Life Sciences

The Bachelor of Life Sciences brings together the biological, environmental and medical sciences into a fascinating field of study and allows you to undertake a wide range of complementary studies.

Because this degree is so flexible, the best way to choose courses in first year is to think about the types of life sciences that interest you.





Degree Structure

The Bachelor of Life Sciences is made up of 24 courses taken over 3 years. Each square below represents a course worth 6 Units of Credit (UoC):

How to Choose Courses

Full-time students must enrol into 8 courses per year (48 UoC) which is split between three terms. This means that students will enrol in 3 x 6 UoC courses per term (18 UoC) but can enrol in a lighter study load of 2 x 6 UoC courses (12 UoC) for one term per year. Alternatively, students can fast-track their degree by enrolling in 9 courses per year (54 UoC) which would be 3 x 6 UoC courses per term. 

There are no compulsory courses in the first year of the Bachelor of Life Sciences at UNSW. Instead, we recommend taking science courses that interest you:

1. Look at the list of majors available in your degree (see below)
2. Eliminate the majors you are definitely not interested in
3. Look at the courses required for the majors you are interested in
4. Choose first year courses common to the majors that interest you. That way, you’ll be keeping your options open.

You can also choose Free Electives (which are any course at UNSW, including science) or General Education courses (which are any non-science course at UNSW).



Remember: you don't declare your major until start Stage 2 courses.

The following links provide a list of all the courses required for each of the majors available in this degree.

These should be viewed along with the UNSW Online Handbook, which provides more details and descriptions.

Grab a pen and paper and write down the Level 1 courses that sound interesting to you:

(Hint: the first number of a Level 1 course will be a '1' e.g. MATH1041)


AnatomyEcologyMolecular and Cell BiologyPsychology
Biological ChemistryMarine and Coastal SciencePharmacology 


After you have chosen which courses you want to take, check the timetable website to see when they're offered before enrolling via myUNSW.

Not Sure Which Major, and starting in Term 1?


Not Sure Which Major, and starting in Term 3?


Science Courses

Science courses are any courses that begin with the codes on the right.

A science course may count as a Science Elective, Free Elective, or as part of your major.

Science courses cannot count as General Education.

Search the Online Handbook for courses by subject area.

See the 3966 Bachelor of Life Sciences program page in the Online Handbook for more details on program structure, rules and requirements.










 A program at UNSW is your degree and will have a four-digit program code (e.g. 3970 Bachelor of Science). 


 A major is a defined sequence of study within a program (e.g. Bachelor of Science with a Major in Chemistry). In some programs, it's possible to do more than one major. 


 All programs and majors at UNSW are made up of courses. Courses are like subjects at school. Each course has an 8-digit course code (e.g. CHEM1011) and usually involve lectures, tutorials and labs. In Science there are 5 types of courses: 


   Core Courses are compulsory courses that must be taken for a program or major. 
   Science Electives are courses that start with the codes listed on Table 1. 
   Free Electives are courses that may be taken from anywhere across the university; either from Science or another Faculty. 
   Recommended Electives are not compulsory but are considered good complimentary courses for a program or major. 
   General Education Courses are courses that must be taken from outside the Faculty of Science (i.e. no courses listed on Table 1 can count as General Education). 


 Science Schools   
 Within each Faculty at UNSW are a number of schools who teach the courses in their area of expertise. In Science, there are 9 schools: 
  • Aviation
  • Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES)
  • Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences (BABS)
  • Chemistry
  • Materials Science & Engineering
  • Mathematics & Statistics
  • Optometry & Vision Science
  • Physics
  • Psychology
 The School of Medical Science (which is part of the Faculty of Medicine) also teaches many courses in Science. 


 Units of Credit (UoC)   
 Courses, majors and programs at UNSW are measured in Units of Credit (UoC). Most courses in Science are worth 6 UoC each, and a full-time load is 18 UoC per term (i.e. 3 x courses) or 48 UoC per year (8 x courses). 


 A prerequisite is a course that must be taken before you can enrol in another course. A co-requisite is a course that must be taken at the same time as another course. 


 Assumed Knowledge   
 Assumed Knowledge is the level of understanding you are expected to have before taking a course. Nobody will check that you have the correct level of assumed knowledge, but you will be at a disadvantage if you don't. 
 Bridging Courses are available to if you don’t have sufficient assumed knowledge for the course you want to take.