Natural Sciences MSci
Natural Sciences MSci (2024)
Natural Sciences enables students to combine science subject areas, known as streams, reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of high-quality, internationally leading research undertaken at UCL. The BSc programme follows the same structure as the first three years of the MSci.
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme startsSeptember 2025
Application deadline29 Jan 2025
UCAS course code
- Mathematics and at least one of Biology, Chemistry and Physics required. Biology, Chemistry or Physics preferred as third subject.
- Please note: 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.
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 4.
Contextual offer information
Contextual offers are typically one to two grades lower than the standard offer. Grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.
- A total of 19 points in three higher level subjects including grade 6 in Mathematics and at least one of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, with no higher level score below 5. For Mathematics, the programme will accept either 'Analysis and Approaches' or 'Applications and Interpretation' at higher level. Biology, Chemistry and Physics preferred as third subject.
Contextual offers are typically one to two grade boundaries (equivalent to A levels) lower than the standard offer. IB Diploma grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.
UK applicants qualifications
For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:
Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with a minimum of 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit, all from Level 3 units. Please note, where subject specific requirements are stipulated at A level we will review your Access to HE syllabus to ensure you meet the subject specific requirements prior to a final decision being communicated.
Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.
D2,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. To include Mathematics and at least one of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Physics, Chemistry and Biology preferred as third subject.
A1,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A1,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher). To include Mathematics and at least one of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Advanced Higher. Physics, Chemistry and Biology preferred as third subject.
Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.
Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.
Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades A*AA. To include Mathematics and at least one of Physics, Chemistry or Biology.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
Access and widening participationUCL is committed to widening access to higher education. If you are eligible for Access UCL you do not need to do anything in addition to the standard UCAS application. Your application will be automatically flagged when we receive it.
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates
The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) prepare international students for a UCL undergraduate degree who don’t have the qualifications to enter directly. These intensive one-year foundation courses are taught on our central London campus.
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: ucl.ac.uk/upc.
English language requirements
The English language level for this programme is: Level 2
Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.
A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.
The vision behind the Natural Sciences Programmes is to offer distinctive cross-disciplinary subject combinations that would not be available within any single department, by exploiting a vast range or existing scientific learning opportunities.
We want our students to be comfortable crossing artificial subject boundaries, collaborating, and making connections in their professional life, whilst also benefitting from a deep level of expertise and knowledge that ensures they can compete on specialist terms for employment or further study with graduates from single discipline programmes.
We achieve this balance through carefully structured curricula that enable our students to access teaching across departments and divisions, at all undergraduate levels of study. Many classes are taken alongside students who are studying for degrees in a single discipline.
The programme is sub-divided into many different subject “streams”, which broadly reflect major research themes and similar specialist science degree subjects. A combination of two streams is selected early in the programme from a long list of available options and is followed for the duration of the degree. The curriculum design for each stream combination ensures that in years one and two there is strong cross-disciplinary emphasis on core knowledge, whilst in the third and fourth years there is scope for students to exercise their diverse interests.
The first three years of the MSci follow the same structure of our BSc programme. In the fourth year, you will deepen and extend your knowledge of one stream by undertaking a major research project as well as specialist taught study.
The BSc programme follows the same structure as the first three years of the MSci. If students are unsure whether to pick the BSc or MSci, they are advised to apply for the MSci initially, although transfer between the two programmes up to the end of the third year is straightforward.
What this course will give you
Ranked in the top 6 in the UK by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023 for Natural Sciences, our degree programmes allow you to study a distinctive cross-disciplinary science curriculum by combining classes across different departments.
We want you to be comfortable crossing artificial subject boundaries, collaborating, and making connections in your professional life, whilst also benefitting from a level of expertise and knowledge that ensures you can compete on specialist terms for employment or further study with graduates from single discipline programmes.
You will study science subjects with the same rigour and quality as students on single subject programmes. Many of you classes will be taken alongside students who are studying for degrees in a single discipline.
Teaching and learning
In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 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 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
Upon successful completion of 480 credits, you will be awarded a MSci (Hons) in your chosen Natural Sciences stream.
Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.
Options are available from within the fields of Genetics, Biomedical Sciences, Molecular and Cell Biology, Neuroscience and Psychology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Earth Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, Science and Technology Studies
The main features of the programme may be described as follows:
The broad foundation - You will begin by choosing a foundation programme according to your subject interests and background. This will provide a broad coverage of selected scientific topics and perspectives, mathematical know-how and computer practice.
