Science Majors

Science majors: areas of specialisation

Experience the flexible study options in science. Study science and choose from a diverse range of science majors that match your interests and strengths.

You don’t need to decide straight away which path you will take. The fundamental science programs in your first year of our science degrees will help you find your passion; and help you choose which major you may like to pursue for the remainder of your study.

Choose your own adventure in science. Follow your own emerging interests and scientific curiosity.

  • Biomedical sciences

    Biomedical sciences

    Study a biomedical science major

    Prepare for a career at the forefront of molecular and biomedical sciences. Create cures for major diseases; solve complex genetic problems; and explore how biological processes function at a molecular level.

    Learn from world-class biomedical researchers and access some of the most advanced technology in the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia’s first genome editing facility.


    There is high demand for professionals in this emerging global sector. This major prepares you for employment in areas including the pharmaceutical industry, medical or research laboratories, hospitals, private industries, sports clinics, the biotechnology industry, forensic science, food science and nutrition, cardiac technology and rehabilitation.

    Emerging fields

    Where is the field of biomedicine going? In the future we could see nano-medics who can trace, diagnose and treat health issues via a single cell or body part and limb makers who can efficiently grow, and mass produce our own organs from scratch.

    What can I study?
    Majors - BSc and BSc (Advanced) Related programs

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    Detailed study plans

    Chemistry Biology Biomed / biotech

  • Chemistry


    Study a chemistry major

    Choose a chemistry science major if you want to:

    • Learn to rationally synthesise new drug molecules and understand how they interact with proteins and work in cells.
    • Identify, develop and optimise materials and catalysts for environmentally friendly generation of fuels and remediation.

    Chemistry is the broadest of the applied sciences. Our teaching and international research focuses on chemistry in all its forms. This includes understanding how to develop new processes and chemicals including plastics, fuels and pharmaceuticals.

    A chemistry major is the study of all the disciplines required to contribute to areas such as manufacturing, medicine and environmental science and can complement other areas such as biochemistry, biotechnology and biophysics.


    Chemistry majors prepare you for careers in a diverse range of areas. These include the chemical and pharmaceutical industries; medical, agricultural and forensic sciences; environmental monitoring and control; mining; nanotechnology; manufacturing and food technology and teaching. It will also prepare you to work in industry, government and fundamental research laboratories in related fields.

    Emerging fields

    Chemistry is at the heart of many important global issues including:

    • Synthesising or discovering new molecules.
    • Combatting multi-drug resistant bacteria or diseases such as cancer.
    • Developing and understanding the next generation of materials for renewable energy.

    New instruments and methodologies are being used to understand:

    • biological process in cells (synchrotron and mass spectrometry techniques);
    • how chemical and biological catalysts function (x-ray crystallography and nanotechnology);
    • how to improve the efficiency of solar cells (computation and lasers); and
    • how to generate complex natural products (biologically inspired synthesis and synthetic biology).
    What can I study?
    Majors - BSc and BSc (Advanced) Related programs

    Choose a major in:

    Choose a major in:

    Detailed study plans 

    Chemistry Biology Biomed / biotech

  • Earth sciences

    Earth science

    Study an earth science major

    Choose an earth science major if you:

    • Are fascinated by how the Earth works.
    • Want to assist in finding natural resources to sustain our planet’s growing population.
    • Want to improve the environment for future generations.

    Earth science is the ultimate applied natural science. Study with us and you’ll immerse yourself in one of the strongest research and teaching departments in Australia. We focus on earth resources in its widest form. This includes understanding the environmental bedrock and the changing climate of the planet; through studying plate tectonics and the natural hazards they create to ensuring the resources we need can be found.

    In general, the geology major is the study of the materials that makes the earth, the processes that act on them, and the history of the planet through time. Geophysics focuses on the application of physical laws to the earth.Palaeontology is the study of fossil interpretation and the history of life.


    Our earth science majors prepare you for a diverse range of careers. This includes jobs in mineral exploration and mining; petroleum exploration and production; resource management; environmental geology and geochemistry; engineering geology and geotechnical engineering; palaeontology; or to industry, government and fundamental research.

