Chemistry is the science most concerned with our everyday needs, such as the development of new materials, synthesis and discovering the action of new drugs, and monitoring improvement of the environment. The chemistry department at UCL has a long and distinguished history and is rated as one of the leading chemistry departments for research in the country. Its research includes many collaborations between UCL organic chemists and life scientists involved in chemical biology and medicinal chemistry projects, physical chemists and physicists undertaking chemical physics and astrophysics projects, and inorganic chemists and materials scientists working together developing novel materials.
The three Chemistry streams form natural combinations within the Natural Sciences programme, and relate to the A-level topics:
- Physical Chemistry : energy, thermodynamics, kinetics, spectroscopy
- Inorganic and Materials Chemistry: periodic table, transition elements
- Organic Chemistry: chains and rings, polymers, stereoisomerism
Chemistry at A-level GCE (or equivalent) is essential for all Chemistry streams. Mathematics A-level is also needed, though students without A-level mathematics who learn the essential mathematics in their first year maths course can take the Organic Chemistry stream.
For more information on the option courses offered by Chemistry, please visit the Department of Chemistry website.
- Life Sciences
Life Sciences courses are taught by the Departments of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Biochemistry, Biology, Pharmacology, Physiology and Psychology and Language Sciences. The Departments are renowned internationally for excellence in research, teaching and in the media. Students benefit from being taught by leading researchers, as well as by popular authors and broadcasters.
The Departments have been rated excellent in both teaching and research, which are closely linked. The departments have strong links with the many research institutes such as The Wolfson Institute of Biomedical research and the Institute of Child Health, which are now part of UCL. Students can undertake their research projects in these institutes.
Chemistry A level is required for all Life Sciences stream except Genetics, Evolution and Environment. Biology A level is required for Genetics, Evolution and Environment and Biology to at least AS level is highly recommended to take life science strands. Core streams available are:
- Biomedical Sciences
- Neuroscience and Psychology
- Genetics, Evolution and Environment
- Molecular and Cell Biology
More detail about the course units and options available is given on
the Life Sciences faculty website.
- Physics and Astrophysics
The study of physics covers both fundamental and applied fields, and spans the phenomena of very small systems such as elementary particles to the very largest systems found in astronomy. Physics is an essential part of everyday life: when we turn on a light, listen to a CD, or check the weather forecast, we are reaping the practical benefits of generations of physics research.
Study in physics at UCL is provided by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and is based on topics recommended by the Institute of Physics , providing a transition from school to university level study. Astrophysics courses include evening practicals and observational work at the University of London Observatory (ULO) at Mill Hill, in north London.
Among the many telescopes used for teaching astrophysics undergraduates, there are two with 24-inch aperture, and pride of place goes to the unique Radcliffe twin refractor (24-inch + 18-inch). Most of the larger telescopes are equipped with computer control, for precise positional guidance.
Good passes in Advanced GCE-level physics and mathematics (or equivalent) would be expected from students choosing any one of the following physics streams:
For more information on the option courses offered by Physics and Astronomy please visit the Department of Physics and Astronomy website.
- Earth Sciences
Modern Earth Sciences is as dynamic and diverse as the planet (planets!) it studies. We study everything from the origin of the Earth to the history of the life it sustains. We are an integrative, interdisciplinary, modern science. We use and apply state-of-the-art maths, physics, chemistry and biology on a daily basis to uncover fundamental knowledge about Earth and other planets. And we apply that knowledge to practical issues like climate change and groundwater pollution.
Right here at UCL we use ground and satellite observations to see how fast the Arctic and Antartctic ice sheets are melting and climate past and present. We study the fundamental motions that generate violent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. We look for new natural resources and study groundwater pollution. We look deep into the interior to see how materials behave at pressures a million times greater than the surface and temperatures as hot as the sun. We look past Earth to the solar system and beyond.
There are two streams offered by the Earth Sciences Department:
Requirements: At least two Science based subjects at A level or equivalent.
More information on optional courses may be found on the Earth Sciences website.
- Science and Technology Studies
Science covers everything from the origin of the universe to the innermost workings of our brains. Scientists are consulted by world leaders and law courts, advertisers and athletes. Yet, while science tries to understand everything, how well do we understand science itself? How secure are the methods of science? When, where and how did science originate as a distinct type of knowledge? What accounts for the extraordinary success and diversity of science in the modern world?
The following options are available:
Providing students take at least two Science based subjects at A level or equivalent there are no specific subject requirements for the PCE or HPS Stream.For more information on the option courses offered by Science and Technology Studies please visit the Department of Science and Technology Studies website.
- Mathematics and Statistics
Mathematics and statistics have long been associated with physics, evolutionary biology and genetics, and with some areas of chemistry and Earth sciences. Over the years quantitative, analytical and mathematical techniques have become commonplace in many other areas of physical, biological and biomedical sciences. In recent years with the development of high performance computers mathematical and statistical techniques can be applied to complex fields ranging from climate modelling and biomathematics to financial systems.
For students taking this stream, the first and second years contain a roughly equal balance of mathematics and statistics. In the third year the emphasis can be more on either mathematics or statistics. Regardless of this choice, the advanced quantitative training provided by this stream will be seen as highly attractive by many employers. Students who concentrate on statistics after their second year as a major stream will also be qualified for postgraduate study and (in the case of MSci students) research in statistics.
The Mathematics Department currently offers one academically demanding stream as part of the Natural Sciences programme:
If taken as a stream, Grade A Mathematics at A level GCE (or equivalent) is essential; Further Mathematics is not required to be taken at A level.
For more information on the option courses offered by Mathematics please visit the Department of Mathematics website.