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Undergraduate Study


Are you 14 years old, or older, and starting to think about university? We‘re here to help you choose the subjects you should study at school to prepare for studying at Cambridge.

A level and International Baccalaureate (IB) subject combinations you choose to study at high school, sixth form or college could have an impact on what you can study at university.

How many A levels or IB subjects should you take

You should take at least 3 A levels or 6 IB subjects. These are standard entry requirements for most undergraduate courses in the UK.

If you aren’t taking A Levels or IB, find out more about the other qualifications that we accept.

If you know which course you'd like to study

Find the course you’re interested in. Take a look at the entry requirements section to see which high school subjects and grades you need to have.

If you aren’t taking A Levels or IB, the subject requirements for your course will still apply. For example, if Mathematics is a required subject for your course, we would expect you to be taking an appropriate Mathematics qualification.

If you're not sure which course you want to study

If you want to keep your options open, we recommend that you take A levels and IB Higher level subjects that go well together. Choose subjects that you’re passionate about, and which interest you the most.

It’s good to have some idea of the subject or area you’d like to study at university. This is because arts and humanities courses have different entry requirements to maths and science ones.

Best A level subjects and combinations if you’re interested in arts, social science or humanities courses at Cambridge

Arts, social science and humanities subjects include art, English, languages, music, archaeology, philosophy, politics, economics, education and law.

We recommend that you choose at least one of these A levels:

  • English Language or English Literature
  • a language, such as French, German, Spanish or Latin 
  • History
  • Mathematics, which is useful for many courses at Cambridge, including Law

Other A level subjects you could take:

  • an extra language
  • Ancient History
  • Classical Civilisation       
  • Economics 
  • Further Mathematics
  • Geography
  • Politics
  • History of Art
  • Law
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies

Best A level subjects and combinations if you’re interested in Maths or Science courses at Cambridge

Maths and science subjects include Further Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Engineering and Medicine.

We recommend that you choose at least 2 of these A levels:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry, which is useful if you want to study Chemical Engineering, Biological Sciences or Medical Sciences
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics, which is essential if you want to study Mathematics and useful if you want to study Engineering, Economics, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science or Natural Sciences (if you want to specialise in Physics). If your school doesn’t offer Further Mathematics and you live in England, you can join the Further Mathematics Support Programme.

Other A Level subjects you could take:

  • Computer Science
  • Electronics
  • Psychology

Less helpful A levels and IB subjects

Undergraduate courses at Cambridge are more academic than vocational. Vocational courses are more practical and hands on, while academic courses are more traditional and focus on theory.

If you want to study at Cambridge it’s less useful to choose:

  • Vocational A levels and IB subjects related to a specific profession or career, such as Business, Photography, Performing Arts and Media Studies.
  • A level Critical Thinking and Key Skills. We don’t count these subjects as an A level, but you could take it as your fourth subject.

If you're not taking A levels or IB

Find out more about the different qualifications that we accept, combining qualifications, and any requirements that you may need to meet.

Check our entry requirements.

Other things to consider

We don’t just look at which A levels or subjects you’ve studied. We look at other things you’ve been doing too, such as extra reading about the subject you’re interested in or taking part in activities related to it.

Find out how to make a great application to Cambridge.