Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2017

Natural Sciences MSci

This four-year programme offers an additional year of study on top of the Natural Sciences BSc. Students have the opportunity to deepen and extend their knowledge by taking advanced optional modules and completing a major project.

Key information

UCAS code
4 years
Application deadline
15 January 2017
Applications per place
4 (2015 entry)*
Total intake
139 (2017 entry)*
* Figures relate to Natural Sciences subject area

Entry requirements

A levels

Any two subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics or Physics.
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 Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades A*AA - AAA. To include any two subjects from Maths, 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

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

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

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 module options from across the spectrum of science disciplines.
  • You may broaden your knowledge further by selecting optional modules 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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Natural Sciences.

  • Interdisciplinary programme: see contributing departments

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules 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 module and three foundation modules in the first year. Equal weighting is applied to the major and minor stream for the first three years. For the final year, you will only take modules from the major stream, plus options. You will also undertake a substantial research project in your final year.

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.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Foundation modules

The first term comprises foundation modules introducing the streams that are offered. You will select three foundation modules 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
History and Philosophy of Science**
Inorganic and Materials Chemistry
Mathematics and Statistics*
Medical Physics
Molecular and Cell Biology
Organic Chemistry
Neuroscience and Psychology
Physical Chemistry
Policy, Communication and Ethics**

*May only be pursued as a minor stream after year two

**May only be pursued as a major stream in the BSc; MSci students may only take it as a minor.

Core streams

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

Optional modules

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

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 modules

You can select one optional module worth 0.5 credits.

Core stream

At least three out of four credits must be taken in your major stream. This includes a mandatory research project that may be 1.5 or 2.0 credits, depending on the discipline.

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 modules, 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 MSci.


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 (2012-2014) of this programme include:

  • Graduate Chemist, BP
  • Business Intelligence Analyst, BIPB
  • Full-time student, PhD in Petroleum Engineering at Imperial College London
  • Nuclear Research Scientist, National Physics Laboratory
  • Project Manager, Wolters Kluwer

*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 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2017/18 academic year and are for the first year of the programme only.

UK/EU students
£TBC (2017/18 - see below)
Overseas students
£23,710 (2017/18)

UK/EU undergraduate fees are currently (August 2016) capped at 9,000 and UCL charges fees at the level of that cap. This cap on UK/EU undergraduate fees is currently under review by the UK Government and may be subject to increase for the year commencing 2017 and for each year of study thereafter. Fees for overseas students may be subject to an annual increase in subsequent years of study by up to 5%.

Please see the full details of UCL's fees and possible changes on the UCL Current Students website


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

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 2017


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

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