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Natural Sciences

4T88 MSci Natural Sciences (4 yrs)

Our four year integrated Master of Natural Sciences programme is a unique interdisciplinary degree programme that is designed to make it possible for you to develop a bespoke degree programme shaped by your developing interests in science or by you career aspirations.

Introducing your degree

This is the course page for MSci Natural Sciences at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about Natural Sciences and what studying here involves.

In this course page we explain a range of key information about the course. This includes typical entry requirements, modules you can take and how assessment works. We also suggest career opportunities open to you as a University of Southampton graduate of MSci Natural Sciences.

If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any enquiries. See our contact us page for our telephone, email and address information.

Programme Overview

Programme Structure

Typical course content

This integrated master of natural sciences degree is based on a backbone of interdisciplinary modules. These modules focus on real-world contexts and provide you experience in acquiring, integrating and using knowledge from different scientific disciplines to solve problems or address scientific challenges. The use of real-world contexts means that you will also develop an appreciation and understanding of the broader issues, such as ethical or societal considerations, that arise in the application of science. You can tailor your integrated master of natural sciences degree to reflect your interests in science and your career aspirations by choosing optional modules from a comprehensive list of subjects in the sciences, engineering, mathematics, archaeology, psychology, management law and sociology.

Key Facts

Learn from the world's leading scientists who are tackling today's major issues.

Carry out original research of your own on a six month full-time placement.

Learn skills-based problem solving through dedicated multidisciplinary modules.

Take control of your degree by choosing from a wide range of optional modules.

Develop an understanding of how and why scientific thinking and innovation is important to society.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
QualificationGrade
GCE A-level

The standard offer is one A* and two A grades in science subjects (Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths). A minimum of AS Mathematics is required.

Scottish and Irish Highers, European and International Baccalaureate, Access and Foundation courses and overseas qualifications.

English Language

For details of our English Language entry requirements please see here

Selection process:

MSci Natural Sciences is a challenging degree programme demanding high levels of commitment, self-motivation and hard work. To help you decide if this is the right programme for you, we will take you through a self-assessment process including an in-depth interview.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Modules

Typical course content

This integrated master of natural sciences degree is based on a backbone of multidisciplinary  modules. These modules are based on real-world contexts and provide you experience in acquiring, integrating and using knowledge from different scientific disciplines to solve problems or address scientific challenges. The use of real-world contexts means that you will also develop an appreciation and understanding of the broader issues, such as ethical or societal considerations, that arise in the application of science. You can tailor your integrated master of natural sciences degree to reflect your interests in science and your career aspirations by choosing optional modules from a comprehensive list of subjects from the sciences and other disciplines.

Year 1

Semester One

You will complete NATS1004 Independent Learning Skills in Science. This is a core module, which means that it is compulsory and the minimum qualifying mark of 40% is required.

In addition to this you will choose three modules from the following list, these are compulsory (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken:

Pick three of the modules listed below:

CHEM1018: Modern Chemistry Fundamentals

CHEM1008: Environmental Chemistry 1: Aquatic Chemistry

CHEM1030 Practical Aspects of Modern Chemistry

BIOL1004 Patterns of Life and their evolution

 

BIOL1011 Foundations of physiology I

BIOL1007: The molecular basis of life I

BIOL1020: Bioanalysis

 

MATH1004: Introductory Mathematics for Chemists and Oceanographers

MATH1048 Linear Algebra I

MATH1050 Calculus I

MATH1052 Differential Equations

PHYS1004: Introduction to Photonics

PHYS1022: Electricity and Magnetism

PHYS1017: Physics Skills 1

SOES1005: Introduction to ocean biogeochemistry

SOES1007 Marine invertebrates

SOES1008: Earth and ocean system

SOES1010 Quantitative Earth & Ocean Science

FEEG1001 Design and Computing

FEEG1002 Mechanics, Structures and Materials

FEEG1003 Thermofluids

FEEG1004 Electrical and Electronic Systems

ISVR1032 Acoustics 1

ENVS1004 Environmental Science: Concepts and Communication

ENVS1005 Quantitative Methods

ENVS1006 Environmental Science: Research and Applications

COMP1202 Programming I

COMP1203 Computer Systems I

COMP1215 Foundations of Computer Science

PSYC1004 Science of Psychology

CRIM1003 Introduction to Criminology

Core
NATS1004
Independent Learning Skills in Science
NATS1003
Detecting the undetectable: Analytical Techniques in the Natural Sciences.
Semester Two

You will complete NATS1003 Detecting the undetectable: Analytical Techniques in the Natural Sciences. This is a core module, which means that it is compulsory and the minimum qualifying mark of 40% is required.

