Taking science out of the laboratory

When enrolling in a science degree in Australia, don't expect the traditional classroom or laboratory approach, when there are countless opportunities to learn surrounded by world-renown physical environments.

Australia is a land like no other. Featuring about one million different native species, more than 80 per cent of the country's flowering plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to Australia, along with most of its freshwater fish and almost half of its birds.

When studying science in a country blessed with incredibly diverse and unique fauna and flora, students are encouraged to explore. Students can study Marine Biology on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, discover Gondwana-era plants in the Wet Tropics rainforests, search for rare animals on Cape York Peninsula’s tropical savannahs or in the arid outback deserts, and geology comes alive when examining world-class mineral districts.

To take advantage of these unique and scientifically stimulating locations many world-class scientific facilities have been developed including:

  • The Daintree Rainforest Observatory – located in the World Heritage listed Wet Tropics region at Cape Tribulation. This canopy crane offers scientists the opportunity to conduct a range of canopy related research.
  • Orpheus Island Research Station located within the Great Barrier Reef provides a range of excellent facilities to suit both research and teaching including shared accommodation, boats, dive facilities, lecture theater, extensive laboratory facilities including climate-controlled research rooms, wet labs and a versatile saltwater aquarium system.
  • The Cyclone Structural Testing Station is actively engaged in research, testing and community education aimed at ensuring that buildings designed to resist severe wind events are safe, economical and sustainable.
  • Fleets of research vessels, including RV James Kirby a multi-tasking vessel capable of supporting a wide variety of scientific research, sea bed mapping, Vibracore and sediment sampling, teaching and more.

Marine biology student, Hannah Epstein:

Honours student Hannah Epstein started her studies at the renowned St Andrews in Scotland studying Marine Biology and was looking into exchange opportunities when she discovered the comprehensive Marine Science programmes available in Australia. Deciding to forgo the exchange option, Hannah instead transferred to Australia and has not looked back:

"Apart from the fact Scotland is very cold and Australia is a warm and tropical place to live, I am being taught not just by passionate and inspiring professors, but I am studying marine science on the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, it's a dream."

She further explains, "The field trips offered are incredible opportunities to meet other students, engage with professors and are the perfect mode to back up the theoretical knowledge with the practical side of the course. Facilities like Orpheus Island prepare you for life after uni, and gives you the opportunity to learn research skills.”

Geology student, Kira Weidig:

Another student, Kira Weidig who is studying a Bachelor of Geology describes her experiences as rewarding and enjoyable. She explains 

“Our professors and lectures are conducting cutting edge research, yet they make you feel a part of it, they happily discuss their own work and they use their discoveries and research to teach us. The theoretical aspects of the course are applied to not only local examples, but discoveries worldwide and of course the field trips provide the best culmination.”

Science programmes within Australia's universities - including James Cook University - feature innovative programs designed to develop graduates with key practical skills and interdisciplinary knowledge required to address today's global challenges. 

Studying in Australia ensures a unique experience which can lead to a variety of rewarding careers and provides an exciting and enriching place to study science!

Need More info? Visit the Courses and Degrees Available at James Cook University