What Are the Applied Sciences?

Direct Knowlege Contributor Taylor Bauer
  • By Taylor Bauer, Technical Writer & Digital Marketing Expert
  • Taylor is a writer and SEO manager with a B.S. in Political Communication from Illinois State University. He also received his M.S. in Communications from Illinois State. His background comes from journalism, working at an NPR member station for three years before transitioning to blogging and search engine marketing. He lives in Illinois with his wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards.

You probably know that science has played an enormous role in advancing society. Still, you may not know that it’s primarily the list of applied sciences subjects doing all the leg work in that advancement. Natural science, by itself, is just a method of evaluating how the natural world behaves. It involves a series of steps for testing certain situations to confirm theories and gain knowledge, but it doesn’t apply that knowledge in any helpful way.  And that’s where the branches of the applied sciences come in, turning definitions, theories, and discoveries into modern marvels.

Applied science is an area of study that utilizes existing scientific knowledge and schools of thought to develop practical applications. The applied sciences consist of engineering, medicine, and business. If you’re working in these areas of research and development, you pull from pure science to create the objects, machines, tools, and other modern marvels around us. Fields in this sector of science apply concepts to bring us innovations.

Modern Advancements of Applied Science

For example, pure science brought us the concepts of germs and microorganisms. Applied science took that knowledge and used it to create medications and health procedures to keep people like you and me healthy. Pure science also revealed the wonder of electricity. But that knowledge wasn’t put to use until people figured out that electricity running through wires of conductive material can create and power complex machines.

I will detail some more examples of various types of applied sciences in the sections below to help you fully grasp the topic and get involved. When you think about how science has helped modern society, you likely think about applied sciences—computers, medicine, machines, etc. And many of these are popular fields are that young people dream of getting degrees in. But because some people think of these areas as synonymous with pure science, I will start with a summary of their differences.

Understanding Pure Science First

Whether you understand science to be a broad term, vague concept, or merely a foundational element in basic academics, you surely know that it is a unique and ever-growing field that requires constant research and attention.

The first thing I need to emphasize about science is that it is not just a body of knowledge. Instead, it is also a method that you can use to gain understanding. This method, which you’ve probably heard of before, is called the scientific method.

The modern scientific method consists of testing an idea with evidence such that you can reproduce the results. For example, maybe I think that brown oranges have mold on the inside. That is my hypothesis, and I can test it by peeling many brown oranges to see if there is mold on the inside. If all or most of the brown oranges I peeled have spores inside, I can say that my hypothesis was correct. I think this is an overly simple example, but it is nonetheless a scientific method of testing an idea by finding repetitive evidence.

In more complicated areas than oranges, science and the scientific method allow us to advance knowledge continuously. I can be confident that each layer is reliable because I used the scientific method.

Applying the Sciences

Applied sciences are similar in that they build upon theories in both thought and physical design. However, they also go beyond testing natural phenomena and dive into how those phenomena are useful for us.

Maybe I know that the mold in the previous oranges has potent medical properties. Thus, I can use my knowledge of the brown fruits to increase the orange-mold medication production in the pharmacy I own. Therefore, the applied sciences open the door for numerous technological developments and other innovations.

Applied Sciences female scientist in a quantum optics lab

The Fruit of Applied Sciences’ Labors

One example I will detail of something made from scientific knowledge is technology.

Consider the smartphone you likely have close at hand. I always marvel at the scientific understanding of elements and materials that go into creating the device. The battery utilizes knowledge about energy and transference to allow it to operate.

It also applies wave theory to make long-distance communication possible. Through studying radio waves and frequencies, scientists manufactured a device that can transform vocal sounds into electrical signals and can use radio waves to transmit this data. Smartphones are a prime example of applied science.

Other items that come from applied sciences that you and I likely use daily include microwaves, medicine, clothing, computers, and cars.

Business accounting team meeting

The Applied Sciences of Business

As globalization both grows and connects populations of people across the planet, business becomes increasingly complicated and scientific. I see a lot of large corporations running their businesses like laboratories by making hypotheses about market forces and testing different economic strategies. The scientific method helps to evaluate any situation and optimize results through the use of such testing and evidence. In business, the key topics concern the application of mathematics, logic, economics, and psychology. Each of the following subjects has its place in the list of applied sciences branches that use scientific methods to advance modern life.

