Studying nanotechnology in Australia

Studying nanotechnology leads to a variety of careers. This article explains what studying nanotechnology involves and explores the huge opportunities for nanotechnologists in Australia.

Nanotechnology - the study of materials less than a micrometre in size - lies at the boundaries between the fundamental sciences of physics, chemistry and biology and also incorporates engineering skills and knowledge. This new discipline has a broad scope, with applications including: designing the next generation of computing devices; creating innovative materials; the development of sensitive nanosensors; the use of nanoparticles for drug delivery and other medical applications; and the development of nano-devices using biological structures and techniques.

Nanotechnology includes materials, machines and systems that are capable of imaging and manipulating single molecules or atoms and has the potential to impact on virtually all areas of technology. It requires people with a broad knowledge of the sciences as well as the ability to apply this knowledge to produce innovative processes or devices.

Studying nanotechnology in australia

“A degree in nanotechnology provides you with the perfect opportunity to become part of this new and rapidly growing area of science.”

Jobs in nanotechnology include everything from research into the development of micro-machines to the use of nano-particles in ‘smart’ coatings for windows, clothing, appliances and cosmetics to the assessment of environmental and medical use of new nano-technologies. A graduate could end up working in industry (research and development of new products), the university and research sector (fundamental research into new nanotechnologies), in the medical sector (applying new nanotechnologies to the treatment of a range of conditions) or in Government (advising regulatory and funding agencies on new nanotechnologies).

A degree in nanotechnology provides you with the perfect opportunity to become part of this new and rapidly growing area of science.

RMIT University is one of a number of universities in Australia which provides a specialist degree programme in nanotechnology. Each university provides an offering with a different flavour of nanotechnology, emphasising different aspects - RMIT, for example, offers a four-year double degree which combines a major in nanotechnology and a major in either physics or chemistry. Programmes at other universities might, for example, have a stronger focus on the biological or engineering side of nanotechnologies.

Whichever university you choose, Australia is an excellent place to study nanotechnology; its nanotechnology degrees were amongst the first in the world so the degree courses are well-established, it has a long history of research in nanotechnology, an excellent international reputation and nanotechnology is seen by Australian governments as a key focus of research and development. And of course, Australia offers an enviable lifestyle to prospective students.

The demand for graduates with skills in nanotechnology is growing and will continue to grow into the future. Now is the time to become part of this exciting new area of science.

Written by Gary Bryant and Kay Latham (2010)
School of Applied Sciences
RMIT University
Melbourne, Australia