Frequently Asked Questions - Future Students

Image of students chatting

To help you find your way around these questions we've divided them into subsections.

Click on the links below to take you to that section or browse through them all.


Questions about Advanced degrees and TSP

  1. What is the difference between the BSc and the BSc (Advanced)?
  2. Can I study advanced subjects in the BSc?
  3. What is the Talented Students Program?
  4. What's the difference between the Talented Student Program and Advanced Science?
  5. Can I get into the Talented Student Program?
  6. Is there a different UAC code for Advanced degrees?
  7. Can I combine the Bachelor of Science (Advanced) with any other degrees?

What is the difference between the BSc and the BSc (Advanced)?

The Bachelor of Science (BSc) and the Bachelor of Science (Advanced) are very similar in structure with the opportunity to study in the same subject areas in both degrees.

Some subjects that are available as part of both degrees are offered at the Advanced level to qualifying students. These advanced units cover similar material to the regular units but in a more challenging way.

Students in the BSc (Advanced) must take a certain number of subjects at the advanced level and maintain a certain average to stay in the advanced degree stream. Students in the BSc may opt to take subjects at the advanced level if they are looking for more challenging study but are not obliged to.

One small difference is that in the BSc (Advanced), students have to study a minimum number of units at the advanced level. Another is that students of the BSc (Advanced) will have "Advanced " written on their testamur when they graduate. Students interested in studying in just one advanced area are best advised to enrol in the BSc.

Can I study advanced subjects in the BSc?

Advanced subjects are available to qualified students in both the Bachelor of Science and the specialist BSc programs, including the Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science and the Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Visit the enrolment FAQ's for more information.

What is the Talented Student Program?

The Talented Student Program (TSP) aims to offer students of exceptional merit additional challenging material that is tailored to meet their individual needs. It is restricted to the very top science students. Entry is by invitation from the Dean of Science to qualifying students.

Find out more about the TSP on the Talented Student Program website.

What's the difference between the TSP and Advanced Science?

Advanced courses are for students with excellent final high school examination results.

The Talented Student Program is for students who achieve an ATAR greater than 99 (or equivalent for recognised high school qualification, or have participated in a science or mathematics olympiad, or have excelled in a particular science subject.

The content of the Talented Student Program differs from department to department. Some departments allow students to study third year options in first year, others allow students to fast track their degree and others allow students to undertake research projects during their undergraduate study. Students who are invited to take part in the Talented Student Program work with a mentor to plan how they will integrate TSP activities into their studies.

Can I get into the Talented Student Program?

Students are invited by the Dean of Science to be part of the Talented Student Program.

Letters of invitation for TSP students are normally sent out on the same day as the UAC offers being sent out in each UAC round.

Is there a different UAC code for Advanced degrees?

The Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Science (Advanced) degrees have different UAC codes.

However, for combined degrees in which you want to study science at the advanced level, there is only one UAC code. That is, for combined degree programs in which science is offered such as Law, Commerce, Nursing, Arts, Education and Engineering, you must use the UAC code for the normal level combined degree even if you intend to study the science component at the advanced level. If you meet the advanced ATAR and you have applied for a combined degree you will need to bring in proof of your ATAR on enrolment day and we can enrol you in the advanced stream on the day.

Can I combine the Bachelor of Science (Advanced) with any other degrees?

Any degree which can be combined with the Bachelor of Science can be combined with the Science (Advanced) degree.


Questions about combined degrees

  1. What can I combine science with?
  2. How do I apply for a combined degree with Advanced Science through UAC? I can't find the UAC code.

What can I combine science with?

The Bachelor of Science can be combined with Law, Commerce, Nursing, Arts, Education and Engineering.

Combined Science Degrees

In the Bachelor of Science degree, students can study a maximum of 48 credit points of units of study not in Science, eg. Arts, Economics.

How do I apply for a combined degree with Advanced Science through UAC? I can't find the UAC code.

There is no separate course code of a degree combined with advanced science, just select the course code for the regular combined degree and bring in evidence of your ATAR when you come in to enrol.

If you meet the requirements we will put you into the advanced stream.


Questions about prerequisites, assumed knowledge and maths in Science

  1. Do I have to study Physics/Chemistry and Maths in the BSc?
  2. Does the Faculty have prerequisites?
  3. What level of maths do I need to study at school in order to study Science?

Do I have to study Physics/Chemistry and Maths in the BSc?

All Science students will have to complete a certain amount of maths.

Other subjects you study will depend on the degree you are in and the area you want to specialise in. Some degrees will require you to study a certain amount of physics or chemistry if you will need that knowledge later for your specialist studies.

Does the Faculty have prerequisites?

Some degrees and units of study administered by the Faculty of Science require Assumed Knowledge. For example, the assumed knowledge for the Bachelor of Medical Science is Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology or Physics.

This means that a student will not be prohibited from entry into the degree or unit of study if they do not have the assumed knowledge, however teaching staff will assume that students have this knowledge and teach accordingly.

If a student does not have the assumed knowledge for a particular unit of study or degree, it is advised that they undertake a bridging course. Bridging courses are run between enrolment and semester commencement.

Some units of study (subjects) administered by the Faculty of Science have prerequisites where students will not be able to gain entry into certain units of study without the necessary prerequisites.

For example, BIOL 1101 (Ecosystems to Genes) requires students to have completed HSC 2-unit Biology or equivalent. Students will not be able to enrol in this subject without HSC 2-unit Biology (unless they have special permission from the Head of Department).

What level of maths do I need to study at school in order to study Science?

Different levels of mathematics are offered which have differing levels of assumed knowledge. However, the minimum level of preparation for all science degrees is HSC Mathematics. General Mathematics is not sufficient.

Students who wish to continue to study maths or computer science in second year should have studied 3 unit Mathematics at school.

