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Natural Sciences Tripos and your career

The Natural Sciences Tripos (NST) is the framework within which most science ‘subjects' are taught at Cambridge. It includes a wide range of physical and biological sciences, from Astrophysics to Psychology, as well as the History and Philosophy of Science.

The NST gives students the opportunity to learn from world-leading experts. Although the NST doesn't include a year in industry, many students get involved with research projects (usually in university labs or field facilities) during the Long Vacation. Recent NatSci undergraduates have enjoyed vacation research opportunities in locations throughout Europe and in the USA. In the final year, most NatSci students specialise in a particular area, and take the opportunity to do an independent research project. Many NatSci students choose to undertake a PhD after they graduate, as the first step in a research career.

Those NatSci students who don't wish to do a primary research project in their final year can choose to write a dissertation instead. The broad-based, non-vocational nature of the NST provides excellent preparation for many careers in a wide variety of areas, not just in the scientific sector. Given that around 50% of all graduate entry roles are open to applicants from any discipline, NatSci graduates can be found in a great range of roles from Trainee Tax Adviser to Publishing Editor, from Market Research Executive to TEFL teacher, as well as Research Assistant/Officer, Healthcare Scientist, Product Developer, or Environmental Consultant.

Natural Scientists undertake many courses alongside the Medical & Veterinary Sciences Tripos (MVST) at Cambridge. Whilst NatSci undergraduates cannot transfer across to the MVST course, Cambridge and a number of other universities offer graduate entry medicine courses. Financial support, such as student loans, for graduates studying Medicine has been recently reviewed. If you think this is something you may want to pursue in the future then aim to keep yourself informed.

You may find our pages on careers for scientists helpful.