Natural Sciences (Life and Physical Sciences) BSc, 3-4 years

Start date:

2021

Course information

Typical offer A*AA-AAB

UK/EU fee £9,250

UCAS code FCG0

International fee £21,515

Institute code L34

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281
mbspadmissions@le.ac.uk

Course enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 2907
nsadmin@le.ac.uk

Natural Sciences website

This combined science degree is built on inter-disciplinary research. This means you’ll cover all the fundamentals of the physical and life sciences, but you’ll also dive into advanced areas like astrobiology, molecular analysis and biophysics.

Course description

Course description

Whether you take a three-year BSc or a four-year MSci, your degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Leicester will provide you with a truly integrated, research-led course.

Our multi-award winning degrees are designed around a core set of bespoke Natural Science modules. You will study fundamental and advanced scientific concepts from the life and physical sciences, enabling you to acquire a sound knowledge across the disciplines.

But our course doesn’t simply teach science - it creates scientists. We use a research-based approach to learning and teaching. Our bespoke modules are interdisciplinary in content - exploring the connections between traditional science subjects and allowing you to apply your knowledge to tackle cutting-edge scientific issues.

Our Natural Sciences modules use a combination of real-world research questions and authentic assessments (known as problem-based learning) to provide numerous opportunities to practice confronting topical and relevant scientific problems in novel situations, for example forensic science and artificial limbs.

The course’s strong research focus reflects the University’s outstanding culture of interdisciplinary research: from green chemistry to synthetic biology; from sustainable development to astrobiology. Our experts in the relevant fields support your learning through interactive sessions. This means that, as well as traditional lectures, your learning will involve interactive problem-solving workshops, regular tailored feedback sessions and one-to-one tutorials with academic staff allowing you to build transferable skills and confidence alongside your scientific knowledge

Our first year is designed and delivered solely for Natural Sciences students. This allows you to concentrate on one of the following specialisms in your second and third years, alongside bespoke Natural Sciences interdisciplinary modules:

  • Chemical Science
  • Molecular and Cellular Science
  • Physical Science
  • Ecological and Zoological Science

The emphasis on research skills continues throughout the course. You will have the chance to run your own scientific journal and conduct your own scientific inquiry within one of the University of Leicester research labs. This is excellent preparation for a career in academia, scientific industry or other career pathways - having gained a wide range of transferable skills.

We have a diverse, inclusive and vibrant student community in Natural Sciences. Our small cohort size, regular interactive group work activities and dedicated Natural Sciences social learning space means you will get to know your course mates and tutors well. Graduates often remark they have made some of their closest friends through the course.

Download a prospectus (PDF, 11MB)

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • A/AS-levels: A*AA-AAB including two science subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Maths, Further Maths and Physics. Two AS-levels considered in place of one A-level. General studies accepted. NB. If you do not have Maths at A-level you must have either Core Maths or Maths AS-level at grade A.
  • EPQ with A-levels: typical offer AAB + EPQ at grade B. EPQ must be in a science related subject
  • Access to HE (Science): 45 credits at level 3, 30 at Distinction
  • International Baccalaureate: Pass diploma with 34 points including grade 6 and 5 in at least two HL relevant science subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Maths and Physics. Plus grade 7 in Maths SL if not taken as a Higher level subject.
  • BTEC: Please contact mbspadmissions@le.ac.uk with details of your subject area and module content plus your GCSE results.

Other national and international qualifications considered. If you do not meet the entry requirements for this course, you can apply for the International Foundation Year – Engineering and Technology run by the Global Study Centre. The GSC provides academic support to help you progress to your chosen undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester.

We also have a Natural Sciences With Foundation Year (BSc) if  your A-level subjects don’t match our entry criteria, or you don’t quite have the entry requirements to apply.

Second year entry may be possible with suitable qualifications.

Selection Process

When considering your application, we will look for evidence that you will be able to fulfil the objectives of the course and achieve the standards required. We will take into account a range of factors including previous exam results.

All applicants are invited to an interview here in Leicester, where you can meet the teaching team and tour the facilities.

English Language Requirements

IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.


International Qualifications

Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

Countries list

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

UK and EU Students

Starting in 2021

The University of Leicester has made the decision to keep fees for EU students at the same level as UK student fees for this year, despite this no longer being a UK Government requirement.

