This page is to help guide you to the key things that you need to do to prepare for starting your natural sciences degree.

There are a few things to do for your course before you arrive. These will help us organise your timetable and allocate you to personal tutors and peer mentors. We also run some pre-arrival chats, meetings and workshops to help you to get to know each other and make sure you know what to expect when you arrive. 

Please note: the workshops cannot be accessed until you have set up your IT account and this has been transferred across to Moodle (48hrs after IT account set-up).

Maths transition course 

We recommend students planning to study maths have a look at this free online maths transition course before they arrive to help to consolidate their learning and provide a refresher for those of you who have been out of learning for a little while: 

Pre-arrival workshops 

Please note: the workshops below cannot be accessed until you have setup you IT account which you will be invited to do 3-weeks before the start of term, 48 hours after setup your details transfer across to Moodle and you are able to access the workshops. If you complete online registration and activate your IT account as soon as you are able to then you will be able to access the page by the time the first workshop opens on the 6 September - the workshops are open for a few weeks so you have plenty of time to access them.    

Preparing for university - week beginning 6 September 

This workshop can be done in your own time during the week. It aims to:   

  • get you thinking about the key things which you can do to adapt to your new life in Nottingham 

  • introduce information about your relationship with the university and expectations of you as a student   

  • give you the opportunity to get to know some of the other students who will be starting Natural Sciences this year 

  • View the moodle workshop here

Introduction to Digital Learning Systems – week beginning 13 September 

This workshop can be done in your own time during the week. It aims to: 

  • introduce the main platforms you will be using in your studies. 

  • show you how to access these and use them effectively. 

  • give you a chance to try them out for yourself. 

  • prepare you for using the systems when you arrive.

  •  View the moodle workshop here 

Information about books, equipment and other costs

Reading list

You don't have to buy or read course textbooks before you start your course. You may wish to sample textbooks from the library before deciding which ones are right for you. We strongly advise students to wait until they arrive before deciding whether they want to purchase textbooks. All textbooks are available from the library and many can be accessed online. The reading list for the key texts by subject is below. Please note that some texts are module specific, so it depends on the specialisms or modules studied.

View the full reading list here >

Lab Coats and Safety Specs  

Students on pathways which involve laboratory classes will be provided with a laboratory coat and safety glasses during your first few weeks at the university of Nottingham free of charge. You should not bring your own.  

Molecular Models  

Students on pathways involving chemistry may find it useful to purchase a set of molecular models, these are not compulsory but some students may find these helpful to visualise the structure of models – more information about the molecular module kit can be found here >


Students on pathways involving maths, physics, chemistry and biology are expected to have a simple scientific calculator (which may be programmable) with logarithmic and trigonometric functions. The calculator which you have used at school is usually sufficient. Please ensure it is a silent, self-contained calculator with single or dual-line display.  

Computer equipment 

While mobile devices can be useful for watching content on the move you will need access to a laptop or desktop computer to complete your studies. Computers are available on-campus in computer rooms, but in the current situation it is difficult to guarantee these will be available when you need them.  Students who do not currently have a laptop or desktop which they are bringing with them may wish to consider purchasing one. 




You use a variety of software packages during your studies, which are made available via the university-networked computers on campus. Software can be accessed remotely through the virtual desktop to use off-campus without the need to purchase it. All students will get access to Office 365 for the duration of their time at Nottingham.  

Field trips  

Students studying ecosystem & environment, or earth science will be expected to contribute towards the cost of field trips both within the UK and overseas. These trips are attached to optional modules in the second and third year and the costs will be published in advance of students deciding whether to take the module.   

Student on streams involving archaeology will be required to undertake fieldwork between the first and second year of study to support their learning in the second year and are supported to find suitable projects if they intend to continue studying archaeology in Y2. Many excavations are free but may require travel expenses/living costs, students are able to apply for support to help with some of these costs from the department. 

Overseas study  

If you are on a programme with international study, you will likely incur additional costs related to this, including travel, insurance, visa costs and vaccinations, if applicable. Students on study abroad pay reduced fees to help you to offset this. There are additional sources of funding available to help with costs.    


If you choose to undertake a placement year or summer placement, you may find there are additional costs associated with this, including travel and accommodation costs. These are usually offset by the salary or stipend available for the placement where available.

Any questions?

If you have any questions, please contact us below





Faculty of Science

Natural Sciences

Email Us