Triangle Skip to content
Exit nav

Course overview

How can we harness renewable fuels? How do we tackle pollution? How can we minimise climate change? These are some of the 21st century challenges that need a combined approach to find solutions. At Nottingham, you'll learn from scientists who are working together to tackle today’s global problems.

You'll choose a combination of three subjects in your first year and study two subjects to degree level from your second year.  You'll spend your third year abroad, returning to Nottingham to specialise in one subject in your final year. Study at a partner university in Australia, Switzerland or the USA. Gain a fresh perspective on your chosen subjects and experience a different culture.

Choose multiple subject combinations from:

  • archaeology
  • biology
  • cancer sciences
  • chemistry
  • earth science
  • ecosystem and environment
  • maths
  • physics
  • psychology

You'll graduate with practical and technical skills to take a global scientific approach. Our graduates work for Cancer Research, National Nuclear Laboratory and Rolls-Royce.

Why choose this course?

  • Explore different areas of science and see how they are taught overseas
  • Flexibility to study different subjects and tailor your degree to your interests
  • Gain hands-on practical experience in experimental and computational laboratories and the field
  • Peer mentoring programme, exclusively led by our students provides a strong sense of community
  • Learn in a supported environment with dedicated course staff to guide you through your studies
  • Gain in-depth scientific knowledge and skills whilst keeping your career options open

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer A*AA/AAA
Required subjects

Required subjects depend on your preferred stream.

IB score Standard Offer: 38 including 7,6,6, in higher level subjects. Alternative Offer: 36, including 6,6,6 in higher level subjects and an A in the Extended Essay.

Standard Offer: A*AA, subjects required depend on your chosen stream but include a minimum of A in the required subjects for your stream, usually from biology, chemistry, maths, and physics. 

Cambridge Pre-U qualifications can replace A levels in required subjects.

General Studies, Critical Thinking, CIE global perspectives, CIE thinking skills and Citizenship Studies are not accepted.

Foundation Science BScAlternative Offer: AAA plus an A in the EPQ, or A in the Individual Project component of the Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate. 

Applicants receiving an alternative offer as a result of studying a project-based qualification (above), will be given both the Standard and Alternative Offers.

Foundation progression options

If you don't meet our entry requirements there is the option to study the science foundation programme. If you satisfy the progression requirements (65%) then you can progress to any of the streams without maths in natural sciences.

Find out more at: Science Foundation Certificate.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

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

How you will be assessed

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 BSc with International Study degree Year two is worth 33% with Year Four worth 67%.

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

Students 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 PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.

Study abroad

Students who choose to study abroad are more likely to achieve a first-class degree and earn more on average than students who did not (Gone International: Rising Aspirations report 2016/17).

Benefits of studying abroad

  • Explore a new culture
  • Study specialisms not available at Nottingham including marine conservation, desert biology and plasma physics
  • A reduced tuition fee of up to 80% for the time you are abroad
  • Improve your communication skills, confidence and independence

Countries you could go to:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Mexico (teaching is in English)
  • Malaysia
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore (teaching is in English)
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • USA

You must achieve a minimum 65% pass rate to spend time studying abroad. Your year spent abroad does not count towards your final mark.


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.

Streams available

Please note: some streams are new and we are awaiting module information so this will be updated once available.

Subject stream Required subjects
Archaeology-Biology-Chemistry Biology, Chemistry
Archaeology-Biology-Earth Science Biology, Other Science*
Archaeology-Chemistry-Earth Science Chemistry, Other Science*
Biology-Chemistry-Mathematics Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics
Biology-Physics-Mathematics Biology, Mathematics, Physics
Cancer Science-Biology-Psychology Biology, Other Science*
Chemistry-Earth Science-Mathematics Chemistry, Maths
Chemistry-Physics-Mathematics Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
Ecosystem and Environment-Earth Science-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-Mathematics-Psychology Mathematics, Physics
Psychology-Biology-Chemistry Biology, Chemistry
Psychology-Biology-Mathematics Biology, Mathematics

* Other Science includes: Biology, Chemistry, 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.

You'll spend more time doing independent study outside of formal classes. This enables you to put what you are learning into practice through field work and practical laboratory classes.

Typical year two modules

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

You will apply to spend the third year of your degree 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. You will return to complete your final year at Nottingham before graduating with a BSc Natural Sciences with International Study.

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

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. 

On return to Nottingham, you will 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.

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 a joint group project.

Typical year four modules

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

The first two years of the natural sciences degrees are common to all natural sciences degrees. You can change between the BSc and MSci programmes at any time within the first two years of the course, providing you meet any additional progression requirements.

Transfer to the BSc or MSci International Study programme has to be done by November of year-two, providing you meet any additional progression requirements.

Students studying archaeology beyond the first year need to do 10 days of archaeological fieldwork training to gain professional experience. This is usually done over the summer after the first academic year of study. This will normally be met by projects run by the Department of Classics and Archaeology.

Extra curricular activities

  • The Nottingham Internship Scheme provides a range of paid work experience opportunities and internships throughout the year
  • The Nottingham Advantage Award is our free scheme to boost your employability. There are over 200 extracurricular activities to choose from
  • NatSci Soc organise events  throughout the year. You could take part in sports activities, casual social events and the annual boat party. They also arrange an alumni careers event

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

Confirmed July 2020*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

EU tuition fees and funding options for courses starting in 2021/22 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

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.

If your subject stream requires you to work in the laboratory (eg Biology and Chemistry), your tuition fees will cover the cost of a protective lab coat and safety goggles.

Depending on which pathway you choose there are optional field trips which may incur a cost. For those studying a geography stream, the compulsory field trip is included.

Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

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.

International/EU students

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.


Our graduates use their knowledge and broad skill set to work in many areas within and outside of science. They have taken roles within clinical research, the chemical industry, financial economics, and the energy sector.

Graduates have gone on to work for companies including PwC, Cancer Research, National Nuclear Laboratory and Rolls Royce.

An understanding of the ideas and approaches across science and how the disciplines fit together is valuable for research so further study including PhDs and Masters degrees are also an option.

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.

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).

Dummy placeholder image

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18


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.