Natural Sciences

Synoptic Project



All Natural Science students undertake a project during their third year. This project sees groups of students working together to tackle a scientific problem which is key to future sustainability. The topics are broad, giving you flexibility in which direction you take the project, and all of the problems require an interdisciplinary approach. The problems can't be solved by one scientific discipline, so your group is made up of students studying a range of subjects, so that you each have different knowledge and skills to contribute. By bringing their individual areas of expertise together our students produce exciting, unexpected results.  

Value of an Interdisciplinary Approach

  • There are interesting areas of research between traditional disciplines.
  • You are able to contribute based on your personal experience and understanding which makes you feel more invested in the project.
  • Sharing ideas with colleagues from other subjects to approach a problem leads to greater creativity and insight.
  • You consolidate your learning in your subjects as you are consider and synthesise ideas from many different perspectives.
  • Problems are complex and an interdisciplinary approach provides a better way of addressing this complexity.
  • By comparing and contrasting ideas across subjects you gain a fresh perspective on arguments and ideas.
  • It helps to highlights your strengths and build your confidence when talking about your subjects.
  • You find new ways to apply theories and approaches by looking across the boundaries of subjects.
  • Gives you the opportunity to connect what you are learning with things that you are interested in.

Gain a Range of Skills

You gain a wide range of skills including:

  • Time Management
  • Accountability
  • Organisation
  • Team Work
  • Delegation
  • Assertiveness
  • Decision Making
  • Literature Research
  • Critical Thinking
  • Written Communication Skills
  • Project Management
  • Presentation Skills
  • Creativity
  • Problem Solving



Thinking Interdisciplinarily

In the early stages of this module students are encouraged to get used to thinking interdisciplinarily and communicating complex ideas to others. From 2023 this will involve the students working in pairs to explore a topic through different disciplinary lenses and then create an infographic poster from their research. 

Prior to 2023 students wrote a popular science article which was published in our in-house magazine Natural Scientist. To read copies of this click the images below:










Natural Sciences

School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham
University Park

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