Skip to main content

Natural Sciences


The ethos of our Natural Sciences degrees echoes the university’s Science Strategywhich takes an interdisciplinary approach to research; breaking down barriers between disciplines and bringing staff together to tackle some of the big issues of our time.

The Science Strategy identifies a number of key research themes; areas in which the university already has strength and depth and which fit closely with international research priorities.

Climate change and sustainable futures

Climate change is one of the most significant phenomena of the 21st century, needing a truly interdisciplinary approach to tackle the issues it raises. With strong links to the Met Office and diverse expertise encompassing mathematical climate modelling, ecosystem responses, mitigation technology and socio-economic impact and adaptation, the University of Exeter is uniquely positioned at the forefront of climate change research.

Extrasolar planets

Extrasolar planets exist outside of Earth’s immediate solar system. By researching their atmospheres and underlying physics, we can learn more about our own planet, its history and its future. The University of Exeter unites mathematicians with theoretical and observational astrophysicists in this new field of study. Our academics have access to world-renowned research facilities, including the legendary Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, plus the VLT array at Paranal in Chile, the Gemini Observatories in Hawaii and Chile, and sophisticated climate prediction models made available by the Met Office.

Functional materials

Invisibility screens for radar, artificial bone, solar panels, ‘brain like’ computers, and medical sensors are just some modern advances which rely on functional materials; materials whose properties derive from and are controlled by their underlying design. At the University of Exeter we have brought together world-leading expertise in materials physics and engineering to create a community of over 150 researchers working on innovative concepts for materials design, fabrication and application, focusing in particular on nanoscale materials, metamaterials, photonic materials and graphene.

Systems biology

Techniques from mathematics and physics are accelerating biological sciences into the 21st century. Our researchers at the University of Exeter investigate small molecules, characterise proteins and apply next-generation genomic technologies to cure crop diseases, investigate genetic disorders and develop novel biotechnologies. From subcellular processes to entire ecosystems, we are developing modules to understand systems at every scale.