Natural Science Degree

If you enjoy geology and other natural sciences, but think you would like to be a teacher rather than a scientist, the Natural Science Degree may be an excellent path for you! Graduates often find careers right here in Hawaiʻi.

Student samples lava
The Natural Science Degree includes Geology.
Pololu Valley
The Big Island is a natural "Living Laboratory."

Hilo is surrounded by tropical ecosystems, world-class astronomy observatories, active volcanoes, and tropical coral reefs. Many courses in the Natural Science program emphasize field trips that use Hilo’s extraordinary location as a “living laboratory.” The plants, animals, volcanoes, ocean, and observatories of the Big Island are unique and bring to life the study of biology, geology, oceanography, and astronomy.

Telescopes on Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea is home to world-class telescopes.
Safety Glasses
Students learn safety in the lab.

The Natural Science program prepares students to become science teachers at the intermediate school level. The program also provides training for students with broad interests who intend to work in interdisciplinary arenas such as environmental science.

Classroom scene
Natural Science majors can become teachers.
Students observe volcano demonstration
Sixth-grade students enjoy a "volcano" demo.

Students take courses in a wide spectrum of science subjects, plus complete a minor in one of these subjects, as an area of specialization. Graduates of the Natural Science program often enroll in the UH Hilo secondary teacher licensure program following graduation. Other graduates pursue non-teaching careers.

The primary educational objective of the Natural Science program is the development of a solid foundation in the concepts, goals, and methods of a variety of science disciplines. Students can expect to build a strong knowledge base in chemistry and physics, and an introduction to astronomy, computer science, geology, and oceanography.

Sampling gas
Volcanic gas is collected in the field.
UH Hilo is a great place to study biology.

Students choose from three areas: biological, physical, or environmental science. Students can expect to deepen their knowledge through hands-on laboratory investigations, to develop observational and experimental skills, and become familiar with safety protocols appropriate to teaching laboratories.

Students will develop critical thinking skills and a more detailed understanding of scientific concepts and methods through completion of a minor in a specific science discipline. Students will be able to apply their knowledge to current issues, and give a professional-style oral presentation on a scientific topic.

Check out Degree Requirements for Natural Science majors!