The stream combination - You will choose two complementary science subjects (streams) from the list of allowed combinations. The combinations are designed to lead to specialist knowledge rather than an overview of an entire discipline. The choice is made early in your first year and followed for the rest of the degree.
The degree core - Natural Sciences core modules will challenge you to work in groups with other Natural Sciences students and to develop your skills as a science professional, for instance by completing a group computer investigation, producing a piece of science communication, or designing a science exhibition.
The major - In year three you will designate one stream as the “major” and undertake a greater proportion of your studies in that area. If you take the integrated Masters course you must define a major stream as preparation for a research project and Masters-Level taught courses undertaken in the final year.
Information on the allowed stream combinations and stream-specific entry requirements can be found on the Natural Sciences website.
In the first term you will select three foundation modules from the following six areas, serve as an introduction to the subject areas of the streams that are offered. You will make your selection according to your background qualifications and scientific interests:
- Biological and Life Sciences
- Earth Sciences
- Physics and Astronomy
- Science and Technology Studies
You also will take an appropriate module in mathematics, tailored to your background and foundation module choices.
You will then choose two streams, to be studied from the first year second term onwards, subject to the allowed stream combinations.
The programme offers streams in the following areas
- Biomedical Sciences
- Genetics, Evolution and Environment
- History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
- Inorganic and Materials Chemistry
- Mathematics and Statistics*
- Medical Physics
- Molecular and Cell Biology
- Organic Chemistry
- Neuroscience and Psychology
- Physical Chemistry
* May only be pursued as a minor stream after year two
Information on the available streams, allowed stream combinations and stream-specific entry requirements can be found on the Natural Sciences website.
You will take 45 credits from each of your two streams. Within your streams there may be some modules that are compulsory and some that are recommended, as well as options that you can choose if they do not create a timetable clash that cannot be resolved.
At the end of the second year, you will choose one of the streams as a major stream.
You get to chose 15 credits from a list of core modules in year 2:
NSCI0036 Programming For Scientists - students learn the fundamentals of coding in the Python programming language, one of the most popular programming languages which is widely used in science and other disciplines. They perform computations, analyse and present data and make predictions, and will be in a position to learn more sophisticated computational techniques including mathematical modelling.
NSCI0038 Science For All - students reflect on and understand inequity in science learning and in the production of scientific knowledge; and to learn about methods and practices being developed to address some of the issues. They will think about creative forms of engagement through visiting a number of sites where informal science learning may take place and learn how to conduct effective evaluations. Building on this reflective and theoretical foundation, they work in teams to plan, create, and evaluate a science outreach activity.
NSCI0039 Science Communication - students will examine various forms of science communication and consider how the content of the message may be affected through communication. They are also be encouraged to reflect on exclusionary practices in science communication to engage with the distrust felt by some members of society towards science and scientists. They learn how to craft effective communications for different types of audiences and explore some possible ways of challenging exclusionary practices.
You can select one elective module in year two, worth 15 credits. Your elective may be selected from any department within UCL, if you meet the pre-requisites and are given permission by the department that teaches it.
You will take 45 credits in your minor stream and 75 credits in your major stream. The credit for the major stream includes a compulsory 15 credit literature review module. Within your streams there may be some modules that are compulsory and some that are recommended, as well as options that you can choose if they do not create a timetable clash that cannot be resolved.
You will take NSCI0004 - Literature Project. This module involves writing a critical review of published work in a key topic area related to your major stream. After completing the module you should be able to:
- Identify and develop a review topic in consultation with UCL academics
- Interrogate appropriate research databases using search terms to find relevant literature
- Critically assess the literature and make judgements about research quality
- Plan and time-manage your review independently
- Develop a professional researcher-researcher relationship with a supervisor
- Write a fully referenced review describing a research topic
- Construct and present an oral presentation for a scientific audience
- Communicate scientific concepts to experts and non-experts alike
At least 90 out of 120 credits must be taken in your major stream. This includes a mandatory research project that may be 45-75 credits, depending on the discipline.
A variety of teaching methods are employed, including lecture classes, practical sessions such as laboratory, computing practical sessions or fieldwork (dependent on stream choice), and small-group tutorials.
You will also be expected to spend a substantial amount of time on coursework and private study.
Some streams involve optional modules with field trips, typically these are in Earth Sciences.
Contact hours can vary from stream to stream, reflecting how different scientific disciplines may be more practical and laboratory based or theoretical and involve extensive reading or searching of literature. Expect something in the range of 20-35 hours of in person and private study a week.
Each module has its own intended learning outcomes, which are used to align the individual assessments. For example, practical assessments such as lab reports or scientific computing assignments may be designed to help you develop techniques of analysis and enquiry, and/or analyse data to draw conclusions.
