If you’re curious about life, from the way things work at the molecular level to the study of entire ecosystems, this is the degree for you.


This program will no longer be taking new student enrolments from Term 1 2024. Please note that existing students will not be adversely impacted and no courses will be cancelled as a result of the program closure. Find out how you can transform your ideas into impact with our newly redesigned Bachelor of Science.

Faculty of Science
Delivery Mode
Face-to-face (includes blended)
Bachelor of Life Sciences
Commencing Terms
Term 1, Term 2, Term 3
Duration (Full Time)
3 Year(s)


Discoveries in life sciences are integral to the advancement of our world and society. The Bachelor of Life Sciences is a generalist degree that brings together the biological, environmental and medical sciences to answer fundamental questions. This degree will equip you with transferable skills that can be applied to a wide range of industries. This program also provides a pathway to postgraduate study, especially in health and medical fields. 

Key features

  • Flexible subject choices
    Choose from 14 different majors to tailor your study to your interests. This flexible program allows you to declare your major in stage two of study, meaning you can explore several different areas before choosing the path that’s right for you.
  • Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities
    At UNSW Science, we focus on delivering the optimal balance of theory and practical work to equip you with the skills and experience to fast-track your career. The SCIF3199 Science Work Placement course gives you the opportunity to gain practical work experience through an internship. Previous work placement students have interned with IT companies, start-ups, government departments and large biomedical and biotechnology companies. Along with new professional skills and connections, you’ll also gain course credit for your work placement.
  • Research internship course
    The SCIF2041 Research Internship course gives you the opportunity to complete a short theoretical or experimental research project supervised by a member of academic staff. Internships may also involve a placement outside of UNSW, in the form of externally funded research programs.

Why study this degree at UNSW?

Learn with the best
UNSW Science is at the forefront of many new scientific developments, teaching and innovation. We’re responsive to the needs of industry, adaptive to change and take an innovative approach to teaching and learning. Our world-class laboratories, clinics and simulators give you the tools to explore new frontiers and make meaningful scientific discoveries to benefit society.

This degree is taught in the biological sciences building, which houses flexible research laboratories and advanced specialised equipment. Our world-class laboratories and equipment give you the tools to explore new frontiers and make meaningful scientific discoveries to benefit society.

  • We’re of the top 50 universities in the world for Environmental Sciences (#19), Psychology (#24), Mathematics (#38), Geology (#38), Materials Science (#39), Earth & Marine Science (#40) and Anatomy & Physiology (#50).*
  • We’re ranked 1st in Australia for research output in Chemistry and Physical Sciences and 2nd in Australia for research output in Earth & Environmental Sciences.**

Leverage our industry connections
Reach your career goals with industry relevant skills and training. Tap into our network of 400+ industry and research partners to start building your own professional connections.

Learn from world-class educators
Study with passionate and pioneering educators, including quantum physicist and 2018 Australian of the Year Professor Michelle Simmons AO, Nobel Laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart, leading marine ecologist and Dean of Science Professor Emma Johnston AO and ground-breaking recycling scientist Professor Veena Sahajwalla.

*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021
**Nature Index Institution Outputs 1 Dec 2019 – 30 Nov 2020


Program Code
UAC Code
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
Indicative Enrolments

Want to see more from UNSW Science?

Entry requirements

2023 Lowest Selection Rank
2023 A levels
2023 IB Diploma
2023 Lowest ATAR
    1. The 2022 Lowest Selection Rank (LSR) is the adjusted rank (ATAR plus adjustment factors) you would have needed to gain entry to this degree in 2022.
    2. The 2022 A levels score is based on four Advanced Level (A2) subject. Entry scores are calculated from the best three or four A2 subjects (excluding repeated subjects) using the following values: A*=6, A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1. At most one Applied A Level subject may be included in the best four subjects used to calculate the aggregate.
    3. The 2022 IB Diploma is an indication of the IB you would have needed to gain entry to this degree in 2022. It is to be used as a guide only.
    4. The 2022 Lowest ATAR is the lowest ATAR (before adjustment factors were applied) to which an offer was made. Where <5 is listed, this indicates that less than 5 ATAR-based offers were made and so the score has not been published. N/A indicates no offers were made on the basis of ATAR.
  • At UNSW, we are committed to ensuring prospective students have all the information they need in order to make informed decisions about their study options.

