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MSci (Hons) Natural Sciences specialising in Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics

Discover the secrets of the universe revealed where these core scientific disciplines intersect

Year of entry: 2023/24

UCAS code

FGC0

Institution code

Y50

Length

4 years full-time

Typical offer

A*AA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2023(semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£26,800 per year

Meet us

Find out more about life at York, online and on campus.

Discover York

for 'overall satisfaction' for Natural Sciences

out of Russell Group Universities according to the 2022 National Student Survey

in the UK for Natural Sciences

Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

This versatile degree explores the synergies between Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics, providing a solid interdisciplinary foundation before you choose one field as your specialism to explore in depth.

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.

With the option to specialise in Chemistry, Mathematics 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 MSci degrees have the same course code for your UCAS application. To select the Natural Sciences specialising in Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics pathway, enter the subject option code "Ch-Ma-Phy".

Accreditation

The badge indicates accreditation.

All of our Natural Sciences courses are accredited by the Society for Natural Sciences. This means that our courses have achieved the standards set out in the Society’s accreditation framework, and are recognised as offering outstanding quality interdisciplinary science education, providing students with excellent learning opportunities and skills development to prepare them for future careers in research, education, business or industry.

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.

Fantastic facilities

You'll benefit from access to the extensive facilities from our contributing departments, as well as our popular Natural Sciences Learning Studio, a flexible space for socialising, revising and discussing your work.

Course content

Enrol now and choose your specialism later: Natural Science specialisation programmes 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 and the Masters' year. You'll take modules totalling 480 credits over the duration of your course.

Spend time in industry or abroad

You’ll have the opportunity to undertake a work placement which can enable you to develop valuable skills that increase your employability. If you choose to take the MSci version of this course, and specialise in Chemistry, you can take the year in industry or take the year abroad with Chemistry.

Study abroad

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

Year 1

The first year will give you a broad understanding across all three subjects.

Core modules

  • Foundations and Calculus
  • Core Chemistry for the Natural Sciences I
  • Classical & Quantum Waves
  • Multivariable Calculus and Matrices
  • Core Chemistry for the Natural Sciences II
  • Electromagnetism & Relativity

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.

Chemistry and Mathematics

Core modules

You will take Chemistry and Mathematics core modules:

Option modules

You will also study one Chemistry option module. 

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Chemistry and Physics

Core modules

You will take Chemistry and Physics core modules:

Mathematics and Physics

Core modules

You will take Mathematics and Physics core modules:

  • Mathematics, Professional Skills & Laboratories
  • Vector and Complex Calculus
  • Classical Dynamics
  • Quantum, Nuclear & Particle Physics
  • Statistical & Solid State Physics
  • Quantum and Continuum Physics
 

 

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. 

Chemistry

Core modules
Option modules

You will also study one Chemistry option module. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Mathematics

Core modules

You will take core modules which may include:

Option modules

You will also study five Mathematics option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Physics

Core modules
  • Quantum III
Option modules

You will also study four Physics option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Year 4

In your fourth year you will take masters level modules, with the majority of your work devoted to your research project.

Chemistry

Core modules
Year-long Capstone module
  • MChem Project
Option module

You will also study one Chemistry option module. 

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Mathematics

Year-long Capstone Module
Option modules

You will also study four Mathematics option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Physics

Year-long Capstone module
  • MPhys Research Project
Option modules

You will also study three Physics option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

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:

Chemistry specialism

  • Demonstrate learning and problem solving skills through the acquisition and application of a broad range of fundamental and advanced chemical principles and knowledge as appropriate to the interdisciplinary ethos of a Natural Scientist
  • Apply fundamental and advanced chemical scientific principles and knowledge with a strong emphasis on chemistry to the in-depth study of chemical science specialisms and the solution of problems at the forefront of the science and chemistry in particular.
  • Design and safely conduct chemical experiments. Accurately document and record experiments to enable the effective synthesis of complex chemical compounds and advanced analysis of physical measurements, of both a quantitative and qualitative nature.
  • Interpret experimental data by using mathematical skills, advanced scientific knowledge, information technology and scientific conventions.
  • Effectively articulate advanced 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 plan, design and conduct an extended, open-ended investigative research project to extend knowledge and understanding at the forefront of the chemical sciences.
  • Demonstrate employability skills such as team working, commercial awareness, self-management and creativity and be equipped to work in a professional manner in their future careers consistent with the expectations of a research chemist in academic, governmental or commercial positions.
  • Use advanced chemistry based principles, themes, concepts and methodologies as appropriate to a Natural Scientist with a view to exploit the synergies between expert level chemistry skill sets and other science based disciplines all underpinned by experience and exposure to different scientific disciplines.

Mathematics specialism

  • Use, with a high level of confidence and sophistication, the mathematical language and tools that underpin a wide range of research in, and applications to, science, technology and industry.
  • Recognise when an unfamiliar problem in a science related discipline is open to mathematical investigation, and be able to formulate their own strategy for the process of such an investigation.
  • Use logical reasoning as a basis for the critical analysis of ideas or statements which have a mathematical context, and develop independently their own ideas using well-founded reasoning.
  • Conduct, both independently and as part of a group of peers, a study of a specialised area of mathematics which takes into account recent mathematical progress. They will be able to compare and synthesise multiple sources to produce this study, and be able to check or complete technical details from these sources independently.
  • Communicate advanced mathematical ideas clearly, in writing and in a presentation, at a level appropriate for the intended audience.
  • Create advanced mathematical documents, presentations and computer programs by accurately and efficiently using a range of digital technologies.
  • Explore and expand upon the complex synergies between Mathematics and other science based disciplines by using the principles themes, concepts and methodologies of Mathematics as appropriate to a Natural Scientist.

Physics specialism

  • Apply independent learning strategies that incorporate core and advanced physics, chemistry, mathematics and/or computational knowledge, techniques and understanding to synthesise and evaluate real-world problems that require expertise in physics.
  • Plan and execute an extended or complex scientific investigation using the principles of physics in investigating a hypothesis, and interpret outcomes in physical problems.
  • 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 succinctly to the general public, scientists and professional physicists through accurate and precise scientific record keeping, scientific report writing and presentations.
  • Select and apply sophisticated digital tools for in-depth scientific investigation and in wider societal applications
  • Use advanced 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.
"The course is really well set-out with all three disciplines intertwining across their different fields, each supporting the content of the others. The lecturers all provide their time to go through queries immediately after the lecture, giving their full support to the course as well. The team are always on hand to help, with the Learning Studio providing a great base for group discussions."
Connor, Natural Sciences specialising in Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics (Year 3)

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £26,800

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) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

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.

Costs for going abroad or spending time in industry will vary depending on what sort of placement it is and what sort of financial assistance is available.​

Funding

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 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 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 experiment-based studies.

You'll receive lectures from leading researchers and academics. These are supported by 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.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures10-13 hours per week
Seminars0-2 hours per week
Tutorials0-2 hours per week
Problem classes1 hour per week
Workshops0-2 hours per week
Practicals0-7 hours per week

These figures are representative of a typical 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 locations will vary. Teaching locations for this course include the Spring Lane Teaching Building; Departments of Chemistry; Physics and Electronic Engineering; Maths; and other locations around campus.

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

You will be assessed by a variety of methods, reflecting the various learning outcomes being tested. Knowledge-based objectives are often assessed via a closed examination; practical tasks are often assessed via notebooks or reports. 

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. In Year 4 coursework will make up roughly 70 per cent of your assessment, with 30 per cent as written exam.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams82%84%52%30%
Coursework15%13%48%70%
Practical exams3%3%0%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17. Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Students in a dark physics laboratory.
Students talking to a lecturer in the Natural Sciences Learning Studio.

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 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.

Career opportunities

Some career options will depend on your specialism, but could include:

  • Environmental consultant
  • Project manager
  • Data analyst
  • Research officer
  • Civil Service fast stream

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, Mathematics (either Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretations) and Physics at Higher Level.
T levels We are currently not accepting T Levels for this course.
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: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. 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 120, minimum 105 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
LanguageCert SELT B2 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online 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.

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.

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

School of Natural Sciences

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