Bachelor of Science



Course overview

The Bachelor of Science at Southern Cross is a flexible, multi-dimensional degree that allows you to incorporate a wide range of subjects in an integrated way with career-focused science disciplines.

You can effectively design your own degree. Throughout the degree all students study seven core units that provide a strong foundation in science, socio-ecological systems and critical thinking. Core skills and knowledge is reinforced and expanded across the three-year program finishing with capstone research projects in Impactful Science and Practice. You can choose a major from Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics or our SCU-wide Environmental Solutions (or a shared major from another discipline), or begin your specialisation in Earth and Environmental Systems, Marine Systems, Forestry Systems or Regenerative Agriculture – all identified on your graduating testamur.

The Bachelor of Science is characterised by a high level of practical and field experience in all years, making use of our easy access to a variety of subtropical terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems.

Course structure (see below for units)

The course comprises 24 units, but you can design your degree to suit your interests and goals:

  • 7 foundation core units + 1 specialisation
  • 7 foundation core units + 1 science major + 9 elective units; or
  • 7 foundation core units + 1 science major + 1 shared major + 1 elective unit
  • 7 foundation core units + Earth and Environmental Systems, and Marine Systems specialisations + 2 elective units

Specialisations are a group of units which develop specialist skills and knowledge. All specialisations provide capstone units that reinforce the student’s chosen field via research and applied practice aspects.

Earth and Environmental Systems Specialisation develops your skills in and understanding of environmental science to address how we interact with Earth systems in the Anthropocene. You will study units covering ecology, ecosystem regeneration, biogeochemistry, modelling and resource management (including water, catchments and waste/resources in the circular economy). You can choose a shared major as part of this specialisation or choose from a range of elective units, including ecological economics, wildlife conservation, and protected area management.

Marine Systems Specialisation will build on introductory earth systems knowledge by studying units at our National Marine Science Centre adjacent to the Solitary Islands covering oceanography, marine ecology, fish and aquaculture, reefs, fisheries and marine parks management. You can choose a shared major as part of this specialisation or choose from a range of elective units including marine megafauna, ocean change biology, drone technology and special analysis, and coastal fluvial hydrodynamics.

Forestry Systems Specialisation will study the vital roles forest play in natural and managed systems. Building on core science principles you will study units addressing native forest silviculture, fire ecology and management, planted trees and forests, wood science and utilisation, forest operations and technology. You can choose a shared major as part of this specialisation or choose eight from a range of elective units including modelling natural systems, plant and disease management, agriculture and forest value chains, and plant biology.

Regenerative Agriculture Specialisation is the only undergraduate specialisation addressing regenerative agriculture in Australia and globally, you will study human ecology, soil processes, regenerative strategies and soil management as well as the planning of rural landscapes, developing specialist knowledge taking a holistic approach to food production and farm management. A key aspect of this practice specialisation are on-farm residential schools. You can choose seven units from any other specialisation.


Career Opportunities

The Bachelor of Science prepares students for employment or further study in the sciences, with a focus on developing graduates who can apply science in the context of broader systems to address complex intellectual, professional, practical and societal challenges in the Anthropocene. Career opportunities are diverse, including natural resource management in local council, state Commonwealth Government or not-for-profit organisations, consulting, industry advisor or practitioner, research technician, quality control/quality assurance officer, data analyst and science communicator.

Specialisations allow students to develop specialist expertise in Marine Systems, Forest Systems, Earth and Environmental Systems or Regenerative Agriculture, or students can choose to take a broad course of study with a major in a science discipline area. Graduates outcomes for specialisations might include:

Earth and Environmental Systems

Career opportunities exist in public and private sectors, national park and protected area management, environmental protection, waste management, environmental impact assessment and monitoring, environmental education and interpretation, ecotourism, land/river/coast care programs; and in environmental science research.

Marine Systems

Career opportunities exist in marine park management, fisheries and aquaculture, reef restoration, marine monitoring, marine-based tourism, state or federal government, marine consulting, or marine research and technical assistance.

Forestry Systems

Changes in the industry drive a continuing demand for degree-qualified foresters able to work in production, conservation and restoration forestry, in plantation establishment and management; native forest management, fire prevention and control; forest resource assessment; policy development; pest and disease management; agroforestry and farm forestry advisory services; forest growth modelling and yield prediction; protected area management and forestry research.

Regenerative Agriculture

Career opportunities exist in public and private sectors as a regenerative agriculture specialist/consultant, farmer, resource manager, regenerative agronomist, sustainability advisor and planner, policy developer, biologist, ecologist, soil health scientist, or in scientific research. Combined with our education course, students may also take roles in high school agricultural science.

Course structure

The Bachelor of Science is comprised of 24 units.

7 foundational core units
  • Earth Systems
  • Science and Global Challenges
  • Scientific Data Management and Analysis
  • Data Collection and Quantitative Analysis
  • Caring for Country
  • Impactful Science and Practice I
  • Impactful Science and Practice II
Plus a specialisation
  • Earth and Environmental Systems
  • Forestry Systems
  • Marine Systems
  • Regenerative Agriculture
Or choose a Science major
Chemistry major:
  • Chemistry
  • Cells and Molecules
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Pollution and Catchment Management
  • Analysis of Food, Soils and Water
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
Biology major:
  • Cells and Molecules
  • Organisms and Environments
  • Ecology for Natural and Managed Systems
  • Invertebrate Life
  • Plant Biology
  • Genetics
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Fish Ecology and Aquaculture
Mathematics major:
  • Foundation Mathematics
  • Introductory Algebra and Calculus
  • Calculus and Linear Algebra I
  • Calculus and Linear Algebra II
  • Multivariate Calculus and Differential Equations
  • Computational Analysis
  • Physics
  • Coastal and Fluvial Hydrodynamics
Environmental Solutions:
  • Science and Global Challenges
  • Ecology
  • Caring for Country
  • Ecological Perspectives: Human Ecology
  • Plus 4 elective units

Or choose elective units from other specialisations in the Bachelor of Science (Earth and Environmental Systems, Forest Systems, Marine Systems, Regenerative Agriculture), or you can choose a shared major or a combination of elective units from other disciplines across the University.

Why choose Southern Cross University?
  • Ranked number 1 in Australia for graduate salary, overall experience and learning resources in agriculture and environmental studies (GUG 2021 *)
  • Strong focus on practical fieldwork in a variety of environments.)
  • Top 3% of universities worldwide in Forestry and Agriculture (QS rankings 2020**)
  • A world leader in marine science teaching and research. Learn from our marine experts who are tackling the big challenges of ocean climate change, sustainable fisheries and reef restoration
  • Study at the National Marine Science Centre (NMSC), Coffs Harbour, which is a purpose-built teaching and research facility
  • The NMSC is located on the doorstep of the Solitary Islands Marine Park and has a state-of-the art flow-through seawater supply system, an aquaculture farm and hatchery

2021 Start:   February, June
Location:  Lismore, National Marine Science Centre Coffs Harbour, Online
Duration:  3 years FT/6 years PT
Admission requirements: ATAR 60 or equivalent

* Good Universities Guide 2021

** QS World Rankings 2020