Biological Sciences» open the printable major» search for more Areas of Study
The Biological Sciences major provides students with wide-ranging training and experience in order to gain the specific knowledge and skills required to be a biologist. The major themes within Biology such as molecular, cellular, ecology, genetics in plants and animals are integrated and examined. Specialisation in any field is possible. Graduates find employment in biomedical areas such as pathology laboratories, biotechnology, biological research institutes, bioanalytical laboratories and government or industries related to the environment or agriculture.
A good description of Biological Sciences can be found on the School of Environmental and Life Sciences site.
Academic advice: view Study Pathways for this major »
Some jobs require additional qualifications at Honours level. Honours is a one year stand-alone program, completed after successfully fulfilling the requirements of the undergraduate degree. View Bachelor of Science (Honours).
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of postgraduate study options available. Postgraduate study may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the postgraduate study options following the Bachelor of Science include:
Postgraduate coursework programs can add further specialisations in areas including business, safety, quality assurance and teaching. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/program/postgraduate/
The sample job titles listed include a range of opportunities for graduates at degree, honours, postgraduate study and experience levels.
- Animal Biologist
- Animal Research Scientist
- Biological Oceanographer
- Biological Sciences Technician
- Bushland Assessment Officer
- Education Officer
- Environmental/Ecological Biologist
- Environmental Scientist
- Food Technologist
- Forensic Biologist
- Genetic Counsellor
- Generalist Programs
- Laboratory Manager
- Laboratory/Research Assistant
- Marine Biologist
- Medical Scientist
- National Parks Ranger / Field Officer
- Patent Attorney / Technical Advisor
- Pharmaceutical Sales
- Policy Officer/Analyst
- Reproductive Medicine / IVF Chemist
- Research Fellow
- Research Scientist
- Sciences Technician
- Scientific Policy Officer
- Scientific Writer
- Science Teacher
- University Lecturer / Academic
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Biological sciences graduates are employed across a variety of industries, in large and small organisations. Below is a sample of employers who recruit graduates, including those organisations that have graduate programs.
- Alphapharm (Australia)
- Australian Antarctic Division (Australia)
- Australian Genome Research Facility (Australia)
- Australian Museum (Australia)
- CSIRO Plant Industry (Australia)
- CSIRO (Australia)
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Australia)
- Department of Defence - Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) (Australia)
- Department of Defence (Australia)
- Environmental Protection Agency (Australia)
- Environmental Resources Management (Australia)
- Hunter Medical Research Institute (Australia)
- Hunter New England Health (Australia)
- Hunter Water (Australia)
- IP Australia (Australia)
- National Parks and Wildlife Service (Australia)
- Natural History or History Museums (Australia)
- New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation (Australia)
- NSW Department of Environment and Conservation (Australia)
- Questacon (Australia)
- Sydney IVF (Australia)
- Sydney South West Area Health Service (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- APESMA (Australia)
- AusBiotech (Australia)
- Australian Academy of Science (Australia)
- Australian Association for Environmental Education (Australia)
- Australian Conservation Foundation (Australia)
- Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Science are the skills, abilities and knowledge that are highly sought after by a broader range of employers. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
On completion of the Bachelor of Science degree, a graduate will be able to demonstrate:
1. In-depth knowledge and skills in a field of science with well-founded knowledge and skills in at least one field of science and a basic knowledge of at least one other field of science.
2. Ability to effectively collect, analyse and organise scientific information.
3. Ability to identify, define and analyse problems using scientific method to form and test hypotheses; the ability to apply statistical principles and logic; and use appropriate problem solving tools.
4. Ability to report scientific findings in written, visual and verbal forms and to communicate a convincing and reasoned scientific argument at a level and style.
5. Ability to work on a scientific activity both autonomously and collaboratively in a multidisciplinary environment with an ability to adapt to change, including new technologies and methods.
6. Awareness of professional practice in relevant disciplines, including an understanding, appreciation and respect for appropriate conduct and practice.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note, the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.