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BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences

We live in a society that depends on science, but how many of us really understand the science behind the important issues that feature in the news? If you are fascinated by science but not yet sure whether your interest lies in - say - physics or biology, then this degree is for you. It starts with a wide-ranging introduction to highly topical areas of modern science, and then offers the chance to specialise as you develop your interests. Pathways include biological and health sciences; chemistry and analytical sciences; Earth sciences; environmental science; physics; and astronomy and planetary science. Flexible, accessible study arrangements mean you can do all the practical work near where you live, or online in your own home - or you can opt to take part in laboratory and field work at specific locations.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q64 Made up of: 360 credits
Entry
Requirements:

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree. However if you want to make sure you are prepared for studying science at this level, please have a look at the diagnostic quiz materials Are You Ready For Science which you can find on the Faculty's website. The materials will help you decide whether the recommended starting point for the degree is right for you, whether you need to do any preparatory study and, if you do, will point you in the right direction.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

By the time you graduate, you'll be an adaptable scientist with a range of transferable skills that are highly valued in the labour market - such as analytical, numerical and communication skills, teamworking, problem solving and proficiency in using computers. You'll also have a good understanding of where your strengths and interests lie, and be well prepared for your next step - whether it's further study or employment.

Science graduates are well placed to enter both scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment, so science graduates - particularly those who have good communication and interpersonal skills - are in demand. Employers also look for evidence of experience of the workplace to support the skills gained through the degree. To succeed, graduates will need to be flexible and multi-skilled, with the ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

This broad-based science degree aims to provide you with:

  • a lifelong interest in science through modules that are accessible to people of all educational backgrounds
  • an understanding of the roles of different scientific subjects
  • an enthusiasm for the study of science through understanding how scientific knowledge develops, and an appreciation of the limits of scientific knowledge
  • support and guidance to develop as an independent learner.

Learning outcomes

The degree provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree you will have systematic knowledge and critical understanding of:

  • the fundamental facts, concepts, principles, theories, classification systems and terminology used in the main branches of science
  • appropriate methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing scientific data and information
  • accuracy, precision, uncertainty, ambiguity in the context of science; the limits of current scientific knowledge; and the role of science in the world around us
  • a selected area of science, at or informed by research and/or literature at the forefront of the discipline.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • use and correctly apply knowledge and understanding of scientific facts, concepts, principles and theories in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • describe, critically analyse and interpret scientific information and data presented in a variety of ways, including texts, tables, graphs, diagrams and figures, numerical and mathematical descriptions and computer-based media
  • critically evaluate particular aspects of current scientific research.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • conduct practical investigations in a responsible, safe and ethical manner taking proper account of risk assessment and health and safety regulations
  • obtain, record, collate and analyse data derived from practical investigations, and interpret and report their significance in the light of underlying theory, practical issues and relevant information from other sources
  • initiate, design, conduct and report on investigations that may involve the acquisition of primary or secondary data
  • plan your own learning and be adept at time management and organisation so that you can work independently or with others in ways appropriate for continuing personal and professional development.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • locate scientific information from a variety of sources (e.g. textual, numerical, graphical, computer-based), including reviews and primary sources, and use it to address scientific problems
  • prepare, process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques, including the use of statistics
  • communicate scientific information accurately and effectively using written, visual and numerical forms in a style that suits purpose and audience
  • use mathematical skills appropriate to level and context
  • use ICT to enhance your own learning, for data analysis and for communicating scientific information to others
    work effectively with others to explore aspects of science.

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