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BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences: pathway

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This degree is made up of 360 credits.

What you will study

There are two ways to start a qualification. You can begin your studies at Stage 1, or, if you haven’t studied for a long time, you can get started by studying an Access module as an additional preparatory stage of your chosen qualification. We know from experience that students who have completed an Access module do better in their subsequent modules, so it could be the vital first step you take to help you succeed in your future studies.

To find out the recommended Access module for this pathway, choose your country in the Fees section below.

Stage 1

You’ll begin your studies with the compulsory 60-credit introductory module Exploring science (S104)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S104,,1. You’ll develop your study skills while engaging with a broad and absorbing introduction to a range of science subject areas including:

  • biology and health sciences
  • chemistry and analytical science
  • Earth and environmental sciences
  • physics
  • astronomy and planetary science.

Using a blend of text and online study materials, this wide-ranging module investigates the major scientific issues affecting contemporary society. You’ll explore the fundamentals of modern science, and develop important scientific concepts and skills to give you a solid basis for higher level study.

You’ll be introduced to practical science through the compulsory 30-credit module Investigative and mathematical skills in science (S141)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S141,,1

You’ll also choose one of four 30-credit modules according to your particular scientific interest:

  • Introducing health sciences: a case study approach (SDK125)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,SDK125,,1
  • Topics in science (S142)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S142,,1
  • Topics in health sciences (SK143)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,SK143,,1
  • Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,MST124,,1.

Alternatively, you could choose 30 credits from a non-science module if you prefer.

Stage 2

You’ll start Stage 2 with the 60-credit module Environmental science (S216)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S216,,1 which focuses on global warming, water resources, pollution and conservation. Investigating the whole of our environment – Earth, air, water and life – you’ll cover topics such as landforms, habitats, flora, fauna, the chemical and physical weathering of rocks, and extreme weather. Multimedia interactive virtual field trips will help you observe habitats and gather data.

Next, you can choose to study one of three 30-credit options. Geology (S276)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S276,,1 includes the identification of minerals and rocks; geological mapping; igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary processes; and fossils – or set your studies in broader scientific topics such as: BSE/vCJD; near-Earth objects and the impact hazard; climate change; genetic manipulation; and nanotechnology which are all covered in the module Science in context (S250)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S250,,1. Or you can investigate how analytical science contributes to improving the quality of our lives, in Analytical science: health, heritage and environments (S240)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S240,,1.

Your final study at Stage 2 will develop the practical science skills to complement these modules, with either Practical science: Earth and environment (SXG288)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,SXG288,,1 or Practical environmental science (SXE288)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,SXE288,,1

Stage 3

Stage 3 begins with core environmental sciences study. You’ll explore the interactions between organisms and their environment that together form an ecosystem – from simple microbial communities to entire rainforests, and even the Earth itself in Ecosystems (S396)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S396,,1 (30 credits). Next you can choose either two 30-credit modules – The geological record of environmental change (S369)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S369,,1 and Oceanography (S330)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,S330,,1 – or the 60-credit module The environmental web (U316)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,U316,,1.

You’ll finish your degree with Science project course: environmental science practical project (SXE390)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-5,module,SXE390,,1 where you’ll undertake an independent practical investigation, collecting and analysing data on a topic such as:

  • climate effects on phenology
  • tidal cycle/weather interactions and impact on seashore organisms; effects of pollution on abundance of freshwater organisms
  • tadpole growth and behaviour under different environmental conditions
  • environmental control of plant growth and water use.

Modules quoted in qualification descriptions are those that are currently available for study. As the structure of our qualifications is reviewed on a regular basis, the University is unable to guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available in future years.

How long it takes

Typically it takes six years part-time study to complete this qualification, but you can take anything from three (full-time study equivalent) to 16 years. You can choose to vary the pace at which you study, although we recommend that you aim to study 60 credits a year as the Science curriculum is designed to be studied part-time. Some modules are best studied sequentially rather than simultaneously – particularly as you develop your study skills at Stages 1 and 2.


Where will you be resident whilst you study?

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