maddyjohnstone
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Hey. Looking into possible university courses (I'm in year 12) and found Natural Sciences at Cambridge to be very interesting. However, I don't have Biology as an A-level subject; only Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and French. I've heard this may be a problem. Any help?
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damnit1
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I don't think lack of biology is a problem. However I'd think they'd count Maths and FM as one A level and French isn't really relevant for Natural Sciences
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artful_lounger
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If you wanted to apply for biological natural sciences a lack of A-level Biology may be unusual; on the other hand for physical natural sciences the lack of A-level Physics might be unusual...

You do however nominally have three STEM subjects for your A-levels, you may just end up with a somewhat limited range of options in first (and hence second and onwards) year(s). You could still take chemistry with materials science and earth sciences (which is a fairly complementary combination for someone looking to go into either the earth sciences or chemistry). There are potential routes to taking physics (by taking all mechanics options in FM) or bioscience options (which I don't believe absolutely require A-level Biology, if you were admitted; it'd probably make more sense to apply as physical natsci initially though) in the first year there though even without the corresponding A-levels, which would give you quite a wide scope for second year options potentially

I'd suggest contacting their admissions team and enquiring about your background and whether it would be suitable for the course, perhaps. Doones might be able to give a bit more insight as well.

For more context though, what area(s) would you be wanting to study on such a course (as opposed to a single honours degree)? What are your areas of interest, scientifically speaking, generally?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by damnit1)
I don't think lack of biology is a problem. However I'd think they'd count Maths and FM as one A level and French isn't really relevant for Natural Sciences
They readily accept physical natscis with Physics/Maths/Further Maths as only three subjects - it's one of the combinations they note on their prospectus page for the course. While chemistry is less typical in combination with double maths, they clearly have no qualms about the supposed workload or relevance for natsci. The issue would be more about preparation for the course, as physics might be better preparation for materials science and so they might be concerned of a lack of options available to the OP without it....maybe
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maddyjohnstone
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Originally I had wanted to apply for Maths (hence the double maths options) and just picked up Chemistry because I enjoyed it. However, after almost a year of studying A-levels I realised I didn't want to limit myself to just Maths, and therefore figured Natural Sciences might give me that opportunity (and why not at Cambridge? gotta aim high right? lol). But after speaking to several people and even some friends of mine studying this course, I've realised that I have sciences from two different sides of the natsci course. Annoying thing is that biology and physics (although enjoyable) were not my school's strong suit, so now I'm a little concerned if it will hurt my chances of getting into such a competitive course...

Was obviously going to pick the Chemistry module, but now I'm interested in the biology options too and I don't know what to do. I would love to be accepted onto the course, but I'm wondering whether a straight chemistry degree elsewhere might give me a better chance of getting in. I just don't want to corner myself off too soon, and I liked that the natsci course essentially gave me more time to figure things out.
(Original post by artful_lounger)
If you wanted to apply for biological natural sciences a lack of A-level Biology may be unusual; on the other hand for physical natural sciences the lack of A-level Physics might be unusual...

You do however nominally have three STEM subjects for your A-levels, you may just end up with a somewhat limited range of options in first (and hence second and onwards) year(s). You could still take chemistry with materials science and earth sciences (which is a fairly complementary combination for someone looking to go into either the earth sciences or chemistry). There are potential routes to taking physics (by taking all mechanics options in FM) or bioscience options (which I don't believe absolutely require A-level Biology, if you were admitted; it'd probably make more sense to apply as physical natsci initially though) in the first year there though even without the corresponding A-levels, which would give you quite a wide scope for second year options potentially

I'd suggest contacting their admissions team and enquiring about your background and whether it would be suitable for the course, perhaps. Doones might be able to give a bit more insight as well.

For more context though, what area(s) would you be wanting to study on such a course (as opposed to a single honours degree)? What are your areas of interest, scientifically speaking, generally?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by maddyjohnstone)
Originally I had wanted to apply for Maths (hence the double maths options) and just picked up Chemistry because I enjoyed it. However, after almost a year of studying A-levels I realised I didn't want to limit myself to just Maths, and therefore figured Natural Sciences might give me that opportunity (and why not at Cambridge? gotta aim high right? lol). But after speaking to several people and even some friends of mine studying this course, I've realised that I have sciences from two different sides of the natsci course. Annoying thing is that biology and physics (although enjoyable) were not my school's strong suit, so now I'm a little concerned if it will hurt my chances of getting into such a competitive course...

Was obviously going to pick the Chemistry module, but now I'm interested in the biology options too and I don't know what to do. I would love to be accepted onto the course, but I'm wondering whether a straight chemistry degree elsewhere might give me a better chance of getting in. I just don't want to corner myself off too soon, and I liked that the natsci course essentially gave me more time to figure things out.
Chemistry actually sort of floats in the middle; it's technically a physical science but a common requirement for the biosciences. Incidentally the physical/biological distinction is just for applications (I believe - Doones?) and if you are accepted you can choose whichever options you meet the prerequisites for in discussion with your tutor/director of studies. Most colleges seem to have a chemist on the panel for both physical and biological nat sci interviews, so it would probably be more sensible to apply for physical nat sci where they might give you more maths questions or physics-related questions based on your chemistry and mathematics (e.g. mechanics) knowledge.

I'd recommend contacting them to discuss the prospect, and whether your would be able to make a suitable application. In theory you do meet their requirements, it may be less whether you would be admitted that is the question and more whether once admitted, whether the course would be suitable for your interests in view of your background.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 11 months ago
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maddyjohnstone
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Okay I'll see if I can get in contact with them. Thank you so much for your help. This university stuff is so confusing:rolleyes:
(Original post by artful_lounger)
Chemistry actually sort of floats in the middle; it's technically a physical science but a common requirement for the biosciences. Incidentally the physical/biological distinction is just for applications (I believe - Doones?) and if you are accepted you can choose whichever options you meet the prerequisites for in discussion with your tutor/director of studies. Most colleges seem to have a chemist on the panel for both physical and biological nat sci interviews, so it would probably be more sensible to apply for physical nat sci where they might give you more maths questions or physics-related questions based on your chemistry and mathematics (e.g. mechanics) knowledge.

I'd recommend contacting them to discuss the prospect, and whether your would be able to make a suitable application. In theory you do meet their requirements, it may be less whether you would be admitted that is the question and more whether once admitted, whether the course would be suitable for your interests in view of your background.
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Doones
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As per our PM exchange:

First of all ChemEng has very little chemistry - like any engineering course it's applied maths & physics.
As to your main query, "just" having Maths, FM & Chemistry is fine for a NatSci applicant.

- and to add, check that you are actually interested in the course and modules available to you.
Year 1: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....ciences/part1a
Year 2: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....ciences/part1b
Year 3 & 4 : https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....sciences/part2
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maddyjohnstone
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Okay thank you Yes I've had a look at all the modules and I find them super interesting. Just unsure if I would be excepted as I love biology but didn't take it
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Lil.meow.meow
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They won’t count maths and further maths as one a level, they say that themselves so don’t worry.
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