One further module (7.5 ECTS) to be chosen as an Elective Module from any NQF Level 6 modules offered across the University. In addition to this you will choose two modules from the list below, these are compulsory (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken.

Pick two of the modules listed below:

 

CHEM1023 A Chemist’s guide to modelling

CHEM1013 Bonding and Spectroscopy

CHEM1022 Modern Chemistry Fundamentals II

CHEM1027 Modern Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry

CHEM1028 Modern Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry

CHEM1029 Modern Fundamentals of Physical Chemistry

CHEM1030 Practical Aspects of Modern Chemistry

 

BIOL1001 Experimental and field ecology

BIOL1003 Ecology and Evolution

BIOL1005 Cellular & genetic mechanisms

BIOL1013 Cell communications- foundations of physiology II

BIOL1014 Foundations of physiology II

BIOL1020 Bioanalysis

BIOL1008 Molecular Basis of Life II

MATH1007 Mathematical methods for physical scientists

MATH1009 Mathematical methods for chemists

MATH1002 Mathematical Modelling

MATH1024 Introduction to Probability and Statistics

MATH1049 Linear Algebra II

MATH1051 Calculus II

SOES1002 Dynamic Earth

SOES1004 Physical Oceanography I

SOES1006 Introduction to marine ecology

SOES1009 The Living Earth

SOES1011 Introduction to Functional Marine Biology

SOES1012 Physics & Statistics for Oceanography

PHYS1011 Waves, Light & Quanta

PHYS1013 Energy and Matter

PHYS1019 Physics Skills 2

FEEG1001 Design and Computing

FEEG1002 Mechanics, Structures and Materials

FEEG1003 Thermofluids

FEEG1004 Electrical and Electronic Systems

ISVR1032 Acoustics 1

ENVS1004 Environmental Science: Concepts and Communication

ENVS1006 Environmental Science: Research and Applications

ENVS1007 Environmental Field Techniques and Applications

COMP1201 Algorithmics

COMP1204 Data Management

COMP1206 Programming 2

PSYC1009 Psychology of Social and Individual Wellbeing

Core
NATS1003
Detecting the undetectable: Analytical Techniques in the Natural Sciences.

Year 2

Semester One

You will complete NATS2002 Editing life: genetic engineering and synthetic biology. This is a compulsory module (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken.

One further module (7.5 ECTS) to be chosen as an Elective Module from other NQF Level 6 modules offered across the University.

In addition to this you will choose two modules from the following list, these are compulsory (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken:

Pick two of the modules listed below:

CHEM2001 Organic Reaction Mechanisms

CHEM2011 Artificial life: the application of chemistry to synthetic biology

CHEM2013 Atomic and Molecular Interactions

CHEM2015 Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry I

BIOL2002 Cell Biology

BIOL2010 Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry: The Flow of Genetic Information

BIOL2012 Exploring Proteins: Structure and Function

BIOL2004 Pure and applied population ecology

BIOL2008 Quantitative methods in biological and environmental science

BIOL2014 Neuroscience

BIOL2016 Pharmacology A

BIOL2039 Animal behaviour

SOES2011 Marine vertebrates

SOES2012 Fieldwork and key skills for geologists

SOES2018 Geochemistry

SOES2024 Coastal and estuarine oceanography I

SOES2025 Ocean Observing Measurements and Data

SOES2028 Further Mathematics for Oceanography

SOES2033 Structural Geology, Exploration Geophysics, GIS and Remote Sensing

SOES2034 Key Skills and Fieldwork for Geologists

SOES2030 Dale field marine biology fieldwork skills

SOES2035 Physics, Fieldwork & Key Skills for Geophysicists

ENVS2003 Freshwater Ecosystems

ENVS2007 Environmental Pollution

PHYS2023 Wave Physics

FEEG2001 Systems Design and Computing

FEEG2004 Electronic, Drives and Control

SESG2001 Materials

SESM2002 Electro–Mechanical Systems

SESM2007 Fluid Mechanics

ISVR2010 Electronics and Digital Audio Technology

ISVR2003 Vibration and Materials

UOSM2015 Sustainability in the Local and Global Environment

COMP2207 Distributed Systems and Networks

COMP2208 Intelligent Systems

COMP2209 Programming III

Core
NATS2002
Editing life: genetic engineering and synthetic biology
Semester Two

You will complete NATS2001 Creating an atmosphere: from pea-soupers to climate change. This is a compulsory module (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken.

