Science Courses at University
There are various streams of science courses in university. They are usually quite similar at the lower levels. In the first and second year science courses, regardless of being Biology or Physics, the courses are heavily lecture based with a tutorial section and a laboratory section. This section is also referred to as the practical section with actual hand on experience in experiments that expand upon material presented in the course lectures and course textbooks.
A science student's schedule can be compared to an art student's schedule, and it will seem fairly similar, at least for the lecture component. They each have about the same amount of class time when it comes to lectures and tutorials. However, the time difference between an art student and a science student is that there is a 3 hour laboratory component to consider, aside from the differences in course materials. The laboratory component not only takes up the 3 hours per week, but it requires more time in some science disciplines. Often, there is preparatory work involved wherein the student must study the protocol and procedure and prepare charts for data collection even before the experiment has begun. The laboratory work itself is tedious and requires focus and concentration in order to complete the experiment successfully. If any aspect of the experiment was completed improperly, it will need to be repeated under the same time constraint. The work is still not finished even after the laboratory time period has ended. Now, the student will need to do more work by gathering up the data and summarizing the findings, and then drawing conclusions from the data.
When the student of the sciences gets to the upper years, the course material becomes much less practical and more theoretical. The upper year courses tend to focus on cutting edge material and current scientific trends. It may even focus on the professor's research or that of his colleagues. It often takes the form of article analysis from journals in the field and creating possible experiments to test hypotheses about phenomena in the selected field. It can be exciting, but also difficult as not all of the material is easy to grasp and straightforward. There is a lot of material in these courses, and sometimes they build upon themes and ideas presented in the lower level courses.
Some students are so intrigued by their studies that they will continue in their studies at the graduate level. Often, this takes the form of a thesis for a Master's degree or Doctoral degree. They will need to have a certain grade point average and should have relevant laboratory and research experience when applying. In Canada, the Principal Investigator will have relevant funding and the graduate student can also claim governmental support as well for paying the bills and tuition for graduate school.
Some science degree programs can have a lot of utility than just preparing students to entering graduate degree programs for research. Some of the programs can have real-world job applications which increases the chances of the student being employed. This is real plus since it is hard for students in the sciences to find jobs. A lot of times, further graduate work will be required before the student can find proper employment that may be related to his/her chosen scientific field. Some students can take on jobs from far and wide that may or may not be related to the chosen field. It can seem frustrating at times and even wasteful, with so many years dedicated to the study of one particular subject. However, it may be that because the student had dedicated all those hours, they were able to be hired because of their dedication, passion to a subject, or critical thinking abilities.