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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level A*AA
International Baccalaureate 38

Course details

The BSc in Natural Sciences is one of our most flexible courses. This well-established, challenging and rewarding degree is ideal if your interests span a range of subjects including at least one science. It offers the opportunity to build on your existing interests and explore new subjects.

Studying across disciplines, you’ll build a breadth and depth of knowledge and skills that you can put to use in a wide range of industries, in the sciences and across a wider range of professions. It also provides a springboard into postgraduate study.

There are two routes within this degree, the BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences and the BSc Joint Honours. Both routes offer the opportunity to transfer onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway after Year 2, extending your studies from three years to four.

Subjects are divided into three groups:

Group 1 includes Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology. At least half of your studies in the second and third years must be from the subjects listed in Group 1. Not all subjects can be taken together.

Group 2 includes Anthropology, Business, Economics, Geography and Philosophy.

Group 3 includes Sport and Education (excluding History of Art). These subjects are exclusive to the BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences route and no more than half of your studies in the second and third years can be made up of subjects in Groups 2 and 3. If you are interested in any Group 3 subjects, please speak to the Natural Sciences Admissions Selector.

You can find more information about the subjects on offer on the Natural Sciences webpages.

BSc Joint Honours

BSc Joint Honours degrees are available in the following combinations:

  • Biology and one of Anthropology, Chemistry, Geography, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology;
  • Chemistry and one of Biology, Earth Sciences, Mathematics or Physics;
  • Computer Science and one of Business, Mathematics or Physics
  • Earth Sciences and one of Biology, Chemistry or Geography;
  • Mathematics and one of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Philosophy, Physics or Psychology;
  • Physics and one of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics or Philosophy;
  • Psychology and one of Biology, Economics or Mathematics.

This route allows you to study two preferred subjects in all three years of study (in the first year there may be the opportunity to take modules in a third subject). You will graduate with a BSc Honours degree in two named subjects.

BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences

The BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences route offers more flexibility. You can combine ‘unapproved’ pairs of subjects, three subjects or begin a new subject in the second year.

You can choose to study the same three subjects each year. Alternatively, when you progress to Year 2 you may prefer to build on your first-year studies in one or two subjects and then combine advanced modules in these subjects with a new subject (or subjects).

Moving to your final year you can choose to pursue either two or three subjects, all of which you must also have studied in earlier years. With this route, you graduate with a BSc (Honours) degree in Natural Sciences with the main subjects listed on the degree certificate.

Course structure

Year 1

In Year 1 you can study a minimum of two subjects and no more than four, this provides a solid foundation for second year study. You can choose to specialise by taking up to four modules in one subject, and at least three of your Year 1 modules should be from the Faculty of Science.

For example, if you choose BSc Joint Honours in:

  • Biology and Earth Sciences, you must take core modules, which leaves you free to choose two optional modules from any subject on offer.
  • Economics and Mathematics, you must take core modules from these subjects leaving one free module from any subject.

To find out the number of core modules for each subject take a look at the Natural Sciences webpages.

Many BSc Natural Sciences students choose two modules from each of three subjects although other combinations are possible. This combination would normally allow progression in any or all three of these subjects. Subject and module choices will depend on entry requirements and your choices will be dependent on the University’s academic timetable.

Year 2

Striking a balance between breadth and depth you can study either two or three subjects in your second year. As in Year 1 you can specialise by taking up to four modules in one subject. For example, if you choose BSc Joint Honours degree in:

  • Mathematics and Physics, you must take five core modules which leaves you free to choose one module from these subjects to achieve an equal balance.
  • Biology and Psychology must take six core modules.

If you are studying for the BSc in Natural Sciences, your choices are only limited by progression and the academic timetable. You can build on one or two of the subjects studied in your first year, but you can also add a new subject by taking a first-year module in Year 2.

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement or year abroad)

In the final year you can choose either two or three subjects. It is possible to specialise in greater depth by taking up to five modules in one subject. For example, if you choose BSc Joint Honours degree in:

  • Chemistry and Earth Sciences, you must take two core modules in Chemistry and at least two modules from Earth Sciences with the remaining modules from these subjects, which could be none, one or two.
  • Business and Computer Science, you must take at least two modules from each subject with the remaining modules from these subjects.

The BSc in Natural Sciences offers continued freedom in your final year. This year includes a capstone module which is a final project designed to consolidate your learning. You will combine modules in subjects already studied to a higher level and the main subjects studied will be listed on the degree certificate.

Additional opportunities

For both routes you can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.


