Our Teaching

Responding to the Needs of Society

Many discoveries in science, great and small, and many important technological applications, are made by scientists and engineers who can bring fresh approaches to bear on old problems.

Although the development of science has involved increasing specialisation and compartmentalisation, it is crucial that future scientists approach their specialism from a broad knowledge base.  

This combination of breadth and depth is one of the features of our Natural Sciences degrees at the University of Leicester.

The Interdisciplinary Scientist

The Natural Sciences core programme is structured around a set of interdisciplinary modules.

You work on one core module at a time, incorporating scientific content from across Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences.

Alongside these run laboratories and supporting modules in professional skills, computing, and mathematics.

Our unique approach to the teaching of mathematics gives you the opportunity to reach advanced levels while not requiring students with a strong mathematics background to go over material they already know.

Practical work is carried out in discipline-based laboratories.

Beyond the defined core content each module provides the opportunity for you to expand your knowledge in a chosen discipline.

Final year projects provide either a further way to integrate your scientific knowledge or to concentrate on a particular discipline.

Elective modules allow you to specialise in, or gain experience of, a broad range of fields and gain scientific expertise, perhaps with a view to your future career. You can choose one from:

  • Science and Culture
  • Mathematical Modelling
  • Science Communication 
  • Sustainable Development

or use the opportunity to pursue an advanced discipline specialism.

Our approach enables you to study much of the core material to the same level as students studying single discipline degrees.

The courses thrive on the University’s strong culture of interdisciplinary research: from green chemistry to biophysics, climate change to forensic science, and sustainable development to astrobiology.

Lab Wide

The Undergraduate Researcher

Natural Sciences students study by research-based learning. You work individually and in groups to investigate real-world research problems, gaining subject knowledge and skills by practising and researching.

Throughout, you will be supported by Interdisciplinary Science Centre academics and teaching fellows.

In addition to lectures, class teaching takes many forms: seminars, workshops, laboratory practicals and small group tutorials, all designed to support your individual development as a scientist.

Your lecturers will be leading researchers from the Departments of Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Geography, Physics and Astronomy, and the School of Biological Sciences. Uniquely to this programme, you will also be supported in classes by University teachers who have both research and teaching qualifications.

This allows you to tackle cutting edge scientific issues and to acquire a sound basic knowledge across the disciplines. You will learn to become an independent researcher by:

  • Carrying out research to address current real-world problems.
  • Identifying research issues, acquiring new knowledge and applying it in novel contexts.
  • Working in groups to exploit the benefits of collaborative learning and to have the opportunity to develop high-level employability skills that will distinguish you in the workplace.
  • Tackling complex open-ended problems.
  • Learning how to present and communicate research outcomes to peers and tutors.

Your development as a researcher culminates in your third year project, a substantial piece of individual research under the guidance of an academic researcher.

In the Synoptic Science in Context module you participate in a fortnightly discussion of the current research literature and contribute short papers to your own Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics.Workshop

The 21st Century Student

The course materials are principally electronic: you have access to course documents, resources, communication methods and timetables online. An e-library of multimedia resources has been developed for the programme, which integrates into the course documentation.

Your coursework is submitted, marked and returned electronically allowing easy access to a complete record of your work and feedback.

In addition to traditional examinations, there is a large component of continuous assessment that varies from formal reports and essays, to presentations and posters, to the types of modern media increasingly employed by scientists such as podcasts, web material and videos.

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The Centre for Interdisciplinary Science,
University of Leicester,
University Road,

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UK Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3506

Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2070

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