James Cook University-FSE


The Faculty’s research and teaching programs address issues relevant to the tropics and meeting the needs of a diverse range of industries and professions.

The Faculty operates at the Cairns and Townsville campuses of JCU and is organised into three multidisciplinary schools:

  • Earth and Environmental Science
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences
  • Marine and Tropical Biology

National and International Standing

James Cook University is ranked in the top 10 universities in Australia for Science (Melbourne Institute 2006). It is number one internationally for citations on coral reef ecology, the highest ranked Australian university for citations in ecology and the environment over the past 10 years, and JCU leads Australia for articles in the top 15 journals in marine and freshwater biology. JCU’s two federation fellows, Professor Michael Bird (climate change) and Professor Terry Hughes (coral reef ecology) are based in the Faculty. Currently over 209 PhD students are enrolled in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

In 2006 the School of Engineering was awarded professional accreditation by Engineers Australia for the maximum term of 5 years and the Bachelor of Marine Science gained a 5-year accreditation from the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology – the first university program to gain this level of accreditation outside of Europe.

Teaching and Learning

In addition to its core undergraduate degrees – the B.Sc, and the B.Eng – the Faculty offers a range of targeted qualifications, including the Bachelor of Marine Science and the Bachelor of Planning (accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia).

At post-graduate level, the Faculty offers several Masters degrees, including the MAppSc, ME(Research), MSc (Research), MTropEnvMan and an online Master of Astronomy. The Faculty also offers doctoral degrees in all of its major areas of study.

Faculty teaching staff have received numerous National Teaching and Learning Awards for Excellence in Teaching.


FSE is the acknowledged research leader within JCU, accounting for approximately 50% of the publications and 65% of research income.

The Faculty proudly hosts several leading research groups and centres, including:

  • Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research
  • Centre for Disaster Studies
  • Economic Geology Research Unit
  • Fish and Fisheries Research Centre
  • Structure and Metamorphism Research Institute (SAMRI)
  • The Faculty is also a central partner in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies and the Advanced Analytical Centre.