You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.


Methods of learning will vary according to subject choice but are likely to include lectures and small-group seminars alongside tutorials, workshops and practical classes. Using the latest resources, practical sessions may provide hands-on experience of the type of work performed by professionals in the various disciplines.

We place great emphasis on high-quality small-group teaching. The small-group format and guidance from your academic advisor help get more out of your studies.

As you progress to the final year there's an increased focus on self-directed learning and independent research as you begin to prepare for professional or postgraduate life.


All subjects are assessed by examinations, but there may be some element of continuous assessment in modules where there is a practical element. Assessment is designed to evaluate your knowledge and understanding of the material, test your critical thinking and determine your ability to relate your learning to real-world issues.

In your final year, you will be required to study modules where the content is student driven and involves independent thought and personal management of the work’s direction.

Entry requirements

Provisional subject preferences must be declared in decreasing order of interest (see here for further details of appropriate abbreviations). Using the first two subject preferences the offer is then augmented with specific grades as outlined above.

All applicants taking A levels will need three A levels with at least one Science (Biology; Human Biology; Chemistry; Mathematics; Physics.) The standard offer is A*AA and you will need specific A level grades to study:

  • Biology: A in either Biology or Chemistry.
  • Chemistry: A*A in any order in Chemistry and Mathematics.
  • Computer Science: A in Mathematics.
  • Economics: A in Mathematics.
  • Mathematics: Either A*A in any order in Maths and Further Maths at A level or A* in Maths plus A in AS Further Maths for students unable to take A2 Further Maths.
  • Physics: A*A in any order in Maths and Physics.
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking A levels as part of our offer.

All applicants wishing to study Psychology will need to have achieved Grade 5 (or grade B) in Mathematics at GCSE, or equivalent.

All applicants taking the International Baccalaureate will need a score of 38 points overall including either 766 or 666 at the Higher Level with at least one of these in a Science (Biology; Chemistry; Mathematics (analysis & approaches); Physics.) You will need specific Higher Level grades to study:

  • Biology: 6 in either Biology or Chemistry.
  • Chemistry: 76 in any order in Chemistry and Mathematics.
  • Computer Science: 6 in Mathematics.
  • Economics: 6 in Mathematics.
  • Mathematics: 7 in Mathematics.
  • Physics: 76 in any order in Mathematics and Physics.
  • If the augmented offer includes a 7 at the Higher Level in any subject, then the offer will be 766 at the Higher Level, otherwise, it will be 666 at the Higher Level.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
  • There is no advantage in applying for both MSci and BSc degrees.
  • Entry requirements are the same for both MSci and BSc degrees.
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Entry requirements are the same for both Natural Sciences degrees.

We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

The tuition fees for 2024/25 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Natural Sciences

Combined Honours graduates acquire a range of subject-specific skills coupled with adaptability and the capacity to make creative connections. They are highly employable in a diverse range of careers and sectors.

Natural Sciences graduates have the academic knowledge, flexibility and technical skills to take on roles including international development, UK Government, R&D or accounting and investment.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 91% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 91% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £31,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here

Department information

Natural Sciences

Real-world challenges often require multidisciplinary solutions. Our Combined Honours degrees transcend traditional subject boundaries, bringing together a range of ideas and disciplinary perspectives. Focus on two subjects from the outset, or choose a broader range of modules across three or four subjects. These highly flexible courses include the opportunity to undertake a year abroad or a placement year, to develop additional skills and enjoy new experiences.

Natural Sciences is a challenging and rewarding choice for science students who wish to study more than one subject. You can study for a BSc or MSci. Both qualifications allow you to design your own degree, majoring in at least one science, and choosing from a wide range of science, social sciences and philosophy subjects.

(Choices are subject to eligibility and timetable compatibility).

For more information see our department pages.


  • 90% of courses are in the UK Top 10 in The Complete University Guide 2024
  • 50th in the World for employer reputation in the QS World University Rankings 2024
  • Top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2024.


For a current list of staff, please see the Natural Sciences pages.


Durham University’s departments and services are spread across the historic city. As a Combined Honours student, you will have access to a wide range of facilities across multiple departments. While these will vary according to your choice of subjects, all of our departments are equipped with high-quality teaching and research equipment.

You will also benefit from excellent IT facilities including Learn Ultra, Durham’s virtual learning environment. You will have access to up to 1.6 million printed books, 25,000 eJournals and over 850,000 eBooks in the main library as well as specialist collections and archives that support teaching across the departments.


Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:



The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses.

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