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Museum of zoology sign

Natural Sciences

  • Director of Studies Dr Linda King (Biological) & Dr Noel Rutter (Physical)
  • Faculty Website

If you are fascinated by science, and want to study a number of areas of science at University level before specialising, then Natural Sciences is for you.

Gabriela doria_fiona gilsenan in the plant sciences department

Natural Sciences at ҹѰ

Natural Sciences at Cambridge combines a broad first year with increasing specialisation in the second year and total specialisation in the third (and in some disciplines, fourth) years. It is a busy, intense course and moves quickly. The greatest benefit of the Natural Sciences Tripos is that you do not choose one science in which to specialise until you have explored several at the University level. Hence you gain an exceptionally broad scientific base. Furthermore, you can choose to combine physical and biological science subjects, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of modern science.

Natural Sciences students at ҹѰ come from a diverse range of backgrounds, with some having left school in the last few years and others having had careers in other fields before embarking on the study of science at University. The cohorts are quite small, with around 4-6 students admitted to the subject each year. ҹѰ has one Director of Studies who oversees Physical Science subjects and one overseeing Biological Sciences. However they work closely together and Natural Sciences students are treated as a single cohort from the point of view of subject related academic and social events.

ҹѰ's location means that it is well located for those studying a wide range of science subjects. It is only a 5-10 minute bike ride to the West Cambridge Site (where a number of the physical sciences departments are located) and also to the City Centre (which is home to many biological sciences departments and also the location for many of the lectures in all subjects in the early years of the course).

You can find further information about studying Natural Sciences Tripos on the University's course . Detailed information is also available on the Tripos Prospective Undergraduates .

Charles Darwin bottles from the Beagle

Entry Requirements

The breadth of the Natural Sciences course means that the best preparation for the degree is to develop your knowledge base across a wide range of science and mathematics subjects at A Level (or equivalent). The majority of applicants take at least three science / mathematics subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Further Mathematics). Please consult the University's further information.

Applications

Applications to study Natural Sciences at ҹѰ are submitted through UCAS. The College additionally requires the completion of the Natural Science Admissions Assessment (NSAA) and an online interview, as detailed below.

Written Work

No written work submission is required.

Assessment

All applicants for Natural Sciences must register to take the Natural Science Admissions Assessment (NSAA). Full details on how to register for the NSAA can be found . The deadline to register for the NSAA is 29 September 2023. Further details can be found on the  page of the University website. 

Interview

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to be interviewed in December. There will be two interviews (each lasting 20-25 minutes) which will be conducted online via Zoom.

For more information about making an application, please visit our application webpages

You can also find useful information on our Application FAQs page. 

Dead birds in zoology museum

Student Perspective: Natural Sciences at ҹѰ

The opportunity in Natural Sciences to explore new topics before specialising makes Natural Sciences a fascinating and enriching degree.  I knew I wanted to study physics prior to coming to Cambridge, but through this course I gained an appreciation for the importance of inter-disciplinary study, choosing to study Earth Sciences and Materials Science in first year as well as Physics and Maths

ҹѰ has a strong scientific presence with many Fellows working in interdisciplinary STEM fields including the President of College, Jane Clarke, who is a distinguished Professor of Molecular Biophysics. We organise weekly science talks which help to develop an appreciation for the wonders of science, all within a very friendly and inclusive atmosphere. There is very little hierarchy at ҹѰ, and discussion between students and the senior academics of the College is strongly encouraged.

In addition to being a fun and welcoming atmosphere, there is a real sense of community among ҹѰ students, who may have had varied (and always interesting) life experiences prior to Cambridge. Beyond academic life, there are many opportunities for extracurricular activities in and around the College, with football and rowing being represented particularly well at ҹѰ, alongside a wide range of others.