Chris’s double major has him studying on land and sea

Student stands in bushland inspecting a bush with a clipboard

Murdoch’s natural campus a big draw to the lifelong nature lover

The moment Chris O’Brien saw the natural bushland surroundings of the Murdoch University campus, he knew he was going to study conservation and wildlife biology. He had originally planned to study at a university in Queensland. An end-of-year trip to Perth with his high school inspired the lifelong nature lover to study at Murdoch.

“The tour through Murdoch and its natural campus with wildlife around every corner left me wanting more,” Chris says.

Studying Conservation and Wildlife Biology at Murdoch University

Chris is studying a double major of Marine Biology and Conservation and Wildlife Biology. He grew up swimming, snorkelling, and diving in tropical waters, having lived in several different places in the tropics, including the Cocos Keeling Islands and on islands in the Bismarck Archipelago off the coast of Papua New Guinea. That fact that he could combine majors for a unique course offering was a big selling point for the undergrad student’s decision to study at Murdoch.

“There is so much natural bush and native species right on campus and I love the fact that it can feel like I’m learning in the bush while still being in the heart of the suburbs,” Chris says.

“I have had quite a few morning classes throughout my degree, and I always enjoy getting to university relatively early to walk around campus and see the wildlife before the campus gets too busy.”

Learning to preserve fragile ecosystems in Australia’s only global biodiversity hotspot

Chris counts his opportunity for practical study as the most memorable and important to his university studies.

“I have had some amazing practical experiences throughout my degree, some of the most memorable moments coming from my third-year camps to Rockingham and Coral Bay,” Chris says.

“But the experiences throughout the greater Perth area are just as memorable."

Many of my units have used the native Banksia woodlands and the wetlands on campus for research.”

Taking full advantage of the well-equipped computer labs throughout the Murdoch campus, Chris has been able to translate his time examining nature into practical data analysis in the classroom. He has also had access to photography equipment and labs.

In a standard week Chris spends 4-5 days on campus, with at least two labs and a few tutorials. The busy student finds the flexibility offered to study the way that suits his learning style and schedule the best. In addition, the support given to him by all his lecturers and demonstrators has made Chris feel supported and fulfilled in his degree.

“There are always lectures, but my time management is helped by the fact that most of these lectures are recorded, and I can revisit the content whenever needed,” Chris says.

“I usually selected the earliest possible classes to give myself the afternoons of every day whenever I could.”

It’s no surprise the nature-loving student credits hands-on learning as the most interesting part of his wildlife conservation course in Perth.

“The Coral Bay trip, Marine Ecology camp and the week of quenda trapping and tagging in my third year have stood out to me the most,” Chris says.

“It has made the two years of work with a mix of units all worth it.”

Double major in Environmental and Conservation Sciences broadens job prospects

Chris hopes to continue his studies into Honours and then move straight into the job sector as either a ranger or environmental officer. As a creative thinker who wants to make real change, the Student Ambassador for Marine Biology also hopes to educate others on what can be done about the environmental crisis in the marine, wetland and bushland environments.

Interested in turning your passion for preserving the natural world into a career like Chris? Explore a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Wildlife Biology at Murdoch University.

Posted on:

7 Dec 2021

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