BSc in Natural Sciences (Honours)

The Open University

Program Description

BSc in Natural Sciences (Honours)

The Open University

We live in a society that depends on science, but how many of us really understand the science behind the important issues that feature in the news? Whether you’re keen to study a specific area of science, or you’re not yet sure where your interests lie, this degree is for you.

You can choose a broad study route where you select modules in areas of interest to you or a specialist route in biology, chemistry, Earth sciences, environmental science, physics or astronomy and planetary science. Your choice of specialism will be included in the name of your degree, for example, BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences (Chemistry).

Key features of the course

  • Starts with a wide-ranging introduction to highly topical areas of modern science, giving you a good grounding in each
  • An option to choose one of six branches of science to specialise in
  • An option to study broad-based science and pick modules from across the science curriculum
  • Opt for hands-on laboratory and field work, or take part online from home
  • Build valuable transferable skills such as analytical, numerical and communication skills, team working, problem-solving and IT

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit introductory science module. What you’ll study for the remaining 60 credits in Stage 1 will depend on the route you decide to take.
  • In Stages 2 and 3, the modules you’ll get to choose from will also be determined by the route you decide to take.


We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • undertaking practical work or using an online laboratory
  • working with specialist reading material such as scientific journals, and with audio and graphics information such as sonograms
  • using specialist software
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • finding external/third party material online.

All qualifications require you to complete learning and assessment activities within a required timescale and according to pre-determined deadlines. You will, therefore, need to manage your time effectively during your studies and the University will help you to develop this skill throughout your degree. Information on assessment will be available to you at the start of each module.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increase as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course materials; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification; however, to get the best from it you’ll need some knowledge of science concepts and mathematical skills, and the ability to read and write to a good standard of English.

Skills for career development

By the time you achieve your qualification, you’ll be an adaptable graduate with a range of transferable skills that are highly valued in the labour market – such as analytical, numerical and communication skills, teamworking, problem-solving and proficiency in using computers. You’ll also have a good understanding of where your strengths and interests lie and be well prepared for your next step – whether it’s further study or employment.

Employers also look for evidence of experience in the workplace to support the skills gained through the degree. To succeed, graduates will need to be flexible and multi-skilled, with the ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment.

Career relevance

Science graduates are well placed to enter both scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment, so science graduates – particularly those who have good communication and interpersonal skills – are in demand.

Employers include central and local government, the NHS, the water industry, food and drink companies, media and communications, the horticultural industry, multinational oil companies, the pharmaceutical industry, conservation bodies and universities – in roles such as:

  • research and investigation
  • product design and development
  • analysis and diagnostics
  • science information management
  • science communication
  • scientific sales
  • exploration and extraction of natural resources
  • health and healthcare related professions
  • waste management, recycling and sustainability
  • environmental management, protection and conservation
  • teaching (science is a shortage subject at the secondary school level, so there may be incentives to train as a physics, chemistry or maths teacher).

Growth areas are predicted to be: environment, energy and sustainability; biotechnology and biomedical engineering; healthcare; telecommunications; pharmaceuticals; bioinformatics; and technology transfer (transfer of scientific expertise to commercial products).


For students following the Physics route to the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences, this degree has been accredited by the Institute of Physics provided that your choice of modules meets their requirements, as detailed in their Membership and Open University degrees document.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University

Last updated January 19, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
3 - 16 years
Part time
Full time