Natural Sciences. It has “natural” in the name so it absolutely must mean Biology. Perhaps it’s the study of animals, or maybe it involves the Earth, but of course there is no doubt that it must be Biology. This seems to be a common misconception held by pretty much everyone who hasn’t heard about this degree – myself included when my Chemistry teacher first suggested it. But since I’m now a Natural Scientist specialising in Astrophysics, I’ve definitely changed my mind.
So if it’s not Biology, then what is Natural Sciences exactly? Natural Sciences is a degree that allows you to take a broad range of scientific disciplines in your first couple of years and then gradually specialise. So in actual fact, it could include Biology; the misunderstanding is that Natural Sciences only covers Biology. It all depends on the modules you choose as to which subjects you study. You may even be able to choose modules in subjects which aren’t scientific, a language or a humanities subject for example.
Each University differs slightly in their course structure, but the main advantage of this degree is that you have a chance to try a few subjects and check if you are making the right choice for you. Which for £9,000 a year, you want to be. It also means that your education can become quite individual and can cater to your specific needs. For instance, if like me, you’ve always had an irrational fear of electromagnetism in Physics, you’ll probably be able to avoid this entirely. Finally, studying a wide range of topics provides you with the opportunity to develop the variety of valuable skills desired by employers. In terms of a career, Natural Sciences can take you pretty much anywhere. The options aren’t just limited to teaching or researching – another mistaken belief. You could of course end up working in a lab, but you could also become a lawyer, an accountant, an investment banker . . .
Is Natural Sciences the right course for you?
First of all, it’s worth noting that the grades for this course are high as the content and workload can be quite demanding. You’re very unlikely to be accepted to any University without at least one A*. It’s well worth the work to get the A level grades though, especially if you can’t choose which subjects to drop for University. If you’re completely undecided between Maths and Physics, or Chemistry and Biology, or any other combination of sciences, then Natural Sciences is probably the degree for you. And if you’re struggling to pick between Cambridge and Oxford, then choosing Natural Sciences will immediately solve your problem.
In one sentence: Natural Sciences is the perfect course for the ambitious and the indecisive.