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Courses and Careers in Physical Sciences

An appreciation of the world around us can be nurtured into a career via a good course in the Physical Sciences.

Courses in the physical sciences refer to the study of mathematics, astronomy, materials science, earth sciences, physics, chemistry and geography to enable students to better understand and analyse the physical world in order to find solutions to problems in fields such as biology, technology and medicine among others.


For those with an interest in mathematics, a degree is an opportunity to take the subject into real world context and application, touching on science, engineering, industry and business. Courses will train students in specific maths techniques while offering valuable skills such as problem-solving, logical reasoning and flexible thinking. As all industries require mathematicians, graduate can find careers in industries such as education, science, business and finance.


As the study of the physical universe, an astronomy course introduces students to the complicated workings of the solar system, engaging with the most complex and intriguing scientific questions of the history and evolution of the universe. Courses offer a balance of observational and theoretical learning, covering topics such as astrophysics, stars and spectra, relativity and cosmology. Much of modern astronomy is computer based analysis, offering graduates key skills in numeration and data handling that unlock careers in finance and business. There is also the option of a career in education or academic research.

Materials science

Materials science studies the relationship between a structure, the properties of a material and how it is made. Both in-depth and diverse, materials science touches on physics, chemistry, manufacturing and engineering and will likely cover topics such as mechanics and maths, usually culminating in an individual experimental project. By providing graduates with diverse technical and scientific skills, possible career routes include research and development roles in manufacturing, chemical or food product companies, or using analytical skills in finance and accounting roles.

Earth Sciences

Students on an Earth Sciences degree learn about the earth and the way it works – its properties, materials, history, evolution and environment. Course will touch on geography and physics of the earth, considering the planet’s past, present and future and encouraging students to engage with current issues such as global warming. Obvious careers routes are into environmental or energy companies, but graduates also find work in government, agriculture and teaching.


Physics is the study of the physical world, interrogating why the world behaves as it does and covering topics such as electricity, magnetism, quantum mechanics, relativity and geophysics. Theory is balanced with contemporary issues such as global warming, making physics graduates sought after in various government and industry roles. Further study can lead to careers in aerospace engineering or medical technology, while business and finance industries welcome the physician’s maths and analytical skills.


‘Understanding the building blocks of the universe’ is the remit of a chemistry student and courses cover organic, physical, biological and medicinal chemistry, combining theory with practical experiments to offer a thorough understanding of the minutiae of the world. Careers beyond a degree include academia or research based positions, while many chemists find work in teaching, journalism and finance too.


Most geography degrees will cover both human and physical geography, touching on everything from migration and urban development to weather, climate change and tectonics. Theoretical learning is underpinned with contemporary issues, and students will also engage with biology, chemistry, anthropology and history. Thanks to the importance placed on the environment in today’s society, geography students can find jobs in many industries, from scientific research to working in government.

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