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BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences specialising in Biology, Chemistry or Physics

Develop a broad scientific grounding and specialise to explore your chosen field in depth

Year of entry: 2019

UCAS code

CFG0

Institution code

Y50

Length

3 years full-time

Typical offer

A*AA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2019/20)

International fees

£21,330 per year (2019/20)

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This versatile degree explores the intersections between the three core laboratory sciences of biology, chemistry and physics, providing a solid interdisciplinary foundation before you choose one field as your specialism.

Studying Natural Sciences will give you a more complete overview of these closely-related disciplines than a single subject course. You'll gain practical laboratory experience and build your intellectual independence, enabling you to investigate your specialism with an appreciation for its connections to wider scientific questions.

With the option to specialise in Biology, Chemistry or Physics, you'll be able to develop an area of expertise and combine focused enquiry with a breadth of understanding that is valued by employers.

All our Natural Sciences BSc degrees have the same course code for your UCAS application. To select the Natural Sciences specialising in Biology, Chemistry or Physics pathway, select the subject option code "Bio-Ch-Phy". We will ask you to confirm your pathway if you are invited to interview.

"The biology, chemistry and physics pathway gives a fascinating insight into the links between the three subjects, showcasing how each individual science builds on theory and techniques from the other two. The course covers a great breadth of knowledge, in particular it’s been fantastic using the labs in each department, gaining hands on experience with all sorts of equipment and gadgetry."
Alex, Natural Sciences specialising in Biology, Chemistry or Physics (Year 3)

Course content

Enroll now and choose later: Natural Science specialisation courses are designed to give you a greater breadth of knowledge at the start of your degree and a greater depth of knowledge at the end. You'll study all three subjects in your first year, choose two to take on to your second year, and then specialise in a single subject in your third year. You'll take a total of 360 credits over the duration of your course.

Year in Industry and Year Abroad

You'll have the opportunity to take a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad if you specialise in Biology or Physics, and students taking any specialisation will be able to apply to the University's Placement Year. If you choose to take the MSci version of this course you can take the Year in Industry with any of the specialisms and a Year Abroad with Biology or Chemistry.

A work placement or year abroad can enable you to develop valuable skills that increase your employability. Studying abroad is a great way to increase your confidence and cultural awareness.

Study abroad

In addition to the potential Year Abroad there is also a variety of opportunites to enrich your academic experience by studying abroad through our Centre for Global Programmes.

Year 1

The first year will give you a broad understanding across all four subjects. You will take the following modules, totalling 120 credits:

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

In your second year, you will focus on two subjects, one of which you will take forward to your third year as your specialisation. You will take modules from each totalling 120 credits.

Biology and Chemistry

You will take the following core modules:

Biology and Physics

You will take the following core modules:

Chemistry and Physics

You will take the following core modules:

Year 3

In your third year, you will focus on a single subject, choosing one of the disciplines from your second year pathway as your specialisation.

Biology

You will complete one 40 credit Research Project and one 20 credit Research Skills module.

You will then choose six 10 credit option modules. Options include: 

Chemistry

You will complete a 30 credit Research Project and the following core modules:

You will choose three option modules, one from each set listed below:

Choose one module from:

One module from:

And one module from:

Physics

You will complete the BSc Project Incorporating Professional Skills (40 credits) and Statistical Mechanics (10 credits) as core modules.

You will also choose modules totalling 70 credits from the following:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

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:

Biology specialism

  • Provide thorough explanations that demonstrate a deep understanding of the principles, concepts and theories on the origin, evolution, structure, function, development, and distribution of living organisms, through critical evaluations of the primary scientific literature in Biology
  • Formulate hypotheses, design and execute experiments for the collection, analysis and modelling of biological data, that tests biological systems and produce figures, graphs and tables that are explained in comprehensive laboratory report
  • Thoroughly evaluate experimental, analytical and quantitative techniques and methodologies, and first-hand practical experience and training in laboratories or the field, to demonstrate an awareness and appreciation of the application of these approaches in tackling the major global challenges in Biology of the 21st century
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your work systematically, as an individual, in teams and in collaborative groups, by applying logical reasoning and lateral thinking to solve biological problems, and develop and deploy safe, ethical, sustainable and socially responsible solutions that would benefit humankind 
  • Communicate and interpret complex information with clarity and precision through critical reviews in written, oral and other explanations, questioning dogma and demonstrating impact at the forefront of Biology in real-world and global issues to expert, professional, business, industrial and lay audiences
  • Demonstrating independence, originality, and a deep understanding of cutting-edge practice and technology in Biology, apply numerical, quantitative, and computer-based transferable skills to a range of working environments including laboratories, fieldwork, education, industry, business, health services, policy, government, and media
  • Exploit the synergies between biological science and other science-based disciplines by using the principles themes, concepts and methodologies of Biology as appropriate to a Natural Scientist

