Become a versatile interdisciplinary thinker. On this pathway, you’ll build your scientific knowledge and skills in three complementary disciplines.
Studying Natural Sciences will give you a more complete overview of these closely-related disciplines than a single-subject degree. 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.
In this unique interdisciplinary pathway, you'll combine traditional biological science with current topical environmental science and past human archaeology. This course encourages you to go beyond disciplinary boundaries, extending your intellectual and scientific horizons. You’ll develop valuable problem solving and teamwork skills, increasing your employability at the end of your course.
All our Natural Sciences MSci degrees have the same course code for your UCAS application. To select the Natural Sciences specialising in Archeology, Biology or Environment pathway, select the subject option code "Arch-Bio-En". We will ask you to confirm your pathway if you are invited to interview.
Natural Sciences offers a range of well-structured pathways built upon the natural synergies that exist across scientific disciplines.
Our weekly Natural Sciences Hour brings students together to hear from researchers and employers and to build transferable skills.
Study in world-leading research institutes and hi-tech learning spaces dedicated to interdisciplinary science.
Enroll now and choose your specialism 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 four 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. As an MSci student you'll then be able to engage with further independent research in your fourth year, deepening your understanding in this exciting area.
You'll take modules totalling 480 credits over the duration of your course.
You'll also have the opportunity to take a year in industry or a year abroad if you specialise in Biology or Environment. Students taking any specialism will be able to apply for a placement year if they are not taking a year abroad.
A work placement or year abroad can enable you to develop valuable skills that increase your employability, and studying abroad is a great way to increase your confidence and cultural awareness.
There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:
The first year will give you a broad understanding across all three subjects.
You will take the following core modules, totalling 120 credits:
In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.
This module covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.
This module will:
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.
Choose one World Archeology module:
Choose one Practical Skills module and Team Project, these will be the same topic:
Choose one World Archeology module:
Choose one Practical Skills module and Team Project, these will be the same topic:
In your third year, you will focus on a single subject, choosing one of the disciplines from your second year pathway as your specialisation.
You’ll conduct research and present your results in an extended essay. You can choose a topic which interests you to investigate further. You’ll work closely with a personal academic supervisor who will help to guide your research and keep your project on track.
Choose one Special Topic:
Choose one World Archaeology II module:
Choose one Assessed Seminar for the Spring and Summer Terms:
Chose four from a wide selection, including:
Choose at least one of:
Choose either either 40 or 60 credits (depending on whether you took both of the above) from the following:
In your fourth year you will take masters level modules totalling 120 credits, with the majority of your work devoted to your research project.
Choose two modules from the following:
Choose two Research Skills modules from:
And, choose two Research Skills modules from:
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
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.
The fees and funding figures below are for 2021/22 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year
|UK (home)||International and EU|
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
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.
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. For Chemistry and Biology your first year textbook will be provided to you at no additional cost and Chemistry will provide you with a lab coat. Any core field trips taken as part of Environment modules are paid for by the Environment Department, including transport, food and accommodation.
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 Environment) or they may be run by the Centre for Global Programmes. Please check with them to see what sort of assistance is available.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 throughout the year.
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.
“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.
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.
The interdisciplinary nature of the Natural Sciences programme means that you will experience a wide variety of approaches to teaching, from formal lectures and practical experiments in the lab, to small group tutorials and close, supportive mentoring, as well as Virtual Learning Environments. This course has a strong element of experimental and field based studies.
You'll receive lectures from leading figures in the field, 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.
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.
For the natural scientist, conducting rigorous experiments and understanding the experimental method 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.
Some subjects, including Archaeology and Environment, have field trips which involve experimental work outside the laboratory.
By studying to MSci level you'll have the opportunity to integrate project work with research at a greater level.
In your first year, you can expect:
|Lectures||6-8 hours per week|
|Seminars||2 hours per week|
|Workshops||2-4 hours per week|
|Practicals||0-4 hours per week|
|Field trips||0-2 days|
|Feedback sessions||1-2 hours per term|
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, practise 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.
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 and James Colleges; the Departments of Biology and Environment; and the Spring Lane teaching building.
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.
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 in Year 4 coursework will make up roughly 70 per cent of your assessment, with 30 per cent as written exam.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4|
The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.
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 environmental research and management, finance, energy, and public policy. 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.
Some career options will depend on your specialism, but could include:
A*AA including any two of Biology, Chemistry or Mathematics
|International Baccalaureate||37 points, including grade 6 or above in any two of Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics at Higher Level. 38 points, including grade 6 in Chemistry or Biology at Higher Level plus grade 6 in Mathematics at Standard Level.|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.
|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.|
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 6.0 in each component|
|PTE Academic||61, with a minimum of 55 in each component|
|GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language)||Grade C|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, with a minimum of 169 in each component|
|TOEFL||87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component|
|Trinity ISE III||Merit in all components|
|Duolingo||110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component|
For more information see our undergraduate 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.
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