Natural sciences degree(31 Posts)
What are your career options after this degree?
Apart from research that is...
Why is it so competitive to get in to this degree?
Career options? Just about anything that requires a science or general degree.
It's competitive because all courses at Cambridge are. NatSci isn't some sort of separate niche science, it's the name under which Cambridge delivers its physical and biological science degrees.
It's not just a course at Cambridge. All science courses at Cambridge are called natural science, and you specialise within that as you go through the course. Some other universities offer NS degrees which enable students to do a broad science degree rather than specialising in one branch from the outset. This is more academically challenging and so generally has a higher offer than other science degrees.
And as for career options: anything you could do with any science degree, depending what options you choose.
Thanks, my Dd wants to do this or medicine. I can explain the career path after medicine but completely lost with Natural sciences. She is planning work experience for medicine in the coming months but we would struggle with fitting work experience for natural sciences as well.
This is question she asks me which I cannot answer apart from research jobs.
Why does your dd need to do work experience to get on a natsci degree? They will be looking for a) high grades in the relevant subjects b) an interest in the topic (lots of students that don't get into medicine go towards natsci and some convert that afterwards so this isn't an unusual pathway). I wouldn't overburden here with work experience at A levels- do exactly what the target institutions ask in terms of applying.
One of my best friends did NatSci. Like your dd she chose between that and medical science.
She went on and did a PhD, then a 3 year biochemistry research post. She got bored of geekery of it, worked for McKinsey for a bit - decided management consulting was a waste of time, and retrained as a medical doctor. She's now a cardiologist.
I think she would say that you can go on to banking, management consultancy, chemical, pharmaceutical industries & biotech no problem but a significant proportion go on to further study and research.
Hopefully I won't get flamed for this ...
I am a doctor ( our experience of the world is rather limited in general) and to me lot of jobs( expect say teachers, police etc.,) are not relevant at all - management consultancy is one of them!
My brother and sister in law work in the city and IT company respectively but I just don't understand what they do at all😳
I was thinking a stint in a research lab would be nice to get an understanding of what scientists do but it is almost impossible to get a work experience in a lab
While medicine can lead to very rigid job descriptions such as GP, cardiologist, etc. the great thing about science is that the work it leads to is extraordinarily varied. Generally speaking, no two scientists are exactly the same.
The people with NatSci degrees that I know when into everything from research to the city to teaching to medicine (via the post grad route). As with most degrees there's no one career afterwards but its a sound base for a multitude of things.
I don't think she needs to get experience of a NatSci job. She needs to decide if she wants to be a doctor or not and sounds like you can help her there!
I don’t think it’s that hard to get lab based work experience - I did two stints of it. There are also courses that encourage women into science.
As for careers, there are obvious ones for science (research, teaching, working as a scientist in industry, becoming a clincical psychologist) and then all of the graduate entry professions. There are some crossover points where having a scientific background may be useful but isn’t an absolute requirement (patent law, technical writing).
Natural Sciences is a fantastic degree because of the flexibility. You can go in with the intention of specialising in one science and come out having followed a completely different path. You can try our subjects that you’ve never studied before without committing to studying them long term.
I have really tried to be neutral in her decision making and she struggles to come to a conclusion while the time is ticking on.
I am not really adverse to her taking a gap year to come to a right decision as strongly feel that no one should do medicine without commitment.
Panda- the problem is she is only starting to sort out work experience for medicine so it is the time pressure of sorting that as well as something for NS. She did email few science departments in our local university but nothing has materialised so far.
Management consultancy essentially consists of advising companies they need managers, which arguably they don't particularly.
She should sort out her medical work experience as a priority as without this she will not be able to decide on whether she wants do medicine.
She can get a place for natural sciences or single science at a competitive university without lab experience.
If she remains undecided by the end of the summer then a year out would be advisable rather than tagging on natural sciences as an afterthought.
Someone I know who is applying for biological sciences found that the local hospital trust work experience scheme included an option to be lab based.
That's what I was trying to say -focus on getting the medical work experience as that will be needed for med school applications. Straight degree subjects like NatSci or indeed anything don't usually require you to have any work experience at all, just a reason and motivation written out or in interview for why you want to do that subject.