Accounting

The definition of accounting in the applied sciences doesn’t necessarily have to do with finance, as I think many people assume. Instead, it concerns measuring, processing, and communicating both financial and non-financial material about entities in the economic environment. These entities include businesses and corporations who need to manage information for employees, creditors, regulators, and investors.

The list of main subjects within this applied science branch includes financial, cost, management, tax, and auditing accounting. In these fields, the primary goals include reporting an entity’s financial information for external use, managing data for internal use, and record transactions.

Changes in Accounting Over Time

The methods for doing this focus on the double-entry accounting system that initially comes from medieval Italy. Other systems existed over time, but globalization is encouraging the world to unify methods. At the moment, many significant economies plan to adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards to create cohesion across nations.

Various accounting organizations exist today to facilitate the implementation and enforcement of standards in this applied sciences topic. These include firms, professional bodies, and standard-setters. These entities both divvy up the workload and provide a system of checks and balances on one another. They all operate under what is called the generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, set by specific standard-setting boards.

To become a professional accountant, you would need to complete an applied sciences degree and acquire professional qualifications in one of the branches of accounting. A bachelor’s degree is required, and a master’s degree depends on where you wish to work. As for certificates and diplomas, it would depend on the company or which specific topic in which you want to work.

Business Management

The definition of this applied sciences subject is as straightforward as its name: the management of a business. This process involves allocating resources and supervising operations to efficiently and effectively achieve the goals of the company. The essential tasks for business managers include organizing, planning, staffing, and directing the organization using strong leadership. Accomplishing these tasks helps the business meet its goals and grow economically.

The skills from business management apply to a wide variety of jobs and industries. People with applied sciences degrees in the field can work in a long list of positions that aren’t just limited to management. After all, organization and leadership skills are useful for other jobs such as administration and customer relations as well. The broad applicability of the field makes sure that you will consistently be in demand across various industries. As an extension, you will have high earnings potential, particularly if you complete a graduate degree.

However, business management isn’t only limited to those holding higher degrees. A business requires many people to do various jobs efficiently to run. These jobs include positions that I know don’t necessarily require higher education. For example, routing calls, making sales, public relations, and market research won’t need the same certifications as an executive manager of a company. If you graduated high school or have a non-business bachelor’s, you can always get your foot in the door with an entry-level position. You can then move up the ladder from there.

Finance

Finance has a simple definition in the applied sciences; it is the study of money and different such as individuals, companies, and governments use it. These entities use money by spending it or investing it. The studies within finance revolve around theories behind why people use money the way they do. Research in this area of applied science is mainly within a list of three subjects: valuation, financial economics, and mathematical finance.

Concerning institutions, there are four significant categories of finance, including investment management, personal and public economics, and corporate finance. However, the field doesn’t necessarily focus on just one of these parts of the system. Instead, it is vital to understand how the various entities within the system interact through financial markets and other instruments. This interplay creates a “flow” of money facilitated by financial serves.

Working in finance can lead to several opportunities for both career and salary growth. Getting involved in the field generally requires a degree in a related field such as finance, business, or economics. But be sure to research different majors and jobs before choosing one, so you know that they fit your interests and skills. Following a degree, you may also need to gain a certification, depending on your area of specialty. Job options in finance include working in financial planning, corporate finance, commercial banking, investment banking, hedge funds, insurance, and more.

Marketing

Thinking of the definition of marketing in terms of applied science involves the interplay of a list of subjects. Various branches of applied science come together to contribute to this topic, which focuses on managing relationships by identifying and granting the wants and needs of clients. The main goal is to get clients interested in the products and services you provide.

However, marketing doesn’t necessarily target customers. Instead, as a marketer, I could focus on other businesses, which is known as B2B. If I market towards the consumer, it is called B2C. The direction of the marketing and other factors such as the surrounding environment determine the methods that a professional uses to market a product.

To determine the factors that affect a particular situation, the marketer can research the market, the environment, and the product. This research involves using methods from other branches and subjects of applied sciences such as psychology and economics. Following the investigation, marketers promote and sell their products and services according to the best methods that they found.

