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You might like the sound of a Natural Sciences degree, jumping between ecology and astrophysics. But do you know what it’s really like to be a Natural Sciences student?

How many contact hours will I have?

Natural Sciences comprises an intense workload and a contact-heavy week. You will have 12 lectures per week, and also practical labs for all the subjects you study, except maths. You will also have computer labs for maths and the other sciences, so that you can learn your way around programming, which will help with data analysis following on from your practical labs.

You will also have one supervision a week for each subject. Supervisions are held with one supervisor (a subject expert) and usually in small groups of two or three. The supervisor is there to support you, and also to stretch you and prepare you as much as possible for your exams. 

For a Cambridge Natural Sciences degree, your time will be split between lectures, labs and supervisions. It’s a contact-hour heavy subject, so you’ll get plenty of teaching!

What’s a day in the life of a Natural Sciences student?

To give you an idea of what it’s like to be a Natural Sciences student in your first year at Cambridge, here is what a typical day might look like:

8am: Wake up, eat breakfast, cycle to lectures 

9am-10am: Lecture

10am-11am: Lecture

11am-12pm: Independent study

12pm: Lunch

1pm-3pm: Labs

3pm-4pm: Supervision

4pm-6pm: Independent study

6pm: Dinner

7pm: Study or sports or a society

If that looks a little daunting, you’ll be relieved to hear that some days are a lot easier. Labs only happen two days a week, so you’ll generally have more free time for independent study and extracurricular activities. And although the contact hours are intense in the first year, they drop from 30 to 10-15 hours per week as the course progresses, allowing more time for private study. 


Although Natural Sciences is an intense degree, it’s definitely worth it. The joy of Natural Sciences is its breadth and variety. In fact, if you never want to specialise, the Cambridge degree allows you to continue broad study throughout your degree. 

If you’re looking to prepare for your Natural Sciences degree, then we’ve got great news for you – a blogpost dedicated to getting ready for your Cambridge Natural Sciences degree.