Many people pursue a degree in natural sciences as a way of following their broad scientific interests while keeping their options open regarding further specialism of study and eventual employment.
It’s certainly true that a natural sciences degree will provide you with a broad ranging scientific education. It will equip you with scientific and technical skills as well as professional skills to find employment in both scientific and non-scientific sectors.
What skills will I gain during my degree?
The specific skills and knowledge gained during your degree will depend to a large extent on the pathway you choose. However, in general terms, you can expect to gain the following key skills:
- Analytical skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Multidisciplinary scientific research skills
- Practical scientific and laboratory skills
- Numerical and data analysis skills
- IT skills
- Communication skills
- Organisational and teamwork skills
- An ‘interdisciplinary mindset’ – helping you see the bigger picture and links between different areas of knowledge and research, and important attribute in further study or graduate employment.
How can I develop my skills and gain experience during my degree?
Due to the wide range of potential career options and sectors open to you as a natural sciences student, it is important to start to consider your options early on in your course. Look for opportunities to gain relevant experience and skills within your areas of interest whether this is in a scientific or in a non-scientific sector.
Summer internships are also a great way to gain experience, whether in science or non-science based roles.
The Nottingham Internships Scheme, for example, offers a range of local paid internships with companies in Nottingham, and other sources of vacancies are listed on our work experience pages.
Find out more about work experience opportunities
Summer research placements
Summer research placements are available through the schools you are connected to. Talk to school staff to find out more.
Students in Classrooms
There are three initiatives which will give you the opportunity to work in a local educational setting. These initiatives support the academic attainment and raise the aspirations of primary and secondary pupils, while developing the skills and employability of those involved.
These are excellent opportunities for students considering teaching, youth work or community engagement as a career.
Students in Classrooms
Optional placement year
You can now undertake an optional placement year as part of your degree at the end of your penultimate year of study. The placement can be aligned to your degree discipline or related to your career aspirations. Speak to a career adviser or your school for more information.
Optional Placement Year
Careers fairs and employer events
Attend sector specific careers fairs and employer events to find out more about career sectors and employers of interest.
Our events programme
Get involved in activities including volunteering and societies such as NatSciSoc.
Nottingham Advantage Award
The Nottingham Advantage Award offers a range of modules to help you expand, develop and evidence your skills and experience during your time at university.
Nottingham Advantage Award
What careers are open to me?
Most employers see a science graduate as someone who has demonstrated an ability to work through a demanding course of study and acquired a variety of technical and other transferable skills which make them highly desirable. Roles open to all graduates include: management, finance, banking, marketing, retail, public relations, consultancy, sales, recruitment and business in a wide range of sectors.
Other students will choose to pursue a more specific scientific career. There are many different roles which you can choose in science including research and development, product and process development, manufacturing, technical writing, management, consultancy, data analysis, scientific sales to name but a few. These roles can be found in numerous industries including:
- Academic and Industrial Research
- Climate Change
- Clinical and Health Science
- Environmental Consultancy
- Geographic Information Systems
- Government Research Institutes
- IT and Software Design
- Museum Curatorship
- Science Journalism and PR
What have Nottingham natural sciences graduates gone on to do?
Here are some of the roles and companies that recent graduates have progress onto:
- Business operations manager
- Chartered accountant
- Chemical modeler
- Graduate software programmer
- Graduate scientist
- Graduate consultant
- Healthcare scientist
- Lab technician
- NHS Graduate Training Scheme
- Technology analyst
- Attenbrooke's Hospital
- Bank of America
- Cambridge Environment Agency
- Dorset Software
- Johnson Matthey
- LGC Genomics
- Medway Maritime Hospital
31% of graduates* leaving natural sciences courses in the 2016/17 academic year enrolled in further study within six months of graduating.This can be explained by the fact that a higher degree is considered an essential requirement for a lot of scientific careers.
Further study can be used to develop your understanding of a specialist area or to gain new skills which allow you to supplement your existing knowledge for a specific career. This can include courses like the Postgraduate Certificate in Education, graduate entry to medicine, law or veterinary medicine and masters courses. PhDs have been undertaken in biology, physics, maths, biochemistry and genetics.
*UK full-time first degree graduates seeking looking for employment or further study.