The 4 Ps of Marketing

Within this branch of applied science is a list of definitions called the four Ps of marketing. The first P stands for the product (or service), followed by place, price, and finally, promotion. The product is the main thing you offer to clients. You might provide physical items or useful services. The place is where you provide these offers, which might include physical stores, online platforms, and specific countries. Price is then how much you charge others for your precious goods and services. The price consists of paying off the product as well as meeting financial goals such as profit margins. Then, promotion is the primary marketing tool for diffusing the benefits of the product throughout the market. The combination of these Ps grants a simple formula for marketers to identify and work with an appropriate marketing strategy.

Operations Management

As I am sure you can notice from the above sections, the process of running a business involves many moving parts. Making them all work together smoothly is a whole job in and of itself. The definition of this task is called operations management in the applied sciences. It involves managing business practices to increase the efficiency of an organization. These primary objectives of this subject of the applied sciences include a list of tasks such as converting raw materials and a workforce into goods and services, balancing costs with revenue, planning operations, and maximizing profits.

The job of an operations manager should be to complete these objectives as efficiently and effectively as possible. Doing so involves using the least number of resources possible while still complying with requirements in terms of safety, quality, and customer desires. This task is quite daunting when you consider that it spans the entire production process.

Essential skills that an operations manager should possess include leadership, organizational skills, and intuition. An intuitive sense for understanding the processes within a company to identify where it needs improvements is imperative for growth. Operations management is an important applied sciences subject in various fields such as banking, healthcare, and large corporations. The area works in conjunction with other marketing subjects such as marketing, human resources, and finance.

Applied Sciences Group workers assemble a transformer in mechanical engineering

Engineering in the Applied Sciences

Whether you are thinking about aeronautics, chemical design, mechanical applications, electrical elements, or computer development, you are thinking about the world of engineers. Engineers use applied sciences to develop, evaluate, test, modify, and implement designs for new systems and products. They can also be in supervisory roles, such as consulting or management.

Engineering is a broad field in the applied sciences encompassing the list of branches, including physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, and more. Each area applies math and science to solve problems and come up with new creations. In this article, I include various links to material that aims to educate you on a range of engineering specialties.

Popular fields include aerospace, chemicalmechanicalcivil, and electrical engineering. I provide links to articles on all of these areas and more in the applied sciences category. But I should emphasize that those four are just the start of a very long list. Many other multidisciplinary fields exist which mix and match skills of these four with different subjects and niches. These include chemical, mechanical, electrical, and civil design fields. Each category delves into the sciences and scientists who make essential developments in the area.

Aerospace engineering pieces of aircraft machinery

Aerospace Engineering

The definition of this branch of applied sciences concerns the development of spacecraft and aircraft. The two main sub-branches I discuss here include astronautical and aeronautical engineering. The former involves work within the Earth’s atmosphere, while the latter contains machines that go beyond it.

A highly significant accomplishment in the last century was the great leap of humankind from the planet you and I call home. The moon landings awed the world, maybe even including you if you’re old enough. There were plenty of people at the time who said it wasn’t possible. But luckily, there were a few determined to prove them wrong.

We have aerospace engineering to thank for those spacecraft, as well as aircraft that circle our skies. And even the younger generations who weren’t around for the original space craze have a growing interest in the science of creating those aircraft and spacecraft. They’re talking about making the next great leap to our neighboring planet, Mars. I am still waiting for those tickets to get on the market!

The list of subjects within this branch of the applied sciences includes various disciplines, primarily within math and physics. Topics like aerodynamics, materials science, avionics, propulsion, and structural analysis play prominent roles.

Getting a degree in the field will involve a lot of study in these areas, but not so much that you need a master’s or Ph.D. A bachelor’s degree is typically sufficient, making it quite efficient in terms of your time and monetary investment.

Balloon with the words Chemical Engineering lit up in yellow lighting

Chemical Engineering

The definition of this branch of the applied sciences is, in broad terms, the mix of chemistry and technology. Chemical engineers use these two fields to design tools and processes for producing, transporting, and transforming materials. This process starts in the lab and grows from there into full-scale production of new materials and technology.