  • £9,250 in your first year. Tuition fees are subject to government regulations and may change in future years
  • Year Abroad: your fee will be £1,250 for that year

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

International Students

Starting in 2021

  • £21,515 per year
  • Year Abroad: £5,378.75, which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Careers and employability

Careers and employability

"I can't credit Natural Sciences enough for where I am now in my career; not only did it give me the knowledge to progress to study an MSc, it provided me with invaluable skills in problem solving, working with people and time management skills I use every single day in my professional life"
Siobhan, Forensic Scientist for the Metropolitan Police - graduated in 2015

Over the last decade graduates from our Natural Sciences courses have gone on to work in a wide range of sectors and industries including

  • Forensic science
  • Medicine
  • Academic research
  • Data analytics/management
  • Consultancy
  • Teaching
  • Scientific support (sales, recruitment, conference planning, technical support)
  • The Civil Service
  • Science communication (museum, broadcasting and publishing sectors)
  • Engineering
  • IT project management
  • Sustainability
  • The NHS (testing, clinical trials)

Career Development Service

Get career-ready at Leicester with guidance from our award-winning Career Development Service. We're here to give you a lifetime offer of support, even after graduation. Our team of specialist careers advisers and mentors will help you every step of the way. From supporting you with CVs and interviews, to volunteering opportunities and placements, we're here to help you reach your professional goals.

Related courses

Related courses



Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

We are committed to providing skills and knowledge to help prepare you tackle global challenges. We have mapped our undergraduate degrees for learning which aligns to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This degree includes learning which relates to the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Find out more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Course structure

Year 1

Year 1

The interdisciplinary nature of the course begins in year 1, where you will cover a range of topics, as well as the role of science in ensuring a sustainable society. You will be introduced to key laboratory, computing and research-based problem solving skills.

Modules

This is the same as Year 1 of the MSci.

At the end of your first year, you will choose one of four pathways. These have some shared modules and some specialist modules. The pathways available are:

  • Chemical Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Molecular and Cellular Science
  • Ecological and Zoological Science

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Chemical Sciences Pathway

Chemical Sciences Pathway

The Chemical Sciences pathway is the central hub that keeps you at the interface of physical and biological sciences and connected to all the options available to you as a Natural Scientist. It will appeal if you like not only grounding chemistry in physical chemistry, but also explaining biology with biological chemistry. Your learning will span the structures and transformations that bridge from atoms into cells. You will have the opportunity to study and undertake research projects in chemistry for health and medicine; chemistry for energy and the environment; and chemistry for technology and materials. By the end of your degree, you will have acquired a molecular view of the natural world.

Year 1

The first year is common to all four Natural Sciences pathways – see ‘Year 1’ tab for details.

Year 2

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Between Years 2 and 3 you can spend a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad (see separate tab).

Year 3

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Plus your Research Project 3

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Physical Sciences Pathway

Physical Sciences Pathway

The Physical Sciences pathway is the most mathematical of all of the options. This pathway is ideal if you like not only extracting trends from data, but also constructing predictive models that explain the behaviour of the world around you. You will study the fundamental laws that underpin everything that surrounds us, from the sub-atomic scale up to interstellar scales. You will have the opportunity to study and undertake research projects in Earth Observation, Space Systems, Astrophysics and Mathematical/Computational modelling.

Year 1

The first year is common to all four Natural Sciences pathways – see ‘Year 1’ tab for details.

Year 2

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Between Years 2 and 3 you can spend a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad (see separate tab).

Year 3

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Plus your Research Project 3

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Molecular and Cellular Science Pathway

Molecular and Cellular Science Pathway

The Molecular and Cellular Science pathway provides you with a broad understanding of genetics, biochemistry, physiology, and knowledge of the mechanisms behind human disease. You will study how the systems of life are organised and controlled at the molecular and cellular level, as well as the physiology of the human body. Genomics will be approached through both molecular genetics and bioinformatics analysis. You will also have focused studies in evolution, origins of disease and the molecular basis of cancer. This breadth and depth of knowledge will give you access to a wide range of research projects in Biological Sciences.

Year 1

The first year is common to all four Natural Sciences pathways – see ‘Year 1’ tab for details.

Year 2

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Between Years 2 and 3 you can spend a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad (see separate tab).

Year 3

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Plus your Research Project 3

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Ecological and Zoological Science Pathway

Ecological and Zoological Science Pathway

The Ecological and Zoological Science pathway is the option for you if you want to understand how organisms interact with each other and the natural environment. You will study how the world is structured - from the genetic level to the ecosystem level; and how animals function - from the neurological level to the population level. A key component of this pathway are field skills, which are developed through a range of local and international field trips (currently Leicestershire, Devon and Brazil). By the end of this pathway, you will have the ability to design and conduct field studies, as well as the statistical skills to analyse experimental data. In your final year, you will carry out an independent research project, which can be conducted locally with our environmental management team or internationally with a partner organisation.

