Science (Civ5)

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20xScience5 Science is a game concept in Civilization V which represents the research power of your civilization. Unlike other stats like 20xCulture5 Culture or 20xfaith5 Faith, it has only one use - the acquisition of new Technologies. This, however, is paramount for your progress in the game, because technologies unlock buildings and improvements that allow you to access resources and produce almost everything else, and they also advance your military, allowing you to fight more effectively. And of course, it is one of the main paths towards winning the game, via the Science Victory.

Scientific mechanicsEdit

As with most Civilization games, your scientific progress is measured in Science points (SP), which are generated by sources within your empire and added to a total pool, which contributes to your current research effort. This effort you choose from the Science tech tree, from among the technologies that are available for research,  and may be changed at any point (without losing the progress you've made with the tech you abandoned). Each technology requires a certain amount of SPs to be discovered, besides having earlier technologies as prerequisites (the exact amount of SP required for each technologies depends on the map and Empire size). The research process is automatic, and starts once you set up your capital - this means that you're constantly researching something throughout the entire game. The more SPs you contribute each turn for research, the faster you are going to discover the current technology. After you discover a technology, you gain all its benefits, and the game will prompt you to select the next one to be researched.

  • Note: You don't need to completely develop each technology before going to the next one - you can make some progress towards one, then change to another, if the strategic situation calls for it. Later, you'll come back to the first technology, and your scientists will resume from where they stopped.

Tech tree and Civilization ErasEdit

All technologies in the game are organised in a 'tree', with each tech 'connected' to one or more higher-level techs. Those higher-level techs cannot be researched before you finish all lower-level techs that connect to them directly (a process known as 'unlocking'). So, you can neither research or gain in other ways technologies you haven't unlocked - keep that in mind when planning your technological development and which techs you're going to research next!

The technological tree is also divided into Eras, starting with the Ancient Era and finishing with the Information Era. These Eras are a broad representation of the general level of development of your civilization. Each Era includes a number of technologies, and the position of the technology you've last researched in the tree determines which Era your civilization is in currently. This, in turn, determines a number of other gameplay effects, such as the exact amount of 20xCulture5 and 20xfaith5 you receive from friendly City-States, or what Social Policies you have access to. To progress to the next Era, you either need to research all technologies included in the previous one, or a single technology from the next Era (after unlocking it of course).  

  • Note: passing to the next Era is an important achievement for a civilization, and is marked by a special announcement. Keep an eye for these announcements to track the progress of your rivals!

For a full list of technologies, see here

Producing ScienceEdit

Population and buildingsEdit

The main source of 20xScience5 SP in the game is your population. Each citizen in each city in your empire (even the Puppet cities) automatically contributes 1 SP to the total. On the other hand, each city (even Puppet cities) increases cost of new technologies by 5%! So, it turns out it's better to have a smaller empire with fewer cities, but a large Population in each one, rather than a large empire with many cities, each one having only 3 - 4 Citizens. Of course, the best thing is to have a large empire with large Population. 

The second source of SP are the Science buildings. However, most of them base their contributions on the number of citizens in the city where they're built, which means Population again matters. For example, a Library is more effective in a city with 20 population (providing +10 SP), than it is in a city with 6 citizens (providing only +3 SP). Certain Wonders also produce or enhance science (see below).

Buildings that provide science

Building Era Science Required technology
Library (Civ5) Library Ancient era +1 20xScience5 science for every 2 20xPopulation5 citizens Writing
University (Civ5) University Medieval era +33% 20xScience5 science, +2 20xScience5 science on jungle tiles worked by the city Education, requires a library or paper maker
Observatory (Civ5) Observatory Renaissance era +50% 20xScience5 Astronomy, requires a mountain next to city
Public school (Civ5) Public school Industrial era +3 20xScience5, +1 20xScience5 for every 2 20xPopulation5 citizens Scientific theory,requires a university
Research lab (Civ5) Research lab Modern era +4 20xScience5, +50% 20xScience5 Plastics, requires a public school

Wonders that provide science

Wonder Science Requirement
Great Library (Civ5) Great Library +3 20xScience5 science, free library and provides one free technology Writing
National College (Civ5) National College +3 20xScience5 science, +50% 20xScience5 science Requires a library in every city
Porcelain Tower (Civ5) Porcelain Tower 50% more 20xScience5 science from research agreements Architecture

Requires Rationalism (BNW)

Oxford University (Civ5) Oxford University +3 20xScience5 science, and provides one free technology


Requires a university in every city


Normally, terrain isn't a source of 20xScience5. The only type that has inherent science potential is Jungle, but only after you build a University in the city which controls it (which doesn't happen before the Middle game).

Many Natural Wonders produce 20xScience5, and could be extremely beneficial to your empire in the early game, providing additional science when no other sources are yet possible.

Finally, the Academy improvement adds a good amount of 20xScience5 to a tile - again very useful in the early game (and also later - the initial amount increases with certain technologies).

Terrain features that boost science

Feature Bonus
Academy (Civ5) Academy +8 20xScience5, +10 20xScience5 with Scientific Theory, +12 20xScience5 with Atomic Theory
Trading post (Civ5) Trading post +1 20xScience5 with Free Thought from the Rationalism Social Policy Tree.
Jungle (Civ5) Jungle +2 20xScience5 when worked by a city with a university

Other sourcesEdit

The following additional ways to boost Research are available:

  • BNW-only Opening Trade routes with other civilizations; each route will contribute some SPs, based on the number of technologies the other civilization has discovered that you haven't
  • Conducting Research agreements with other civilizations
  • Using up a Great Scientist via his special ability

There are also ways to gain 'free' technologies:

  • Stealing technologies from other civilizations via spying; note that you're limited to the technologies the other civilization has discovered, and you haven't, but have unlocked
  • Constructing certain Wonders
  • Finishing the Rationalism social branch.

