What You Need To Know About Studying Science At A University In The UK

What does studying science at a university mean?

Taking science as a subject in university is somewhat similar to studying science while you are still in school. The subject will contain a combination of practice and theory through tutorials, labs, and lectures. Yet there are a few key differences which include a shift to cutting-edge research and its importance.

This is also what makes taking science as a subject in university a lot more exciting. The people that will be teaching you are currently conducting research on some of the topics you will learn about, which means you will be getting the most relevant and up-to-date knowledge in certain areas. You might also be offered the opportunity to add to this research while you are studying at university which could lead you to learn cutting-edge skills such as protein conjugation techniques.

Science is a subject that revolves around discovery. So even though it is important to find out about what other people have done already, degree-level science involves things that are yet to be discovered, and ways to find these things out.

Different Science Types

If you are interested in taking a course in science at university, you should first determine whether you are going after one of the broad degree titles, such as Chemistry, Physics, or Biological Sciences. Or maybe you are more interested in something that is more specialist like Astrophysics, Pharmacology, or Microbiology.

The broader degrees provide an introduction to a vast range of fields during the first year, and in many cases, you will then need to select a specialisation after a few years. This is a better option for those that are not yet sure about what they are interested in. Or the career path they would like to take.

However, if you have decided on the particular areas that interest you the most, it is much better to choose one of the specialist courses. This gives you the opportunity to learn about a particular area from the start in more detail. For instance, if you have decided to become a Marine Biologist, you may want to miss out on sitting through plant genetics and metabolism lectures contained in the first-year Biology course!

When you choose a specialist degree like Marine Biology, it will also mean that you will receive the qualifications that you need to go directly into a career in this particular field once you have graduated. If you take one of the broader degrees such as Biology, you will most likely need to take on postgraduate study before you will be able to get a job.

How Long Is A Science Degree? And Will I Get A Master At The End?

When you decide on the subject areas you are going to study, the courses you have chosen will still need to be narrowed down. You will also have to make a decision on whether to take on a 3 or a 4-year course. Here are some of the main options:

  • Standard Bachelor Of Science (BSc) Degree: 3 years
  • BSc Degree with one more year in the industry or abroad: 4 years
  • Master of Science (MSc) where the first 3 years are typically the same when compared to a BSc, but your master will be integrated into the final year: 4 years

There are pros and cons for each option, which is why you need to give careful thought to what is best for you. Spending one year in a particular industry is often helpful to gain experience, contacts, or even a job offer in the field you want to work in once you have graduated.