One further module (7.5 ECTS) to be chosen as an Elective Module from any NQF Level 6 modules offered across the University.

In addition to this you will choose two modules from the following list, these are compulsory (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken:

Pick two of the modules listed below:

CHEM2016 Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry II

BIOL2001 Evolution

BIOL2003 Animal reproduction and development

BIOL2007 Plant development and function

BIOL2011 Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry: Molecular Cell Biology

BIOL2013 Molecular biology

BIOL2017 Pharmacology B

BIOL2018 Comparative physiology and biochemistry

BIOL2022 Immunology, infection and inflammation

BIOL2038 Microbiology - From the natural environment to disease

BIOL2040 Neural Basis of Behaviour

SOES2004 Igneous and metamorphic petrology

SOES2006 Phytoplankton and primary production

SOES2010 Physical oceanography II

SOES2012 Fieldwork and key skills for geologists

SOES2013 Sedimentary systems and processes

SOES2017 Ecological processes in the marine benthos

SOES2026 Introduction to marine molecular biology

SOES2027 Coastal and estuarine oceanography II

SOES2032 Palaeobiology

SOES2033 Structural Geology, Exploration Geophysics, GIS and Remote Sensing

SOES2034 Key Skills and Fieldwork for Geologists

SOES2035 Physics, Fieldwork & Key Skills for Geophysicists

CHEM2005 Aspects of Organic Synthesis

CHEM2012 Change and Equilibrium

ENVS2006 Environmental Impact Assessment

ENVS2008 GIS for Environmental Scientists

PHYS2001 Electromagnetism

PHYS2006 Classical Mechanics

FEEG2001 Systems Design and Computing

FEEG2002 Mechanics, Machines and Vibration

FEEG2003 Fluid Mechanics

FEEG2005 Materials and Structures

SESG2005 Engineering Design and Structural Analysis Methods

SESM2003 Linear Engineering Systems (Vibration)

SESM2005 Electronics for Mechanical Systems

SESA2003 Dynamics and Control

Compulsory
NATS2001
Creating and atmosphere: from pea-soupers to climate change

Year 3

Semester One

You will start NATS 3005 Research project in the Natural Sciences (15 ECTS) and you will complete NATS3007 Engineering the future: materials and devices. Both are compulsory (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken.

In addition, two further modules (15 ECTS) to be chosen as Elective Modules from any NQF Level 6 modules offered across the University.

Compulsory
NATS3005
Research Project in the Natural Sciences
NATS3007
Engineering the future: materials for devices
Semester Two

You will complete NATS 3005 Research project in the Natural Sciences and NATS3006 Drugs of the future: designing a magic bullet. Both are compulsory (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken.

In addition, two further modules (15 ECTS) to be chosen as Elective Modules from any NQF Level 6 modules offered across the University.

Compulsory
NATS3005
Research Project in the Natural Sciences
NATS3006
Drugs of the future: designing a magic bullet
Core
NATS3006
Drugs of the future: designing a magic bullet

Year 4

Semester One

Research Placement (30 ECTS)

Typically the placement will be with a research group in the University of Southampton, but it may be possible to set up placements at other Universities (in the UK or overseas) as well as in industry laboratories. You have a choice of placement as well as the opportunity to contribute to setting up a new placement if appropriate.

Compulsory
NATS6006
Imaging life at the cellular level
NATS6007
Research Placement in Natural Sciences
Semester Two

You will complete NATS6006 Imaging life at the cellular level. This is compulsory (i.e. the minimum qualifying mark of 25% is required) and must be taken. In addition, three further modules (22.5 ECTS) to be chosen as Elective Modules from other NQF Level 7 modules offered across the University.

Compulsory
NATS6006
Imaging life at the cellular level
Optional
NATS6008
Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Career Opportunities

This integrated master of natural sciences degree will equip you for a wide range of careers in science and other professions. During your degree, you will have developed key transferable skills in practical and analytical subjects together with independent-learning, advanced problem-solving and critical thinking abilities which are valued by employers throughout the world.

We expect many of our graduates will continue in research. MSci Natural Sciences is an ideal introduction to the rigours of PhD study and careers in academia.

Learning & Assessment

During this natural sciences degree you will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, practical classes, coursework and projects. You will also carry out an independent research project in your third year and a six month research placement in your fourth year.

During the first two years, you will develop generic and transferable skills, as well as practical skills, through compulsory and optional taught modules; in your third and fourth years, practical research projects will enable you to develop and practise these skills further.

There will be continuous assessment for the multidisciplinary modules and continuous assessment and written examinations at the end of each semester for all other modules. We will assess your experimental and research skills through laboratory reports, project and placement reports and presentations.

