Natural Sciences

Frequently asked questions


Studying at Nottingham 

Can I swap between the MSci and the BSc?
Students are able to move between the MSci and the BSc in either direction up until the end of their second year provided they meet the progression requirements for the course they are transferring to (these are higher for the MSci).
Can I do a work placement during my degree?

A number of students choose to look for laboratory experience/field work during their summer vacations. These are fantastic opportunities for students to gain real world experience of working in a discipline and something which we encourage students to do if they can. 

In addition there are also opportunities for summer placements in loads of other industries as well as volunteer work all of which can help you to stand out once you have finished your degree.  If you are interested in taking a longer placement then it is possible to suspend your studies for a year to undertake this. 

Is there a possibility of me studying abroad?

From 2019 entry Natural Sciences is available as both the BSc and the MSci with an additional year studying abroad. Through the University-Wide scheme students are able to apply to study for a full-year at one of our partner universities in the USA, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, Singapore South Korea, Ireland, and Sweden.  

For opportunities available to Natural Sciences students please look at our latest factsheet


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What you can study

Can I study Biology, Physics and Chemistry?
I am afraid not, all first year pathways with Physics also include Maths to help students keep up with the workload. As a result you can take Chemistry, Physics and Maths or Biological Sciences, Physics and Maths but not Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Can I take combinations of subjects not listed as a pathway?
Due to the challenge of combining the teaching from this many Schools and Departments and the issues this causes with timetabling at present it is not possible to offer subject combinations which are not listed as pathways. The subject combinations available have been put together with consideration for what works well together as well as what works with the timetable. Since it is early days the programme is still undergoing some changes to the pathways and the Schools involved so there may new pathways introduced along the way.

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What do you base your decision on?
The primary criterion is whether you have the ability to complete the course successfully. Your academic record and school (or other) reference play a crucial role in this, but we are not just looking for academic ability. Your motivation and commitment, your ability to organise your time and effort effectively and to work independently are all important, and it is these that we look for most when reading your personal statement.
What are you looking for in a personal statement?
We are not assessing your ability to write (although grammar and spelling are important) so there is no need to worry if you have no particular writing flair. The most important thing is to get across your enthusiasm for the subject and your commitment to the course. If you are not comfortable writing about how much you like the subject broadly you can always write about a specific aspect of the subject you find interesting or maybe about what first got you interested in the subject. If you are involved in any activities outside of school which are related to the subject or which have helped you develop transferable skills then you should mention them. If you are still not sure where to start with writing your personal statement there is a guide on the UCAS website.

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Entry Requirements 

Do you accept other qualifications as an alternative to A-levels?
We do accept a range of qualifications including Scottish Highers, Welsh Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate, International/European Baccalaureate and Cambridge Pre-U Diploma. For information about specific grades or for a qualification not listed above please contact us.
Will I be at a disadvantage if I am not taking Maths/Further Maths A level?

That all depends on whether you want to take maths or not. If you are interested in doing a pathway which involves maths then you would need to have an A level in maths. However, if you are interested in a pathway which does not involve maths then you do not need to have taken it (although in certain subjects you may find it beneficial if you have). If you do not have Maths at A level you do need to have it at C/4 or above at GCSE (or equivalent).

As far as further maths is concerned there is no requirement on any pathway for you to have taken it but if you are considering studying Maths or Physics then you may find it beneficial in the first year.  After this year all students will be on an equal footing so there is no long term disadvantage if you have not taken further maths. We have a mixture of students who have taken it and students who have not and find that students entering without further maths do just as well.

Can I take a subject even if I do not have an A level (or the equivalent) in it?
Some of the subjects require you to have an A level in that subject to be able to study it in a pathway (Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics) but other subjects are happy to take students without the corresponding A level (Archaeology, Environmental Science, Geography, Psychology). If you do not have all of the required subjects at A level for a pathway and you are unsure if you could pursue it then drop us an email to ask.

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A Level Exam Results

I have not made the grades for my offer, will I automatically be rejected?

Our offer through UCAS is a firm commitment on our part; if you meet our offer, we will take you. If you don’t meet the offer, then it will depend on other factors. The University will tell us how many `near misses’ we could take; and this could be very few -- even zero -- or quite a lot, depending on how many first-year students there is room for. 

Where we are allowed to look at near misses they will be considered on the basis of the grades they have attained and the qualities that are shown in their personal statement. We will not take on students merely to make up numbers; our primary consideration is whether your application suggests that you can do well on the our course.


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Natural Sciences

School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham
University Park

Tel: +44 (0) 115 823 2376
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3555