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 Hawai╩╗i.

Student samples lava
The Natural Science Degree features Geology courses.
Pololu Valley, photo by Jose Luis Palma
The Big Island is a Living Laboratory, ideal for studying natural science.

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
Astronomy students can visit Mauna Kea, home to world-class telescopes.
Safety Glasses
Students wear safety glasses as they analyze samples in a chemistry 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 at KOEC
Natural Science majors often puruse careers as teachers.
Students observe volcano demonstration; Photo by Victor Aguilar)
Sixth-grade students enjoy a demonstration that mimics a volcanic eruption.

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, Photo by Pam Stewart
Volcanic gas is collected in the field, for later analysis in the lab.
Fern, Photo by Pam Stewart
With our tropical climate, 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!