What are the best combinations of A-level subjects for a Chemistry degree?
Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, or Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics are the two best combinations of three A-level subjects to take if you plan to study Chemistry at degree level; however, the minimum requirement is that you are studying Chemistry and we consider applicants who are taking a wide range of subjects at A-level.
Do I need A-level Maths?
No; however Mathematics at A-level will stand you in excellent stead for starting a Chemistry degree. All students at Birmingham Chemistry take a Maths module in Year 1, with those without A-level Maths taking a second Introductory Maths module in the first semester. Importantly, both of these modules are taught by staff from Chemistry and cover those aspects of Maths which you will need to understand the more physical and theoretical aspects of our courses.
What are the typical A-level entry requirements?
Our standard A-level entry requirements for students applying in 2012/13 are AAB – ABB.
Thus the offer is based on three subjects, one of which must be Chemistry. We do not have a standard offer; instead we treat each application individually, making sure we make an offer that is tailored to you. Our decision will be based on:
The subjects you are taking at A-level (most important)
Your past examination results (GCSEs and AS results)
Your personal statement
Your school/college reference
Your performance at interview (to which all promising applicants within the UK are invited)
Do you accept other qualifications besides A-levels?
Yes, we welcome applications from students studying other courses, such as the International Baccalaureate, European Bacc., Scottish Highers etc. Please refer to the specific course details for our typical IB offer ranges; for all other qualifications, please contact a member of the Admissions Team.
Why are your entry requirements for both BSc and MSci degree programmes the same?
One of the attractive features of our degree programmes is their flexibility, which allows you to delay your decision as to whether to take a BSc or MSci qualification until the end of your second year. The decision to remain enrolled on an MSci programme – or to transfer from a BSc to an MSci programme – is based upon your Year 2 mark only. What you achieved at A-level two years earlier has no influence on the decision and for this reason, our entry requirements for both BSc and MSci degree programmes are the same.
Will I be invited for interview?
Yes, all promising applicants who are based in the UK will be invited to attend an Applicant Visit Day, part of which will involve an interview with a member of academic staff.
What will I be asked at interview?
Your interview will typically focus on your motivations for applying to Chemistry at Birmingham, your passion for the subject as well as specific questions about your personal statement. We will also ask more open-ended questions about Chemistry, which will allow us to assess your problem-solving skills and general understanding of the subject. We recognise that different schools and different examination boards teach Chemistry in different ways; thus we will be less interested in what you know, more how you think and analyse a scientific problem.
What else happens on an Applicant Visit Day?
If, after having reviewed your UCAS application, we are keen to make you an offer, we shall invite you to attend one of our Applicant Visit Days, which we hold weekly from November through to March.
Attending one of these Days will not only provide us with an opportunity discuss your application with you, but will also provide you with a valuable opportunity to see the School, our beautiful campus and the halls of residence, as well as chat to members of staff, and perhaps more importantly, to some of our current students.
We want these days to provide you with the information you need in order to make an informed decision as to whether or not to choose Birmingham when you make your firm and insurance decisions. Obviously you can contact us at any time, before or after attending an Applicant Visit Day, for more information.
What if I am unable to attend an Applicant Visit Day?
We generally do not make offers to home applicants whom we have not met. However, we acknowledge that there are also reasons why you may be unable to attend one of our Applicant Visit Days, in which case, please let us know and we will arrange to conduct a telephone interview.
When do you make offers?
We make offers throughout the admissions cycle and generally very soon after we have met an applicant on one of our Applicant Visit Days.
What happens when we make you an offer?
If we make you an offer, we will take into account the qualifications you already have and then set out clearly in writing any subjects and grades that are the conditions of our offer. Our letter from Birmingham Chemistry is followed up soon after with the official offer, which is made by the University based upon our recommendations.
Is there any advantage to applying early?
No, we recognise that schools and colleges deal with UCAS applications in different ways; some encourage their students to submit their applications early, others do not. We therefore make offers throughout the cycle and generally after we have met an applicant on one of our Applicant Visit Days.
Should I do an MSci or a BSc degree?
Many students worry about this question when making their UCAS application. To allay these concerns, a major benefit of our degree structure is its flexibility: students enrolled on BSc programmes can transfer on to the MSci programme and vice versa. The first two years of both degree types are the same; thus the decision can be delayed until the end of Year 2. It is for this reason that our entry requirements for both BSc and MSci degree programmes are the same.
As a very rough guide, students who are considering a scientific career usually take an MSci degree, whilst those who are considering other directions, such as teaching, accountancy or law, usually take a BSc degree.
What is the difference between an MSci and MChem programme?
Nothing, different universities use different terms to describe their four-year taught undergraduate masters degree programmes and both are equally recognised by potential employers.
Should I be considering the Foundation Year programme?
Our Chemistry Foundation Year programme (F103) is specially designed for students who are motivated to study chemistry at degree level but have been away from education for some time and/or whose qualifications do not allow their direct entry on to one of our honours programmes.
We also offer the Birmingham Foundation Academy, which is specially designed for candidates who are motivated to study chemistry at degree level but whose qualifications do not allow their direct entry on to one of our honours programmes and whose first language is not English.
Both of these programmes are also attractive to mature students who may need a period of retraining before beginning a degree.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes, we are proud to offer a range of high-value scholarships that reward academic excellence and potential. Two types of scholarships are available for home students: Excellence Scholarships worth £5000 p.a., and Haworth Scholarships, worth £1500 on entry. We also offer scholarships to international students. View full details and eligibility criteria. In addition, the University offers a range of other scholarships including Music and Sports Scholarships.
Can I take a gap year?
Yes, if you wish to defer starting your degree and take a year out so you can travel or work, then all you need to do is complete the UCAS application as normal ensuring you have the appropriate start-date. We will treat your application in the same way as all the others we receive.