University undergraduate students studying in George Green library

Natural Sciences with International Study MSci

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

Explaining Natural Sciences

Natural sciences allows you to study a combination of science subjects getting to experience these at university before specialising later in the degree. You'll choose a combination of three subjects (called a stream) in your first year and study two subjects to degree level from your second year onwards.  


Year one Year two Year abroad Year four Year five

The time in your first year is split equally studying three subjects.

You will choose a subject stream (listed below) in early September following confirmation of your place. This choice is flexible and you can change stream any time up to the end of the first week of study providing you meet stream requirements.

Subject streams Required A level subjects
Archaeology-Biology-Chemistry Biology, chemistry
Archaeology-Biology-Earth Science Biology, other science*
Archaeology-Earth Science-Chemistry Chemistry, other science*
Biology-Archaeology-Ecosystems and Environment Biology, other science*
Biology-Chemistry-Mathematics Biology, chemistry, mathematics
Biology-Physics-Mathematics Biology, mathematics, physics
Cancer Sciences-Biology-Chemistry Biology, chemistry
Cancer Sciences-Biology-Psychology Biology, other science*
Chemistry-Archaeology-Ecosystems and Environment Chemistry, other science*
Chemistry-Earth Science-Mathematics Chemistry, mathematics
Chemistry-Physics-Mathematics Chemistry, mathematics, physics
Ecosystems and Environment-Earth Science-Archaeology Any two sciences from list below
Earth Science-Ecosystem and Environment-Biology Biology, other science*
Ecosystem and Environment-Earth Science-Chemistry Chemistry, other science*
Ecosystem and Environment-Biology-Chemistry Biology, chemistry
Earth Science-Biology-Chemistry Biology, chemistry
Earth Science-Biology-Mathematics Biology, mathematics
Mathematics-Psychology-Chemistry Chemistry, mathematics
Physics-Earth Science-Mathematics Mathematics, physics
Physics-Psychology-Mathematics Mathematics, physics
Psychology-Biology-Chemistry Biology, chemistry
Psychology-Biology-Mathematics Biology, mathematics

* Other science includes biology, chemistry, environmental studies/science, geography, geology, mathematics, physics and psychology.

The majority of modules are compulsory but there are limited optional choices in a few subjects. For typical modules on each stream, click the stream titles above.

Alongside your academic study, you take workshops towards the Academic and Transferable Skills Portfolio to help you to transition to university life and develop the skills you need to be successful in your studies and beyond.

You choose two of your first-year subjects and continue studying them in greater depth. Some subjects allow further specialisation within the subject through optional modules and specialisms allowing you to tailor your programme to your interests.

You'll spend more time developing practical skills in this year. This enables you to put what you are learning into practice through field work and practical laboratory classes.

You will apply to potential host universities for entry into year three. The university will support you in this.

Typical year two modules

For typical year two modules, please visit the natural sciences website.

You will spend the year overseas at one of our partner institutions. This will be an additional year of study which allows you to gain a different perspective of your studies while experiencing life and studying in another country.

You are able to explore specialisms in your chosen subjects which are not available at Nottingham to gain a broader understanding which will complement your studies when you return.

The number of modules you study during your year abroad will depend on the institution you will be studying at. You will agree a programme of study with the Director of Natural Sciences prior to going abroad. 

Placements are organised through the competitive university-wide programme which includes partners in Canada, USA, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and Hong Kong.

You will return to complete your fourth and fifth year at Nottingham before graduating with an MSci Natural Sciences with International Study.

On return to Nottingham, you continue studying your two chosen subjects at a more advanced level. You have even more flexibility through optional modules to explore your own interests and focus on specialist areas within each subject and can opt to do a major/minor split to study more of your preferred subject.

Emphasis will be put on self-reliance and proactively putting what you have learned in previous years into practice. Alongside subject content, you will undertake the 20 credit synoptic project which provides a broader view of science and its communication and ties together the different subjects through a collaborative group project.

For typical year four modules, please visit the natural sciences website

You'll spend half your time working on an independent research project to develop the skills needed to pursue a career in research. The project is an opportunity to consolidate learning from previous years and to apply that knowledge in a world-class research environment with the support of university staff.

Alongside your project you take taught modules which complement your research project, develop your professional research skills and allow you to explore subjects in more depth. There is flexibility for the project and/or the taught modules to focus on a single subject or to be more interdisciplinary in nature.

For more detailed module information about the masters year, please visit the natural sciences website.

Course transfers

You can transfer to any of the following:

  • BSc or MSci programmes
  • placement year programmes
  • year in Computer Science programmes

at any time within the first two years of the course, providing you meet any additional requirements for those programmes.

You will broaden and deepen your knowledge of scientific ideas and techniques using a wide variety of different methods of study. The majority of teaching is face-to-face. 

Teaching methods

  • Computer labs
  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Problem classes
  • Independent study
  • Field trips

Marking criteria are available from each of the individual subjects and how different types of work are assessed is discussed in skills workshops. Your work will be marked in a timely manner and you will receive regular feedback. The pass mark for each module is 40%.

Your final degree classification will be based on marks gained for your second and subsequent years of study. For the MSci with International Study degree, year two is worth 20% with years four and five worth 40% each.

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Group project
  • Written exam
  • Research project
  • Practical write-ups
  • Lab reports
  • Poster presentation

You'll study 120 credits a year, typically through 10, 20 or 40 credit modules. One credit equates to approximately 10 hours of work split between formal contact time, self-study, revision and assessment. The number of formal contact hours varies depending on the subjects you are studying but you will typically spend between 18 and 23 hours in your first year in the following classes:

  • 10 to 12 hours per week of lectures
  • 2 hours per week of skills workshops
  • 3 hours per week in problem classes or workshops (subject dependent)
  • 4-8 hours per week in laboratory classes/field work (subject dependent)
  • 1-2 hours per week in tutorials (subject dependent)

There are additional study group sessions which are optional but provide some structure to learning outside of formal classes and the remainder of your time is spent on independent study.

Lectures vary in size from 30 to 400 students in the first year but tend to reduce in size in later years as students specialise more. Practical classes are between 20 and 50 students and may be done in pairs.

Teaching is provided by academic staff within the relevant School with additional support in small group and practical classes from staff, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.

Our graduates have gone on to work as:

  • Lab Scientist at Lighthouse Lab Services
  • Commercial Oncology Graduate at Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Bioinformatician at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
  • DevOps/Platform Engineer at Metaswitch Networks

Read our alumni profiles for the sort of jobs our graduates go on to do.

Approximately a third pursue careers in the science sector. Taking up roles in chemical, medical or physical labs, in offices and in the field working as analysts, scientists or engineers. About a third of graduates apply their skills to another sector working at some of the top graduate employers in the country in finance, management, sales, logistics and the civil service.

Further study

The remainder go on to further study doing a masters or PhD in a science specialism they wish to focus on. An understanding of the ideas and approaches across science and how the disciplines fit together is a strong background for further study.

Average starting salary and career progression

86.40% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Science secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £27,834.

HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017-2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.


Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Autumn on University Park

Course data

Open Day June 2022