With term 3 for our high school students in New Zealand well underway it got me thinking about what I was doing this time last year as a year 13 student. A few of my peers were still deciding what to study (and that is totally okay). A Science degree (aka a Bachelor of Science, BSc in short) branches into many areas and there are a range of majors and specialisations offered at UoA that allow you to do this.

The Science majors offered at UoA!

A major is an area of your degree that you will study. For example, I study a BSc (my degree) in Biomedical Science (my major). Some people are able to study more than one major (i.e a double major) as part of their degree and there is also the option to complete a conjoint degree (i.e doing two degrees at once). The BSc was a common choice of study among my high school friends so I decided to interview them so you can read about the things you should think about when choosing to study a BSc.


Why did you choose to pursue a BSc? Did you know during high school that a BSc is what you wanted to do?

– I chose a BSc because I have always loved science and I took all science subjects in high school. I definitely knew during high school when choosing NCEA subjects that science was the broadest and I wanted a career related to science.

– I was keen on studying computer science at university… that falls under the BSc!

– During my time in high school, subjects like English and Social Studies weren’t my strongest… Computer Science was something I was interested in so now I’m pursuing a Bachelor of Science.

– I want a career in healthcare and I loved Science in high school, so the BSc route into a clinical degree seemed fitting for me!

Top tip from Jasmine – Find time in high school to get some work experience to see what your career could look like. #scrubsarecomfy


What is your major and why did you choose this one in particular?

– I chose Biological Sciences as my major as it has a variety of different pathways and the papers sounded interesting. Biology was always my favourite science, as I did the best in it during school.

– I took Computer Science related subjects in NCEA and found them really fun in high school. It is really important that you are interested in what you choose to learn or you will disengage. 

– My parents suggested I should study Computer Science and during NCEA, I found subjects like Digital Technology and Computer Science Coding so fun, they were both my strongest subjects… so overall I was happy with having Computer Science as my major.


Why did you choose UoA for your BSc?

– My dad went to UoA for his degree… that kind of influenced my decision! Transport into university is also very easy since I live in Auckland!

– High Rankings! I also wanted to continue living in Auckland.

– Both of my older siblings studied and graduated from the University of Auckland and so they helped me make my decision… UoA is also a good university that’s nearby and since I’m a local I felt it was a perfect fit!

– I’ve always wanted to study at UoA because I like the campus and the structure of the BSc and clinical health degrees. I was also not quite prepared to leave my family… Auckland is home and I love being in a city so studying in Auckland just seem right for me!


What would a typical day at UoA look like for you?

Biological Sciences: I take the bus to and from university. My first lecture usually starts at 10am or 12pm. In between lectures I meet up with my friends to study or eat. During tutorials and labs, I try to interact with new people, as we are working together. If one of my friends is free at the end of the day, we go out to Queen street or the library.

BSc/BA conjoint (Computer Science and Japanese): I have to go to campus every day, I start from 2pm and finish at 6pm. Since you can choose your own timetable, I chose one that started in the afternoon. Sometimes I will have a break between classes so I will usually go to ic (information commons) on campus to meet my friends and do some study.

Computer Science: During Semester One, I had some classes that start around 10 or 11 am and on some days I finished around 6 pm. Every day, I catch the train and a bus into uni. I usually arrive on campus around 9 am so I’d go to Level 4 of Kate Edgar building and review some of my courses or prepare for my lectures. I usually go to my tutorials and labs early to meet new people! I’m part of the Auckland Uni Dance Association and attend their dance classes in the evenings! Going home, I just walk to Britomart, catch the southern line and hop on a bus again. When I’m home I either review what I learnt, get started on assignments, or prepare for tomorrow’s lectures.

Biomedical Science: Semester One in 2020 was a bit of a mess for everyone due to lock down… but Semester Two in Biomed is actually quite flexible! In a week the lectures I have are: 3x MEDSCI 142, 4x PHYSICS 160, 3x BIOSCI 106 and 2x BIOSCI 101. Lectures for Biomed run in 2 different streams, I’m in the morning stream with lectures from 9-12! If I have a lab session, it runs from 2-5pm. I usually have 2 labs a week… that means on the other days, I finish at 12pm which is awesome! I then bus home, have lunch and a bit of a break before doing some afternoon study from 2pm till dinner time. If needed, I then have a couple of hours in the evening to study and chill out with my family.

Semester 1 timetable for a BSc/BA student!


How is learning science at University different to your typical high school science classes?

– Learning science at university goes into way more detail than science at high school. I think it’s more enjoyable at university as you choose what courses you want and its very flexible if you decide to change.

– Quicker, everything becomes quicker. It’s hard to follow the first time but after you review content it becomes manageable… thankfully there are lecture recordings!

– It’s different in a sense that the lecturer just tells you what you need to know and moves on compared to high school, where you’d learn something new and practice it during class. So in university, it’s expected that you practice and review it in your own time because in lectures they don’t really wait for you. 

– Science classes are delivered at a much faster pace compared to high school (e.g. think the Spectroscopy internal in level 3 NCEA Chemistry… delivered in 4 one hour lectures in CHEM110). With that said, the content in all my papers is extremely interesting, with aspects that build up from high school and others that are completely new to me which keeps me engaged. 


What are labs/tutorials like for your courses? How are they different from high school?

Biological Sciences: Labs start straight away, you need to read the information beforehand. In high school, the teacher provides help and assistance, but in university you need to be more independent. The tutorials are great, especially if you are struggling with specific questions, so I think tutorials are really helpful and are a great addition for learning your course.

Computer Science: One of my labs is done on the computer while the others were group work. For the online lab, it was in a computer lab and you were given tasks to program and you can either work on it by yourself or work with others. Luckily I made a friend that had the same lab as me so we would work on it together. I feel like the labs and tutorials are there for the students to have a breather from the fast-paced lectures so that they can ask the tutor questions about the content and have a better understanding. 

Biomedical Science: The labs are awesome in first year Biomed… with one special mention… MEDSCI 142 labs! I’ve only had 2 so far however they are super interactive, interesting and helpful! Our first lab was a rat dissection, and last week we looked at the brain! Usually you have an activity/experiment and an assignment to complete in labs but you get to work with your peers which is awesome and beneficial for your learning.

PHYSICS140 Labs! Top tip for any labs – unlike high school.. you’ll want to come into the lab prepared to get the most out of the lab experience!

I hope this is useful as you start making decisions about University study! Whilst I haven’t covered every major part of the BSc at UoA… hearing from current students is one of the ways you can start thinking about what you want from University study. It might also be helpful to know what current students thought about leading up to first year. You can also explore the University’s website for information on all the BSc study options and official requirements: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/study-options/find-a-study-option/bachelor-of-science-bsc.html

A great way to find out more about all your options would be to attend Open Day 2020.

As always, chuck a comment and I’ll be sure to reply!

Till next time,

Jasmine x