Natural sciences are the studies of anything that naturally occurs in the universe and how it works, the three most common of the natural sciences are biology, chemistry and physics along with their related specialisms and various sub-specialisms. The natural sciences are very broad in definition and can be studied as a wider subject, such as a biology degree at the undergraduate level, or drilled down to a specialism such as microbiology. There is some crossover between natural science and life science although this is to be expected.
Mathematics is similar to the natural sciences in that it uses observation and analytical evidence to formulate conjectures, but does so in a much more academic way using formula and seeking out patterns in the universe. Mathematics is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to calculate anything and everything. Mathematics is important to any science and study, along with other real-world practical applications such as finance and medicine. Most higher education courses in the sciences or engineering fields will involve an element of advanced mathematics.
The benefits of studying natural sciences and mathematics will give students a powerful analytical mind as well as the ability to think critically to solve problems. Whilst many of the natural sciences can be used as a building block to further study into a specialism, they are prestigious in their own right and teach valuable life skills from working to deadlines and organisation to analysing data and drawing conclusions.
Mathematics, in particular, can be applied to most workplaces and set up the student very well for their chosen career, teaching problem solving and instilling a drive to succeed. The vast nature of mathematics means that a higher education qualification in it can be applied to the workplace, whereas more specific specialisms may be more unique to certain vocations and lend themselves to other career options outside of the scientific sphere of study and work.
The natural sciences and mathematics are both traditional academic subjects and the course structure that many programmes take follows this traditional path, with several years of full-time study being the most common manifestation of these programmes. As the programmes become more specialised there may be the opportunity for research and work placements, although these don’t tend to be common at the undergraduate level and are often built into masters, PhDs and other advanced levels of higher education.
As traditional academic subjects, both natural sciences and mathematics courses and their subsequent specialisms are assessed with examinations and assignments along with practical applications of a theory such as research projects or portfolios.