Sciences - FAQs

Do all scientists just work in a laboratory?

Not at all. Scientists spend a lot of time 'in the field'. By this we mean they work in lots of different places. They may be collecting samples in a forest, in a mine or on top of a mountain, they may be meeting with people outdoors or at their place of work. Many scientists work in large corporate offices. Many get to travel and work in other countries. Some work in major research institutions like the Australian Synchrotron

Being a scientist sounds like I will work on my own. Is that true?

No, collaboration and team work are key skills in all science professions. As the sciences have evolved we have learned that many disciplines are interconnected. It is very common to see physisicts working with geneticists, industrial chemists working with nutritionists or geologists working with botanists. 

How many different science degrees are there?

There are many different science degrees. The most common degree is a Bachelor of Science. In this degree, you are able to major (focus on) many different areas of science. People with a Bachelor of Science may have specialised in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Ecology, Genetics, Geology, Physics, Physiology, Zoology …for example.

Other science degrees are more specific. For example, you can study a Bachelor of Food Science, or a Bachelor of Geosciences. When you enrol in specific science degrees, you have fewer subjects and areas of study to choose from.

 Visit our LEAP Program Partners page to find links to each university in Victoria. Each link takes you to a page that outlines how to search that university's courses and find out what sciences options they have to offer. Alternatively you can search for courses using the VTAC website. 

What kind of veterinary courses are there?

In Victoria, there is currently only one university that offers Veterinary Science: The University of Melbourne. To become a vet, you need to complete the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine following the completion of an undergraduate science degree. The Doctor of Veterinary Science is a four-year degree.

Most universities in Victoria offer a Bachelor of Science. Some offer specialised Bachelor of Veterinary Biosciences courses. These are usually three-year degrees that will prepare you for post-graduate study to become a vet.

You can study to become a vet at other universities in Australia, including the University of Queensland, The University of Sydney.

Visit our LEAP Program Partners page to find links to each university in Victoria. Each link takes you to a page that outlines how to search that university's courses and find out what sciences options they have to offer. Alternatively you can search for courses using the VTAC website. 

What ATAR score is required for science courses?

ATAR scores are a sign of the popularity of a course rather than the difficulty level, job opportunities that result or quality of the institution that provides them. The more people who apply for a course, the higher the ATAR score may become.

ATAR scores can change each year. The ATAR required to get into a course will vary according to the number of people applying and the quality of those students in terms of their personal ATAR.

The best way to get an idea of the ATAR scores of science courses  is to see what the different universities required for their courses last year. Visit our LEAP Program Partners page to find links to the LEAP partner universities in Victoria.  Each link takes you to a page that outlines how to search that university's courses. Alternatively you can search for courses and ATARs using the VTAC website. 

University study - FAQs

Is it worth attending university Open Days?

Yes, they are well worth attending because you can find out all about a university you're interested in attending and get advice that can help you make the right choices for your future. They can be great fun as well! Check out our Open Day hints and tips.

How long will I have to study at university?

It depends which course you choose. Study durations for different professions and career roles can vary. As a general rule, a Bachelor degree is awarded after three years of full-time study. Some degrees incorporate a fourth year, or an Honours year if you intend to pursue certain professions.

In some professions, full professional accreditation or practise certification requires you to complete further study, such as a Postgraduate course, a Masters degree. In some cases a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) can be advantageous. But you don't need to aim that high at first - a Bachelor degree will give you opportunities to get going in many professions, then you can build your qualifications up over time while working your way up in your chosen profession. 

Some courses also offer internships or paid industry placements, so you will be getting the hands-on experience many employers are looking for at the same time as you are studying.

If you chose to study a double degree (two degrees at once) this will take longer but not as long as studying two separate degrees one after the other.

Check out the course guides for your preferred courses/ universities for more detail. For links to all of our partner universities' LEAP Landing pages and their course listings, go to our LEAP program partners page. Then chat to your school's Careers Coordinator.

What does it cost to study at university?

As of 2017, the cost of a science degree is the same regardless of University and ATAR. Most courses are Commonwealth supported, meaning the Australian Government subsidises your study quite substantially. The rest is paid for with a HECS-HELP loan, that you will not need to start paying back until you are working and earning a considerable wage. A detailed explanation of available options can be found at the QILT website on the For Students page. Further information about help with fees is available on the Study Assist website.

What does 'full-time' study involve? Is the uni study year the same as school?

The standard full-time study year comprises two semesters each of around 12 weeks of teaching, one week for study break, and an exam period or final assignment submissions over the following four weeks (approx 34 weeks in total). The study year generally runs from early March to late June then late July to mid-November.

Some courses at some universities may be structured differently or flexibly. For example, Deakin University runs three trimesters each year. A third semester or internship during the summer or semester breaks may be available to reduce the total period for completion of the course if you want to fast-track it. 

You need to check specific dates and course structure options at each university you're considering when researching your preferred courses. For links to all of our partner universities' LEAP Landing pages and their course listings, go to our LEAP program partners page. 

Do I have to study for three years continuously?

Flexibility of study is a feature of most university courses, allowing you to study part-time or defer (take a break from) your studies, if for example you need to work to support yourself or want to take a gap year. Provided you meet any satisfactory progress rules, you may be able to study fewer subjects in some semesters, or even apply to defer study for a semester or a year, to get relevant experience through work or travel. It is important to check with the university and course you wish to study, so you know the options available.

How does learning at uni take place? What expectations are there? 

Learning at uni can be in many different forms. There are lectures and tutorials (tutes) but you might also attend labs, seminars, practical classes or even online classes. Attendance is not compulsory for most classes but it is for some. It is up to you to do your individual study away from classes and hand in your work on time. Lecturers and tutors will not be reminding you every minute to do your readings or hand in your assignments. Learning at uni is really all about the effort you put in – and that will be reflected in your marks.

If lectures can be viewed online, do I have to attend lectures in person?

While it is true nowadays most lectures at uni are recorded and available online, there are real benefits from actually attending. These include experiencing the university atmosphere, the ability to meet your lecturers and fellow students as well as the chance to ask questions and seek clarification in class. This is a great way to practise some of your essential skills like communication, networking and good listening. Friends made during regular lecture attendance often become study buddies or form into study groups. 


Who should use the website?

The LEAP website is mainly for students in years 7 to 12, in Victorian schools. Pages for parents and teachers have relevant information about the LEAP program, and tips about getting the most out of the website for students.

Who can attend LEAP events?

LEAP activities are targeted towards school groups and students from LEAP priority schools

Applications from non-LEAP priority schools or students will be considered subject to available spaces and/or resources. LEAP priority schools are listed in the "Schools" dropdown in the online Application Form.

What is the cost of participation in LEAP events?

Participation in LEAP events is free for students from LEAP priority schools.

Is there travel support for students in need, so they don’t miss out on participating?

Support for the cost of travel may be available for students from LEAP priority schools where this cost is a barrier to participation. See travel support

Did my online application for a LEAP activity or event submit successfully?

After submitting your application, you should have seen a "Thank you" page, advising you that an automated email confirmation would be sent to your email address. If you didn't see the "Thank you" page and haven't received a confirmation email including the details of your application, you should contact us as you may need to resubmit your application. 

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