prankcake
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#1
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I’m a Y12 taking bio, chem & maths. I really enjoyed the physical chemistry topics this year. Am I still able to take physical chemistry at university despite not having taken physics at A-Level?
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physgradstudent
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That's definitely possible. Universities will cover any physics you might need for future physical chemistry courses and some have dedicated modules for people that haven't done maths and/or physics at A-level
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prankcake
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(Original post by physgradstudent)
That's definitely possible. Universities will cover any physics you might need for future physical chemistry courses and some have dedicated modules for people that haven't done maths and/or physics at A-level
Thank you! I’m glad that I still have the option because I feel myself leaning back to chemistry-physics rather than bio-chemistry despite dropping physics after the first term due to the work load (I do really like physics though).
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Plantagenet Crown
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(Original post by prankcake)
I’m a Y12 taking bio, chem & maths. I really enjoyed the physical chemistry topics this year. Am I still able to take physical chemistry at university despite not having taken physics at A-Level?
Yes. I don’t know if there are specific degrees in just physical chemistry but a standard chemistry degree has 3 main compulsory streams: organic, inorganic and physical. If you’re on a 3 year BSc you’ll do these 3 streams for all 3 years. If you’re on a 4 year MSci/MChem you will again have to do all these 3 for 3 years and then you can drop some in 4th year or continue them if you want. For example, in my 4th year of my chem degree I dropped physical chemistry but others kept it, so they ended up doing it for all 4 years. A lot of physical chemistry isn’t traditional physics so it’s not necessary to know about physics to understand it and succeed at it. Off the top of my head I remember some of the contents of physical chemistry from my degree being things like quantum mechanics, kinetic theory of gases, statistics of molecular motion, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, spectroscopy, surface chemistry, error analysis etc. Most universities (at least when I applied) only required chemistry + one other science or maths, so physics wasn’t specified as being necessary to do a chemistry degree and I didn’t do physics A level either.

Also, I’d recommend caution if you decide on doing biochemistry at uni (though it doesn’t sound like you will) because despite the name the degree contains virtually no chemistry. A biochemistry degree is essentially a degree in cell biology.
Last edited by Plantagenet Crown; 3 months ago
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prankcake
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(Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
Yes. I don’t know if there are specific degrees in just physical chemistry but a standard chemistry degree has 3 main compulsory streams: organic, inorganic and physical. If you’re on a 3 year BSc you’ll do these 3 streams for all 3 years. If you’re on a 4 year MSci/MChem you will again have to do all these 3 for 3 years and then you can drop some in 4th year or continue them if you want. For example, in my 4th year of my chem degree I dropped physical chemistry but others kept it, so they ended up doing it for all 4 years. A lot of physical chemistry isn’t traditional physics so it’s not necessary to know about physics to understand it and succeed at it. Off the top of my head I remember some of the contents of physical chemistry from my degree being things like quantum mechanics, ideal gases, statistics of molecular motion, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, spectroscopy, surface chemistry, error analysis. Most universities (at least when I applied) only required chemistry + one other science or maths, so physics wasn’t specified as being necessary to do a chemistry degree and I didn’t do physics A level either.

Also, I’d recommend caution if you decide on doing biochemistry at uni (though it doesn’t sound like you will) because despite the name the degree contains virtually no chemistry. A biochemistry degree is essentially a degree in cell biology.
Thanks for the insight into what physical chemistry includes and what biochemistry entails. Initially I was thinking of doing biochemistry but I looked into it and, as you described, there seems to be less chemistry than what I hoped for. Considering chemistry is my passion it would be a real shame to take biochemistry, soo I’ve become pretty certain over the past few weeks that I want to pursue a chemistry degree. Just reading the list of physical chemistry topics gets me really hyped, I love electrochemistry, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics ect… Fortunately, since the first years focus on core chemistry rather than specialising, I have a chance to deepen my knowledge before making any hasty decisions but I am certainly going to be reading books and doing courses on physical/organic chemistry to strengthen my university application .
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Plantagenet Crown
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(Original post by prankcake)
Thanks for the insight into what physical chemistry includes and what biochemistry entails. Initially I was thinking of doing biochemistry but I looked into it and, as you described, there seems to be less chemistry than what I hoped for. Considering chemistry is my passion it would be a real shame to take biochemistry, soo I’ve become pretty certain over the past few weeks that I want to pursue a chemistry degree. Just reading the list of physical chemistry topics gets me really hyped, I love electrochemistry, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics ect… Fortunately, since the first years focus on core chemistry rather than specialising, I have a chance to deepen my knowledge before making any hasty decisions but I am certainly going to be reading books and doing courses on physical/organic chemistry to strengthen my university application .
Yeah, from my understanding the amount of chemistry in a biochemistry degree is virtually nil unless you decide to take optional chemistry modules. I only know this because a girl who did a biochemistry degree joined our chemistry research group to do a PhD and she basically knew nothing about even basic organic chemistry, she had to learn it all from scratch.

At uni every year, alongside the compulsory 3 streams you’ll have the opportunity to pick optional modules in topics related to your interests or ones you just want to try to see if you’ll like. Regarding the more biological side you’ll be able to pick medicinal chemistry modules that will deal more with how drugs interact with the body, Lipinski’s rules, how molecules are metabolised, Lineweaver-Burke plots, Eadie-Hofstee diagrams and all of that fun stuff. I remember some physical chem optional modules beings things like advanced quantum mechanics and also lasers. There are even optional modules in things like physical organic chemistry (yes, that’s actually a thing!). The compulsory physical chemistry modules were so bloody fascinating though, I absolutely loved them and I think you will too. Good luck with your uni application!
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prankcake
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#7
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(Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
Yeah, from my understanding the amount of chemistry in a biochemistry degree is virtually nil unless you decide to take optional chemistry modules. I only know this because a girl who did a biochemistry degree joined our chemistry research group to do a PhD and she basically knew nothing about even basic organic chemistry, she had to learn it all from scratch.

At uni every year, alongside the compulsory 3 streams you’ll have the opportunity to pick optional modules in topics related to your interests or ones you just want to try to see if you’ll like. Regarding the more biological side you’ll be able to pick medicinal chemistry modules that will deal more with how drugs interact with the body, Lipinski’s rules, how molecules are metabolised, Lineweaver-Burke plots, Eadie-Hofstee diagrams and all of that fun stuff. I remember some physical chem optional modules beings things like advanced quantum mechanics and also lasers. There are even optional modules in things like physical organic chemistry (yes, that’s actually a thing!). The compulsory physical chemistry modules were so bloody fascinating though, I absolutely loved them and I think you will too. Good luck with your uni application!
Omg organic physical chemistry, that sounds amazing. Thank you for your help!
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