The focus needs to be on getting her the right experience to have a shot of medical school- this will then help her have something to put on her Natsci applications should she prefer/not get into med school, but don't spend time arranging lab-based experience at this stage (unless she desperately wants to) as many natsci students do not go on to work in labs and it may put her off!
I love the idea that thousands of well paid management consultants are irrelevant! I wonder if you think the whole of the City of London is irrelevant! Please remember these, often highly qualified, people pay taxes and well paid people in London make a huge contribution to the wealth of this country. It is these taxes that pay you, Professor. You could be a bit less sniffy about other people’s choices of career! Not everyone can be paid by the state, can they?
Bubbles - I am not sniffy at all or underestimate other people's contribution to the society!
In fact I have started taking an interest in economics and how these things work lately and was tiny bit disappointed ( may be another wrong choice of word!!) when my daughter did not want to do Economics.
It is just that I am not well versed in other professions ( most of my friends are medics/ nursesetc)
Since my daughter is doing NS at the moment and my husband is a management consultant (and I'm a vet), I feel well placed to comment again. Management consultancy doesn't mean telling companies they need managers. It means providing companies with expertise that they don't have in house - this could be on anything - much of it is IT related,such as developing a program for a company's needs or advising on cybersecurity, but equally it could be on something quite technical, like developing a new shape of packaging for a food company. Various divisions within my DH's firm do all this sort of thing and much more. Obviously some of the more technical jobs will need science or engineering graduates, but a science degree shows an ability to think logically and so is also a good starting point for learning new skills in something different as a graduate consultant.
As a clinician myself, I think the key thing here is does your daughter want to work with patients in a clinical setting? If she does, she can best do that as a doctor. If she doesn't particularly, she can go into biomedical research with either a NS degree or a medical degree, should she choose to, or either route will enable her to do a wide variety of less related jobs. So clinical work is really the only thing she'd be ruling out at this stage by doing NS, and therefore I think that's the key thing for her to consider at this stage - which means work experience, which she needs for a successful medical application anyway, as you know.
I don't need management consultancy mansplained, thanks. I've employed them across my companies and have friends who have worked at a high level for McKinsey & Accenture etc. They provide a wide range of services. However, my point that if you consult them on management issues they will recommend you put in managers comes from personal experience.
In addition, the medic friend of mine mentioned above who left McKinsey was sent to advise the NHS in the NE. She became frustrated that she was basically employed to recommend they increase their management infrastructure, when what they really needed was better streamlining of existing management and more medical staff.
That was instructive in her move to retrain as a medic.
The question of over-management in the NHS is sometimes regarded as a myth. However in 2016 the number of managers employed by the NHS rose by more than 6% compared to the overall rise in the health workers rose by under 2%.
Dr Mark Porter, BMA chair commented:
"Many NHS managers do a good job for the NHS in difficult circumstances, but it is surprising that when many areas of the NHS are suffering from unfilled posts and staff shortages, the number of managers is beginning to increase again."
"Many bodies, including the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives, have reported under staffing in their specialities that is already having a damaging impact on patient care".
I have worked with lots of scientists in my area of law. Some become chartered patent attorneys, some become lawyers (as law pay is higher than most science pay), some become another Dyson, some work in research in a lab with pharma companies or other companies.
With a Cambridge degree of that kind you could in no particular order
1. Become a solicitor or barrister
2. Become a patent attorney
3. Go into one of the many graduate jobs such as mangement consultancy, banking, advertising where often you just need a good degree from a good place rather than anything specific.
4 Lecturer etc
5,. Presumably lots of lab work type stuff
The truth is, with a science degree you can do pretty much anything that does not require years and years of specific studies. Anything to do with business and banking falls in this category; the proof is that the most prestigious banks, for their uber-competitive entry positions, hire all sorts of graduates into their training program, and, guess what, the economics graduate and the science graduate do the very same training etc etc.
However, there is lots and lots of guff and bull** in the business world; ever read Lucy Kellaway's pieces on management guff in the Financial Times? Or the Alex Cartoon parody of banking? Not all science graduates appreciate that - it's very very subjective.
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