BSc Natural Sciences

Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAA; IB: 36; BTEC: DDD
DisciplineNatural Sciences
Location Streatham (Exeter)


Our BSc Natural Sciences programme uniquely places scientific research at its core, with the first two years designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge required to undertake a real research project in one of the University’s research groups.

We will explore the scientific concepts required to explain the natural world; from the properties of novel nano-materials such as graphene, to the richness of the living world, and to complex dynamic systems such as the Earth’s climate.

You will develop an appreciation of scientific methodology and of how scientific advances are made in the 21st century. You will have opportunities to interact with leading researchers in student-led seminars and workshops, to undertake multidisciplinary group projects.

Hosted by the Colleges of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences and Life and Environmental Sciences, this interdisciplinary degree ensures that you build solid foundations in the fundamentals of physical, biological and mathematical sciences. In addition it provides flexibility for you to specialise in areas of specific interest as the programme progresses.

The innovative design of the programme, which exposes you to contemporary science, is uniquely inspired and underpinned by some of the exciting and world leading interdisciplinary research being carried out at the University of Exeter:

  • climate change and sustainable futures
  • systems biology
  • functional materials
  • extrasolar planets

In the third year of the programme you will have the opportunity to join a research group associated with these themes to undertake a real research project and contribute to cutting-edge science.

Our Natural Sciences programme will allow you to take full advantage of the growing demand in research organisations, industry and business for graduates who are able to work in the multidisciplinary scientific environments of the future.

I really value the multi-disciplinary coverage provided by the Natural Sciences course structure. The cross-over between the three sciences gives you a far greater depth of certain areas by understanding how something works from multiple science-based perspectives.

I also really enjoy the Frontiers in Science module, which provides the programme with a unique twist that many other programmes lack, by breaking down the barriers between the three disciplines and instead looking at science as a whole.

Simon Lance, BSc Natural Sciences.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

In Stage 2, you may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

You may take elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme's core and optional modules in Stage 2 and 60 credits in Stage 3, as long as you have obtained the explicit permission of the Programme Director, any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


Required subjects

GCE AL Maths* grade A and one from Physics, Chemistry or Biology at grade A; IB Maths HL6 and Physics, Chemistry or Biology HL6.

Applicants achieving IB Maths SL7 plus IB HL6 in two from Physics, Chemistry or Biology will also be considered.

Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma will also require GCE AL Maths* grade A and another from Physics, Chemistry or Biology at grade A.

*Candidates may offer GCE AL Maths, Pure Maths or Further Maths.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements.

If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.

International Foundation programmes

Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

Our Natural Sciences degree will place you at the heart of a community of internationally respected scientists, who are exploring some of the most important developments of the future, and whose enthusiasm for research is matched by their passion for teaching. We believe every student benefits from being part of a research-inspired culture and being taught by experts – you will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials. Our relationship with students is one of partnership. For example, in Year 1 we will work with you to ensure that you reach the required level across physics, chemistry and biology.

We use a wide variety of techniques and approaches to help you learn and get the most from your degree. Our teaching methods make full use of both traditional and contemporary approaches, including lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions, study groups, problem based project modules and web-based learning. Study groups will be an important aspect of enabling students from different backgrounds to gain a broad scientific background.

During core modules you will learn through practical work, problem-solving, project work, team work and research projects, all of which are designed to help you develop analytical skills and scientific acumen; key qualities for success for the rest of your degree – and your future career. Working through examples, solving problems and developing your mathematical and analytical skills are a vital part of being a scientist, so coursework forms a component of most modules. Modules will have a reading list that might consist of chapters from textbooks and research articles from journals. 

As a student of the programme you will benefit from excellent student:staff ratios, small group tutorials and accessible staff. In all years you will be offered personal tutoring in small groups with an academic member who you will see every week of staff. You will be expected to undertake extensive independent and self-motivated study as part of your degree and should expect your total workload to average about 40 hours per week during term time. During the programme you will learn to work independently and become a scientific thinker – these skills are not easy to acquire but we will be on-hand to guide you throughout the programme.

Alongside your academic studies you will develop personal skills, gaining expertise in communication, team working and project management, and the ability to debate and reflect on the effects of new scientific developments on society and individuals. Our aim is to teach a syllabus that you will find intellectually challenging, rewarding and stimulating. In addition, to help you develop as a scientist so that you can make a real contribution to the exciting research taking place at the University of Exeter and to important scientific developments long after your graduation.


You will be assessed in all years through a variety of means. These will include coursework, exams, written reports or presentations amongst others. You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification and the assessment will not disadvantage students who did not study all subjects at A level.


Many employers look for graduates with a background in a broad based multidisciplinary science degree, as it allows them to tackle problems holistically.

Our Natural Sciences degrees will provide you with a unique understanding of scientific global challenges facing our society. They will help you to develop a wide range of key skills for employment and further study such as analytical problem solving, teamwork, and organising and communicating information.

As such, graduates will be highly employable in a wide variety of related roles in the UK and overseas including laboratory-based positions, industry, law, business, management, teaching or government.

Find out more on the Employability page.

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 724061

Website: Visit the Natural Sciences website

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What our students say

Current students and recent graduates share their experience of studying Natural Sciences. Learn more.

Living Systems Institute (LSI)

A brand-new, world-class building with over 7,500m2 of flexible space.

The LSI facilitates novel, research-led teaching through our established undergraduate Natural Sciences programmes that recruit the very best students each year.
Learn more.