Et Tu, Brute?
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I've seen talk of 'hard' and 'soft' A-levels, degrees etc before. However I came across a new one (on TSR of course, where else).

Hard and Soft Science?

What exactly is a hard or soft science?

I mean would anything that comes under the STEM bracket be 'hard' and the soft degrees would only involve some science but would be a BSc, prehaps accounting, finance or something like that?

Or is it more subjects like say physical geography, where applications of chemistry, biology, physics and maths could be used during the course, but none in any huge depth in comparison to say the depth of chemistry on a chemistry degree? But surely that would mean the list of hard sciences would be short as you could say, 'well that degree hasn't covered enough chemistry to be a soft science.'

What exactly is a soft science?
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Octohedral
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By 'soft' sciences people tend to mean things like Psychology and social sciences, that tend to be more subjective, but still a science, as opposed to the hard, empirical data of Physics and Chemistry.

There is an element of snobbery in there too - particularly with A-levels. Maths, Chemistry and Physics are hundreds of years old, and have formed the core of scientific education for a very long time. Even Biology used to be a 'girls'' science; obviously its pioneers were well respected and men, but I know several people who were at school in the 1960s who say that all the boys were made to study Physics, and all the girls did Biology, and that stereotype has never quite gone away.

So yes, it's a mixture of the degree of certainty in the science and its historical standing.

The difficulty with things like Geography is that they can take some very advanced varied concepts from Physics, Chemistry and maths, but apply them in different areas across the board. I think 'applied science' is a better term for Geography than 'soft' science'.

DISCLAIMER: I don't agree with the label 'soft' science, because it implies the science is easier as opposed to less empirical, which are two very different things. I'm just trying to explain the common perception of the term.
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Et Tu, Brute?
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(Original post by Octohedral)
The difficulty with things like Geography is that they can take some very advanced varied concepts from Physics, Chemistry and maths, but apply them in different areas across the board. I think 'applied science' is a better term for Geography than 'soft' science'.

Does that mean that engineering wouldn't be a 'hard science' either, but an applied science?
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Smack
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(Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
Does that mean that engineering wouldn't be a 'hard science' either, but an applied science?
Yes, engineering is by its very definition the practical application of science to solving real world problems.
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Et Tu, Brute?
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(Original post by Smack)
Yes, engineering is by its very definition the practical application of science to solving real world problems.
So really the only 'hard sciences' out there are Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Natural Science and if you ignore what octohedral said about biology then that also. Plus any of their subcategories such as Astrophysics, Marine Biology etc?

So really there is no link between STEM and hard sciences since the likes of engineering and those under the technology category aren't seen as 'hard science'?
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Smack
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(Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
So really the only 'hard sciences' out there are Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Natural Science and if you ignore what octohedral said about biology then that also. Plus any of their subcategories such as Astrophysics, Marine Biology etc?

So really there is no link between STEM and hard sciences since the likes of engineering and those under the technology category aren't seen as 'hard science'?
Physics and chemistry are branches of natural sciences (as is biology).

Other than that I'm not sure what you're getting at.
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mightyfrog2_10
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Hi, Are Computing and Psychology considered part of STEM subjects? :confused:
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Et Tu, Brute?
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(Original post by arson_fire)
Computing yes (technology), psychology no.
These sound like A-levels, in which case some universities do accept psychology as a science for some courses. For example physiotherapy.
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mightyfrog2_10
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(Original post by arson_fire)
Computing yes (technology), psychology no.
(Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
These sound like A-levels, in which case some universities do accept psychology as a science for some courses. For example physiotherapy.
thanks!
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