Biochemistry vs Natural Sciences at Bath University

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lil_lily__
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Hi!

I am currently in Year 13 and am going to be applying to Uni shortly. I am predicted A*A*A* in Chemistry, Biology and Maths (although I don't expect to achieve it lol) and I am struggling to choose between the Biochemistry and Natural Sciences courses at Bath (my first choice Uni).

I really love Biochemistry, but I love the extra flexibility that the Natural Sciences course allows, as I would like to do mainly Biochemistry, but do an extra bit of organic chemistry.

So just any advice or experience would be appreciated! Especially if anyone knows if either is generally preferred / "superior".
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University of Bath
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(Original post by lil_lily__)
Hi!

I am currently in Year 13 and am going to be applying to Uni shortly. I am predicted A*A*A* in Chemistry, Biology and Maths (although I don't expect to achieve it lol) and I am struggling to choose between the Biochemistry and Natural Sciences courses at Bath (my first choice Uni).

I really love Biochemistry, but I love the extra flexibility that the Natural Sciences course allows, as I would like to do mainly Biochemistry, but do an extra bit of organic chemistry.

So just any advice or experience would be appreciated! Especially if anyone knows if either is generally preferred / "superior".
Hi there,

I have just completed my NatSci degree at Bath, so hopefully I can help!

Based on what you've said, I would say that NatSci may be a better option. If you did Biochem, you would be restricted to modules only within that subject, which may include modules you don't like.With NatSci, you choose exactly what modules you want to do so you could choose the biochem modules you like, along with modules from another subject such as chemistry. This means your degree is truly personalised to you, so you aren't really forced to take modules you don't enjoy. What I would suggest is that you look at the course structure for each degree and basically construct your hypothetical degree, i.e. by seeing what modules you would choose and study for each. Then weigh up which one looks more appealing to you (this is how I chose NatSci over biology, as I realised there were quite a few biology modules I didn't like but would be forced to study in biology).

As you've said, NatSci is also a lot more flexible. You can study an extra auxiliary unit alongside your major and minor subject, which could be management, psychology, education, maths for life sciences or another science unit. This is great if your career goals are a bit broader, i.e. if you were considering going into teaching or the NHS. If you started on NatSci, but decided you want to study just Biochem, you can switch to the single honours course and just study Biochem. This is great if you are unsure what you will enjoy morel s it means you aren't stuck in a degree you don't like.

I hope this has helped, but please let me know if you have any more questions
Jessica, a final year NatSci student
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lil_lily__
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(Original post by University of Bath)
Hi there,

I have just completed my NatSci degree at Bath, so hopefully I can help!

Based on what you've said, I would say that NatSci may be a better option. If you did Biochem, you would be restricted to modules only within that subject, which may include modules you don't like.With NatSci, you choose exactly what modules you want to do so you could choose the biochem modules you like, along with modules from another subject such as chemistry. This means your degree is truly personalised to you, so you aren't really forced to take modules you don't enjoy. What I would suggest is that you look at the course structure for each degree and basically construct your hypothetical degree, i.e. by seeing what modules you would choose and study for each. Then weigh up which one looks more appealing to you (this is how I chose NatSci over biology, as I realised there were quite a few biology modules I didn't like but would be forced to study in biology).

As you've said, NatSci is also a lot more flexible. You can study an extra auxiliary unit alongside your major and minor subject, which could be management, psychology, education, maths for life sciences or another science unit. This is great if your career goals are a bit broader, i.e. if you were considering going into teaching or the NHS. If you started on NatSci, but decided you want to study just Biochem, you can switch to the single honours course and just study Biochem. This is great if you are unsure what you will enjoy morel s it means you aren't stuck in a degree you don't like.

I hope this has helped, but please let me know if you have any more questions
Jessica, a final year NatSci student
Hi Jessica, thank you so so much! That was honestly super helpful to me.

