It is essential to have A-level in Chemistry, or the equivalent (see the University international qualifications page – if you are doing a qualification not listed and want to see whether your qualification covers the same material as A-level chemistry, the following are links to the AQA, edexcel and OCR A-level chemistry syllabuses).
The course has significant maths and biology content, and some physics. The first-year course provides the necessary background in biology, physics and mathematics for those who have not studied these subjects beyond GCSE. However Mathematics to at least AS-level, Scottish Higher, Standard Level in the IB (Mathematical Methods, not Mathematical Studies) or any other equivalent is very useful, and Biology to a similar standard can be helpful to students.
The course also involves a very significant essay writing component, and so applicants should be able to demonstrate on their UCAS form, and during the interview process, an acceptable standard of English.
Typical conditional offers
There is no standard offer. Specific offers are decided by College Tutors on an individual basis and could be higher or lower than the typical offer. The following are typical offers recommended by the Department:
- Candidates studying A levels - A*AA, including chemistry and another science or mathematics, and with the A* in maths, physics, chemistry or biology, or a closely related subject;
- Candidates studying the IB - 39 points overall, including Core Points, with 7 in HL chemistry and 6 in two other relevant subjects;
- Candidates studying Scottish Highers – for those doing three AHs, AAB, including A in chemistry and A or B in another science or maths; for those doing two AHs and one H, AAA, including A in AH chemistry and A in another science or maths at AH or H level.
- Candidates studying APs/SATs/ACTs – we would prefer to see APs in relevant subjects rather than SAT IIs or ACTs. A typical offer would be 5 in AP chemistry and 5s in two other relevant AP subjects plus over 700 in SAT Is, or some similar combination.
Candidates for whom English is not their native language need to meet the University’s English language requirements; if not met already, such requirements will form part of the conditional offer.
Biochemistry tutors do not necessarily require three A-levels (or the equivalent) to be sat together at the end of year 13. If a candidate has completed one or more A-levels in year 12 which are relevant to the biochemistry course (maths, physics, chemistry, biology or a closely related subject) then this may contribute to meeting an offer (e.g. achieving a grade A in year 12 may result in an offer that would have been A*AA becoming an offer of A*A). As with all offers, the specific offer received by a candidate who has completed one or more A-levels in year 12, and how far these A-levels count towards satisfying the typical requirements, is decided on an individual basis.
Biochemistry tutors welcome applications for deferred entry. There is no significant difference between offer rates to candidates seeking either immediate or deferred entry. After discussions with candidates, a number of deferred entry candidates may be offered an immediate place instead, or vice versa. Deferred entry candidates will not be made offers more demanding than candidates for immediate entry.
Applications outside the normal December admissions process
All applications must be made through UCAS in the normal way. Biochemistry tutors do not accept applications that are outside the normal, single gathered field.
Applications for transfers from other Universities
The Biochemistry Department does not accept students who wish to transfer to Oxford from any other university and start part way through the undergraduate course. Students currently studying at other universities who wish to follow the full undergraduate course are welcome to apply through UCAS in the normal way, and will be fully considered as part of the single gathered field to start the course at the beginning of the first year. Students at other universities are also welcome to apply as a visiting student to follow part of the undergraduate course (usually one to three terms), but not leading to an Oxford qualification.