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Undergraduate prospectus 2021

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Natural Sciences BSc

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 enables students who wish to maintain a breadth of science subjects to follow a route of study combining a range of core and optional modules to gain a good grounding in two chosen streams.

Covid-19 programme updates

To check whether there are updates to degrees starting in September 2020 due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) please view the 2020 degree information by clicking on the "2020 entry" link above or visit Degrees 2020 and search for your degree programme.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2021
UCAS code
CFG0
Duration
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2021
Location
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades
A*AA
Subjects
Any two subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics.
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.
GCSEs
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 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.

Contextual offer

Grades
AAB (more about contextual offers)
Subjects
Any two subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics.
GCSEs
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 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

Points
39
Subjects
A score of 19 points in three higher level subjects including grade 6 in two from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics, with no score lower than 5.

Contextual offer

Points
36 (more about contextual offers)
Subjects
A score of 17 points in three higher level subjects including 6 in 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 28 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit. Please note, where subject specific requirements are stipulated at A level we may review your Access to HE syllabus to ensure you meet the subject specific requirements prior to a final decision being communicated.

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

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

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades A*AA. To include any two subjects from Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry or Biology.

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 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 core stream structure provides you with module options from across a spectrum of disciplines - physical, life and brain sciences.

  • You may broaden your knowledge further by taking 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.

  • 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 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).

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. 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.

All natural sciences students undertake a common mathematics module and three "foundation" modules in the first term of their first year.  The foundation modules cover broad science subject areas and help students get a sense of what a subject is like at university level.  Students narrow down these three areas to their two streams by the second term.

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.

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BSc (Hons) in your chosen Natural Sciences stream.

Modules

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.

Compulsory module(s)

The first term comprises a compulsory mathematics module taken by all students and a variety of foundation modules introducing the streams that are offered.

You will select three foundation modules from the following six areas:

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

Core streams

You will then choose two core streams, to be studied from the second term onwards, from the following areas:

Astrophysics
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
Physics
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 45 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 15 credits during your second year. This can be an additional module within your streams or taken outside the main Natural Sciences subject areas, for example in foreign languages, management, etc.

Core streams

Major stream: You will take 60 credits in your major stream including a compulsory literature review (15 credits).

Minor stream: You will take 45 credits in your minor stream.

Optional modules

You can select one optional module worth 15 credits during your third year.


Your learning

A variety of teaching methods are employed, including lecture classes, practical sessions such as laboratory 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.

Contact hours can vary from stream to stream, reflecting how different scientific discplianes may be more practical and laboratory based or theoretical and involve extensive reading or searching of literature. 

Assessment

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.

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

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Careers

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.

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 2021/22 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 2021/22 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK students
£9,250 (2021/22)
Overseas students
£31,200 (2021/22)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

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 £200-300.

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

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

Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.

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 2021



Selection

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 a departmental open day. This will be relatively informal and will give you 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.

Additionally you will be invited to an online, virtual, open day.  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.


UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.


Page last modified on 28 September 2020