The School of Mathematics and Statistics offers a guide on which first year maths subjects you should take.

The Maths Learning Centre offers bridging courses in mathematics.


Questions about studying a science degree and areas of study in Science

  1. How do I apply to go to University?
  2. What does University study cost?
  3. I'm not going to get the marks to get into the degree I wanted but I really want to study this degree. What should I do?
  4. I want to go overseas for a year. Can I defer?

How do I apply to go to University?

Domestic undergraduate students apply through UAC (the Universities Admission Centre) in September of the year before they wish to commence studying.

For international students, the application method differs depending on their qualifications. Find out more about international student applications.

What does University study cost?

For domestic students there are Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) which used to be referred to as HECS places. The other type of place is for international students.

Most domestic students will apply for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) which essentially gives you a discounted rate of study.

The remaining cost of study after the discount has been applied can be paid up front each year or deferred to the taxation system and paid back when the student is working (known as a HECS-Help loan). More information about this is available on the Study Assist website.

Under this type of place the fees remaining to be paid for a science course are approximately AUD $3000 to $4000 per year.

International students can use the UAC course finder for course listings and International Fees.

I don't think I'm going to get a high enough ATAR, what should I do?

If you don't get the ATAR to get into the course that you wanted, there are often other options. Read about them here:

BSc can get you there!

What will the ATAR be next year?

The Faculty does not pre-set its ATARs and so it is impossible to answer this question. However, last year's ATARs give a good indication of next year's ATAR cut offs.

I want to go overseas for a year. Can I defer?

Students coming straight from school who receive a university offer can defer their place for a year. Scholarships cannot be deferred and some scholarships are only open to students coming directly from school.

Please follow the guidelines in the UAC Guide.


Questions about areas of study in the BSc from forensic science to zoology

  1. Can I study "Medical Science" subjects in the BSc?
  2. Can I study forensic science at Sydney?
  3. Can I study zoology at Sydney?
  4. What's the difference between studying Psychology in a Bachelor of Psychology degree and studying Psychology in the Science, Arts or Economics degrees?

Can I study "Medical Science" subjects in the BSc?

Students can undertake units of study in Pharmacology, Cell Pathology, Anatomy and Histology or Physiology in the Bachelor of Science.

The second year biomedical subjects are unique to the Bachelor of Medical Science.

Despite this, it is possible to streamline a Bachelor of Science to closely approximate study in the Bachelor of Medical Science.

Can I study forensic science at Sydney?

Whilst the University does not teach a course called "forensic science," students can enter this career through science or medical science. Students should avoid narrowly focused degrees labelled "forensic science" as career options in this area are very limited.

Those interested in forensic psychology should be advised to take the Bachelor of Psychology or the Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology.

Can I study zoology at Sydney?

Yes, you can study zoology as part of the Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology.

It's important to note that the second year zoology units of study require both Chemistry and Biology as prerequisites.

What's the difference between studying Psychology in a B Psychology and studying Psychology in the Science, Arts or Economics degrees?

Students in the Bachelor of Psychology have the opportunity to study more Psychology options than those in other degrees.

It is possible for students in other degrees like the three year BSc or the BA to complete a Psychology major, apply for honours in Psychology (Psychology Honours is very competitive) and follow the same study path as a BPsych student planning to become a practicing Psychologist.

Read more at the School of Psychology website.


Questions about studying medicine

  1. I'm interested in studying medicine or dentistry. What should I do?
  2. I've applied for Combined Science/Medicine, when do I find out if I'm short-listed?
  3. My IB or interstate results come out after the NSW HSC, does this mean I won't be short-listed?
  4. What are my options if I don't get into Combined Science/Medicine?

I'm interested in studying medicine or dentistry. What should I do?

At the University of Sydney, medicine is a graduate entry program. This means that students would need to complete an undergraduate degree and then apply to study graduate medicine in the Sydney Medical School.

The only exception to this is the double degree Science/Medicine program where school leavers are able to complete either the Bachelor of Science (Advanced) or the Bachelor of Medical Science and then progress into the University’s prestigious four-year graduate medical program. Application for this program is through UAC with short-listed students being invited to interview.

For more information visit: Sydney Medical School Combined Science/Medicine information

Students who do not get a place in combined Science/Medicine or who wish to study a different undergraduate degree may apply to enter the graduate medicine and graduate dentistry programs once they have completed a degree.

For more information on graduate medicine visit the Sydney Medical School website.

The Bachelor of Medical Science, along with the Bachelor of Science,and Bachelor of Science (Advanced) are good choices for students interested in a career in medical or dental research, though these are not necessary to gain entry to the graduate medical program.

Students are always best advised to study a course in which they are interested.

I've applied for Science/Medicine. When do I find out if I'm short-listed for interview?

Students who are short-listed for interview will be contacted by telephone after the release of their HSC results.

See the Science/Medicine Application Timeline for more information.

My IB or interstate results come out after the NSW HSC, does this mean I won't be short-listed?

There will be a second round of interviews for any interstate and IB students who are short-listed.

See the Science/Medicine Application Timeline for more information.

What are my options if I don't get into Combined Science/Medicine?

Entry into Science/Medicine is very competitive. Even getting a very high ATAR does not ensure that a student will be short-listed.

If a student is not selected for entry then they should study an undergraduate degree that they are interested in and that they will enjoy. They may wish to look at applying for the University of Sydney graduate medical program.

For more information on graduate medicine visit the Sydney Medical School website.

Can I come in and talk to someone about my course choice?

The University holds an Open Day on the last Saturday in August each year where you can come to the campus and speak to academic advisors about your course choices.

The University also holds an Information Day in January, normally the day before the close of UAC preference changes.

I have a specific question or would like to know more

For more information, email