    To assist you in gaining a better understanding of how Admissions works at UNSW, we have provided you with a summary of ATAR offers and the student profile.

    We hope this information will help you identify the degree that is right for you.

Assumed knowledge

Mathematics Advanced plus Biology or Chemistry

Adjustment Factors

We offer a range of adjustment factor schemes that reward students for academic performance and extra-curricular achievements. These schemes also take into account a range of personal and educational disadvantages that may have affected your studies. 

HSC Plus 
This scheme rewards students who perform well in Year 12 subjects that are relevant to their preferred UNSW degree. You may be awarded up to five points. 

Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders (EAPL) 
This program recognises achievements in the areas of sport, academia, leadership and music at an elite level. You may be eligible for up to five points.

Educational Access Scheme (EAS)
Factors such as illness, financial hardship, language difficulties or attending a particular school can mean you don't always get the best possible marks in Years 11 and 12. If one of these situations applies to you, submit an application for the Educational Access Scheme (EAS) via UAC. Eligible students can receive between 1 and 10 points towards their chosen UNSW degree.

Admission pathways

Your ATAR is not the only measure of your potential to succeed, which is why we offer a range of pathways into university. Explore your options below and get in touch with our future student advisors to discuss your path to UNSW. 

Gateway Admission Pathway
This scheme is open to students in Years 11 and 12 who attend Gateway schools. It significantly adjusts the ATAR requirements for your preferred UNSW degree and provides you with an early conditional offer to UNSW. 

Entry programs for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
We offer entry programs for Indigenous Australians, including the Indigenous Preparatory Programs and the Indigenous Admission Scheme (IAS). The entry pathway program you apply for will depend on the degree you want to study. 

English language requirements


You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on your educational background and citizenship. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If you’re completing an Australian Year 12 qualification (e.g. NSW HSC or equivalent), you do not need to provide anything extra to prove your proficiency. Your qualification will be used as evidence of your English proficiency.

If you do need to provide evidence of your English proficiency, this will be indicated in your application. You can prove this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

If you need to improve your English skills before you start your degree, UNSW College’s Academic English Programs are for you. The programs are suitable for various English levels and help you prepare for university studies and life in Australia.

International direct entry

We do not accept secondary qualifications from this country. We may accept tertiary study results, please contact us for more information.

Please contact us for direct entry requirements.

Admission pathways

If you do not meet the requirements for direct entry into your chosen degree, you may be eligible for a pathway program with UNSW College. UNSW College provides alternative entry options using university-approved content so that you can start your UNSW journey with confidence. 

English language requirements

You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on whether you are from an English-speaking background or non-English speaking background. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide proof of your English proficiency before you can be given an offer to study at UNSW. You can do this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

If you need to improve your English skills before you start your degree, UNSW College’s Academic English Programs are for you. The programs are suitable for various English levels and help you prepare for university studies and life in Australia.

Check the specific English language requirements for this program

Program structure

Fields of study include anatomy, biological chemistry, biology, biotechnology, ecology, genetics, marine science, microbiology, molecular and cell biology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology and psychology. While maths and the physical sciences aren’t necessarily part of this degree, there is still the option to study them as electives to broaden and enrich your studies.

Full program structure

The Bachelor of Life Sciences is made up of 24 courses taken over three years of full-time study. This includes the following components:

  • science major
  • science electives (including at least one biotechnology and biomolecular sciences and one biological, earth and environmental sciences course)
  • general education courses
  • free electives.