I do think that I am going to go with the NatSci then (I will do that hypothetical degree thing now though!), I am just a bit concerned that if I do switch to Biochem, that I will have a lot to catch up on and will be quite far behind the other Biochem students - do you know anyone who switched to single honors from NatSci and if that affected them long term?

My other question is that considering that my ideal career as of right now is in research, do you know if NatSci would disadvantage me compared to if I did Biochem (as I would most likely pursue research in that field), or would it not matter too much as long as I did mostly Biochem modules in the NatSci degree anyway?

Sorry for all the questions!
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artful_lounger
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Neither course will be inherently preferable to the other. Note that biochemistry is not biology + chemistry and in UK unis is primarily focused on molecular and cell biology. If you wanted to do any actual chemistry alongside it outside of a first year module perhaps, natsci might be a better fit.
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lil_lily__
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Neither course will be inherently preferable to the other. Note that biochemistry is not biology + chemistry and in UK unis is primarily focused on molecular and cell biology. If you wanted to do any actual chemistry alongside it outside of a first year module perhaps, natsci might be a better fit.
Okay, thank you! And yeah, my interests do mostly lie in molecular and cell biology (I just love it!!), but considering I love organic chemistry a lot and do want to study it further, you are probably right in that NatSci is a better fit. Plus, even if I dislike the chemistry at undergrad level, I could always switch to the single honors Biochem I guess!
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University of Bath
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(Original post by lil_lily__)
Hi Jessica, thank you so so much! That was honestly super helpful to me.

I do think that I am going to go with the NatSci then (I will do that hypothetical degree thing now though!), I am just a bit concerned that if I do switch to Biochem, that I will have a lot to catch up on and will be quite far behind the other Biochem students - do you know anyone who switched to single honors from NatSci and if that affected them long term?

My other question is that considering that my ideal career as of right now is in research, do you know if NatSci would disadvantage me compared to if I did Biochem (as I would most likely pursue research in that field), or would it not matter too much as long as I did mostly Biochem modules in the NatSci degree anyway?

Sorry for all the questions!
Hi again,

No problem, I am happy to help!

They wouldn't allow you to switch if you couldn't catch up on the work, so I wouldn't worry about this! If you were concerned about this, you could always discuss this with your personal tutor when you first come to university. I know a few people who swapped from NatSci to biology (personally don't know re. biochemistry) and they were given a lot of guidance throughout the switch. They were all really happy with their choice. I would recommend contacting the NatSci department directly if you want more information on how it works when they do these switches.

In terms of your career options, you have the same options available as people on the single honours choices. You do the exact same modules as single honours students (in some cases only with minor adjustments to account for the fact that you don't do all the other modules from that subject) so as long as you have studied the relevant content, you are just as able to pursue a career in that field. Essentially, just choose the modules that link to the type of research you would like to do.

I hope this helps,
Jessica, a final year NatSci student
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lil_lily__
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(Original post by University of Bath)
Hi again,

No problem, I am happy to help!

They wouldn't allow you to switch if you couldn't catch up on the work, so I wouldn't worry about this! If you were concerned about this, you could always discuss this with your personal tutor when you first come to university. I know a few people who swapped from NatSci to biology (personally don't know re. biochemistry) and they were given a lot of guidance throughout the switch. They were all really happy with their choice. I would recommend contacting the NatSci department directly if you want more information on how it works when they do these switches.

In terms of your career options, you have the same options available as people on the single honours choices. You do the exact same modules as single honours students (in some cases only with minor adjustments to account for the fact that you don't do all the other modules from that subject) so as long as you have studied the relevant content, you are just as able to pursue a career in that field. Essentially, just choose the modules that link to the type of research you would like to do.

I hope this helps,
Jessica, a final year NatSci student
Thank you so much, that was honeslty so helpful.
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McGinger
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Why not apply to both courses?
You can always ask if you can send a second Personal Statement for the other course - Bath usually accepts this.
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lil_lily__
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Good point! I'll look into this, thank you.
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