Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2016

Natural Sciences BSc

The Natural Sciences BSc draws together elements of physics, mathematics, chemistry, astrophysics, Earth sciences, life sciences, and science and technology studies. The programme enables students who wish to maintain a breadth of science subjects to design a unique degree which is suited to their personal interests.

Key Information

Degree Programme
Natural Sciences BSc
UCAS code
3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2016
Subject area
Natural Sciences
Total intake (by subject area)
150 (2016 entry)
Applications per place (by subject area)
5 (2014 entry)
Research Excellence Framework
Interdisciplinary programme: see contributing departments

Entry requirements

A Levels

Any two subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics or Physics.
AS Levels
For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

A score of 18-19 points in three higher level subjects including two from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics, with no score lower than 5.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with a minimum of 23-28 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.

D2,D3,D3 - D3,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. To include any two subjects from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Geology.

A1,A,A - A,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A1,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher - A,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher). To include any two subjects from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Geology at Advanced Higher.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Diploma Core with grade A, plus 2 GCE A-levels at grades A*A-AA. To include any two subjects from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Geology.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

For more information see our website: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • The unique core stream structure provides you with course options from across the spectrum of science disciplines.
  • You may broaden your knowledge further by selecting options in non-science subjects such as languages, management studies, computing and statistics.
  • While the programme offers a high level of flexibility, the core streams offer you a structured pathway to enable specialisation.
  • All members of our teaching staff are experts in their various fields and are active in research, so you will benefit from their cutting-edge knowledge in your lectures and tutorials.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

The programme is divided into two main subjects or streams, which are chosen in the first year and followed for the duration of the programme. One will become your major stream, while the other will become your minor stream.

All students undertake a mathematics course and three foundation courses in the first year. Equal weighting is applied to the major and minor stream in the first and second years. During the final year of the BSc, the balance of study shifts towards your chosen major stream whilst you still continue with the minor stream.

Certain streams may have prerequisites of particular grades and/or subjects at A level or equivalent; further details can be found on the Natural Sciences website.

Year One

Foundation courses

The first term comprises foundation courses introducing the streams that are offered. You will select three foundation courses from the following:

Earth Sciences
Life Sciences
Mathematics and Statistics
Physics and Astronomy
Science and Technology Studies

Core streams

In your second term you will choose two core streams in the following areas:

Biomedical Science
Earth and Environment
Genetics, Evolution and Environment
Geophysical Sciences
Inorganic and Materials Chemistry
Mathematics and Statistics
Medical Physics
Molecular and Cell Biology
Neuroscience and Psychology
Organic Chemistry
Physical Chemistry
Policy, Communication and Ethics

Year Two

Core streams

You will take courses in your two core streams. Both streams have equal weighting, amounting to 1.5 credits of core (mandatory) courses per stream, plus a compulsory Scientific Communication and Computing course. At the end of the second year, you will choose one of the streams as a major stream.

Optional courses

You can select one optional course, worth 0.5 credits. This can be taken outside the main Natural Sciences subject areas, such as in foreign languages, management, etc.

Final Year

Core streams

Major stream: You will take 2.0 credits in your major stream including a compulsory literature review (0.5 credits).

Minor stream: You will take 1.5 credits in your minor stream.

Optional courses

You can select one optional course worth 0.5 credits.

Your learning

A variety of teaching methods are employed including lecture classes, practical sessions and small-group tutorials. In addition to around 25 hours of lectures and library classes each week, you will be expected to spend a substantial amount of time on coursework and private study. The Earth Sciences stream will include field classes and the Astrophysics stream will include observational work.


Assessment is primarily through end-of-year examinations for lecture-based courses, whereas practical work is continuously assessed. Coursework is important and must be passed to allow progression from one year to the next.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Natural Sciences BSc.


The programme provides an all-round scientific education in its own right. On completion of your degree, you will have cultivated transferable skills and the ability to solve problems in a quantitative way and to see science in a modern context.

You could choose to specialise in a defined, but usually interdisciplinary, science field and proceed to study for a wide range of possible postgraduate degree and doctoral programmes. Alternatively, you will be equipped to pursue many career options, for example, as a scientific journalist, in science teaching, as a management consultant or in finance and banking.


First destinations of recent graduates (2010-2013) of this programme include:

  • Technical Consultant, IBM (2013)
  • Full-time student, MPhil in Management at the University of Cambridge (2013)
  • Full-time student, Graduate Medicine at Imperial College London (2013)
  • Full-time student, Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP Law School (2012)
  • Full-time student, MSc in Neuroscience at UCL (2012)

*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2010-2013 graduating cohorts six months after graduation and, where necessary, department records.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.

Fees and funding


UK & EU fee
£9,000 (2016/17)
Overseas fee
£21,320 (2016/17)


Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance


Scholarships listed below are relevant to the department. Please read the details carefully to check they are relevant to the degree and your own circumstances.

Dean's Summer Student Scholarships

Based on academic merit

The Scholarships and Funding website has a comprehensive list of scholarships and funding schemes available for UCL students. These can be available for specific nationalities, regions, departments or open to all students.

Application and next steps

Your application

In addition to essential academic requirements, we are looking for evidence of your motivation to pursue a degree in Natural Sciences. This could be demonstrated through examples of any relevant work, experience, attendance at scientific exhibitions or festivals, or from details of academic project work in which you have been involved.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2016


If you are based in the UK and your application demonstrates you have the potential to meet our academic requirements, you will normally be invited to interview. The interview will be relatively informal and provides you with the opportunity to meet with staff and current students and to see UCL.

If you are based overseas we will make any decision to offer you a place based on the content of your UCAS application including your personal statement and your teacher's reference. However, if it is possible for you to visit UCL before accepting an offer of a place we encourage you to do so; after all, you are committing yourself to three or four years of study so you will want to be comfortable with your surroundings and facilities.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students