The natural sciences are ideal for students interested in math- and science-based subjects, but who also don’t want to limit themselves to a specific type of science. Maybe you’re still exploring which science sector you’d most like to get into, and that means a natural science major could be perfect for you!
The field of natural science covers the description, prediction and understanding of natural phenomena. This is done based on observation, empirical evidence and experiments.
A major in natural sciences instils knowledge and experience in the vast science world. It differs from specific science programs such as chemistry or biology, covering several interdisciplinary subjects in the scientific field.
Natural science students delve into a broad range of subjects over the course of their studies, from astronomy to geology and physics. Natural science majors face and solve challenges in diverse real-world settings, with much of the coursework taking place in the lab or on-the-ground.
Those interested in the natural sciences should ideally have a strong background and interest in math and science, as these skills will be tested and honed regularly throughout the program.
You will develop your skills in research, scientific analysis, evaluation and laboratory science as you study and explore the scientific aspects of the natural world. Collecting, researching, and analysing data will be a significant part of your course.
A Bachelor’s degree in natural science clears a pathway for advanced degrees in several areas. It creates a solid foundation for those keen to delve deeper into their field as they go on to pursue Master’s or PhD programs.
Many natural science students go on to study medicine, pharmacy, dentistry or other graduate programs in the health and medicine sector.
Due to the broad nature of the program, many go on to forge successful careers as engineers, geologists, doctors, nurses, physician assistants, food scientists, anthropologists, forensic scientists, technical writers, marine biologists, environmental scientists, professors, surveyors, and more!
Several prominent people with interesting careers graduated with degrees the natural sciences. These include Sir David Frederick Attenborough, famous English broadcaster and naturalist; Margaret Thatcher, the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century; and Jean Piaget, a renowned Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher.
North America has some of the best universities in the world for natural science degrees. Here are five universities that offer outstanding programs in natural science.
The beautiful University of Oregon (UO) is nestled in the lush Willamette Valley, enjoying a stunning 120-hectare campus along the Willamette River.
The Division of Natural Sciences has a faculty of over 350. It’s part of the College of Arts and Sciences, and dedicated to research and training informed by discovery. Strengths include interdisciplinary areas like neuroscience, the environment, and molecular biology as well as traditional disciplines like Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Physiology, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.
Natural science students are immersed in experiences both in and out of the classroom, with research and learning taking place in the lab and out in the field. UO is creating the pioneering Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, a US$1 billion initiative to fast-track scientific discovery into innovation.
UO has two remote campuses; Pine Mountain Observatory is available for student projects, including research collaborations with NASA. Then there’s the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology on the Oregon coast, where students, postgraduates and faculty work side-by-side, studying coastal and marine organisms and ecology.
The UO is major research-intensive university that is also “human scale”— large enough to offer students abundant resources and also small enough to offer a strong sense of community.
Temple University is a state-related research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1884. The Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences or Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences both fall under the College of Science of Technology, providing a space where students get involved in several exciting areas of scientific inquiry.
Among these are neurosciences, environmental sciences and biophysical sciences, encompassing multiple disciplines within the science field.
Here, students acquire focused knowledge over the course of four years, selecting a concentration in biology, chemistry, geology or physics.
Student explore fundamental scientific principles in the classroom, the field and the lab with a faculty of leading researchers. They’ll build and develop research skills at the Science and Education Research Center, and there are also internships available for hands-on industry experience.
The course prepares students for further graduate study and careers in several fields such as health sciences, legal professions, science education, and more.
There is also an advanced program for students who are interested, called the Professional Science Master’s (PSM), in which students can focus on either forensic chemistry or scientific writing.
The University of Ottawa is at the heart of the Canadaian capital. Programs at the Faculty of Science provide all the tools needed for a rewarding career in the natural sciences.
The university has several state-of-the-art facilities for science students, such as the world-class biosciences complex that offers a wealth of opportunity for hands-on learning.
The Faculty of Science has over 160 full-time professors with extensive experience in research and teaching, all of whom have gained international and national recognition for their work in research.
The complex is a space with well-equipped undergraduate biology and biochemistry teaching labs, outfitted with modern equipment.
The Earth Sciences Microscopy Laboratory is another high-quality facility, with cutting-edge equipment usually only found in research labs. There’s also a renovated chemistry laboratory which allows students to perform experiments using data acquisition technology.
The Faculty of Science also gives undergraduates the chance to work with scientists and take part in important scientific discoveries with the Undergraduate Research Scholarship.
Students under this scholarship can work as research assistants for the faculty, representing distinguished research groups in various areas such as biochemistry, biopharmaceutical science, biotechnology, environmental science, microbiology, and more.
The University of Toronto was founded in 1827, known today as Canada’s leading institution for learning, discovery and knowledge creation. As a research-driven university, students here have the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced faculty members.
The University of Toronto offers a Life Sciences program under the Faculty of Arts and Science, providing a similar study experience to the natural sciences majors offered above.
The program will intrigue those interested in behavior, biotechnology, health sciences and molecular biology. There are internships and labs available, granting students a better understanding of real-world applications.
Most professors at the University of Toronto have active research programs for students to get involved in, as well.
Subjects offered in this program include animal physiology, biochemistry, biology, anthropology, ecology and evolutionary biology, pharmacology, and more.
Also, the Department of Earth Sciences accepts students who wish to pursue a Master’s or PhD in Applied Science or Science, which covers a broad range of topics in the earth sciences field.
Along with field-based studies, the department has a wide range of modern laboratories available to students, and advanced studies are encouraged in a broad spectrum of geological problems.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International