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  • Length 4 years full-time
  • Minimum 192 Units
Admission requirements
  • Mode of delivery
    • Internal

Back to the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) - Science page

Please note that if you are commencing your studies in semester 2 there may be restrictions on the courses available for enrolment. We strongly recommend that you make an appointment with an academic advisor (PhB.science.enquiries@anu.edu.au or phoning 6125 2809) to discuss your options. There will also be advisory sessions offered during the week before semester commences.

The Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) - Science or PhB is a unique degree  that allows intellectually ambitious students to explore their interests, develop their research skills and be mentored by leading academics, while enjoying the camaraderie of a group of like-minded students. The PhB degree has been offered in Science since 2003. Regardless of your main focus, there is room in the degree for you to explore other disciplines.

The four year PhB degree is designed with flexibility in mind - each PhB program is as individual as the student taking it. Each year, you will work with your mentor to tailor a program you will find stimulating and challenging, including courses from other Colleges for those who wish to pursue cross-disciplinary interests.

One quarter of the studies, in the first three years, consists of individually tailored Advanced Studies specifically designed to provide you with a strong base in research. In these courses you typically join a research team to conduct a hands-on research project under the supervision of an academic in your chosen science area. Other options include a theoretical project, for example in Mathematics, a reading course with a world-leading scientist or an external research project with CSIRO, industry or other organisations. In the fourth or Honours year of a PhB, you will undertake a research project for most of the year under the guidance of an academic supervisor.

After completion of your first year of study, the Conditions of Award Committee will determine each semester whether your level of performance is sufficient to remain in the degree program. It is possible to transfer to another undergraduate degree program and receive credit for work successfully completed in the PhB. To remain enrolled in the PhB degree, students must maintain an average mark of 75 percent in all their Science courses in each half-year-period.

To qualify for the degree the Honours year must be completed with first class honours.

Single degree

    • This degree requires 192 units
    • A maximum of 60 units of 1000 level courses
    • A minimum of 30 units 3000 or 4000 level Science courses
    • 36 units from the completion of Advanced Studies including a minimum of 18 units of Advanced Studies Courses (ASCs)
    • Other courses from Science or another ANU College (maximum non-science allowed 48 units)
    • An average of 75% in Science courses must be maintained in each half-year period to remain in the program.
    • 48 units from completion of a Science Honours research project
    • To qualify for the degree Honours must be completed with first class Honours

    About this degree

    In the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) - Science, PhB, degree you will study a total of 192 units.  Typically, you will take four courses per semester (total of 24 units) as a full time student giving you a total of 24 courses across the first three years of your degree, which is then followed by an Honours year.

    While you do not need to complete majors in this degree, the Science majors are helpful to give you an idea of possible areas you might like to focus on in your degree. In addition, you can choose up to eight elective courses  from right across ANU.  You can use these electives to try a range of courses or to take a cohesive group of courses, such as a language, philosophy or economics.

    The core of this degree is the opportunity for you to undertake research projects (known as Advanced Studies). You will probably not undertake an Advanced Studies in your first semester of first year because most PhB students like to use this semester to get used to university and find out about as many disciplines as possible. You will undertake an Advanced Studies (as an Advanced Studies Extension project most likely) in second semester of first year and then some kind of Advanced Studies in each semester of second and third year. You will have lots of help from the program convenor in helping you decide courses and showing you how to organise Advanced Studies.

    In your 4th year of study you will undertake the Honours year in a single discipline usually closely related to your main area of focus.

    Enrolment Status

    It is possible to enrol in fewer courses per semester, but it will take you longer to finish your program and get your degree. If you are an international student you must always be enrolled full-time in 24 units each semester, unless you have been approved for a reduced study load.

    When you enrol for the first time you will study ‘1000-level’ courses unless you already have some advanced levels of achievement in a subject.  These courses have ‘1’ as the first number in their course code, such as CHEM1101, MATH1013, BIOL1003 or PHYS1101.

    • You should enrol in courses for both First Semester and Second Semester.
    • You can’t study more than four courses (24 units) per semester, so normally eight for the year. (Some students choose to undertake an Advanced Studies Course research project over the summer just because they are fun, exciting and challenging – you don’t have to though.)
    • You need to enrol in courses for at least one potential Science focus.
    • You may take 1000-level courses later in your program.  But remember you can’t count more than ten 1000-level courses (60 units) towards your single degree.

    Majors and Minors

    See available majors and minors for this program

    Remember, you do not have to undertake a formal major or minor in this degree but you might like to check out the 60+ Science majors, minors and specialisations available for you to study. A list of these is available from the Bachelor of Science website: http://programsandcourses.anu.edu.au/program/Bsc.

    If you aren’t sure what you want to study for your whole degree, that’s fine. Use first year to explore lots of discipline areas and let your interests develop on the basis of this experience. The PhB Convenor and your academic mentor will ensure you are choosing something academically sensible and that will allow many paths of study in the later years of your degree.

    Because there are so many options available, you will need to take your time choosing what you want to study.

    Study Options

    Typical first year enrolment pattern for Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours):

    This is a typical study pattern for the first year of a student undertaking a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) with a focus in courses from the College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP).

    Study Options

    Year 1 48 units CAP 1000 level Course in an Asian Language 6 units CAP 1000 level Course 6 units CAP 1000 level Course 6 units Elective Course 6 units
    CAP 1000 level Course in an Asian Language 6 units CAP 1000 level Course 6 units CAP 1000 level Course including Advanced Studies Extension 6 units Elective Course 6 units

    Typical first year enrolment pattern for Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours):

    This is a typical study pattern for the first year of a student undertaking a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours).

    Study Options

    Year 1 48 units Science 1000 level Course 6 units Science 1000 level Course 6 units Science 1000 level Course 6 units Elective Course 6 units
    Science 1000 level Course 6 units Science 1000 level Course 6 units Science 1000 level Course including Advanced Studies Extension 6 units Elective Course 6 units

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