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Diploma of Science

About this course

The Diploma of Science is a one-year (full-time or part-time equivalent) course that equips students with foundational knowledge and skills in areas including environmental, health and physical sciences such as engineering. The course includes a pathway to Southern Cross University’s Associate Degree of Science. Graduates can elect to pursue further study with a Bachelor degree qualification in environmental science, marine science and management, forestry science and management, civil engineering (Honours) and mechanical engineering (Honours). Graduates of the Diploma may receive up to one year of credit (advanced standing) into their Bachelor degree. 

This course is offered through SCU College which provides students with a highly supportive study environment.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the Diploma of Science can seek para-professional work in a range of industries, including positions as field assistants, laboratory assistants, revegetation officers and environmental monitors. 

Graduates who proceed to one of the pathway Bachelor degrees will have a range of career opportunities available in their chosen fields in government agencies and in the private sector.

Major areas of study

The course includes core studies in science that prepare students for further study through a range of science discipline units. The Diploma will assist students’ progression to their preferred area of study, should they decide to articulate into Southern Cross University’s Associate Degree of ScienceBachelor of Science, Bachelor of Environmental Science, Bachelor of Marine Science and Management, Bachelor of Forest Science and Management, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering, and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering.

Study areas are offered as follows:

  • Human Science (Lismore campus)
  • Environmental Sciences (Lismore campus, or by distance education)
  • Physical Sciences and mathematics (Lismore campus, or some units by distance education)
  • Engineering (Lismore campus)

Please note: Not all study areas are available to study by distance education.

Assessment methods

Assessment tasks vary from unit to unit and can include essays, reports, audio or video presentations, class participation, individual and group work, online quizzes, case analyses, and examinations. Assessment items are in accordance with learning outcomes and designed to ensure that all the graduate attributes are assessed throughout the course. The performance criteria, grading standards and due dates for assessment tasks are included in each Unit Information Guide. Students receive timely feedback on their assessment submissions.

Teaching methods

On-campus students experience a variety of teaching approaches which can including lectures, tutorials, workshops, laboratory classes, field trips, online activities and video-linked or podcast virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit. Students receive a regular schedule of face-to-face and/or online contact with academic staff.

Distance education students experience a highly interactive study mode that strives to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Students may receive a combination of podcast or video-linked lectures, electronic study materials, workshops, online discussion forums and virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Please note: Some units contain compulsory residential workshops at the Lismore campus that may include lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes and field trips.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you cut months or years off your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning, the University has evaluated the learning within some Australian and overseas qualifications/courses, visit SCU Pathways. If your previous study or educational institution is not listed, we still encourage you to apply for advanced standing because you might still be eligible.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based program Blackboard Collaborate delivers advanced on-line learning environments for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces and classrooms. They can share files, presentations, and applications. If the session is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and books of readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed textbooks.

College Connect offers extra support for all students undertaking a SCU College Bachelor degree, Associate degree or Diploma.

The SCU library provides a wide range of services including librarian assistance, print and electronic resources, a document delivery service, catalogues, databases, ebooks, ereadings, and full-text journal literature.

The academic skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, email, phone, and one-on-one support.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes.

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents


Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for a Diploma of Science, a candidate shall successfully complete the equivalent of eight (8) units (96 credit points) comprising:
    1. at least two (2) units from Part A; and
    2. at least four (4)  units from Part B; and
    3. two (2) units from either Part A or Part B

Schedule of units

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How to apply

Domestic students

International students

Confirm you meet the entry requirements including English language and academic entry and any specific pre-requisites.

Southern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form.

Additional information on how to apply is available at SCU International. Please note applicants from some countries need to go through an Education Agent.

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.