Year 1

The first year is common to all four Natural Sciences pathways – see ‘Year 1’ tab for details.

Year 2

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Between Years 2 and 3 you can spend a Year in Industry or a Year Abroad (see separate tab).

Year 3

Core Natural Sciences modules

Specialised modules

Plus your Research Project 3

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year Abroad or Year in Industry (optional)

Year Abroad or Year in Industry (optional)

If you want to, you can spend your third year studying abroad at one of our partner institutions or working on an industrial placement. Alternatively, you can opt to continue studying at the University and complete your degree in three years.

NB. A year spent abroad or on an industrial placement still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See our Fees and Funding section for details.

Year Abroad

Studying abroad is not just for people who are interested in travelling and meeting new people. It is about acquiring life skills that are becoming increasingly significant for a wide range of jobs in our modern globalised society. Whether you go on to work in the private sector, the state sector, a non-governmental organisation or become self-employed you will find the experience invaluable. Find out more from our Study Abroad Unit.

The Natural Sciences programme at Leicester has links with several European universities, administered through the Erasmus+ scheme. If you are eligible for a loan from Student Finance you can apply for a travel grant from them. Languages courses, at both beginners and advanced level, are available through the University’s Languages at Leicester scheme. 

  • For the latest information on the future of the Erasmus+ scheme at UK universities please see our Brexit microsite

We have links with the following universities:

We also have links with some universities outside Europe. If you are receiving financial assistance from Student Finance your support will continue and you may also be eligible to apply for additional travel grants or scholarships.

Year in Industry

An industrial placement is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of laboratory work - and will normally be a paid position, more than offsetting the additional cost of the extra year.

Industrial placements are limited and are awarded through a competitive selection process, based on your performance in your first year. Previous students on similar courses have worked for pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Oxford Biomedica and GlaxoSmithKline, and in research institutions such as the Animal Health Institute and Kew Gardens.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Why Leicester?

Our course is truly integrated and research- led. All our core modules are interdisciplinary in content and are taught through a research-based learning approach, allowing you to explore new areas and apply what you've learned in practical and relevant ways. A range of specialism pathways in subsequent years allow you to tailor your degree to your interests.

We produce an in-house journal, the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science, full of short, fun – but completely accurate! – papers. Entirely written and peer-reviewed by our Natural Sciences students, it’s a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of how academic publishing works.

In 2017 we were the only Natural Sciences course (and one of only six degrees in the UK) to be awarded the UK Higher Education Academy’s Collaborate Award for Teaching Excellence. Our approach supports you in gaining entry to postgraduate study or establishing a successful career once you have finished your degree.

You have the option of transferring to Year 1 of our Medicine degree at the end of the first year of Natural Sciences.

Reading list

See the types of texts you might read, over the summer, to get a feel for the course and arrive prepared and ready to go.

View a reading list for Natural Sciences degrees

Teaching and learning

The Natural Sciences modules use problem-based learning approach where, in small groups, you are set a real-world, open-ended research question. The teaching is designed to support you to respond to that research brief. This style of delivery lends itself to interactive sessions, including expert lectures, workshops working through the research problem and tutorials where you receive feedback from peers and academic staff.

These modules are assessed through authentic scientific assignments (or deliverables), which include laboratory portfolios, authoring and reviewing research papers, presentations and production of scientific posters, as well as more innovative assignments, such as museum podcasts, example textbook chapters or presentations to expert scientific panels. These varied assessments support you to develop a broad set of graduate skills, such as team work, resilience and independent learning. This ensures you are attractive to recruiters and your skills are transferable to future careers in science or further afield.

Independent learning

In addition to attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. To help with your independent learning, you can access the Library and our social study spaces in halls of residence.

Your contact hours will depend on the option modules you select. You can see details of the contact hours on individual module pages.

Academic support

Our Student Learning Development Team provides help in the following areas:

  • study and exam skills
  • academic writing
  • presentations
  • dissertations
  • numerical data skills
  • referencing sources

Our AccessAbility Centre offers support and practical help for students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties, including physical, mental health or mobility difficulties, deafness, or visual impairment.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. PhD research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is informed by the research we do. You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Apply now

Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
Course Natural Sciences (Life and Physical Sciences) Qualification BSc Duration 3 years UCAS Code FCG0 Availability Apply Now
Course Natural Sciences (Life and Physical Sciences) with a Year Abroad Qualification BSc Duration 4 years UCAS Code FCG0 Availability Apply Now
Course Natural Sciences (Life and Physical Sciences) with a Year in Industry Qualification BSc Duration 4 years UCAS Code FCG0 Availability Apply Now