How Pathways Work

A Natural Sciences degree will allow you to maintain an interest in two or three scientific disciplines where you will learn and integrate knowledge from a range of subjects.


It is not possible to study the entire content of two or three single honours degree courses simultaneously. To help with your course selection each science department has created one or more coherent collections of Modules called Pathways.

You choose which Pathway subjects you would like to do – either two or three. By following a pathway through a particular subject you are guaranteed to have the necessary pre-requisites for each subsequent year. You can follow any Pathway. Please note that some Pathways have special conditions. If you are unsure about any conditions, please contact the Programme Coordinator.

Subject AreaPathways
Biology Biology (includes evolution, zoology and vertebrate biology) Microbiology & Biomedicine Biochemistry, Cell Biology & Genetics
Chemistry Chemical Synthesis & Structure Physical & Analytical Chemistry Environmental Chemistry
Computing and Communications Software Development Creative Technology Communication Systems
Engineering Electrical Mechanical   
Environmental Science Environmental Science Earth Science  Ecology & Conservation 
Geography Human Geography Physical Geography   
Mathematics Single Mathematics Double Mathematics  
Physics Physics Double Physics  
Psychology Psychology Double Psychology  


Each Pathway contains a set of Modules. These are subjects within your broader Pathway area. Some of these Modules are Mandatory (you have to do these), and some are Non-Mandatory (you can choose).

Mandatory Modules are an essential part of your course and study. These represent the key areas required as part of your Natural Sciences degree. Non-Mandatory Modules are optional Modules that you can provide you with extra skills and knowledge. Not every Pathway will have Non-Mandatory Modules. In this instance, Physical Geography does not.

For example, let us say you have chosen the following Pathways:

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Physical Geography

Mandatory Modules

Environmental ChemistryEarth SciencePhysical Geography
Atoms and Molecules Earth's Interior Environmental Processes and Systems
Chemical Reaction Kinetics Geology Geographical Skills and Application in a Changing World
Physical Foundation of Chemistry Biogeochemical Cycles  
Spectroscopy and Analytical Chemistry Hydrology: Water in the Environment  
Thermodynamics of Chemical Processes Atmosphere, Weather and Climate  

Non-Mandatory Modules

Environmental ChemistryEarth SciencePhysical Geography
Coordination Chemistry Introduction to Environmental Chemistry  
Introduction to Environmental Chemistry Numerical Skills  
Numerical Skills    
Organic Structure    
Skills for Chemists    

You will notice that in most cases, Modules in the first year are fixed and more options open up in subsequent years. This is intentional as our Pathways have been expertly selected so that your first year covers as much ground as possible to keep your later options open.

Many Year 2 and Year 3 non-mandatory Modules have pre-requisites from the previous year’s modules. Once you have decided on your Pathways and Modules these will be discussed in detail at a one-to-one meeting at the start of your course where timetable flexibility and course capacity will also be taken into consideration.