risks in Australia.

A UOW Geoquest researcher stands on the shores of the ocean

GeoquEST Research Centre

GeoQuEST brings together interdisciplinary researchers with a focus on environmental and climate change research.

We're fearless in the pursuit of our purpose. At UOW, you'll have ground-breaking research at your fingertips.

Creating Blue Futures

Blue Futures is a project within the Global Challenges program, bringing together experts from diverse academic fields to tackle real-world problems. Blue Futures positions the NSW South Coast as a national leader in the development of blue economies, drawing on ocean and coastal resources in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.

LEARN MORE

We're looking to investigate how we can achieve sustainable development in a coastal context, particularly in the Illawarra and southern New South Wales, and we're looking at all the changes that have taken place along the coast in recent years and that will take place in the future.
So the blue economy is a concept that has been gaining a huge amount of traction overseas and here in Australia and there's some challenges
associated with that in terms of how it might be impacting on questions of equity and justice, and incorporating community ideas and aspirations. So we think it's really important to be thinking from a community perspective about what the blue economy should look like.
So my part of the project's really aiming at bringing indigenous perspectives across the whole research project to say, okay what does it mean to Aboriginal people and our values, and where we're going with the economic development in the blue economy. For the land council, being a partner to the university is vitally important. We can show how we can lead together. The collaboration is something that will richen the experience for all and I think bringing Aboriginal perspectives into the way research is undertaken by the University is going to add value back into that sphere, but then to get access to the people with expertise in the blue economy, is going to add value to our role as custodians of this land.
So we've done network analysis in the past to look at how the innovators
interact with each other and with government and other authorities and
we're going to build on that to provide a platform for the innovators to keep in touch better and to be more effective in bringing innovation. We're also building sensors and a database that has data to bring much-needed water quality data. It's very scattered at the minute and we'd like to make that publicly available and more comprehensive.
Well whenever you're looking at coastal or ocean problems you need to look at those problems from the perspective of a number of different disciplines. So we need to take into account the science view, the legal view, the social sciences and indeed the creative arts that interpret coastal and marine environments for the community at large.
So an ideal world is one where we focus on common ideas, common goals, common aspirations, rather than areas of conflict and division and we're really hoping that the blue futures model helps to focus us all around how we can develop sustainable development opportunities in our oceans that provide for economic benefits but also for social equity and justice and environmental sustainability.

A brighter future starts here

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Engineering student Dipixa Sharma stands in a workshop Scholarships
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