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The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

Pure Science and Applied Science explained

What is Pure Science? How is it different from Applied Science and what subjects do they cover? We answer these questions and more.

Studying applied and pure sciences abroad


Before we go any further, let's first look at the definition of Pure Science and Applied Science. 


What is Pure Science? 


Pure Science is the development of scientific theories and predictions in three broad subjects: Chemistry, Biology or Physics. Also known as ‘Basic Science’ or ‘Natural Science’, Pure Science is research which doesn’t consider how these theories can be applied but is used to answer questions or phenomena. Pure Sciences usually take place in a laboratory setting.


What is Applied Science? 


Applied Sciences is the actual application of these theories and predictions to practical problems such as in Engineering or Technology. These are most commonly applied in Research & Development, otherwise known as simply R&D. Applied Sciences usually take place outside of a laboratory.


Why study Applied and Pure Sciences?


We should be constantly questioning what we know so we can develop our knowledge and technology. (Just think of what we would have missed out on if we accepted that the world was flat?)


Without the development of scientific theories, we can’t expect to find solutions to the numerous real world problems. These problems can vary from those which simply inconvenience us (e.g. automobile engineering), to those which actually threaten our lives (e.g. medical science).


Applied and Pure Sciences are STEM field subjects which are in huge demand across the globe. In fact many countries are more accommodating to international students who graduate with STEM qualifications, providing more visa options to remain in the country to work afterwards. So if you don’t want to return to your home country after your studies, this is something important to consider.


Who would be good at studying Applied and Pure Sciences?


As indicated above, the desire to push the barriers and make new discoveries should be at the heart of all students in the Applied and Pure Science fields. When working on their own research, it can be frustrating for students as they test and re-test various theories over a long period of time; so a passion for their area is essential to remaining dedicated to your work. The ability to think critically and analytically is also essential.


What are the entry requirements? 


Students applying to study an Applied and Pure Sciences qualification should have one or a combination of local qualifications in the sciences such as biology, chemistry, or physics. Additionally a mathematics or technology-related qualification might support your application, particularly if you’re applying to an Applied Sciences course.

You should always check the entry requirements for a course with the university themselves.


What specific subjects can you study?


What can you do with an Applied or Pure Science qualification?


Those who graduate with a qualification in Applied or Pure Sciences can pursue one of a wide variety of fields depending on the specific course they’ve studied. If you have a look at the specific courses above, you’ll see that these are complex subjects which cover a lot of material, each with their respective histories. Therefore there are a number of careers which these courses allow progression on to. 


Those who study a Pure Science qualification can work in roles such as:

  • scientist

  • researcher

  • academic


Meanwhile those who achieve an Applied Science qualification can move into practical roles where they can actually apply this knowledge, such as:

  • engineers

  • research & development roles


If you'd like to look into undergraduate or postgraduate studies in Applied or Pure Sciences, use our course matcher tool to find the perfect course for you. 

Want to check which program suits you the best?
Find out with our new "Course Matcher" tool!

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