International Science Olympiads

What are the International Science Olympiads?

The International Science Olympiads are the Olympic Games for science students.

Each year Australia sends teams to compete in the International Science Olympiads in Physics, Biology, Earth Science, and Chemistry.

Australia will send a team to the International Junior Science Olympiad in 2021.

Hosted by a different country each year, the International Science Olympiads see top performing secondary students from around the world compete in experimental and theory exams.

Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to individuals based on their exam results. The competitions are overseen by an international governing body and are UNESCO-sanctioned.

In addition to being academically challenging, the experience gives students the opportunity to make new friends from around the world and experience different cultures.

Competing at the International Science Olympiads is a huge head-start in launching a science career. Back in Australia, team members find themselves targeted for prestigious university courses, prizes, scholarships and internships.

How to participate

To be selected for an International Science Olympiad team students must perform well in one of the Australian Science Olympiad Exams and attend the Australian Science Olympiads Summer School.


Invited students are asked to pay a fee to compete at the International Science Olympiads. This fee contributes to the cost of international flights, accommodation, meals, training and registration. The same fee applies to all students regardless of where they live.

In 2021, the fee to compete at the International Science Olympiads is $2,500.

We are committed to ensuring equity of access to our programs. Where a student demonstrates financial hardship, we will work with them and their family to enable the student to attend.


Students must be Australian citizens at the time they are offered a place to attend the Australian Science Olympiad Summer School.

Students must be 15 years or above at 1 January* in the same year of the Australian Science Olympiad Summer School; and students must not yet have completed year 12 at the time of attendance at the Australian Science Olympiad Summer School.

*students selected for the International Junior Science Olympiads must be 15 years or younger as of 31 December of that year.

What others have said

‘The Olympiad taught me to think hard and deeply about problems and to work at understanding problems from first principles. I really think the Olympiad helped to lead me into a research career.’

‘It has stopped me going crazy with boredom in the final years of high school and really showed me to feel accepted socially.’

‘My Biology Olympiad experience enabled me to skip first-year biology subjects, which allowed me to accelerate my studies and complete three majors. Being a Science Olympian was definitely helpful when it came to applying for summer research programs and scholarships.’ — Ruby Kwong, Olympiad, International Biology Olympiad 2008.