Mentoring Scheme

During your time in Southampton you will be part of a formal mentoring scheme, which starts with the Admissions Aptitude Interview and completes in the final year, following the award of your degree.  The Natural Sciences mentoring team will provide you with individual advice and guidance on modules choices in relation to your interests in science and career expectations. The mentoring team will also have an overview of your progress and on your acquisition of core knowledge and key skills; your mentor will sign off your module selections.

The Natural Sciences mentoring scheme includes:
- Your own named mentor
- An induction week ahead of the start of year 1 (week before Freshers’ Week), which will provide orientation, information on the NatSci programme structure, modules, courses, library and computer facilities as well as guidance on module choices appropriate to you. You will make your module choices for year 1 by the end of the induction week.
- A Programme handbook, module mini-guides and material on the web
- Library and academic skills packages.
- Academic and pastoral support from members of staff, including your mentor; this will include scheduled as well as informal meetings at appropriate occasions during the academic year.
- Access to all administrative and academic materials of the academic units that are part of the Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, including programme and individual module web sites and/or Blackboard (http://www.blackboard.soton.ac.uk).
- Access to all academic staff through an appointment system and e-mail.
- Access to administrative staff in the Faculty Student Offices during the normal working day.

Costs

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this programme typically also have to pay for:

TypeDescriptionCost
Printing and copyingCoursework such as essays, projects and dissertations may be submitted on line. In the majority of cases, though, students will be asked to provide a printed copy. The University printing costs are currently: A4 - 5p per side (black and white) or 25p per side (colour) A3 - 10p per side (black and white) or 50p per side (colour) Please note: Paper sizes not recognised by the printing devices will prompt you to select the size and then charge a minimum of 50p per black and white copy and a maximum of £1 per colour copy. You can pay for your printing by using the money loaders or by using print copy payment service by going to www.printcopypayments.soton.ac.uk Please remember that we are unable to refund any credit that has not been used by the end of your course, so please consider this when topping up your printing/copy account. Students entering Year 1 in 2015/16 will be given a printing allowance of £15 per semester each year. The University Print Centre also offers a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/printcentre/copyrooms/service.page They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. Details of current costs can be found here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/printcentre/exhibition/academicposters.page£0.05-1.00

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

TypeDescription
EquipmentApproved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentLaboratory and field equipment and materials: All materials required for laboratory or field work are provided. Where necessary, suitable specialist safety equipment will be provided.
EquipmentIT: Computer discs or USB drives - Students are expected to provide their own portable data storage device.
EquipmentIT: Software licenses - All software is provided.
EquipmentIT: Hardware - It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.
ClothingLab coats and safety spectacles: One laboratory coat and a pair of safety spectacles are provided at the start of the programme to each student. If these are lost the student must replace them at their own expense. The Students Union Shop stock these items.
ClothingField course clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses or OES run practicals on their boats, e.g. fleeces, waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
FieldworkLogistical costs (accommodation, insurance (travel/health), travel costs, immunisation/vaccination costs and other costs): For compulsory residential field courses accommodation and travel are normally provided though where necessary, you will be expected to cover the cost of getting to and from the departure point which may be an airport. You are usually expected to cover the costs of food and drink, although some courses may include meals. For optional field courses, you may be asked to make a contribution to the travel and/or accommodation costs. Undergraduates are automatically covered under the University’s travel insurance whilst on organised and supervised field courses. Participants should satisfy themselves that the cover provided is adequate for their needs. Those travelling independently in connection with their programme can be included under the University’s travel insurance upon application – there may be a cost attached to this. There are also opportunities to undertake field courses with another organisation, e.g. Operation Wallacea – for example see here: http://opwall.com/undergrad-research-assistants/dates-and-prices/ Where necessary students will need to arrange and pay for any vaccinations. Specific details on what additional costs there are detailed in the individual module profiles which can be found under the modules tab of the programmes details of the relevant academic unit.
PlacementsStudents who choose to go on an industrial placement at the end of Part 2 can expect to cover costs for health and travel insurance, accommodation and living expenses; travel costs; visa costs. This will vary depending on which country you are travelling to.
OtherParking costs: There may be a requirement to undertake work at Southampton General Hospital (SGH), for example during a final year research project. Students may need to cover costs for transport to travel to SGH or for car parking.
OtherTravel costs: Students who opt to undertake a module delivered at Marwell Wildlife will be responsible for their own travel expenses.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Study Locations

Natural Sciences, Highfield Campus

Natural Sciences is based at the heart of the University of Southampto...Find out more

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