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Best universities in Australia for physical science degrees 2024

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

  • Best universities in
October 31 2023
A guide for international students choosing a university in Australia.


Top 5 universities in Australia for physical science degrees 2024

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

Australia physical science rank 2024  Physical science rank 2024  University City
1  55  Australian National University Canberra
2  =72  University of Melbourne Melbourne
3  80  The University of Queensland Brisbane
4  =82  University of Sydney Sydney
5  88  UNSW Sydney Sydney

The physical sciences covers a range of subjects including mathematics, statistics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, environmental sciences and Earth and marine sciences.

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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 2024. 

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5. 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 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.

4. University of Sydney

The University of Sydney was established in 1850 and was one of the first universities to be established in Australia. 

The faculty of science is comprised of eight schools including chemistry, geosciences, mathematics and statistics and physics. 

These schools cover a wide range of study areas such as nanoscience, artificial intelligence, data science, financial mathematics and renewable energy. 

The schools offer courses at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. 

3. 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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2. University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne was established in 1853. 

Famous scholars currently teaching at the university include Nobel prize-winner 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 2024

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2024 profile

Australia physical science rank 2024  Physical science rank 2024  University City
1  55  Australian National University Canberra
2  =72  University of Melbourne Melbourne
3  80  The University of Queensland Brisbane
4  =82  University of Sydney Sydney
5  88  UNSW Sydney Sydney
6  =90  Monash University Melbourne
7  101–125  University of Adelaide Adelaide
8  126–150  Curtin University Perth
=9  151–175  Macquarie University Sydney
=9  151–175  Swinburne University of Technology Hawthorn
=9  151–175  University of Technology Sydney Sydney
=9  151–175  The University of Western Australia Perth
=9  151–175  University of Wollongong Wollongong
=14  201–250  Griffith University Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan
=14  201–250  Queensland University of Technology Brisbane
=14  201–250  RMIT University Melbourne
=14  201–250  University of Tasmania Hobart
=18  251–300  University of Newcastle Callaghan
=18  251–300  University of Southern Queensland Toowoomba
=20  301–400  James Cook University Cairns, Townsville
=20  301–400  La Trobe University Melbourne
=20  301–400  Western Sydney University Sydney
=23  401–500  Charles Darwin University Casuarina
=23  401–500  Murdoch University Murdoch
=25  501–600  University of South Australia Adelaide
=25  501–600  Southern Cross University Lismore
=27  601–800  Charles Sturt University Bathurst
=27  601–800  Flinders University Adelaide


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