As a little overview of what our fun interdisciplinary degree is like, I’ll go through a few of the streams you can choose and why we like them!
I am on the CMP stream which I am a big fan of. It is a specialisation course and after this year I’ll be doing just Maths and Physics and will then have to choose just one of them. I am on the 4-year course however, so I’ll hopefully be meeting all of the subjects again in my research project.
The course has been a great experience for me because it is a mix of large and small groups (from being put with single-subject students, to being with only Natural Scientists, to just CMP people). Our maths lectures are particularly good because they’re so small that you get to ask questions whenever and be able to interact on a more personal level with the lecturer. I’ve also been part of setting up the lecture capture for the maths course and we have a forum with the lecturers for any questions during exam time, meaning the facilities are great! Another big bonus is the free coffee machine next to our maths room to make 9am lectures that little bit easier.
We also get larger communities to be a part of too as we share the same lectures with Physics and Chemistry, but also get our tutorials designed to cross the boundaries of disciplines a little bit.
If you choose a stream with a Physics component then you’ll love the second term of Natural Sciences; Vibrations & Waves lectures are definitely the most entertaining I’ve ever had with the best demonstrations and the coolest videos that are genuinely really useful. Another thing to look forward to is Special Relativity where you get to grasp the weirdness of the universe but with a pretty intuitive way of understanding it.
I’ve found this combination of subjects to just be quite fulfilling: the things I learn are not only interesting but actually feel useful. It is quite satisfying to be able to do stuff and be able to solve problems with it I suppose.
Of course I’m just one guy doing one stream, so I asked my friend Rob to say a little bit about his combination of subjects to give a little insight to other NatSci students:
In Bio/Chem/Phys we have lectures every weekday, anywhere from one or two per day to a 9am – 6pm day with an hour off for lunch. Most weeks we have a day of labs and one or two tutorials/small group problem classes as well. The course is really well thought out and I really enjoy how different modules link into each other, for example, Heat and Matter in Physics really complements Thermodynamics in Chemistry. Modules I’ve especially enjoyed include Genetics (the practicals work really well with the lecture course), Maths 1 (it’s great to be taught a technique and see it applied in Physics) and Chemistry 1 (again, the lectures complement the practicals very well). Although we take a broad range of modules from multiple departments, I’ve found that our depth of knowledge hasn’t suffered. On the NatSci course we get a lot of exposure to current academic research as well as useful talks from both employers and university staff. All of our small group teaching is done with just NatSci pupils and we meet as a cohort weekly for free pizza, so we have a really close group of students.
Here’s my friend Megan saying a little bit about her experience as a Natural Scientist doing Nanoscience:
Natural Sciences is a family and a support system. It’s a group of people who can stay up late writing a lab report and come out the other side smiling. You all know who each other are and if you’re worried about anything at all there is someone there to listen. You know you’re on a pretty unique course when you smile and say “hi” to every person who is part of it, whether you share subjects or not. there is no group of people more welcoming!
The support and interest of the staff (across the University of York) in Natural Sciences makes you feel part of something exciting and progressive. In Nanoscience we are really looking to the future – we’re getting a broad education which teaches us flexible and interdisciplinary working.
I hope this gives a good idea of what the studying side of a NatSci student at York is like. If you have any questions about these or any other streams then feel free to leave a comment and I can find out for you!