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What A-Levels do you need to be a doctor

If you’re aiming to study Medicine, you’re probably wondering: what A-Levels do you need to be a doctor? You’ve come to the right place! After GCSE, it’s important that you select the right A-Level subjects to study – and we’re here to help.

This page will give you the answer to ‘what qualifications do you need to be a doctor?’ and will show you which A-Levels different universities require, so you can select your subjects accordingly. To compare different universities’ A-Level requirements (as well as other entry requirements, interview formats and BMAT scores), you can use our medical school comparison tool. You might also find it useful to read our blog on How To Choose Your A-Levels for Medicine.


What A-Levels do you need to be a doctor?

Below we’ve compiled a table of UK universities’ A-Level requirements. As you can see below, most schools require Chemistry and Biology, as well as one other science or subject of your choice. 

University Which A-Levels does this school require?Which A-Levels are not acceptable?
AberdeenChemistry, and one subject from Biology/Human Biology/Maths/Physics is required.
One further A-Level in most other subjects.
General Studies or Media Studies
Barts and The LondonChemistry/Biology + Science or Maths (Chemistry, Biology, Physics, or Maths) + any other subject (General studies/critical thinking not acceptable). Biology and Chemistry to AS at minimum of B.General Studies or Critical Thinking. Further Maths only acceptable to AS if taken with Maths
BirminghamChemistry and Biology (or Human Biology). General Studies and Critical Thinking. Further Maths is not considered separately to Maths.
Brighton and SussexBiology and Chemistry mandatory. No specified third subject (encourage humanities/arts for broadening academic horizons).General Studies and Critical Thinking
BristolChemistry and another lab-based science.General Studies and Critical Thinking. Certain combinations of subjects are not accepted: Bio & PE, Bio & Sport, Maths & Further Maths
BuckinghamChemistry, one from Maths or Biology and a third subject that may be any except General Studies. In the case of applicants who do not have Biology at A-Level, they should have studied the subject to AS level (or equivalent) and achieved at least a grade B. General Studies and Critical Thinking.
CambridgeChemistry and two of Biology/Human Biology/Physics/Maths. At least one pass must be at A-Level.-
CardiffChemistry and Biology. If you have not been able to take Chemistry and Biology at A2 you will need both subjects in some form, with a minimum of one of the subjects at A2 Level.General Studies and Critical Thinking
DundeeChemistry and another science. Third subject can be anything apart from General Studies.General Studies
EdinburghChemistry and one subject from Biology, Mathematics and Physics (Biology preferred). Only one of Mathematics or Further Mathematics will be considered.General Studies
ExeterBiology and Chemistry at grade A.General Studies
GlasgowChemistry and one of Maths, Physics or Biology. If Biology is not studied at A2 level, it must have been taken at AS level. Biology and Human Biology are NOT considered as separate subjects. Maths and Further Maths are NOT considered as separate subjects.General Studies and Critical Thinking.
Hull YorkBiology and Chemistry. For the third subject, all subjects are of equal merit except General Studies, Applied Science, Citizenship or Critical Thinking. General Studies, Applied Science, Citizenship or Critical Thinking.
ImperialChemistry, Biology and any third subject (excluding vocational subjects, General Studies and Critical Thinking)Vocational subjects, General Studies and Critical Thinking
KeeleChemistry or Biology and a second science (biology, chemistry, physics, maths/statistics). Only one A-level from maths/further maths/statistics will be considered; biology and PE are not accepted in combination. General studies, Critical Thinking and Citizenship Studies are not accepted.
King'sBiology and Chemistry and a further AS-level B. If only one of Chemistry of Biology is offered at A-level, the other must be taken at AS-level grade A.General Studies and Critical Thinking.
LancashireAt least two science subjects, to include Chemistry, and a third academic subject.-
LancasterBiology and Chemistry are mandatory. General Studies accepted as 4th AS Level only.
LeedsChemistry required. General Studies & Critical Thinking are not considered.
LeicesterChemistry and Biology (or Human Biology). Biology doesn't have to be taken to A2 if AS Biology offered. If you study Maths and Further Maths, only one of these can count towards your potential offer.General Studies and Critical Thinking.
LiverpoolChemistry, Biology and a third academic A level.Most (see exceptions below) of the non-clinical programmes welcome General Studies as one of three A levels upon which we make an offer. However, applicants may offer only one of General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies among their three A levels.
General Studies is not considered for: Diagnostic Radiography, Life Sciences, Management School, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Orthoptics, Physiotherapy, Radiotherapy or Veterinary Science.
ManchesterChemistry plus at least one of the following: Biology (or Human Biology), Physics, Maths or Further Maths, Plus a third further rigorous subject.Critical Thinking or General Studies.
NewcastleChemistry and/or Biology at A or AS level.Critical Thinking or General Studies.
NorwichBiology/Human Biology, one further science (Chemistry or Physics), with a third A level subject of the applicant’s choice. -
NottinghamChemistry and Biology, the third subject can be in any area except for General Studies and Critical Thinking.General Studies and Critical Thinking.
OxfordAt least an A grade in both Chemistry and at least one from Biology, Physics or Mathematics.Critical Thinking or General Studies.
PlymouthChemistry and either Biology or Physics. A fourth subject must be achieved at a minimum of grade C at AS Level.General Studies.
Queen's BelfastChemistry and at least one from Biology, Physics and Maths.Critical Thinking and General Studies.
SheffieldChemistry and one other science (Maths, Physics, Biology or Psychology). Critical Thinking and General Studies are not accepted. Further Mathematics for candidates who hold Mathematics A Level are not considered.
SouthamptonChemistry and Biology. General Studies Critical Thinking. Subjects with material that overlaps (eg. human biology/sports studies/physical education).
St AndrewsChemistry and one other of Biology, Mathematics or Physics. General Studies, Critical Thinking and Global Perspectives & Research are not considered. Only one of Mathematics or Further Mathematics will be considered for the 3 subjects required at Advanced Level.
St George'sChemistry and Biology or Human Biology. General Studies and Key Skills.
Swansea A-Level requirements vary with different courses - but BSc Applied Medical Sciences requires an A in Biology and one other STEM subject (i.e. science, technology, engineering or mathematics).-
UCLChemistry and Biology. The third subject is the student’s own choice.General Studies or Critical Thinking.