The following Social policies and Ideological Tenets also boost 20xScience5:

Social policies that provide science

Policy/Tenet Branch/Ideology Era Requirements Effect
Scholasticism (Civ5) Scholasticism Patronage Medieval era Philanthropy City states provide 25% of their 20xScience5 science to you
Secularism (Civ5) Secularism Rationalism Renaissance era none +2 20xScience5 science for every specialist
Free thought (Civ5) Free thought Rationalism Renaissance era Secularism +17% 20xScience5 science to universities, +1 20xScience5 for trading posts
Scientific revolution (Civ5) Scientific revolution Rationalism Renaissance era Free Thought Boosts 20xScience5 Science gained from Research Agreements by +50%
Worker's faculties Order Industrial era two level 1 Order Tenets +25% 20xScience5 science to Factories
Industrial Espionage Autocracy Industrial era none Spy tech stealing rate +50%


  • Adopting Rationalism gives you a +15% 20xScience5 while your empire is 20xHappiness5 Happy (+10% 20xScience5 in BNW-only)
  • Adopting all Policies in the Rationalism tree will grant 2 free Technologies (1 free Tech in BNW-only)
  • Completing Order gives you +2 20xScience5 science in every city (not in BNW)
  • Completing Freedom doubles production on Great Person tile improvements, including the Academy (BNW-only this effect is transferred to the New Deal Freedom Tenet)

Science conversionEdit

After researching Education, your cities gain the ability to convert 25% of that city's current 20xProduction5 into 20xScience5. Just assign this ability in the Production function of a city, and it will start producing Science, adding points each turn according to its Production potential! 

  • WARNING! Note that all 20xScience5 production in Puppet Cities suffers a -25% penalty! 


As mentioned above, scientific progress is vital for your empire, especially on higher difficulties, even if you don't pursue Science victory. Good technological progress allows your army to gain an edge thanks to superior military tech; it gives you higher chances at completing Wonders because it allows you early access to them (and as we know, Wonders are completed on a 'first build - first serve' basis), and it unlocks all buildings necessary for the other types of victory.

Science depends first on 20xPopulation5, and then on Buildings, most of which base their bonuses also on Population. So, having a large Population is a key to producing lots of 20xScience5.

Use every opportunity to extract Science from terrain - if you have lots of Jungle tiles nearby, DON'T CUT THEM DOWN, unless you really have to! Each one will boost 20xScience5 Science as soon as you build a University in the city controlling it. Also, when you gain a Great Scientist, build its Tile improvement - the Academy. And search for those Natural Wonders producing 20xScience5, and try to build a city nearby!

Technological progression is paramount for everybody in the game; but just as important as producing the 20xScience5 is how you use that science, or rather (since science only has one use - discovering Technologies) in what order you discover your technologies. You should have a strategy for that, based on your current development strategy, the current circumstances of your empire (being low on 20xGold5, 20xCulture5, etc., being threatened by a neighbor), and finally on the type of victory you're striving for.

A very important technique you need to master, if you want to be successful, is leapfrogging techs. Because of the way the tech tree works, you are actually able to move up the tree without researching every single technology! This may be used to gain early access to the benefits of a key tech, including the ability to construct certain World Wonders ahead of the competition. To achieve that, check the tech you want in the tree, then follow back the lines that connect to its left side - they will lead you to the immediate prerequisites for the technology. Repeat that for these techs too, until you establish the necessary path to your current tech state. Then work consistently towards the target tech, leapfrogging the others along the way. Afterwards, go back and research what you skipped (it's not advisable to leave big technological gaps in your tree, this will most certainly backfire at a certain moment). A sign of the importance of this technique is that the computer AI always uses it, especially in the beginning of the game.

Science is practically required for 2 of the 4 Victory conditions: Science Victory and Diplomatic victory. For the first you'll need to build a Spaceship, and its 4 parts are unlocked via 4 of the last technologies in the Information (Future in Vanilla Civ 5) era. For more info on this type of victory, see Science victory.

In the second case, there is a Wonder needed to trigger voting for a World Leader - the United Nations. This wonder is unlocked by the Globalization technology, which is also one of the last in the last era. Although, its prerequisites allow you to rush to it by skipping a good deal of the Atomic Era and Information era technologies. Without this Wonder, it's impossible to win a Diplomatic victory (the voting will never start), and the others won't probably build it, if they see you have large influence with City-states.

  • Note: In the Brave New World expansion pack, the United Nations isn't a Wonder anymore, but develops automatically from the World Congress, so the above isn't valid - you won't need that much Science for a Diplomatic victory. Still, the Globalization technology is again extremely valuable for winning this type of victory - rush straight to it!

Finally, for a Domination victory, you'll need a competitive army, capable of defeating all other civilizations. Again, late-game military technologies will be required for that.

Civilization V [edit]
Gods & KingsBrave New World

BuildingsCivsDLCImprovementsPromotionsResourcesSocial PoliciesTechnologiesTerrainUnique AbilitiesUnitsWonders

AncientClassicalMedievalRenaissanceIndustrialModernFuture† • Atomic‡ • Information

City-StateCultureEspionage‡ • FoodGoldGreat PeopleHappinessProductionReligion‡ • ScienceTourism

Guides etc.
AchievementsMathematicsModdingMajor PatchesSoundtrackCivilopedia

† Only in vanilla Civ5
‡ Only in Gods & Kings and Brave New World

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