Read over some of our common terms to familiarise yourself with UNSW terminology and better understand your Science degree. 

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). It's possible to do more than one major in some programs.

A minor is a specified sequence of study within a discipline or sub-discipline, smaller in size and scope than a major. 

All programs, majors and minors 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 five types of courses: 
 

Core Courses: are compulsory courses that must be taken for a program or major. 

Science Electives: Many science degrees stipulate a minimum UoC of science courses to be completed. The science component consists of your program core, plus courses required for your major, and the remainder is filled with science electives. See the table below (Definition of Science Courses) for eligible course prefixes 

Free Electives: are courses that may be taken from anywhere across the university; either from Science or another Faculty. You may want to do more science or something outside of science to broaden your skill-set. For example, a language, business or politics course. 

Recommended Electives: are not compulsory but are considered good complimentary courses for a program or major. 

General Education Courses: Undergraduate students in single degree programs are required to complete some courses outside their home Faculty. For Science students, this means any course that is not defined as ‘science’ in the table below.  Courses using the GEN prefix (eg GENL for Law, GENC for Commerce, GENM for Medicine) are specifically designed for general education purposes. Science students are not permitted to take GENS courses – these are for non-science students. 

There are several schools within each Faculty at UNSW. Each school teaches courses in their area of expertise. In Science, there are nine 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. 

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 is the level of understanding you are expected to have before taking a course. No one checks that you have the correct level of assumed knowledge, but you will be at a disadvantage if you don't.   

Bridging Courses are available if you don’t have sufficient assumed knowledge for the course you want to take. 

Definition of Science Courses 

Science courses are courses offered by the following Schools. The course prefixes that are associated with each School are noted below: 

Aviation 

AVIA 

Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences  

BIOS, BEES, CLIM, ENVS, GEOS, MSCI 

Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences 

BABS, BIOC, BIOT, INOV, MICR 

Chemistry 

CHEM 

Computer Science 

COMP 

Data Science 

DATA 

Food Science 

FOOD 

Materials Science and Engineering 

MATS 

Mathematics and Statistics  

MATH 

Medical Sciences 

ANAT, NEUR, PATH, PHAR, PHSL, SOMS 

Psychology 

PSYC 

Physics 

PHYS 

Optometry and Vision Science 

OPTM, VISN 

Science Faculty  

SCIF