Chemistry specialism

  • Demonstrate learning and problem solving skills through the acquisition and application of a broad range of fundamental chemical principles and knowledge as appropriate to the interdisciplinary ethos of a Natural Scientist
  • Apply fundamental chemical principles and knowledge, as appropriate to the interdisciplinary ethos of a Natural Scientist, to the in-depth study of chemical science specialisms and the solution of problems therein
  • Design and safely conduct experiments. Accurately document and record experiments including analysis of physical measurements, of both a quantitative and qualitative nature
  • Interpret experimental data by using mathematical skills, discipline based knowledge, information technology and scientific conventions
  • Effectively articulate scientific principles, experimental results and research findings in a way that is accessible to a variety of audiences through written, oral and other formats
  • Independently, or as part of a group, plan, design and conduct an open-ended investigative research project to consolidate and extend knowledge and understanding of science with particular emphasis on chemistry
  • Demonstrate employability skills such as teamworking, commercial awareness, self-management and creativity and be equipped to work in a professional manner in their future careers in a range of areas
  • Use chemistry principles, themes, concepts and methodologies as appropriate to a Natural Scientist with a view to exploit the synergies between chemistry and other science based disciplines underpinned by experience and exposure to different scientific disciplines

Physics specialism

  • Assess and evaluate problems in science, providing solutions through the application of physics, mathematics and/or computational knowledge and techniques
  • Construct and execute a scientific investigation, using the principles of physics in investigating a hypothesis, and interpret outcomes
  • Interact and collaborate effectively within groups applying physics themes and concepts, as appropriate for the interdisciplinary nature of a Natural Science degree, to open-ended problems
  • Communicate the integration and inter-relation of physics from the perspective of a Natural Scientist with interdisciplinary awareness, present sophisticated concepts and defend outcomes of physical studies succinctly in both written and oral formats to audiences in a logical way
  • Use of appropriate digital technologies in data handling and understand the wider applications of these techniques in quantitative science
  • Use physics principles, themes, concepts and methodologies as appropriate to a Natural Scientist with an understanding of the possibilities that exist to exploit the synergies between physics and other science based disciplines as underpinned by experience and exposure to different scientific disciplines

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.

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2019 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year.

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £21,330

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 textbook will be provided to you at no additional cost and Chemistry will provide you with a lab coat.

There may be additional costs relating to going abroad or into industry, depending on what sort of placement it is. These opportunities are run through​ either​ ​​the Department in which you are studying (ie Biology or Physics) or they may be run by the Centre for Global Programmes. Please check with them to see what sort of assistance is available.​

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: 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 students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

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.

Funding

We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

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.

"I got a chance to be taught and participate in teaching sessions across three different departments. Besides academic excellence, I found social endorsement from quantitatively small groups, qualitatively outstanding course and family-like staff.."
Igor, Natural Sciences specialising in Biology, Chemistry or Physics (Year 2)
Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

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 course has a strong element of experiment-based studies.

You'll receive lectures from leading figures researchers and academics, along with smaller group sessions. In tutorials and seminars 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.

Laboratory 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.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars384 hours456 hours408 hours

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

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours a year learning.

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 and Vanbrugh College; the Department of Biology; 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

Typically, you will be assessed mostly by written exam in Years 1 and 2, with some coursework and a small amount of practical examination, followed by a roughly even split between written exams and coursework in Year 3 and a small amount of practical examination.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams87%84%48%
Coursework10%13%49%
Practical exams3%3%3%

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

Students doing small group work in the Natural Sciences Learning Studio.
Students in a chemistry lab with an array of flasks.

Careers and skills

A Natural Sciences degree is a versatile course that will provide you with the skills and experience to find employment in exciting interdisciplinary areas, such as academica, industry, finance and government. The flexibility you will develop is valued by employers in many areas as you learn to identify the intersections between areas of work and develop innovative solutions.

Career opportunities

The interdisciplinary nature of this degree will open you to a number of different fields. Some career options will depend on your specialism, but could include:

  • Industrial researcher for a chemical engineering company
  • Management consultant
  • Civil servant in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Project manager in the aerospace industry
  • Process technologist at an integrated circuit manufacturer
  • Financial quantitative analyst for an investment bank

Transferable skills

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

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

A*AA with at least grade A in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. 

International Baccalaureate 37 points, including grade 6 or above in Higher-level Chemistry, Higher-level Physics and Higher-level Mathematics
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AAA at Advanced Higher level Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics
EPQ

If you achieve an A or higher at EPQ, you will be eligible for a reduced offer, one grade 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:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
  • C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency: 176, with a minimum of 169 each component
  • TOEFL: 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in Listening, 21 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 21 in Writing
  • 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 IELTS 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.

Applying

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

Mature students are welcomed.

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School of Natural Sciences

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