A lot of science begins with a question. Why did that apple just fall from the tree? What happens if we crack this atom open? Is the dimming of light around that distant sun anything to do with aliens? (Fingers crossed, everyone.) If you have an aptitude for science – in any discipline – it's logical to wonder if you should study it at university.
If you're passionate about science but unsure about why studying it might benefit you, here are a few things to think about. You might even find that the benefits extend to others, too...
1 – You'll get a deeper understanding of your subject
There's nothing like degree level study to help you pop the bonnet and really get into the mechanics of how a subject works, especially a scientific one. You'll be able to look at theories in more detail but also develop skills to take you further, perhaps making discoveries for yourself along the way.
At Coventry University, for example, Biomedical Science students investigate areas including the pathology of disease, molecular biology, genetics and cell biology. Science courses like this one involve exams and coursework, but also group work, lab sessions, lectures and practical work in the lab, so there are lots of opportunities to develop new skills and insights.
2 – A science degree can offer lots of contact time with some top minds
For one thing, studying science with lots of other students who are passionate about it can be a rewarding experience in itself. You'll be able to learn together, share ideas and support one another on the journey. There will be societies to join, chances to indulge your passion for a particular part of your subject, and opportunities to challenge your ideas and broaden your horizons as you work with people from all over the world.
You'll also have plenty of guidance. Science courses involve contact time of around 18 hours a week, including lectures, group work and seminars. You might also have guest lectures from experts in their field - at Coventry, Biomedical Science students learn from experts in haematology, virology and clinical biochemistry, for example – so you'll be up to date with the latest thinking when you graduate and start looking for work.
3 – You can get your hands on the latest kit
Universities carry out pioneering research in all manner of scientific areas, which demands access to the latest equipment, whether it's computers, lab facilities or perhaps specialist centres in hospitals.
As a science student you'll be able to use this equipment to further your subject knowledge, but there are other advantages too: you'll be picking up practical skills and expertise that you'll be able to take out into the graduate job market. Getting used to the gear at university means you'll be able to hit the ground running when you start work. Although naturally you should never run in a lab.
4 – You'll improve your career prospects
University training in science means you'll develop critical thinking skills and learn to operate both independently and as part of a group. If you decide to pursue a career in science you'll have high level subject knowledge and experience of the research methods or lab techniques you'll need.
Universities like Coventry can also help prepare you with work experience and placements, as well as with support from careers and employability teams. You may also have the chance to study overseas or take part in leadership development programmes. It all means that you'll leave with skills that will transfer to any career – science graduates are in demand in every industry thanks to their problem-solving abilities and experience of working in teams.
5 – You can help the wider world
Whatever challenges we face in the coming decades, we'll need scientific minds to help us overcome them. Whether it's addressing climate change, developing treatments for disease or pioneering new research methods, uni science graduates will be at the cutting edge. Coventry's Biomedical Science grads go on to work in specialist fields, in hospitals, or further study, for example. So your student experience could end up making a difference to your life and career, but also the lives of many others. Now, anyone fancy an apple?