Best universities in Australia for physical science degrees 2022

Explore the best universities for physical science degrees in Australia using data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings

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September 29 2021
A guide for international students choosing a university in Australia.

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Top 10 universities in Australia for physical science degrees 2022

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in Australia for physical science degrees

Australia physical sciences rank 2022 WUR physical sciences rank 2022 University City
1 =43 Australian National University Canberra
2 57 University of Melbourne Melbourne
3 82 UNSW Sydney Sydney
4 89 The University of Queensland Brisbane
5 =100 Monash University Melbourne
=6 101–125 University of Sydney Sydney
=6 101–125 The University of Western Australia Perth
=8 126–150 University of Adelaide Adelaide
=8 126–150 University of Wollongong Wollongong
=10 151–175 Curtin University Perth
=10 151–175 University of Technology Sydney Sydney

The physical sciences include mathematics, statistics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, environmental sciences and Earth and marine sciences. Courses in the physical sciences differ across universities and countries, but the core focus is on the understanding and application of mathematics in the natural world through practical and lab work.

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A degree in one of these fields can lead to a range of careers. Beyond careers in teaching and research, an understanding of the physical sciences is essential for anyone concerned about how society is affected by the advancement of technology and climate change. Gaining this foundation from your college programme could lead to roles in areas such as computing, engineering, patent law and policy work or a job in a scientific institute.

In Australia the physical sciences are usually studied through a three-year Bachelor of Science degree, with the choice to do a fourth year for honours. Some universities offer a Bachelor of Mathematics or other specialised routes of study. Most universities encourage physical sciences students to partake in a placement or work experience during their studies.

These are the best universities for physical science degrees in Australia in 2022. 


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5. Monash University 

-Melbourne’s Monash University was founded in 1958, making it Victoria’s second oldest university.
-It is home to the Monash Science Technology Research and Innovation Precinct, a major research facility in Australia.

Physical sciences courses on offer include astrophysics, chemistry, Earth science, mathematical statistics, mathematics and physics. These courses are three years in duration when working on a full-time basis, however students can opt for the part-time duration of six-years.

In their first year, students are introduced to several science disciplines, helping them to choose a major. The second year is a more focused programme of study developing specialised expertise. The third year includes free elective study, enabling students to develop knowledge of their major or study a second science major.

Many postgraduate options in the physical sciences are available, including particle physics, pure mathematics and theoretical physics. 

4. The University of Queensland

-The University of Queensland was founded in 1909 with its main campus in the city of Brisbane.
-Physical sciences at the university are divided between three schools: mathematics and physics, chemistry and molecular biosciences, and Earth and environmental sciences.

Students have two main degree options: the Bachelor of Mathematics or Bachelor of Science. Both options are three years in duration, or students can choose a part-time equivalent. The maths route offers more specialised majors such as data analytics, operations research, mathematical physics or pure mathematics.

Students choosing the BSc option can study a wider range of topics, with minors ranging from astrophysics to chemistry.


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3. UNSW Sydney

-Undergraduates at UNSW Sydney don’t have to declare a major until their second year, giving them a chance to sample different courses before specialising.
-Majors in the physical sciences include maths, chemistry, physics, Earth sciences and statistics. 

UNSW Sydney offers research-only postgraduate programmes in which students undertake an original piece of research and produce a written thesis at the end of their degree. 

Students are encouraged to do a work placement to gain professional skills and establish connections to find the best job after university. There are Summer Vacation Research Internships and study abroad opportunities to allow physical sciences students to get the most out of their university experience.

The university participates in several groundbreaking projects, such as the Sunswift Solar Racing Team, which holds the record for the fastest electric car over 500km.

2. University of Melbourne

-The University of Melbourne was established in 1853. 
-Famous scholars currently teaching at the university include Nobel prizewinner Peter Doherty (physiology and medicine) and fellows of the Royal Society David Solomon and David Boger. 

Undergraduates can take a three-year Bachelor of Science degree, studying a main topic or major alongside related subjects. Majors can include chemistry, geology, mathematical physics, mathematics and statistics, and physics.

Classes become increasingly specialised throughout the course to allow students to explore different aspects of the physical sciences. 

Physical sciences students are also encouraged to complete an internship or undertake volunteering opportunities such as tutoring high school students or working as a mediator in the Science Gallery. 

A mentoring programme allows students to connect with industry professionals. They can also attend the Job Ready short course and seek career advice from the university’s advisors. 

1. Australian National University

-Australian National University is located in the nation’s capital, Canberra, and was established in 1946.
-The College of Science offers physical science majors, including maths, astronomy, chemistry, Earth sciences and physics. Undergraduates can choose to proceed to a fourth-year honours specialisation. 

Physical sciences courses are taken as part of a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Mathematical Science degree, both three-year programmes, where you begin with a range of foundational modules before specialising with electives.

The undergraduate maths programme is designed for students aiming for a career in quantitative modelling or mathematical research, or who wish to continue into postgraduate studies. 

The BSc degree allows students to choose minors and majors in subjects including astronomy, chemistry, environmental policy, marine science, mathematics, statistics and physics.

The physics school is where Australia’s largest university-based physics research programme takes place, in areas from quantum optics to nuclear physics.

Physical science graduates from ANU have gone on to work for companies such as Google and the Bureau of Meteorology. Science students can attend field trips to Vietnam, Japan or the Great Barrier Reef, enhancing their university experience.


Top universities in Australia for physical sciences degrees 2022

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2022 profile

Australia physical sciences rank 2022 WUR physical sciences rank 2022 University City
1 =43 Australian National University Canberra
2 57 University of Melbourne Melbourne
3 82 UNSW Sydney Sydney
4 89 The University of Queensland Brisbane
5 =100 Monash University Melbourne
=6 101–125 University of Sydney Sydney
=6 101–125 The University of Western Australia Perth
=8 126–150 University of Adelaide Adelaide
=8 126–150 University of Wollongong Wollongong
=10 151–175 Curtin University Perth
=10 151–175 University of Technology Sydney Sydney
=12 176–200 Macquarie University Sydney
=12 176–200 Swinburne University of Technology Hawthorn
=14 201–250 Griffith University Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan
=14 201–250 James Cook University Townsville City
=14 201–250 Queensland University of Technology Brisbane
=14 201–250 Southern Cross University Lismore
=14 201–250 University of Tasmania Hobart
19 251–300 University of Southern Queensland Toowoomba
=20 301–400 Charles Darwin University Casuarina
=20 301–400 RMIT University Melbourne
=20 301–400 University of Canberra Canberra
=23 401–500 Flinders University Adelaide
=23 401–500 University of Newcastle Callaghan
=23 401–500 University of South Australia Adelaide
26 601–800 Murdoch University Murdoch

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Find the best universities in Australia with Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2022 data

September 2 2021
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