Subjects To Take: What A-Levels do you need to be a doctor?

Different universities, as you’ve seen above, require different A-Level subjects. Broadly speaking, most require Chemistry and Biology at A2 Level, so these are good subjects to take. Some medical schools, like Birmingham and Aberdeen, allow Biology to be substituted for Human Biology.

A popular choice for many students is to take these two subjects with Physics, as the three in combination will be suitable for almost all UK medical schools. Taking Chemistry and Biology without Physics should leave most medical school options open to you.

However, some medical schools do not specify their requirements beyond Chemistry and Biology. Brighton and Sussex, for example, state that for the third A-Level choice they encourage humanities or arts subjects to broaden academic horizons. Hull York, however, considers all third A-Level subjects to have ‘equal merit’.

It’s also important to remember that individual courses will have a range of different requirements (for example, courses at Swansea vary), so it’s a good idea to check the specifics before selecting a university or your subjects.

Subjects To Avoid: What A-Levels do you need to be a doctor?

A good general rule is that most medical schools do not accept A-Levels in Critical Thinking, General Studies or Citizenship Studies – so it may be best to steer clear of those!

At Liverpool, many of their non-clinical programmes welcome General Studies as one of three A-Levels – but they only allow one of these subjects from the pool of General Studies, Critical Thinking and Citizenship Studies. General Studies is not considered for a variety of their programmes, including Diagnostic Radiography, Life Sciences, Management School, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Orthoptics, Physiotherapy, Radiotherapy or Veterinary Science.

It is also important to remember that subjects with overlapping content are often not considered – or only considered as one. This includes Maths and Further Maths, or PE and Biology, or Biology and Human Biology. Remember this when selecting your subjects!

What A-Levels do you need to be a doctor and how can you find out which schools require certain subjects? To find out more on comparing medical schools in terms of entry requirements, try visiting our comparison tool here.


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