also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 4 Year(s)
Natural Sciences is a challenging degree that allows you to study across all of the scientific disciplines to an advanced level. Our pathways let you customise your Masters degree to suit your interests and career aspirations.
If you are interested in studying more than one scientific subject to an advanced level, our degree allows you to combine up to three different subjects throughout the programme. You can keep your interests open or choose to specialise as you progress. Either way, our Natural Sciences MSci degree is designed to challenge the brightest students who are highly motivated and prepared to apply themselves across multiple boundaries. You can choose pathways from nine subject areas that can be combined together to create a purpose built degree programme. The subject areas are:
Additionally, each pathway within these nine subject areas includes a wide selection of modules to choose from. This breadth of possibilities makes it difficult to summarise what the three year programme will look like, but the experience will be unique and tailored to your needs and goals.
In the first year, all students begin with three pathways. You must choose two science pathways, and a third that can either be another science topic or you can select from elsewhere across the University, including a range of humanities and social sciences. You will be taught by academic staff who are leaders in their field, gaining a comprehensive understanding of your chosen subjects. You will also develop important skills and technical knowledge specific to each discipline, as well as interdisciplinary skills, such as data handling, analysis and evaluation, plus laboratory, IT and specialist software skills.
At the end of the first year, you will have the opportunity to choose whether or not to continue with three subjects or to just focus on two sciences, to suit your goals and ambitions.
In second year, your study will begin to become more focused and modules will be more specialised. You will continue to develop your skills from first year and you will have the opportunity to utilise and practise the knowledge and experience you have gained so far. In addition, many of the modules will allow you to progress your project management, research and professional skills, as well as further enhancing your technical ability.
During the third year, you will delve deeper into the topics that interested you previously and much of what you explore will be guided by what you studied in second year. This year, you will firmly cement your learning by applying your skills and experience, while developing news skills and technical knowledge.
In the fourth year, you will benefit from cutting-edge, research-lead, advanced modules in your chosen subjects, delivered by lecturers that are experts in their field, and undertake a major research project. All of this will allow you to gain the relevant skills, knowledge and experience, to prepare you for a rich and rewarding career in research and development.
We aim to provide you with the most effective and stimulating approaches to teaching, learning and assessment, to enabling you to demonstrate your capabilities in a range of ways. Assessment varies across disciplines and from module to module, but typical assignments include: laboratory reports, essays, literature reviews, short tests, short and sharply focused critical reports, poster sessions and oral presentations, as well as formal examination.
Fitting with the dynamic and diverse nature of our Natural Sciences programme, you will have the opportunity to engage and build meaningful relationships with students and staff from multiple scientific disciplines. You will be welcomed and integrated into departments as anyone on a single-track programme would.
You will also be part of a Natural Sciences community, which fosters a highly supportive and productive learning environment. You will benefit from an excellent student-to-staff ratio, work with and be supported by approachable and engaging staff, and be recognised as an individual person with individual needs.
Additionally, you will have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities that provide space for socialising with your peers, as well as help you excel in your studies.
A Level A*AA-AAA
Required Subjects A level grade A in two sciences from the following; Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Human Biology, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology.
Subject Specialisms There are a number of Study Pathways available in the Natural Sciences degree programme, some of which require specific subject prerequisites. Please refer to the Natural Sciences webpages for detail of subjects that may be required.
GCSE Mathematics grade B or 6, English Language grade C or 4
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 38-36 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including two science subjects at HL grade 6
BTEC Distinction*, Distinction, Distinction to Distinction, Distinction, Distinction to include sufficient science. We require Distinctions in majority of relevant science units. We will assess the qualification on an individual basis and will look for substantial study of relevant science at Distinction level. Please contact the Admissions Team for further advice.
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural Sciences students create their own individual degree programme by combining
modules taken from single honours programmes. For example a student combining the
study of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry would take the following first year modules:
This module provides a link between A-level and undergraduate chemistry. It covers topics such as the elements and Periodic Table, atomic structure, properties of atoms, molecular shape, types of bonding and the basic principles of spectroscopic techniques and their use in molecule identification.
The practical laboratory classes include an introduction to chemical synthesis, to build upon skills learned at A-level, and to introduce new lab techniques. Students will use some techniques they may recognise, together with some new techniques, to synthesise and react some simple metal complexes.
Students are provided with an understanding of functions, limits, and series, and knowledge of the basic techniques of differentiation and integration. Examples of functions and their graphs are presented, as are techniques for building new functions from old. Then the notion of a limit is considered along with the main tools of calculus and Taylor Series. Students will also learn how to add, multiply and divide polynomials, and will learn about rational functions and their partial fractions.
