Candidates are asked to indicate whether this wish to apply as a Physical or Biological scientist, however this does not restrict options at all once at Cambridge and is done to determine how your application will be assessed and which interviews you will receive. Candidates should be honest about their interests as this is one of the things assessed at interview. Depending on your interests among the first year courses (below) and the A level (or equivalent) subjects you are taking, it can make sense to apply as a Biological scientist if you think you wish to specialise in Chemistry, for example.
Physical scientists should be studying Mathematics and at least one of Chemistry or Physics to A level or equivalent, with Further Mathematics and the other of Chemistry or Physics to A level advantageous. Applicants in the Biological Sciences are expected to be studying two of Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Maths to A level or equivalent, and a third such subject is advantageous. Applicants to Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences are expected to be studying Mathematics and Chemistry to A level or equivalent, and Physics and/or Further Mathematics to A level is highly desirable, as is Biology to at least AS level.
In addition to this, some subject choices in the first year are dependent on particular A levels. In the first year, three subjects are chosen from: Biology of Cells, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Evolution & Behaviour, Materials Science, Physics, and Physiology of Organisms. Appropriate entry requirements (A levels or equivalent) for each course are given in the list below. All first-year Natural Sciences students also take a maths course: Mathematics (for physical scientists, A level Mathematics is essential) or Mathematical Biology (for biologists). Candidates for Biological Natural Sciences without A level Mathematics will receive extra tuition and support before and during the first term to assist them in Mathematical Biology, however considerable independent study is expected before such students arrive in Cambridge.
Biology of Cells: A level Chemistry highly desirable; A level Biology useful.
Chemistry: A level Chemistry essential; AS or A level Maths highly desirable (A level Maths is essential if you plan to continue with Chemistry in the second year).
Computer Science: A level Maths essential. AS or A level Further Maths and/or Physics are useful. No previous knowledge of the subject is necessary but some understanding of programming is helpful.
Earth Sciences: Recommended: at least two of Physics, Chemistry and Biology to A level. No previous knowledge of the subject is necessary.
Evolution and Behaviour: A level Biology is highly desirable.
Materials Science: A level Mathematics, and at least one of Physics or Chemistry is highly desirable. No previous knowledge of the subject is necessary.
Physics: A level Mathematics is essential along with either Physics or Further Maths (with 3 units of Mechanics). AS or A level Further Maths is useful preparation. Please note that the Mathematics for physical sciences option must be taken with this option.
Physiology of Organisms: A level Biology is highly desirable, A level Physics is useful.