December 1, 2016
What is a Natural Sciences Major and is it Right for Me?
Interested in science but not sure exactly what you’d like to study? Do you like the idea of learning about a large number of science-related topics at once? Want a major that can be applicable to the real world and help you solve challenges people encounter every day? If so, a natural sciences major may be for you.
What is a natural sciences major?
How does majoring in natural sciences differ from majoring in a specific type of science (such as biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology or microbiology)? Natural sciences programs are usually interdisciplinary, covering several sciences at once.
Additionally, natural sciences majors don’t just learn in the classroom; many work in labs or do on-the-ground work. Many natural sciences departments also require their majors to take on a research project (like a capstone or thesis) during the last year or two of college as a way to synthesize everything they’ve learned and apply it to a particular problem or area of study.
Another crucial consideration is what you hope to do after college. Many natural sciences majors go on to graduate school to receive a Masters, Ph.D. or other certification, so you’ll have to think about whether you’d be interested in going to grad school if your specific area of study strongly encourages or requires more schooling.
Is it right for me?
Think this major may be for you? Here are some key questions to ask yourself.
- Do I have strong math and science skills? Am I confident that I could perform well in a number of different science-related subject areas like biology, physics and chemistry?
- Am I ready to concentrate, minor or double major in another subject (most likely science-related) in addition to a broader natural sciences degree?
- Am I willing to spend extra time taking lab classes and also working in a lab over the course of my college years
- Do I like spending large amounts of time collecting and interpreting data? Am I okay with spending summers or other school breaks conducting research?
- Am I interested in ending my college career with a research project like a capstone or thesis?
What can I do with a natural sciences degree?
Natural sciences majors use their degree as a springboard into a number of different fields. Some go into research in a particular area of science, while others may choose a health- or medicine-related track.
Once armed with a natural sciences degree, graduates have gone on to any number of science-related careers including:
- physician assistants
- technical writers
- chemical or material scientists
- forensic science technicians
- … and more
What do people who majored in natural sciences earn?
While you may need to attend graduate school to maximize your salary, natural sciences majors tend to do well financially after graduation. For example, a senior geologist makes a median salary of $93,000, and a clinical data manager can make a salary of well over $100,000.
Next, learn more about this college major such as What Types of Skills Are Best for a Natural Sciences Major? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How Do I Get a Job in Another City or State?