University Course Requirements

Is it true that some university courses will require certain A level subjects to have been studied?

Yes. You won’t be able to apply to some university courses without having taken some specific A levels (and scored the right grades in them too, of course). Listed below are some examples of these (detailing the essential subjects and subjects deemed useful by universities) to give you an idea of what to expect but remember that you should always check the university entrance requirements for your specific course. Don’t worry if you are unsure of your subject choices – we are on hand to advise you during the interview process.

Accountancy, Banking, Finance, Insurance
Essential: Usually none essential, although one or two universities require Mathematics Useful:  Mathematics, Statistics, Business Studies, Economics
Actuarial Science/Studies
Essential:  Mathematics Useful:  Further Mathematics, Business Studies, Economics
Aeronautical Engineering
Essential:  Mathematics and Physics Useful:  Further Mathematics, Graphics
Most but not all courses will ask for one or more from Mathematics, Physics and Graphics or Art.  If not offering any of these then check requirements carefully and take academic subjects.  BTEC Art & Design alone is usually not suitable.
Art & Design
Art, Graphics, Textiles, Photography and then usually but not always an Art Foundation Course before a degree.  BTEC Art & Design leads directly to a degree course.
Childhood Studies
Essential:  None Useful:  Psychology, Sociology, Health & Social Care, CACHE
Classical Studies
Essential:  Most subjects will be considered.  Note that there are some Classics courses which allow Latin and/or Classical Greek study from scratch. Useful:  Modern foreign language, English Literature, History, Classical Civilisation
Computer Science
Essential:  For some courses, Mathematics Useful:  Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy, ICT, Computer Science
Essential:  Chemistry and Biology for most courses.  Some require/prefer Mathematics and/or Physics as well. Useful:  Mathematics, Physics, Further Mathematics
Essential:  Chemistry and/or Biology Useful:  Mathematics
Essential:  Some academic courses require English Literature, and for a few courses English and/or Drama/Theatre Studies.  More practical courses are happy with Drama/Theatre Studies and/or Performing Arts. Useful:  English Literature, Drama/Theatre Studies, Performing Arts
Essential:  Sometimes Mathematics Useful:  Economics
Electrical/Electronic Engineering
Essential:  Mathematics, Physics Useful:  Further Mathematics, IT, Graphics
Engineering (General)
Essential:  Mathematics and Physics.  A few courses will accept just Mathematics. Useful:  Further Mathematics, Graphics
Essential:  Usually none but probably at least one choice should involve essay / report writing. Useful:  History, English, Law
Management/Business Studies
Essential:  Sometimes Mathematics at a few competitive universities. Useful:  Mathematics, Economics, Business Studies
Materials Science (including Biomedical Materials Science)
Essential:  Normally two from Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Biology Useful:  Chemistry, Further Mathematics
Essential:  Mathematics and often Further Mathematics Useful:  Further Mathematics, Physics
Mechanical Engineering
Essential:  Mathematics, Physics


Useful:  Further Mathematics.  Mechanical Engineering departments may have a preference for Mathematics A levels with a strong mechanics component.
Media Studies (including Communication Studies)
Essential:  A few courses ask for Media Studies or English Useful:  English, Media Studies, Sociology, Psychology
Essential:  Chemistry, Biology plus Physics or Mathematics will keep all university courses open however  Chemistry and Biology keep open the vast majority of options. Useful:  Further Mathematics, Statistics or a contrasting (non-science) subject.
Essential:  For most academic courses, Music and Grade VII/VIII.  For the more practical/less traditional courses, Music Technology or Performing Arts may be acceptable. Useful:  Some universities have a preference for at least one essay-based subject.
Nursing and Midwifery
Essential:  At the more competitive universities (usually midwifery), Biology or another science.  But usually no subjects specified.  BTEC Science and BTEC Health & Social Care are usually accepted. Useful:  Biology, Health & Social Care, Sociology, Psychology, Chemistry.
Occupational Therapy
Essential:  Some courses ask for Biology. Useful:  Psychology, Physical Education, Sociology or another science.
Essential:  Chemistry and often Biology are required. Some courses may consider another science / maths subject. BTEC Applied Science acceptable for only a few universities and university entrance requirements need to be checked carefully. Useful:  Mathematics, Statistics
Essential:  One or two sciences to keep all the course options open.  Many of courses are happy to consider one science subject and that could be PE or Psychology.  Most courses will look at BTEC Applied Science.
Essential:  One or two sciences to keep all the course options open.  Most courses will consider BTEC Applied Science.

For Chemistry degree:  Chemistry and sometimes Mathematics for competitive courses.

For Biology degree:  Biology plus Mathematics or Statistics.

For Physics degree:  Mathematics is usually essential.

BTEC Applied Science is usually not sufficient alone for the very competitive courses, therefore the applied science degree courses are the usual progression route.

Speech Therapy
Essential:  Some universities want a science such as Biology, Chemistry or Physics.  Some specify Biology, but some degrees will consider candidates with none of these. Useful:  A modern foreign language (eg French, German, Spanish), English Language, Psychology, Health & Social Care
Sports Science/Physical Education
Essential:  For sports science, many courses want to see one from Biology / Chemistry / Mathematics / Physics.  Some courses will treat PE as a science equivalent.  However, PE / Sports / Leisure courses do not have this requirement. Useful:  Physical Education, Health & Social Care, Psychology
Essential:  None Useful:  For building surveying, Mathematics and Physics could be helpful.  For estate management/general practice surveying, most A level combinations will be considered.
Teacher Training (Primary and/or Secondary)

Primary:  at least one but desirable to have two primary National Curriculum subjects.  A few early years teaching courses accept CACHE or sometimes BTEC Health & Social Care.  Note that a Professional Skills Test is now a requirement for all courses prior to entry.

Secondary: usually take a subject degree and then post-graduate training.  However, there are a few secondary Initial Teacher Training courses, usually in ‘shortage’ subjects.

Useful:  National Curriculum subjects
Veterinary Science
Essential:  Chemistry and Biology and one from Mathematics/Physics, so that all universities are open. Useful:  Further Mathematics



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