The exponential function is defined by means of a power series which is subsequently extended to the complex exponential function of an imaginary variable, so that students understand the connection between analysis, trigonometry and geometry. The trigonometric and hyperbolic functions are introduced in parallel with analogous power series so that students understand the role of functional identities. Such functional identities are later used to simplify integrals and to parametrise geometrical curves.
The module offers a complete overview of the theory and practice of chemical reaction kinetics, leading to an understanding of the kinetic principles of reaction kinetics. Using this knowledge, students will determine orders of reaction, rate constants and activation energies from kinetic measurements. The module explores the relationship between temperature and rate, as well as introducing the Arrhenius Equation. More advanced topics, including collision theory, transition state theory and the kinetics of complex reactions will be studied. Students will become familiar with the steady state approximation and learn how to use this to derive rate laws of complex reactions.
Practical classes give hands-on experience in measuring physical properties and reinforce the theoretical concepts taught in lectures.
In Classical Mechanics students will apply the ideas of fundamental Newtonian mechanics to real large-scale systems such as rotating bodies, planetary systems and classical fluids.
The focus is on gravitation and its central importance in determining the large-scale behaviour of the Universe. Concepts such as inertial and gravitational mass, Mach's principle, black holes and even dark matter will be explored.
This module will consider how to extend the principles of basic kinematics and dynamics to rotational situations, giving students an understanding of concepts of torque, moment of inertia, centre of mass, angular momentum and equilibrium.
Time will be spent looking at how to describe basic processes in the properties of materials including elasticity of solids and fluid dynamics.
Covering the basic laws of electromagnetism, this module allows students to investigate the similarities and differences between electric and magnetic fields, and to explore the basic concepts of electromagnetic phenomena including charge, current, field, force and potential.
The module will begin by studying electrostatics, describing forces and fields due to charge distributions using Coulomb's law and Gauss's law. Students will also look at the concept of polarisation, and how this can be applied to capacitance and combinations of capacitors.
Later on, the module will introduce magnetostatics, and students will learn how to describe it using the concepts of field, flux and force, and the motion of charged particles in a magnetic field. They will also look at the origins of magnetic fields and Ampere's law, and Faraday's law of electromagnetic induction.
This module extends the theory of calculus from functions of a single real variable to functions of two real variables. Students will learn more about the notions of differentiation and integration and how they extend from functions defined on a line to functions defined on the plane. They will see how partial derivatives can help to understand surfaces, while repeated integrals enable them to calculate volumes. The module will also investigate complex polynomials and use De Moivre’s theorem to calculate complex roots.
In mathematical models, it is common to use functions of several variables. For example, the speed of an airliner can depend upon the air pressure, temperature and wind direction. To study functions of several variables, rates of change are introduced with respect to several quantities. How to find maxima and minima will be explained. Applications include the method of least squares. Finally, various methods for solving differential equations of one variable will be investigated.
Introducing the theory of matrices together with some basic applications, students will learn essential techniques such as arithmetic rules, row operations and computation of determinants by expansion about a row or a column.
The second part of the module covers a notable range of applications of matrices, such as solving systems of simultaneous linear equations, linear transformations, characteristic eigenvectors and eigenvalues.
The student will learn how to express a linear transformation of the real euclidean space using a matrix, from which they will be able to determine whether it is singular or not and obtain its characteristic equation and eigenspaces.
Expanding on the introductory mathematics taught in the Skills for Chemists module, this module provides the student with an understanding of the practical applications of calculus and the physical underpinnings of chemistry. Students will learn about the fundamental process of modelling physical phenomena using mathematics and how new models are developed. They will learn to solve simple, chemically relevant calculus problems unaided, whilst solving more complex problems by computational techniques.
The module also provides an understanding of the interactions and drawbacks of treating atoms as solid (classical) particles. The interactions between electrons and nuclei, and between charged and neutral atoms and molecules will also be considered. It will also introduce the basic consequences of the quantisation of matter, with relevance for future courses in spectroscopy and quantum chemistry.
Computer-based practicals will be used to highlight several key physical phenomena from the lectures, and to provide experience in the use of computers for solving complex mathematical problems and in particular their applications to quantum chemistry and molecular dynamics.
Probability theory is the study of chance phenomena, the concepts of which are fundamental to the study of statistics. This module will introduce students to some simple combinatorics, set theory and the axioms of probability.
Students will become aware of the different probability models used to characterise the outcomes of experiments that involve a chance or random component. The module covers ideas associated with the axioms of probability, conditional probability, independence, discrete random variables and their distributions, expectation and probability models.