You can choose from the following majors to specialise within a specific subject area: 

  • Study the structures of the human body. This major covers:

    • gross anatomy (form, arrangement and function of the bones, joints, muscles and internal organs)
    • histology (microscopic structure of tissues and cells)
    • embryology (development of the embryo and fetus from conception to birth)
    • neuroanatomy (organisation and functions of the brain and spinal cord)
    • biological anthropology (applying biological principles to the study of humans and non-human primates).

    Find out more

  • Study the science of life. Biologists explore how living organisms function, grow, evolve and relate to one another and the environment in which they live. Your study will cover:

    • animal behaviour, morphology and physiology
    • plant morphology and physiology
    • cell biology, evolutionary studies and genetics
    • marine biology.

    Find out more

  • Study the chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. This major sits at the intersection of chemistry and biology, examining chemistry through a life science lens. This major allows you to combine an interest in chemistry with studies in biochemistry and molecular biology. This major is only open to life sciences students. Unlike the standard chemistry major found in other undergraduate science degrees, this major includes environmental toxicology as a core subject, but does not require physical chemistry as a core subject.  

    Find out more

  • Explore the various biological processes used to make products and perform services. Biotechnology is used for:

    • the production of food
    • industrial chemicals
    • the development of improved crops and livestock for farming
    • environmental clean-up
    • forensics
    • the production of pharmaceuticals.

    Find out more

  • Explore how various organisms including mammals, invertebrates, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, plants and microbes interact with one another and with their environment.

    Find out more

  • In humans and all other species, genes influence every characteristic, from appearance to behaviour to disease. This major offers a general introduction to the discipline before delving into more specialised areas including molecular genetics, human genetics, plant and microbial molecular biology and conservation biology.

    Find out more

  • This major provides in-depth study of immunology, pathology and microbiology. It’ll prepare you to unlock better treatments and prevention strategies for immune-related illnesses. This major is particularly beneficial for students who want to pursue a career in the health sciences.

    Find out more

  • Explore all aspects of the marine environment, from biology to geology and the many sciences in between. This major can be studied with an emphasis on biology, earth sciences, climatology or oceanography.

    Find out more

  • Study the smallest forms of life: bacteria, viruses, archaea, fungi and protozoa. These fascinating organisms cause disease in humans, animals and plants and spoil our food. On the positive side, they also turn the biological wheels on Earth and are responsible for the sustainability of life.

    Find out more

  • Explore molecular structures, the processes of cellular life and their roles in the function, reproduction and development of living organisms. Cell biology studies the basic unit of life, the cell, including:

    • cell anatomy
    • cell division
    • cell processes such as cell respiration and cell death.

    Molecular Biology is a marriage of biochemistry, microbiology and cell biology.

    Find out more

  • Examine how and why diseases develop, what happens to our bodies when we’re ill and the effects of diseases. Pathology involves the study of diseases, such as infections and cancers, at the genetic, molecular, cellular and organ levels.

    Find out more

  • Explore the effect that drugs have on living tissues and the normal body functions of humans and animals. This major looks at the efficacy of drugs, the ability of the body to metabolise them and the toxicology/side effects of drugs.

    Find out more

  • This major is all about what makes human bodies work. Explore how the organs function, how humans grow and develop, how humans sustain bodily functions and what happens to these processes during disease and ageing.

    Find out more

  • Study human behaviour and mental processes. Psychology is a broad field that includes:

    • brain-behaviour relationships
    • the processes of perceiving, learning, memory and thinking
    • the assessment of abilities and attitudes
    • the origins of personality and emotional states
    • the nature and effects of social interactions with other people.

    This major is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and when combined with honours, it satisfies the minimum requirement for provisional registration. It acts as the first step in the six-year pathway to becoming a registered psychologist. 

    Find out more

Thinking about honours?

Upon completion of this program, you may be eligible for entry to honours. Honours is a year-long independent research project under the guidance of an academic supervisor. During your honours year, you will write a thesis based on your project and may also be expected to complete advanced coursework. Entry to honours is subject to performance and your chosen major will determine which of two honours streams you are eligible for: Science (Honours) or Psychological Science (Honours).

