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"Just do me a favor. Don't count on that blue uniform to protect you. In the heat of battle, Klingons aren't very choosy about their targets. Doctor or no doctor, you might end up having to defend yourself."
McCoy and medical staff

Dr. McCoy and some of his medical staff wearing various sciences-division uniforms in 2266

The sciences division was the corps of officers and crewmen within Starfleet who specialized in both scientific and medical research and control functions on starbases, aboard starships, and at Starfleet Command.


Members of the sciences division specialized in sensors, research, theoretical and physical laboratory work, biological studies, and also worked as technicians, medics, and surgeons. Members of the sciences division belonged to such science departments as astrometrics, astrophysics, astrosciences, geophysics, hydroponics, medical, planetary geosciences, quantum mechanics, and stellar cartography.

Officers within this division were mostly limited to scientific or medical assignments such as doctors, nurses, and scientists working in a variety of disciplines. These officers served as department heads such as chief medical officers and head science officers.

Opportunities for command assignments were somewhat limited for these officers due to their lack of overall command experience and training. However, officers who had taken and passed the Bridge Officer's Test could be promoted in rank to commander and were certified to take occasional command of a starship shift. In most instances, however, science division officers would only take command of a ship or starbase on a temporary basis and only in the absence of other senior officers due to circumstances such as an emergency, illness of a commanding officer, or staffing shortages as may have occurred in wartime, for example. (TNG: "Tapestry", "Lessons", "Thine Own Self"; DS9: "Behind the Lines")


Beginning with the Earth Starfleet of the 2140s and 2150s, line officers and noncoms of science division wore blue-division stripes on their uniforms. This use of blue continued through several uniform styles until the 2260s. On starships, such as the USS Enterprise, science-division crewmembers had a specialty insignia in their insignia patch, a circle with two longitudinal lines dividing it. Some who specialized in the medical field wore an insignia patch that depicted a red cross symbol.

In the latter half of the 2260s, officers assigned to the sciences division might sometimes wear the division color of a department other than that in which they specialized. (TOS: "Balance of Terror", "The Conscience of the King") For example, if a science officer became a department head, they might have worn the colors of command division, or if they had a dual specialty in an operations division department, an alternate color might have been worn. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Mudd's Women", "Charlie X", "The Naked Time")

Spock and McCoy, 2270s

Spock and McCoy in the 2270s, wearing excursion jackets with orange (science) and light green (medical) department colors on their left sleeves

By the 2270s, Starfleet introduced new uniforms, with those in medical given their own distinct color. Uniforms were of various neutral colors chosen by crewmembers without regard to division, which was indicated only by a colored circle backing their Starfleet badge, as well as armbands. epaulets, and accessories on some uniforms. Science-research and technical staff wore a Starfleet patch with orange, while medical crew wore light green badge backings and accessories.

The colors were changed again with the 2280s uniforms, with green continuing to represent medical personnel, and science and technical staff wearing gray trim. Command personnel assigned to a sciences role had the option of adding a gray slash to the white trim on their uniform, and science division department heads had the option of wearing white trim with gray slashes or gray trim with white slashes.

On the uniforms used from 2350s onward, blue had again become the sciences division color, and medical had been re-absorbed into sciences.

The second variant of the 2371 uniform, while still referred to as blue, was actually a shade of teal, a mix of blue and green. The color was later applied to the 2373 uniforms as well.

The uniforms used during the 2380s and 2390s returned to a true blue for sciences division.


Starfleet uniform sciences division colors:
2140s-Early 2160s Mid 2160s 2230s Late 2230s-2250s
Sciences Sciences Sciences Sciences Sciences
Medical Medical
2250s-Early 2270s Mid 2270s Late 2270s-2350s 2350s-2370s
Sciences Sciences Sciences Sciences Sciences
Medical Medical Medical
Late 2360s-Early 2370s 2370s Early 2380s Mid 2380s Late 2390s-Early 2400s
Sciences Sciences Sciences Sciences Sciences
Late 2800s Late 3180s Early 3190s
Sciences Sciences Sciences
Medical Medical

Science division officers[]


See also[]

Background information[]

During Star Trek: The Original Series, sciences blue first appeared in "The Cage" and was regularly worn by the science station officers, and medical personnel. Divisions were less clearly-defined early in production; some characters scientists (like astrobiologist Ann Mulhall and historian Marla McGivers) wore operations red, while officers appearing to be security personnel wore blue in both "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Science Officer Spock wore sciences blue except in the second pilot episode, when he wore command gold possibly for his dual position as executive officer. The work coveralls were muted variations in the pilots from the duty uniforms and were light blue in color. Later they matched the blue of the standard duty uniform.

In the movie era, costume designer Robert Fletcher added several different uniform colors, breaking the traditional three departments into six. Star Trek: The Motion Picture featured Spock wearing orange trim denoting Science and McCoy wearing the bright green of Medical. When Fletcher redesigned the uniforms for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, he continued to keep the two departments separate, with McCoy and other medical personnel in green and science officers now wearing grey.

At certain periods of time, roles such as Communications and Navigation have been shuffled between divisions. One notable example is Hoshi Sato who wore a blue uniform in her role of communications officer. From Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan through Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, both Nyota Uhura and Pavel Chekov wore uniforms with science grey trim.

The decision to switch the meaning of the colors for command and ops divisions between The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation uniform styles was made in pre-production of "Encounter at Farpoint". However, blue was kept as the sciences division color.

Most often, in the Federation Starfleet, captains and admirals wore command division colors; however there were exceptions, which proves that this was not a requirement. In 2267, Captain Krasnovsky wore a science blue dress uniform, an unidentified admiral was pictured in a sciences uniform in 2401, and Admiral Beverly Crusher wore blue even after becoming Head of Starfleet Medical.