The ultimate description of the Universe requires quantum and not classical mechanics. This module begin by investigating how specific experiments led to the breakdown of classical physics, before moving into the quantum world.
Students will look at the basic ideas of wave mechanics, particularly wave particle duality, as well as considering the probabilistic nature of phenomena and the uncertainty principle through the Schrodinger equation and its solution for simple situations.
Other topics that will be studied include the photoelectric effect, the nuclear atom and single slit diffraction. Ultimately, the students will be able to apply their knowledge to modelling real phenomena and situations.
This module describes the principles and practice that underpins analytical chemistry and illustrates their utility through a range of challenging analysis applications. Students will gain an understanding of instrumental techniques such as spectrophotometry, spectrofluorimetry, atomic spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, electro analysis, and analytical separations, and they will learn about the differences between these and absolute techniques of chemical analysis.
Taking part in practical sessions, students will measure quantitative solution conductivities of strong-acid/strong-base, strong-acid/weak-base, and strong-acid weak-acid/strong-base systems. They will investigate selectivity coefficients using ion-selective Li, Na and K electrodes. The sessions also help to develop skills in serial dilutions and calibrations, and the use of potentiometry, to analyse a multi-component mixture by UV/vis spectroscopy.
To enable students to achieve a solid understanding of the broad role that statistical thinking plays in addressing scientific problems, the module begins with a brief overview of statistics in science and society. It then moves on to the selection of appropriate probability models to describe systematic and random variations of discrete and continuous real data sets. Students will learn to implement statistical techniques and to draw clear and informative conclusions.
The module will be supported by the statistical software package ‘R’, which forms the basis of weekly lab sessions. Students will develop a strategic understanding of statistics and the use of associated software, which will underpin the skills needed for all subsequent statistical modules of the degree.
In this module students will have the opportunity to explore the nature and methods of physics by considering the different scales of the Universe and the areas of physics which relate to them.
They will model real phenomena and situations, looking at the physical principles which are fundamental to mechanics, particularly Newton’s laws relating to forces and motion, and the principles of the conservation of energy and momentum.
Later on, the Special Theory of Relativity will be the main focus, beginning with Einstein's postulates and moving on to inertial reference frames, the physics of simultaneity, length contraction and time dilation, and space-time diagrams.
This module focuses on the study of the thermal properties of matter, during which the students will gain an understanding of how to relate them to the fundamental mechanical properties of systems.
It will begin with an introduction to the concepts of temperature and heat, thermal equilibrium and temperature scales. Then students will look at how to describe mechanisms of heat transfer, particularly in phase changes and equations of state, and the kinetic model of an ideal gas.
As part of the module students will also have the opportunity to explore the first and second laws of thermodynamics, including concepts of internal energy, heat and work done, heat engines and refrigerators, and entropy. They will then learn about the role of thermodynamics in describing macroscopic physical situations, looking in particular at temperature, entropy, work, heat, and internal energy.
Here, the main physical chemistry topics of bulk materials; thermodynamics, chemical equilibria and reaction kinetics, which control the rate of reaction, the yield of reaction, and the stability of a chemical system, are all introduced. The module also relates these principles to catalysis and enzyme-catalysed reactions, and provides a grounding in material relevant for second year modules.
Practical laboratory classes will build upon concepts in accuracy and precision, and will involve the quantitative reaction of acid-base systems measured using pH meters. Students will calculate the dissociation constant of weak acids and determine the enthalpy of solution from solubility measurements. They will also investigate the variation of reaction rates with temperature.
This would lead on to a wide choice of second, third and fourth year modules
in each discipline. For details of individual modules please go to the module
list for each degree scheme. This example is just one of a large number of
possible combinations of pathways. For more detailed information about pathways
please visit the Natural Sciences web page.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Our Natural Sciences graduates benefit from the widest range of career opportunities. The flexibility of the programme means that you can transition into a career from any scientific discipline, whether it is in biology, chemistry, computing, engineering, mathematics, physics, or many more. With subject specific knowledge, specialist technical skills, and a range of valuable transferable skills, such as data handling, problem-solving, IT, project management and analysis, you can chart a course to a career in almost any industry. Graduating from this programme, you can honestly say the possibilities are endless.
Alternatively, graduating with a Masters will allow you to pursue a career in academia, research, development and teaching. However, you may wish to take this further and undertake PhD level study at Lancaster. As a Natural Sciences graduate, you would be in a strong position to move onto a single-track postgraduate degree, studying a specific subject such as chemistry or physics, at Masters or PhD level.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2019/20 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2018 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Dependent on subject choice the course offers optional field trips which may incur travel costs.
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
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Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework