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Natural Science - The Range of Options

The University of Cambridge offers a wide range of options within the physical sciences. If students are interested in the physical sciences, then they may choose following subjects in the first year. Students need to choose three from the following first-year subjects:

  • Physics
  • Earth Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Materials Science

Or two of a biological subjects

  • Evolution and Behaviour
  • Biology of Cells
  • Physiology of Organisms

Or two of these with Computer Science

The first year paper in Mathematics and 'A' level Mathematics are necessary for some physical science subjects. If students think of themselves as physicists, then they shall probably choose Physics 'A' and 'B' in the second year with either mathematics or another science subject and may specialize in the third and fourth years in Experimental and Theoretical Physics or probably Astrophysics.

Prospective chemists may probably take chemistry A and B in the second year. These may be combined with a more biological subject like Molecular Biology or Biochemistry or with Mathematics, Physics, Materials Science, and Geological Sciences or even History, Experimental Psychology and Philosophy of Science.

There are various physical scientists find out a real enthusiasm for the new subjects, which they begin in the first year such as Materials Science, Earth Science or a biological subject such as Biology of Cells and will be continued in the second/third year.

The Fourth-year Options

It is possible take a fourth year in

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Geological Sciences
  • Materials Science
  • Systems Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Changing Course

In the first year, many students take Mathematics with Physics or Computer Science and subsequently change to Natural Sciences to continue with Physics in the second, third and fourth years. On the contrary, some of the students choose to take part first 'A' Natural Sciences and change to the Chemical Engineering or Computer Science course in their second year.

Students may combine Natural Sciences with other subjects by way of taking part first Natural Sciences and consequently moving to another subject like Management Studies or another social science or arts subject for part second.

After Natural Sciences

Approximately half of the Natural Sciences graduates continue with research and further study. They often study towards a PhD in the University of Cambridge or elsewhere. They may go on to academic positions at other universities into the pharmaceuticals, chemical industry, environmental management, biotechnology or nanotechnology. Students shall discover that studying Natural Sciences prepares them well for the challenges of research particularly in upcoming interdisciplinary areas.

Students who do not choose to stay in academic positions and research may take up a broad range of careers. They may get into various fields ranging from banking or accountancy to law. The Cambridge Natural Sciences graduates are both numerate and used to coping with ample amounts of information skills that are valued by leading employers.

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