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BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences specialising in Nanoscience

Dive beneath the surface of physical reality and manipulate objects on the nanoscale

Year of entry: 2022/23

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time

Typical offer

A*AA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2022(term dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£24,000 per year

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for 'overall satisfaction' for Natural Sciences

out of UK universities included in the 2021 National Student Survey

Fathom the dynamics of the very small and learn how arranging atoms in specific ways can lead to new materials with remarkable functions.

This Natural Sciences course draws together the resources of four central scientific disciplines – chemistry, electronics, physics and mathematics – to delve deep into the hidden world of atoms and molecules. This is a world measured to the nanometer, where a human hair is about 100,000 nanometres thick.

You will develop laboratory skills in our clean room and your final year project could be conducted in and supervised by the York-JEOL Nanocentre. This purpose-built research centre is equipped with some of the world’s most sensitive and sophisticated microscopes and enables researchers to see what is happening at the atomic level.

All our Natural Sciences BSc degrees have the same course code for your UCAS application. To select the Natural Sciences specialising in Nanoscience pathway, enter the subject option code "Nano".

Interdisciplinary programmes

Natural Sciences offers a range of well-structured pathways built upon the natural synergies that exist across scientific disciplines.

Natural Sciences Hour

Our weekly Natural Sciences Hour brings students together to hear from researchers and employers and to build transferable skills.

Research facilities

Study in world-leading research institutes and hi-tech learning spaces dedicated to interdisciplinary science.

University of the Year shortlisted

We're proud to announce that we've been shortlisted for two prestigious University of the Year awards.

  • Times Higher Education Awards 2021
  • The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Find out more about our nominations

Course content

By studying Natural Sciences specialising in Nanoscience you'll develop a foundation in the key disciplines that underpin nanoscience. You'll apply the skills and tools from across these disciplines to your study of the very small. You'll study modules totalling 360 credits covering core and advanced topics, such as:

  • the fundamentals of nanoscience
  • quantum and classical mechanics
  • statistical physics
  • electromagnetism
  • thermodynamics
  • wave phenomena
  • the properties of matter and condensed matter physics
  • mathematics
  • magnetic materials

You'll build skills in physical, computational and mathematical methods and apply these to the description, modelling and prediction of physical phenomena. You'll apply your knowledge to both the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject and critically assess experimental and theoretical evidence. You'll also learn how to tackle open-ended problems using a variety of nanoscience techniques.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

Year 1 provides introductory course material in Chemistry, Electronic Engineering, Mathematics and Physics to prepare you for more advanced study.

Core modules

You will take core modules which may include:

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 3

In your third year you will build on the skills you’ve developed throughout your course, working on an interdisciplinary project and taking further core modules.

Core modules

You will take core modules which may include:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Formulate, as well as tackle, open-ended problems in nanoscience and be able to call upon a variety of interdisciplinary techniques and methodologies relating any conclusions to current theories in the discipline
  • Develop student competencies in debating, defending and contextualising information from key literature sources taken from across the physical and life sciences 
  • Discuss and communicate findings that emphasise the empirical nature of nanoscience and be able to apply their expertise to both the theoretical and practical aspects of the area based on rigorous critical assessment of any available evidence
  • Plan, execute and report on the results of experiments, projects and investigations across the nanoscience discipline, including the use of appropriate data analytical methods
  • Present nanoscience principles to other scientists clearly and concisely in an appropriate written or oral format, demonstrating a breadth of knowledge from across disciplines of the fundamentals of nanoscience
  • Work effectively (including taking the lead within their own project), in a cross-disciplinary environment, drawing upon concepts from chemistry, physics and electronics
  • Use experimental design measurement and/or analysis methods to evaluate a nanoscience model or theory using objective criticism to appraise the accuracy, correctness and limitations of the approach
"The whole Natural Sciences feel is unbelievably communal, relaxed and happy. The support and interest of the staff in Natural Sciences, and across the University, makes you feel part of something exciting and progressive. In Nanoscience we are really looking to the future – we’re getting a broad education which teaches us flexible and interdisciplinary working."
Megan, Nanoscience (Year 3)

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2022/23 entry. If you take a placement year - for example a year abroad or a year in industry - you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £24,000

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home): further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international and EU students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at two per cent each year.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

Text books and course books are all available in the library or online. We do recommend books you might find useful, but it is not compulsory for you to buy them.​ ​Your first year textbooks for Chemistry and Physics will be provided to you at no additional cost and Chemistry will provide you with a lab coat.

