Natural science as a major
In today's world where people are exploring and trying to find the meeting ground between science and religion - all natural processes and science - a study in natural science is an excellent option. Students of natural science studies are taught to find quantitative data of this meeting ground through the study of formal sciences and applying them to natural processes.
What does the study include?
The study of the natural sciences has five branches of study, viz. Astronomy, earth science, chemistry, biology and physics. These branches have a very minor distinction between them, with various branch studies often overlapping. Here is a brief outline on what a natural science student often studies:
The study of biology as a natural science helps examine the phenomena of life through living organisms. This includes the study of complex ecologies and the relationship of organisms with their environment.
The study of matter in all its forms is an integral part of natural sciences study. From cells to crystals and metals, their formation and reaction to various elements - all of this comes under the interesting gamut of natural sciences. This also includes a study of metallurgy, including the study of ceramics, metals, artificial polymers and more.
Physics & Mathematics:
As a student of natural science, you can learn the fundamentals forces constituting the universe and their relation with each other. The understanding various physical forces requires quantifying principles and logical thinking that is rendered through the study of mathematics.
Combining chemistry, meteorology, mathematics and physics, students of natural science can study the formation of the universe and its development over the ages. They study the science and life of various natural phenomena outside the Earth's atmosphere, including that of stars, galaxies, planets, comets, etc.
Earth & Atmospheric science:
This branch of natural science includes the study of soil, oceans, physical geography of the earth, geology, minerals, meteorology and everything related to geosciences. Apart from these studies, some colleges also include a study in atmospheric science, sometimes in conjunction with earth science studies, and sometimes as a separate branch of education.
Who should study natural science as a major?
A major in natural science studies is a perfect option for pre-medical, pre-dental and health professionals who are looking to pursue graduate studies in life sciences, public health, science journalism and science education.
There are at least 80 courses offered in the study of natural science as a major across the United States. While some are offered as a B.Sc or BA course, there are others like the University of Texas that offer natural science as an inter-disciplinary major course in Arts and Science.
Such a course is especially effective for students looking for a 120 hour degree program and with a wide range of electives to choose from. The BSA course is mostly divided in the following manner:
- 48 hours of mathematics and pure sciences
- 30 hours of non-science courses
- 15-18 hours of cross-disciplinary minor courses such as anthropology, economics, linguistics etc.
- 12 hours of interdisciplinary major studies
- Remaining time dedicated to earning certifications offered on campus in relation to the branch of their study.
The following is the basic eligibility criterion for students opting to study natural science as a major in undergraduate studies:
- A high school transcript
- Recommendation letter
- SAT I or ACT test scores, which includes a writing test
- An essay
Many natural science colleges often prefer strong mathematics scores. A minimum score of 650 can be favorable for the applicant.
Average tuition fee: $4,000/ semester
A graduate program in natural sciences is especially beneficial for students looking to do a PhD in any branch of natural science, for those looking at research and for those looking at careers in education.
- A bachelor's degree from an institution of repute
- A GPA of 3.0 is favorable for admission into graduate studies in natural science
- TOEFL scores
- Most colleges require a Statement of Purpose, letters of recommendations, writing samples and portfolios, etc.
- Some colleges may also require a certification of financial responsibility, especially from foreign students.
Average tuition fee: $5,500/ semester
Students majoring in Natural Sciences today have a bright future with a gamut of opportunities opening up. Especially with CERN, the European organization involved in recreating the God particle, making vast progress, career opportunities in natural sciences have begun taking newer dimensions with several specializations coming to the fore.
There are several career options available to students of natural science. However, some of the most popular jobs include:
- Environmental scientist: As an environmental scientist, you can be involved in research where you help identify environmental hazards and create solutions. Natural science students working as environmental scientists earn a media salary of about $60,000.
- Atmospheric scientist: Earning a median salary of about $90,000, natural science graduates working as atmospheric scientists are actively involved in gathering information on atmospheric characteristics and its interaction with the environment. This career is especially beneficial to those who have studied meteorology as well.
- Food and Agricultural scientist: In the present scenario where there is a scare of food shortage, the food and agricultural scientist helps check agricultural productivity and safety. This important job can earn a scientist an average salary of $70,000.
- Forester and conservationist scientist: Aiding the protection and development of natural forest resources, this lucrative job of a natural scientist can earn an average annual salary of $70,000.