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Choosing the right A-Levels for Biology is really important. You want to ensure you’re taking the right A-Level subjects in preparation for your chosen degree. There are so many subjects and pathways to choose from!

It’s tough trying to make the right decision when it comes to your education. You don’t want to waste time and money on courses that won’t be relevant to what you want to study at the university.

That’s why we ensure our Biology Summer School students have access to 1:1 personalised tutorials with expert tutors from prestigious universities such as the University of Oxford and Cambridge.

Here they’ll receive the guidance they’ll need to make the best decisions for the next steps in education and future goals. 

This guide to help you on what A-Levels to take for Biology. Because we know the difficult decision-making process you’re going through. 

With this information, you can make an informed decision about your future and start preparing for a successful career in Biology.

What Is Biological Science?

Biology is the “study of life.” Thus, the study of living organisms – all the way from animals to plants and fungi. It’s a huge umbrella term that incorporates many different sub-fields of study, including:

  • Biology
  • Zoology
  • Botany
  • Microbiology
  • Sports and Exercise Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology

What Subjects Do You Need For Biology?

To discover what subjects you’ll need for Biology, it’s best to look at the top UK universities. What A-Level grades and subjects do they require? We’ll find out! 

University of Cambridge

To study Biology at Cambridge, you’ll have to go through the Natural Sciences Tripos (NST.) NST offers a broad range of physical and biological sciences in the first year. As you progress through the higher years, you’ll have the opportunity to specialise in Biology. 

What are the A-Level requirements necessary to enrol for NST at the University of Cambridge? A*A*A, with at least two A*A* for science/mathematics, including:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Further Maths

Please note that the science/maths subjects do not include Psychology. 

What should the third subject be? Cambridge highly encourages you to take a third science/maths subject to AS Level. Accordingly, these are the useful combinations:

  • A Level Chemistry, A Level Biology, AS Level Physics or Mathematics
  • A Level Chemistry, A Level Mathematics, AS Level Physics or Biology
  • A Level Mathematics, A Level Physics, AS Level Further Mathematics

If you’re wondering how hard biology a-level is, or how to revise biology a-level then we have you covered.

Can you guess what A-Levels most Cambridge NST students have taken? Three science/maths subjects.

University of Oxford

Such is the teaching prowess of Oxford’s Department of Biology that according to Discover Uni, 100% of the interviewed students agreed to the following statements:

  • Staff are good at explaining 
  • They have made the subject interesting
  • Oxford’s Biology course is intellectually stimulating

Oxford’s A-Level requirement for its Biology course is A*AA, with Biology. The other subject must include any of the following:

  • Chemistry
  • Physics 
  • or Maths

There’s a list of science/maths subjects Oxford accepts for the required A*, including:

  • Astronomy
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Further Mathematics
  • Marine Science
  • Psychology 
  • Statistics

University College London (UCL)

Do you know that many of the current research experts from the University College London and its partner institutes teach in BSc and MSci in Biological Sciences? In fact, one of UCL’s current staff members includes the 2014 Nobel Prize Winner Professor John O’Keefe.

If you want to be educated by active researchers at the top of their game, aim for the standard A-Level offer of AAA. Is there a contextual offer? Yes, there is. It’s at ABB.

The required subjects include Biology, plus any of the following:

  • Chemistry
  • Life and Health Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Imperial College London

A whopping 95% of Imperial College Biology graduates are employed or enrolled in further study within 15 months after graduation. Their average entry-level earnings? Amounting to £26,000. 

Additionally, 90% of Imperial Biology graduates agree their work is meaningful. 

Do you want to study Biology at Imperial College London? The required A-Level grade is AAA, with an A in Biology and any of the following subjects:

  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics 

Critical Thinking and General Studies will not be accepted.

Durham University

Durham bioscientists are keen on tackling relevant challenges, such as:

  • Climate Change
  • Food Shortage
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Human Healthcare

Do you want to learn from active researchers solving world problems? The A-Level requirement is AAA, including Biology and any of the following subjects:

  • Chemistry
  • Human Biology

Plus another subject Durham considers to be a science subject for admission purposes (e.g. Maths, Geography.) 