    Emerging fields

    Earth science is at the core of many of the emerging issues facing us in the next decades, including:

    • Determining the ability of our planet to modulate greenhouse gasses.
    • Understanding the formation of the new-age metals we need to resource our technology for a growing population.

    It is an exciting time to study earth sciences as big data techniques, new instruments and methodologies are linking the deep earth processes with the fundamental controls on biological evolution, atmospheric chemistry and the development of our planet.

  • Environmental sciences

    Environmental sciences

    Study an environmental science major

    Use your passion for the environment to deepen our understanding of the world, our place in it and how we can sustain the planet. Experience diverse fieldwork opportunities as you study local and global ecosystems.

    With an evolutionary biology or ecology and environmental science major, you will investigate the diversity of life on earth and the relationships between organisms and their environments.

    Learn about plants and animals, their ecology, conservation and management, physiology and evolution, including those in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems.

    Assess, map and monitor Australian landscapes to solve questions about the structure of ecosystems and find new approaches to environmental problems.

    Soil science explores the biological, chemical and physical properties of soils in Australian landscapes. Use the latest technology in geographical information systems, remote sensing, and spatial modelling to monitor distributions of landscape properties.


    Exciting careers exist in environmental consultancy, environmental monitoring and management, marine science, aquaculture, community education, ecotourism, wildlife parks, catchment management, research and teaching. 

    Our graduates are keenly sought after by a wide range of government agencies, regional bodies, private enterprise and universities to work in the fields of agriculture, oil surveying, environmental planning, soil conservation, environmental impact assessment, environmental engineering, land assessment and mapping, research and biodiversity survey and assessment.

    Emerging fields

    Where are these fields going? Opportunities in environmentally focussed roles are growing as the population becomes more aware of the impact of humans on our ecosystems and their inhabitants.

    Technology is already playing a crucial role in wildlife conservation, with scientists now able to interpret large amounts of data to identify wildlife threats before they happen, or even uncover ways to prevent them.

    Specialists in animal migration are now helping to facilitate the migration of animals whose natural habitats have been significantly impacted by the spread of human civilisation.

  • Palaeontology


    Study a palaeontology major

    The University of Adelaide’s palaeontology major offers you the broadest palaeontology curriculum within any degree in South Australia.

    Through lab and field-based work, you can turn your interest into expertise in the areas of invertebrates, plants, vertebrates, geochronology and sedimentology.

    You will learn from leading palaeo-scientists and palaeontologists from the South Australian Museum, Environment Institute, Centre for Ancient DNA and Sprigg Geobiology Centre, plus have the chance to share your passion with like-minded people; the University has an active student palaeontology club with 100+ members.  


    Studying palaeontology at the University of Adelaide gives you a wider choice of study and career options including:

    • Vertebrate palaeontology (including the Naracoorte Caves)
    • Invertebrate palaeontology (including Cambrian and Ediacaran Biota)
    • Palaeobotany
    • Palaeoclimatology
    • Palaeoecology
    • Ancient DNA
    • Geochronology
    Emerging fields

    The University of Adelaide is a leader in the field of palaeoconservation, a fast-emerging area with interest and opportunities globally. Palaeoconservationists are using the fossil record to inform conservation decisions. 

    What can I study?
    Majors - BSc and BSc (Advanced)

    Choose a major in:

    Detailed study plans 

    Earth / environment Biology

  • Physics


    Study a physics major

    Develop a detailed understanding of the structure of matter and the nature of the universe. Pursue your passion in areas such as astrophysics, atmospheric and environmental physics, computational physics, optics and lasers, photonics and nuclear and particle physics. 


    Use your expertise in the electronics, optics and laser industries; scientific computing, telecommunications, space and astronomy programs, forensic science, defence, health and environmental industries, medical physics and in research.

    What can I study?
    Majors - BSc and BSc (Advanced) Related programs

    Choose a major in:

    Choose a major in:

    Detailed study plans 

    Space science Physics

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