What does studying Science at University entail?
On the face of it, much of the syllabus and manner of teaching Science at university is similar to the way it is taught at the senior level at school. There are lectures and textbooks that cover theory, lab work and tutorials. However, there is one major difference. That is the focus on research providing new insights.
It is this difference that attracts many students to university-level Science. Rather than treading in the footsteps of others, they will be breaking new ground – and that is exciting. Those students will be mentored by those at the cutting edge of research – and they are gatekeepers of the latest finds in the chosen field of study. Adding to the excitement is the fact that students may find themselves directly contributing to research that is reshaping our understanding of science. Securing a degree in science could open the door t you working for a range of different science companies, one of these being immunoassay companies.
It is this journey of discovery that excites many. Building on the foundations of those who have contributed to understanding but also advancing to degree-level and pushing the boundaries of that knowledge, as well as fine-tuning the tools that researchers use to advance various scientific disciples.
Science is at the root of understanding the world – and indeed the universe, and as such it offers a multitude of study paths and disciples for the prospective Science student. That student must decide whether they want to focus on a broad degree such as Physics, Chemistry or one of the Biological Sciences. But there are also ‘niche’ subjects such as Astrophysics or Microbiology.
For many a broader degree simply makes sense – it provides a solid grounding in theory and broad conceptual understanding during the first year of study. It is the foundation of a specialist career. The student will be exposed to different fields – and this can be invaluable in making a decision about specialisation later.
However, there are many people who are focused on a particular scientific area prior to even attending their first lecture. For these students learning about unrelated subjects can be a distraction from their focus area. A great example is a specialisation in Marine Biology. Sitting through a physics lecture will not provide value – and can quickly lead to boredom.
By choosing a speciality (such as the Marine Biology example above) the student has all the knowledge that they need to secure a job in that field the moment they have their degree, without the time-consuming effort that is required to get a postgraduate qualification.
How many years does it take to get a Science degree?
Once you have decided on a focus area you will need to select which courses you will take. It is at this point that you will have a choice – a three-year or four-year course, and within those parameters which degree would best suit your needs.
- The popular ‘Bachelor of Science’ (BSc) degree (taking three years to complete).
- The advanced BSc degree with an extra year abroad or vocational experience in the industry (four years in total).
- A ‘Master of Science’ (MSc). The first three years are (for all intents and purposes) the same as the BSc, but there is an extra year for the Masters work.
Each of these approaches has its pros and cons. Careful thought is required to make the right choice. It is worth noting that a year spent on the job as part of getting a qualification provides invaluable real-world experience. You will build up a database of contacts – and even learn about job opportunities.