Do You Need Maths A-Level For Biology?

No, Maths is not an essential subject for Biology. But it is a preferred subject. 

Universities such as the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and Imperial College London include Maths in their preferred subject list. 

Why? Because Biology uses Mathematical principles in scenarios such as,

  • Ecology – calculate population-related problems
  • Microbiology – measure microbial activity
  • Physiology – quantifying drug absorption

Maths is the language of science for a reason!

Can I Do Biology Without Chemistry?

Yes, you can do Biology without Chemistry. However, other alternative options usually include Maths or Physics. 

It’s also worth noting that Biology is heavy with Chemistry, especially when you study Physiology and Biochemistry.

So taking Chemistry at A-Level helps you better prepare for Biology at the university level. 

What Are The Entry Requirements For Biology A-Level?

Let’s examine some of the entry requirements for Biology A-Level, starting with Meadowhead School.

Meadowhead School

The Meadowhead School Entry Requirements for Biology A-Level include a Grade 6 or above in Combine Science or GCSE in the following subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

A Grade 5 or higher in GCSE 

  • Maths
  • English

David Game College

What are the Entry Requirements for Biology A-Level at David Game College? 5 GCSEs with grades from A*-C (or 9-4.) Required GCSE subjects are English and Mathematics. 

Nottingham College

Are you planning to take your 3 A-Levels at Nottingham College? Then you’ll need at least 5 GCSEs with grades from A*-C (or 9-4.)

With at least grade 4/C in GCSE English and Maths at least grade 5/C.

Graduate Destinations of Biology Graduates

Where do Biology graduates go? The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services 2021/22 “What do graduates go?” survey reports the following:

  • 43% work full-time within 15 months after graduation
  • 20.3% proceed to further study
  • Of those employed, 20.3% work as Science Professionals

These are the Top Professional Jobs most Biology graduates work in:

  • Laboratory Technicians
  • Secondary Education Teachers
  • Biochemists
  • Biomedical Scientists
  • Biological Scientists

Do you want to discover more? Then, check out Biology Graduate Destinations from some of the Top Biology Schools in the UK.

University of Cambridge Biology Graduate Destinations 

Around half of Cambridge Biology graduates enrol in further study. The others proceed to work in a variety of careers, such as:

  • Product Development
  • Teaching
  • Management Consultancy
  • Investment Banking 

University of Oxford Biology Graduate Destinations 

What about the Oxford Biology graduates? Where do they go after completing their course? Discover Uni reports that 85% of Oxford Biology graduates work or study further within 15 months after graduation. 

Those employed earn an average entry-level salary of £25,000. 

Additionally, 70% of those employed work in high-skilled professions in various industries, such as:

  • Natural and Social Science
  • Business
  • Research
  • Administrative
  • Science, Engineering, and Technology
  • Public Service

Imperial College London Biology Graduate Destinations 

Where do Imperial College Biology graduates go after completing their course? Discover Uni states that 95% work or study further within 15 months after graduation. 

What’s the entry-level average annual salary for those employed? £26,000. Also, 85% of those employed are in high-skilled professions.

Specific careers recent Imperial College Biology graduates entered into include:

  • Research and Management in Life Sciences
  • Co-founder of a startup
  • Software Engineer
  • Research Associate
  • Scientific Officer

The following are some of the employers who recently hired Imperial College Biology graduates:

  • Accenture
  • Francis Crick Institute
  • Genomics and Genetics Research Institute
  • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Do you want more detail on the various career opportunities available for Biology graduates? Then, check out “What Can You Do With A Biology Degree?”

Why Study Biology A-Level?

You’ll need to take Biology at A-Level to apply for Biology at the university.

What other courses will Biology at A-Level be useful for? Biology A-Level can lead to courses such as:

  • Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Dentistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Nursing

Are you planning to take any of these science courses and more? Then taking Biology at A-Level will give you sufficient preparation for your next steps in education.

So, if you’re wondering what A-Levels to take for Biology, hopefully, this article has given you some guidance.

If you’re still undecided on your A-Level subjects, don’t worry – there is time to decide. Most importantly, you enjoy the subjects you choose and feel motivated to study them.

Good luck with your future studies!


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