STEM degrees with minimal maths | Top Universities
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STEM degrees with minimal maths

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Aisha Khan

Updated Aug 30, 2023
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With an increase of jobs in STEM (science, engineering, engineering and medicine) related industries, it’s no surprise that growing numbers of students are choosing to study STEM-related subjects.  

However, if you’ve never considered yourself a maths whizz, or quite frankly shudder at the idea of having to solve quadratic equations ever again, you may be a little nervous to entertain the idea of studying a STEM degree. 

The good news is that not all STEM degrees require you to be a maths genius. Although you may not be able to escape maths entirely when studying STEM, some subjects only involve a basic understanding of maths, for example, when analysing quantitative data. 

So, what are these subjects? 

Here are four examples of STEM degrees with minimal maths: 

Geology 

Geology

According to the UK’s Geological Society, geology is the study of “the structure, evolution and dynamics of the Earth and its natural mineral and energy resources.” When studying geology at university, you’ll be investigating Earth's physical processes and materials to gain a better understanding of how our planet works. 

A degree in geology will involve some quantitative analysis, but compared to other STEM fields, you won’t need to have advanced knowledge of maths.  

For example, the BSc in Geology at Imperial College London (ranked 27th for geology according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023) requires three A-Levels at A grade for admission. However, it’s not necessary to have studied A-Level maths as they’ll accept related science subjects. 

In addition, the programme is primarily focused on the scientific aspects of the subject with core modules such as Dynamic Earth and Planets, and Life over Deep Time.  

There is some maths involved as you’ll need to take a module in Programming for Geoscientists in your first year, but you don’t need an advanced mathematical background to succeed in programming, especially in the early stages of your degree. 

Environmental science

Environmental science

A degree in environmental science normally involves studying how physical, chemical and biological processes maintain and interact with life, including how humans affect nature. 

As is the case with geology, there might be some basic maths involved when analysing results, but you’ll be focusing more on environmental issues, policy, and management, rather than complex mathematical modelling. 

The BSc in Environmental Science at the University of Manchester (ranked as the seventh best university in the UK according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023) requires students to have studied at least one science subject at either A-Level or IB.  

Some statistical learning is required; however, a large part of your assessment will also be conducted through essays, written assignments, oral and written assignments, and fieldwork, indicating that you’ll also be focusing on wider communication and subject specific skills.  

Health sciences

Health sciences

Health sciences is concerned with the physiology of the body’s major systems, and human health and disease. You can expect to study causes, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.  

At New York University (NYU), the Master of Public Health involves some study of biostatistics in order to apply descriptive and inferential methodologies to answer research questions.  

It’s worth stressing that you’ll be able to tailor your degree to meet your interests and choose specialisations in fields such as global health, epidemiology, and public health policy and management, minimising maths-related modules where possible. 

Psychology

Psychology

According to UCAS, while psychology programmes in the UK accept A-Level maths, it’s also acceptable to have studied chemistry, physics or biology if you didn’t choose maths. 

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind, meaning you’ll be observing, experimenting, and analysing human and animal behaviour.  

Some areas of psychology, such as cognitive neuroscience, may include statistics and data analysis but compared to other fields such as engineering and physics, the overall focus is less maths-oriented. 

Depending on what you choose to specialise in, a basic understanding of maths at undergraduate level may suffice.  

Harvard University is ranked as the best university in the world for psychology, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.  

Students on the undergraduate programme can choose between three tracks, including the General Track. This is the most flexible of the tracks and is designed to provide you with a foundation in the subfields of your choice before starting advanced coursework. 

That means you’ll have the opportunity to explore the breadth of psychology without having to study maths aside from the programme’s essential requirements.