The field works on many levels, from the smallest chemical reactions to the enormous quantities of energy in power plants. For example, if you’re not just interested in the engineering of tall buildings and big machines, then chemical engineering might be for you. It looks at the materials and energy that make these things at a more detailed level.

Through chemical engineering, you will learn about the chemistry and properties of materials to see how they work together and how to optimize results in various settings. These areas include work with materials and technologies on nanoscales, as well as scaling vast industrial processes involving chemicals, microorganisms, energy, and more.

Some of the industries with the highest demand for chemical engineers include energy, biotechnology, healthcare, electronics, and environmental science. If you’re not sure which is the best fit for you, you could start with general chemical engineering classes. Supplement these core classes with other sciences to give you a taste of each one. You can eventually specialize in a specific area, although it’s not entirely necessary. It is often sufficient to have a general chemical engineering degree and gain specialization through professional work.

Civil engineering industrial development project tower

Civil Engineering

If you always went straight to building sets like Legos and Lincoln Logs as a kid, then civil engineering might be for you. The definition of this applied science field is the construction, design, and maintenance of structures. These include buildings, roads, bridges, dams, and more.

Because the range of structures is so broad, you will also find a list of sub-disciplines in this branch of the applied sciences. People often base sub-disciplines in civil engineering on the type of structures and their purpose.

This subject of the applied sciences started thousands of years ago when groups of people first started settling down in one area rather than continually migrating. Once settled in one area, they could build permanent structures.

At first, many of these structures consisted of relatively weak natural materials like mud or grass. But over time, people discovered which materials were stronger and how to use them together to create sturdy infrastructure. Early constructions included roads, houses, wells, and trenches. Eventually, people learned to make more complex structures like bridges, levees, dams, and networks for resource distribution.

Today, a civil engineer will be just one worker in a list of people involved in an applied sciences project. They will likely take charge of one part of the more substantial undertaking, such as site preparation, writing specifications, or researching materials. Other engineers will come in at practically every step throughout the process of a construction project.

Applied sciences students in electrical engineering course training with teacher

Electrical Engineering

This subject is one of the more recent in the list of applied sciences, which, by definition, deals with the intersection of technology and electricity. I am sure you know that the application of power is a major modern invention. It only started in the 19th century, and slowly started integrating into daily objects and uses. The first applications were very simplistic static charges and batteries. But Michael Faraday’s Law of Induction led to the electric generator, motor, and transformer. These devices paved the way for putting electricity in homes, businesses, and other industries across the globe.

Now, it has even become critical for health and safety in many areas. Without it, vast stores of food would go to waste, medications would become useless, and peoples’ homes can become unlivable due to cold. Because electricity is now such a vital part of daily life, electrical engineering has a wide array of applications.

As an electrical engineer, you apply the science of creatingmaintaining, and improving systems and objects that use electricity. Because of the widespread application of voltage, you can work in anything from large power stations to tiny microchips. A bachelor’s in electrical engineering is typically sufficient to get into the field. You can add a specialization in other areas like computer or buildings via additional classes or professional experience.

Mechanical engineering inspector check pressure of gas booster compressor engine before startup Daily checklist with log sheet to record abnormal condition at offshore oil and gas

Mechanical Engineering

In the list of engineering subjects, I would say mechanical is probably the most diverse in the applied sciences. It focuses on the study of motion, which can apply to a wide range of systems. And the word mechanical refers to the working parts of machines or things that are produced by machines. Thus, mechanical engineering works with objects and devices that have moving parts. These can include the factory machines, machines like cars, or the production of specialized objects like prosthetics that need to move while attached to the human body.

Like civil engineering, mechanical originates from thousands of years ago. Records exist of old machines such as the wedge, inclined plane, and wheel. Throughout time, people added new parts to existing ideas, and people came up with entirely new inventions. These eventually led to the modern marvels we have today.

Modern mechanical engineers often work on complex machines with several moving parts. In all cases, mechanical engineers consider the motion, force, and energy involved in the function of the object. Some standard tools that they employ include everything from computer programs to industrial equipment.

Mechanical engineers also need base knowledge in areas like thermodynamics, structural analysis, and materials science. They use these tools to design and implement systems such as heating and cooling systems, machines, buildings, medical devices, and manufacturing plants.

