Bachelor of Nanoscience (Honours)

What is Nanoscience?

Nanoscience is all about the very tiny – around 1- 50 nanometres in size, or approximately 100,000 times smaller than this full stop. At these sizes strange things start to happen. Nano sized materials can become stronger, more conductive and, in the case of aluminium, explode! It’s these properties that Nanoscientists study and exploit. This is the briefest of introductions to the vast subject of nanoscience. It takes a degree to even start to cover the basics!

In relation to chemistry, biology and physics, nanoscience is still a very young science, having been investigated over only the past 50 years. The definition of nanoscience changes almost daily to reflect the incredible discoveries that are made when looking at materials at such a tiny scale. Boundaries are expanded as new instrumentation such as the electron microscope enable us to see science with ever sharper resolutions. Nanoscience is revolutionizing biology, chemistry and physics.

Why study Nanoscience at UNSW?

The University of New South Wales is a recognised pioneer of nanoscience, contributing greatly to the development of this new and exciting field. This outstanding platform led UNSW to develop one of the world’s first Nanotechnology degree in 2002. Few Universities worldwide can match UNSW’s pedigree the place to study Nanoscience. UNSW hosts the NSW node of the ANFF (Australian National Fabrication Facility) and is behind the ACN (Australian Centre for NanoMedicine) initiative. Students gain a thorough grounding in chemistry, physics, materials science and engineering, as well as some biology. This offers students the broad range of knowledge required for modern multidisciplinary research. It culminates in the Honours year research project, which focuses on nanoscience, as chosen by you, related to one of the disciplines mentioned above. Lectures are delivered by people who are passionate about the benefits that this new science can bring to society. It is their passion and expertise coupled with extensive hands-on experience gained in our state of the art labs and your enthusiasm in this new science that will both challenge and extend you as a budding nanoscientist.

What is the structure of the Nanoscience degree?

Nanoscience does not fit into one particular discipline, which is why we’ve developed a multidisciplinary course. Teaching is provided by the Schools of Physics, Chemistry, and Materials Science and Engineering, with many of the lecturers considered world leaders in their field.

In the first year, students study Chemistry, Materials Science, Physics, Mathematics and Nanotechnology. With the exception of the Nanotechnology classes, these subjects are taught to large numbers of science and engineering students and are designed to give you a strong foundation in these subjects. In the second year, more specialised courses are offered in Physics, Chemistry and Materials Science, as-well-as Biochemistry and Nanotechnology. In the third year there is a core of subjects that include specialist courses in nanotechnology. In the final year, you apply these skills to your own research, in the form of a research project thesis submitted as part of your Honours Year.

For details on the specific courses covered by this program, visit the UNSW handbook website.

Career Opportunities

Nanoscience is an emerging growth industry worldwide. The intellectual property generated needs to be developed to create commercial products. This means that graduates from the nanoscience degree are highly sought by organisations looking to develop nanoscience and its successful commercialisation. Many of our graduates pursue careers in academic research or research and development in the science and technology sector. Well known producers of nanoscientific devices and materials include the CSIRO, Adidas, Daewoo, DuPont, IBM, Intel, L’Oreal, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsonite to name but a few. These organisations employ nanoscience graduates because of their broad training, capacity to think critically and laterally, and their problem solving abilities.