The Natural Sciences Tripos is the framework within which most of the science is taught and examined in Cambridge. It is taught primarily by sixteen Departments and includes a wide range of physical and biological sciences, and the history and philosophy of science. Departments provide the structure for the Tripos, teaching in lectures and practical and examples classes; all students are members of a Cambridge College, which provides advice on the direction of studies and, in collaboration with the Departments, small-group teaching (supervisions).
The programme is only offered as a full-time course and normally lasts for three or four years, depending on the specialist subjects chosen. Students have a wide choice of subjects from their matriculation and therefore each student has an individual programme of courses leading to their degree.