Medium shot of doctors analyzing cervical spine x-ray during a meeting

Applied Sciences of Medicine

One of the hallmarks of modern and developed life is medicine. You have likely benefited from medication and doctors throughout your life, and will continue to do so until death. Although medicine has been around for thousands of years, the medicine you and I receive today is much different. Today, the definition of medicine includes applied sciences from the fields of biology, genetics, psychology, and technology.

Modern medicine has changed the way (and amount of time) that we live all over the planet. It helps us figure out what’s wrong with our bodies, how to fix it, and how to prevent it from happening repeatedly. The process of figuring these things out is highly scientific, leading to the term evidence-based medicine. However, there are “alternative” types of treatment that are less reliable due to the lack of such evidence or failed experiments. This uncertainty makes evidence-based the leading variety across the globe.

Working in Medicine

Before the emergence of scientific methods in the field, it was considered more of an art than a science. That is, it was an area that relied more on knowledge and skill growing from an individual’s experiences. Today, the dependable nature of scientific methods means that anyone can gain an education in the field. At least, anyone who’s willing and able to put in a lot of hard work, that is.

The typical medical professional needs to have a Doctor of Medicine degree from an accredited medical program at a university. Following the schooling, you then need to practice in an internship or residency with strict supervision for some time.

Branches

The human body is highly complicated, leading to a slew of definitions and branches in this area of applied science. Each field typically focuses on a specific area of science or part of the human body. For example, biochemistry looks at the interaction of biology and chemistry relative to human health. Immunology looks at how the human body, specifically the immune system, reacts to disease. Most professionals specialize one just one of these areas.

Applied Sciences Electrophoresis device in a genetics lab to decrypt the genetic code

Applied Sciences Frequency Asked Questions

Are you looking for some quick answers? The below questions are the ones we hear most frequently, inspiring the topics above. You’ll find more detail in the above article, but I have provided the most important points below.

What subjects do the applied sciences include?

The applied sciences cover engineering, medicine, nursing, and veterinary science. Within each of these are several sub-fields. Engineering sub-fields will specialize in designing and building things for specific purposes and applying particular sciences. Sub-fields in medicine, nursing, and veterinary science focus on different types of medications and patients.

What does a degree in the applied sciences entail?

To learn how to apply science, you will first learn about science itself, which is why most applied sciences degrees start with a core curriculum of courses such as physics, biology, and chemistry. You will then take classes to learn how each of these sciences applies in your particular field. At an advanced level, you will start practicing methods of application and perhaps doing your research.

What is the difference between applied science and pure science?

Pure science looks at the natural world and how it functions while only considering truth and logic. It doesn’t weigh much about how these truths of the natural world can help humans and society, and it just aims to discover how things work. Applied science, on the other hand, involves using the information gathered from pure science for practical applications that improve technology and society.

What jobs can you do with a degree in applied science?

Because a degree in applied science is inherently useful, jobs in the field are in demand. Standard professional titles include various types of engineers, doctors, nurses, and veterinarians. With a degree in applied science, you can work in public, private, or government settings that usually pay very well.

Applied Sciences Happy dentist and head nurse standing at room and smiling

Conclusion – The Benefits of Applied Sciences Await

Applied sciences are what take science to the next level and advance society throughout time. The field is full of discoveries to uncover, as well as careers in discovering them.

Now is the time to choose a field and get involved.

If you already feel drawn to one of the applied sciences but aren’t involved academically or professionally yet, let us help you move forward.

Whatever the topic, the information, definitions, and materials on applied sciences provided here will add to your knowledge and skills. Students and educators will find plenty of material to help them through classes. For instance, many books on applied sciences include practice problems, especially in areas such as math and physics.

Professionals, too, can find material for staying up to date on current events in their field or gaining new skills. And the electronic format of online books and articles means that they are ideal for anyone, anywhere. You can read them on various devices while avoiding paper books that contribute to deforestation and a cluttered home. So take a look through the selection of applied sciences readings. They’re sure to help you improve your grades, knowledge, and skills.

Did you already know about the differences between pure and applied sciences?

Which applied science interests you the most, and what’s your preferred method for learning about them?

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