Group work will allow you to tackle larger and more complex problems and develop your professional and collaborative skills, whilst independent work will allow you to demonstrate and explore your initiative and develop your critical skills.
Examples of assessment you may encounter include written examinations, oral examinations or presentations, podcast/video assessments, poster assessments, practical assignments and reports, multiple choice questionnaires, quizzes, and coursework problem sheets. Many of your modules will feature an unseen examination component that carries a large proportion of the marks, whilst some modules are entirely coursework based.
The foundation of your career
Our programme is one of the largest and most comprehensive Natural Sciences courses in the UK. Our graduates have progressed to a diverse range of exciting graduate careers, including research, teaching, finance, management, consulting, technology, and science journalism, to name just a few.
On completion of your degree you will be able to:
- demonstrate coherent, detailed knowledge in two complementary scientific disciplines
- apply accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry
- describe and comment upon current scientific research and advanced scholarship
Crucially, you will also benefit from the opportunity to adapt and apply your learning across boundaries, developing your abilities to draw connections between topics and develop unique insights. This may make you a highly attractive candidate for some some career opportunities.
You should expect to compete successfully for jobs and further study opportunities in the sectors relevant to your main areas of study. Recent graduates have gone into areas such as technology, finance, law and the civil service. Further postgraduate study is also a common destination for leaving students. The most popular industry sectors for Natural Sciences graduates include:
- Accountancy & Financial Services
- IT, Technology & Telecomms
- Publishing, Journalism, or Translation
- Teaching or other educational activities
During your studies you will gain experience using e-learning technologies and you will produce a variety of outputs such as word-processed documents, posters and infographics, presentations, or recordings. You will write your own computer code and will develop your oral and written communication of science through a diverse range of assessments.
Problem solving and data analytic skills are extensively developed across a large fraction of the modules that you will have access to, and the ability to apply these skills to tackle unseen and interdisciplinary problems is challenged and evidenced via project work. Independent critical thinking and creativity are similarly encouraged and developed. All this project work requires excellent team work and leadership skills, and ability to manage projects. You will be trained in these skills in the programme core modules. Some students develop these attributes further via roles such as Student Academic Representative, Transition Mentor, or leadership roles within the NatSci Student Society.
In the third year literature project module, “critique” and “insight” are key assessment criteria, and the meanings of these terms are discussed in workshops. You will develop your critical thinking and creativity as you move through the programme, via assessments requiring increased levels of sophistication such as open-ended and long-form essay questions or journal clubs.
These attributes are common to all Natural Sciences students, but you will develop greater sophistication in some aspects through the study of your two streams. For instance, students who specialise in Mathematics and Statistics or Physics or those who take a computational project in year four can expect to develop high levels of proficiency in computing; students who take History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science can expect to become highly developed communicators with excellent understanding of ethical issues in science. Some students may also have opportunities to use specialist instrumentation.
AccreditationSociety for Natural Sciences Accredited Degree. These accredited programmes have achieved the standards set out in the Society’s accreditation framework and are recognised as offering outstanding quality interdisciplinary science education, providing students with excellent learning opportunities and skills development to prepare them for future careers in research, education, business or industry.
Fees and funding
Fees for this course
|Tuition fees (2024/25)
|Tuition fees (2024/25)
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2024/25 academic year. The UK fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2024/25 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.
Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.
Typically there are not additional associated costs that students are likely to incur, although this may vary from stream to steam. There are field trips on the Earth and Environment and Geophysical Sciences streams, although all such modules are optional. Students are typically expected to cover train travel and smaller costs such as lunches, which in total can cost between £200-400.
A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).
Funding your studies
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.
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.
We would like to receive applications from students who: • excel in (and enjoy) more than one area of science • appreciate different scientific perspectives • can make links between traditional subjects or disciplines • wish to develop a scientific specialisation • are resilient, determined and enjoy a challenge • are independent, organised, resourceful
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.
For further information on UCL's selection process see: How we assess your application.
We will normally 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. In circumstances where additional information is needed, we may contact you to request this or invite you to an interview (which may be conducted remotely, online). Your personal statement should clearly demonstrate your interest in sciences and the rationale for applying to the Natural Sciences degree. If you apply before the UCAS application deadline, you will be invited to attend a departmental open day, which may be either online or on campus. This will give you an opportunity to meet with staff and current students, and to hear more about our department and university. If it is possible for you to visit UCL before accepting an offer of a place, we encourage you to do so. This will help you to decide if the university environment seems like a place where you will be happy studying for three or four years.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.