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BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This broad-based science degree aims to provide you with:

  • a lifelong interest in science through modules that are accessible to people of all educational backgrounds
  • an understanding of the roles of different scientific subjects
  • an enthusiasm for the study of science through understanding how scientific knowledge develops, and an appreciation of the limits of scientific knowledge
  • support and guidance to develop as an independent learner.

Learning outcomes

The degree provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree you will have systematic knowledge and critical understanding of:

  • the fundamental facts, concepts, principles, theories, classification systems and terminology used in the main branches of science
  • appropriate methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing scientific data and information
  • accuracy, precision, uncertainty, ambiguity in the context of science; the limits of current scientific knowledge; and the role of science in the world around us
  • a selected area of science, at or informed by research and/or literature at the forefront of the discipline.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • use and correctly apply knowledge and understanding of scientific facts, concepts, principles and theories in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • describe, critically analyse and interpret scientific information and data presented in a variety of ways, including texts, tables, graphs, diagrams and figures, numerical and mathematical descriptions and computer-based media
  • critically evaluate particular aspects of current scientific research.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • conduct practical investigations in a responsible, safe and ethical manner taking proper account of risk assessment and health and safety regulations
  • obtain, record, collate and analyse data derived from practical investigations, and interpret and report their significance in the light of underlying theory, practical issues and relevant information from other sources
  • initiate, design, conduct and report on investigations that may involve the acquisition of primary or secondary data
  • plan your own learning and be adept at time management and organisation so that you can work independently or with others in ways appropriate for continuing personal and professional development.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • locate scientific information from a variety of sources (e.g. textual, numerical, graphical, computer-based), including reviews and primary sources, and use it to address scientific problems
  • prepare, process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques, including the use of statistics
  • communicate scientific information accurately and effectively using written, visual and numerical forms in a style that suits purpose and audience
  • use mathematical skills appropriate to level and context
  • use ICT to enhance your own learning, for data analysis and for communicating scientific information to others
  • work effectively with others to explore aspects of science.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You’ll acquire knowledge and understanding throughout each stage of the degree by studying specially prepared teaching materials that we’ve created referencing the most recently available scientific research. You’ll use a variety of learning resources, which could include:

  • web-based materials
  • computer-aided learning packages
  • online forums
  • directed reading
  • self-assessment questions

You’ll work independently with the teaching materials, supported by your tutor in a variety of ways. You’ll also be encouraged to form study groups with fellow students, where you can talk in online forums, over the telephone and by email.

You’ll further develop your understanding of the acquisition, interpretation and analysis of data and scientific papers through practical work and the independent project work at Stage 3. Practical work is an important component of science – we’ll introduce you to a range of scientific methods. Some modules will also include group work and offer opportunities to interact with other students.

Assessment will be by a combination of tutor-marked assignments (with problem-solving responses or answers ranging from short to essay-length and to project reports) and computer-marked assignments (multiple-choice questions). Written tutor feedback on assignments will provide you with individual tuition and guidance. Each module will conclude with a final examination or end-of-module assessment.