  • If you have completed any major other than psychology, subject to performance you will be eligible for the Science (Honours) program. The purpose of this program is to enable students who have performed well at the undergraduate level to deepen their knowledge of approaches, perspectives, and traditions in their chosen scientific discipline. It is a means for connecting undergraduate study with supervised independent research by consolidating and extending work completed in the undergraduate program and providing an academic foundation for students continuing on to a master's by research or a PhD.

  • Upon completion of a psychology major, you will have completed an APAC accredited psychology sequence and, subject to performance, will be eligible for entry into Psychological Science (Honours). There is no preference given to any particular program and places are awarded on the basis of performance in undergraduate psychology units. Psychological Science (Honours) is the same for all students, regardless of the degree program in which they completed their undergraduate psychology major sequence.

    Your project can be undertaken in most areas of psychology including:

    • psychopathology
    • behavioural neuroscience
    • cognitive science
    • cognition and perception
    • forensic psychology
    • social, personality and developmental psychology.

    You’ll also complete advanced level core and elective coursework in Terms 1 and 2.

    Honours is the next step towards becoming a registered psychologist. You must complete an honours program to be eligible for entry into a psychology master's degree. 


Future careers

Studying a Bachelor of Life Sciences opens a wide range of rewarding career opportunities. Our graduates are working in higher education, conservation and government roles. They’re also employed in commercial enterprises across medical, pharmaceutical, chemical, cosmetics, food and beverage industries. This degree also provides a pathway to postgraduate study, especially in the health and medical fields.

STEM jobs are highly skilled with 75% of people employed in the STEM workforce working in a skill level occupation equivalent to a bachelor’s degree or higher. This has made a science degree one of the most valuable degrees in Australia and abroad.

How to apply

Applications for undergraduate study from domestic students (Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, Australian permanent humanitarian visa holders and New Zealand citizens) are processed by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

Visit the Apply section of the UAC website and you can nominate up to five degrees in order of preference, with the first being your most desired degree and university.

On-time applications for admission usually close at the end of September each year for Term 1 admission. Late applications can be submitted, but a late fee will apply. For study starting in Term 1, the majority of offers are made in December and January. Visit the UAC website for key dates for admission outside of Term 1.

Ready to start your application?

For most international students, applications are submitted via our Apply Online service. We encourage you to submit your completed application as early as possible to ensure it will be processed in time for your preferred term.

Some high-demand programs with limited places, may have an earlier application deadline or may have an earlier commencement date. For more information visit our international applicant information page.

*If you are an international student studying an Australian qualification, go to the Universities Admission Centre (UAC) for application and UAC key dates. Note: If you are under 18 years of age, you need to make special arrangements. Read more.

Ready to start your application?

Fees & Scholarships

2023 Indicative First Year Full Fee

Commonwealth Supported Place: Student Contribution Band 2

*The student contribution for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the amount payable in Year 1 based on a standard full-time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The actual student contribution you will be liable for depends on your individual program of study and the calendar year in which you enrol. Actual fees are calculated upon enrolment. Student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the university and may increase each year during your studies (subject to caps determined by the Australian Government), effective at the start of each calendar year.

The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only - other fees and charges are not included.

2023 Indicative First Year Fee
2023 Indicative Fee to Complete Degree

*Fees are subject to annual review by the University and may increase annually, with the new fees effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only other fees and charges are not included. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year to enrol, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (8 courses per year).

Indicative fees are a guide for comparison only based on current conditions and available data. You should not rely on indicative fees. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website.

Indicative fees to complete the program have been calculated based on a percentage increase for every year of the program. Fee increases are assessed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed here.

Indicative fees to complete the program include tuition plus an estimate of study-related costs of approximately $1,000 per year. To find out more about other costs, visit UNSW International.


At UNSW, we award over $83 million in scholarships each year. We pride ourselves on rewarding excellence and making university accessible to students from all walks of life. Whether you’re a domestic or international student, our range of scholarships, prizes and awards can support your journey.