Type Amount
Textbooks Included in course fees £0
Specialist clothing, uniforms, lab coats, laundry... Included in course fees £0


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2022/23 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

The interdisciplinary nature of the Natural Sciences course means that you will experience a wide variety of approaches to teaching, from formal lectures and practical experiments in the lab through to small group tutorials and close, supportive mentoring, as well as Virtual Learning Environments. This programme has a strong element of experimental and practical studies.

You'll receive lectures from leading figures in the field. These are supported by smaller group tutorials and seminars where you will be encouraged to debate and discuss the lecture material, drawing out important principles, highlighting connections between ideas and applying methods to example problems.

Natural Sciences teaching groups

You will share lectures and seminars with students from other departments, but your tutorials and some smaller seminar groups will be with other Natural Sciences students only, and these will help you understand the material in an interdisciplinary context.

Hands on experimental experience

For the natural scientist, conducting rigorous experiments and understanding the experimental method is not just a useful skill but underpins the very nature of scientific inquiry and discovery.

Experimental work may be done in groups or pairs, or sometimes individually, but always with the support of experienced mentors. Sometimes laboratory work will be interwoven with lectures and tutorials, sometimes it may be a stand-alone module. The importance of experimentation to the learning process is recognised by the fact that Projects form the pinnacle of every natural scientist’s time at York: every Natural Sciences programme includes a major project during the final year.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures12-13 hours per week
Seminars0-3 hours per week
Tutorials1-2 hours per week
Problem classes0-1 hours per week
Workshops0-1 hours per week
Practicals0-6 hours per week

These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Natural Sciences Learning Studio on Campus West, but your teaching will be spread across our departments and locations will vary. Teaching locations for this course include: Alcuin, Derwent, James, Vanbrugh and Wentworth College; the Departments of Biology and Chemistry; the Physics and Electronic Engineering building; and the Spring Lane building.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

A variety of assessment techniques will be used for different elements of the course and at different times during your degree. These include:

  • examinations
  • course assignments and weekly problems
  • laboratory assessment
  • presentations
  • project reports

All final-year students are required to attend for a short oral examination, known as a viva, in which they will talk about their project to a panel of examiners.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams87%84%48%
Practical exams3%3%3%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Students conduction nanofabrication.
Students doing group work in the Natural Sciences Learning Studio.
"The Nanoscience course at York is really unique, allowing you to study both modules that are universal to core science degrees and modules specific to Nanoscience. We are taught by lectures who are doing research in nanotechnology and we have the opportunity to learn about the most recent advances in the field."
Clare, Nanoscience (Year 2)

Careers and skills

A Natural Sciences degree is a versatile course that will provide you with the skills and experience to succeed in a wide range of careers. With the Natural Sciences specialising in Nanoscience course, you will be equipped to:

  • formulate problems in nanoscience and use special and limiting cases
  • use order of magnitude estimates in problem solving
  • plan, execute and report the results of an experiment or project, using appropriate methods to analyse data and evaluate its uncertainty
  • critically compare the results or experiments with those of model calculations
  • relate conclusions to theories of the nanoscience
  • use mathematics to describe the nanoscience world, including an understanding of mathematical modelling and of the role of approximations
  • present complex nanoscience principles in a clear and precise manner.


Career opportunities

  • Electronics/semiconductor industry
  • Materials science including textiles, polymers and packaging
  • Automotive and aerospace industries
  • Sporting goods
  • Biotechnology
  • Medical fields and pharmaceuticals
  • Environmental monitoring and control
  • Food science including quality control and packaging
  • Forensics
  • University and NHS research
  • Defence and national security
  • Energy capture and storage

Transferable skills

  • Evaluation of complex or incomplete data
  • Fact-based decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time-management

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

A*AA in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics

International Baccalaureate 37 points, including grade 6 in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics at Higher Level
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Next Step York, Realising Opportunities. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve A or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B2 Communicator High Pass with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Applications from mature students are welcomed.

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