Although curricula change from one institution to another, the most essential science courses in both high school and entry-level university study are typically biology, chemistry and physics. While biology is loosely described as the study of life, chemistry is the study of the interactions between different types of matter. Physics also concerns the study of matter, but focuses on the entire observable universe.
Biology is a wide ranging subject matter with many different sub-fields. Anatomy, for example, concerns the systems, functions and characteristics of the body, whereas ecology handles the interactions between organisms and the environment. More specialized biology courses can get down to the microscopic level, treating such issues as cellular structure and genetics.
Chemistry is also broken down into numerous sub-fields, including organic, inorganic, analytical and physical. Organic chemistry, for example, deals mostly with carbon's role in the formation of living matter, whereas inorganic chemistry studies non-living things. Major areas of physics include biophysics and quantum physics, and students of the subject often focus on laws governing principles of motion, mass and energy. For instance, students encounter topics related to gravity, momentum, speed and acceleration, magnetism, and thermodynamics. Students may even delve into such modern physics subjects as relativity theory and quantum mechanics.