Many of the big challenges of the 21st century such as climate change, energy, sustainability, security and health require an interdisciplinary approach to find solutions.
At the University of Nottingham we are transforming lives, shaping the future and improving societies across the world. As a natural sciences student you will be taught by scientists across eight schools who are working towards solutions to today’s global problems.
Our natural sciences degrees are multidisciplinary single honours programmes which prepare you to meet this challenge by allowing you to study more than one science for the duration of your course. The flexibility of the programme allows you to study a diverse mix of subjects and specialisms from across science within a structured framework that allows you to reach an advanced level in your chosen subjects.
At a glance:
- Study two or more of the subjects you are currently enjoying, at university-level
- Explore new areas of science alongside those which are more familiar
- Develop your interests in a specific interdisciplinary area such as climate change, nanotechnology, energy, neuroscience, or systems biology
- Unlock your potential with a science degree which allows you to keep your career options open, thanks to a choice of 13 different pathways
- Graduate well prepared for a career where knowledge of more than one science is advantageous
You begin studying a combination of three subjects in your first year from: archaeology; biology; chemistry; ecosystems and environment; earth science; mathematics; physics; psychology. This allows you to find out what each of these subjects is like before you specialise further in your second year, choosing two subject to continue to degree level.
The final year of the MSci provides you with professional skills in research and investigation, preparing you for a career in that field. In addition, you will have developed academic knowledge and a variety of technical and transferable skills which makes you highly desirable in the graduate employment market within the science sector and beyond. A natural sciences degree leaves you well prepared regardless of the career path you choose.
BSc or MSci?
The BSc provides a broad understanding of your chosen area of science alongside the skills and knowledge needed for a wide variety of careers. The MSci develops this even further allowing you to undertake a research project in a professional scientific environment and gain the skills required for a career in research, such as a PhD.
If you choose to study an MSci, your student loan will cover tuition fees and living costs for the additional year too (home/EU students only).
You can transfer between the three-year BSc Natural Sciences and the four-year MSci, up to the end of your second year, subject to the MSci progression requirements of 55% being achieved in the second year at the first attempt.
Year in computer science
You can combine this degree with an extra year spent in the University’s School of Computer Science. This is designed to provide you with training in software development and computing skills relevant to your final-year research project and to your future career. You will be able to transfer into this programme from your MSci course (subject to progression criteria).
Standard Offer: A*AA, subjects required depend on your preferred pathway but include a minimum of A in the required subjects for your pathway, usually from biology, chemistry, maths, and physics (see Year One for a full list of required subjects).
Alternative Offer: AAA plus an A in the EPQ, A in the Individual Project component of the Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate or M1 in the Independent Research Report of the Cambridge Pre-U Global Perspectives and Research.
Applicants receiving an alternative offer as a result of studying a project-based qualification (above), will be given both the Standard and Alternative Offers.
Cambridge Pre-U qualifications can replace A levels in required subjects
International Baccalaureate: Standard Offer 38 including 7,6,6, in higher level subjects, required subjects depend on your preferred pathway. Alternative Offer: 36, including 6,6,6 in higher level subjects and an A in the Extended Essay, required subjects depend on preferred pathway.
General Studies, critical thinking, CIE global perspectives & research, CIE thinking skills and citizenship studies are not accepted.
Teaching methods and assessment
How you will learn will depend on the subject you are studying. Typically you can expect:
- problem classes
- laboratory sessions
- field trips (primarily biological sciences and geography)
Assessment will again be determined by the module you are studying. Typically you will have:
- written exams
- laboratory reports
- oral exams
- research project
Natural Sciences is available as both a BSc and an MSci with international study where students spend their third year at one of our international partners. Students can transfer onto the programmes with International Study up to November of their second year.
Year in industry
Natural sciences students have the option to transfer during their degree to a natural sciences with placement year programme.
A placement provides a unique opportunity to put theory into practice, gain practical experience and build further skills and competencies that will put you a step ahead on the graduate career ladder. Students looking for placements are provided with support through the Careers and Employability Service and a few specialist teams in specific subject areas.
While out on placement each student will be appointed a Placement Tutor who will stay in touch throughout the placement to make sure that everything is going well. Once you have transferred the name of your degree programme will change to include the statement ‘with placement year’, for example, MSci Natural Sciences with placement year. It will then become a five-year course.
Students choose a pathway from 13 possible pathways (listed below) in early September following confirmation of their place. This choice is flexible and students are able to change pathway any time up to the end of the first week of study providing they meet the requirements for the pathway.
|Archaeology - Biological Sciences - Chemistry
|Biological Sciences - Chemistry - Mathematics
||Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics
|Biological Sciences - Physics - Mathematics
||Biology, Mathematics, Physics
|Chemistry - Physics - Mathematics
||Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
|Environmental Science - Chemistry - Geography
||Chemistry, Other Science*
|Environmental Science - Biological Sciences - Chemistry
|Geography - Biological Sciences - Chemistry
|Geography - Biological Sciences - Mathematics
|Physics - Geography - Mathematics
|Physics - Mathematics - Psychology
|Psychology - Biological Sciences - Chemistry
|Psychology - Biological Sciences - Mathematics
|Mathematics - Chemistry - Psychology
Other Science includes: Biology, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics and Physics
The majority of modules are compulsory but there are limited optional choices in a few subjects. For typical modules on each pathway click the pathway 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 than the first year. Some subjects allow further specialisation within the subject through optional modules and subpathways allowing you to tailor your programme to your interests.
There is a greater emphasis on independent study outside of formal classes and more opportunities to put what you are learning into practice through field work and practical laboratory classes.
For details of specific modules by pathway, please visit the natural sciences website.
You continue studying your two chosen subjects at a more advanced level. You have even more flexibility through optional modules and subpathways to explore your own interests and focus on specialist areas within each subject.
Much of the teaching is delivered by lectures but there are also project-style laboratory classes and field work as well as small group classes like seminars, workshops and tutorials.
Emphasis will be put on self-reliance and proactively putting what you have learned in previous years into practice. Alongside subject-specific study, 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 an interdisciplinary group project.
For details of specific modules by pathway, please visit the natural sciences website.
You spend half your time working on an independent research project aiming 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 master’s year, please visit the natural sciences website.
Notes for applicants
The first two years of the Natural Sciences degrees are common to all Natural Sciences degrees and students are able to change between BSc and MSci programmes.
Transfer to the International Study programme has to take place by November of year-two, providing any additional progression requirements are also met.
On completion of your course you will have gained a multidisciplinary degree which will prepare you for further study or work in many exciting interdisciplinary areas of modern science, such as nanotechnology, systems biology, sustainable energy technology, environmental science or chemical physics.
You will have acquired professional, analytical and communication skills, as well as an understanding of scientific investigations, which will allow you to be confident about working in a variety of scientific fields.
You will also have developed valuable transferable skills in information technology, time management, critical thinking, organisation and team working.
Average starting salary and career progression
These are the average starting salaries* for full-time graduates of the schools which contribute to natural sciences:
- School of Biosciences – £22,000
- School of Chemistry – £23,500
- School of Geography – £22,000
- School of Life Sciences – £20,000
- School of Mathematical Sciences – £24,500
- School of Physics and Astronomy – £25,000
- School of Psychology – £17,775
* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.
Careers support and advice
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 2013-2019, High Fliers Research).
Fees and funding
As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies.
Depending on which pathway they choose there are optional field trips which may incur a cost.
Scholarships and bursaries
Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.
* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.
Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.