Course Details
Careers and Higher Education


Each day’s news contains issues where chemistry matters: faster and cheaper drug development, cleaner and more economical fuel sources, safer air and drinking water, biotechnology to improve health and food sources around the world, nanotechnology to reduce the size and environmental impact of many consumer goods, and green industrial processes to prevent pollution. Studying the molecular world helps you learn to see more than what is obvious to others, to ask questions about how the current state came to be, to examine underlying mechanisms, to design experiments carefully, and to consider alternative explanations. The analytical rigor of an A Level in Chemistry is already well known as a valuable foundation for professions such as medicine and law; these perspectives also turn out to be useful in many areas of life.

Entry Requirements

A grade B in Chemistry or Additional Science is necessary for entry onto the course.  A grade C in Mathematics and English Language are also required.


Course Details

The department has chosen to follow the AQA specification from September 2015 but all the new A Level courses contain very similar content and have a similar approach to the assessment of practical skills.

How Will I Study?

Chemistry is the most practical A level science.  A substantial amount of your time will be spent on laboratory investigations, which link closely with the development of new ideas.  At other times you will be involved with your teacher in discussion, you may be doing written exercises and solving problems or you may be making use of ICT resources.

You will find there is less emphasis on merely learning factual information and far more on the underlying concepts and patterns and being able to use these to solve problems. You will be expected to take charge of your own learning, to identify your own needs, seeking additional help from staff to resolve any difficulties so you can move forward in your learning.

Teaching and Support

Class teaching is normally shared between two members of staff.  Students will work from booklets, which contain questions, practicals, presentations and details of independent tasks for each topic.  They will also be expected to maintain a lab book as evidence of their practical competence.

A considerable degree of help and support is given to students of all levels of ability through extra worksheets, revision materials, tutorials and revision lessons.  Students find their chemistry teachers very approachable and available for a few minutes of extra help when necessary.


Units for AS and A Level:

P 1. Atomic structure
P 2. Amount of substance
P 3. Bonding
P 4. Energetics
P 5. Kinetics
P 6. Equilibria
P 7. Redox
I 8. Periodicity
I 9. Group 2
I 10. Group 7
O 11. Introduction to organic chemistry
O 12. Alkanes
O 13. Halogenoalkanes
O 14. Alkenes
O 15. Alcohols
O 16. Organic analysis
P= physical chemistry
I= Inorganic chemistry
O= Organic chemistry

Units for A Level only:

  • P Thermodynamics
  • P Rate equations
  • P Further equilibria – Kp
  • P Electrode potentials
  • P Acid base equilibria
  • I Period 3 elements
  • I Transition elements
  • I Reactions of ions in aqueous solution
  • O Optical isomerism
  • O Aldehydes and ketones
  • O Carboxylic acids and their derivatives
  • O Aromatic chemistry
  • O Amines
  • O Polymers
  • O Amino acids, proteins and DNA
  • O Organic synthesis
  • O NMR spectroscopy
  • O Chromatography

(Internal unit titles and references still to be confirmed for A Level.)

Practical work

Students will work towards a compulsory practical endorsement, which will be reported separately alongside the examination grade.  They will be trained and then assessed on their skills in six required practicals in each year.  There will be opportunities to repeat assessments if needed.  Students will be required to record these practicals, using a prescribed method, in a lab book, which may be moderated by AQA. We also understand that universities may wish to see these lab books if students apply to study a science related subject at a higher level.

Careers and Higher Education

Chemistry and the chemical sciences open up a world of possibilities and expand your choices. No matter how the world changes in the 21st Century, Chemistry will always be at the centre of science and at the heart of life. A training in chemistry or the chemical sciences gives you the skills needed for a wide range of careers.

Chemistry is essential for: (i) Chemical Sciences e.g. Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Colour Chemistry, Chemical Physics, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy Veterinary Science; (ii) Biological Sciences e.g. Agriculture, Microbiology, Botany, Soil Science, Horticulture, Zoology, Marine Biology. Chemistry is strongly recommended for: (i) Medical Sciences e.g. Bacteriology, Nursing, Environmental Health, Nutrition, Genetics, Physiology; (ii) Material Sciences e.g. Material and Polymer Science, Technology, Metallurgy, Materials Engineering. Chemistry is very useful for: (i) Engineering e.g. Aeronautical, Electronics, Agricultural, Instrumental, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Mining; (ii) Environmental Studies e.g. Archaeology, Geography, Oceanography, Ecology, Safety & Health, Forestry, Surveying, Geological Sciences e.g.

Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Geophysics, Mining. A numerate subject such as Chemistry is useful for: Architecture, Law, Accountancy/Business

We live in an age of chemistry-based technology, and future demands will require chemical expertise in many areas of the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. There are many different areas you could work in for example; Research and development, Production, Marketing and sales, Management, etc. A chemistry degree is also a good training for the world of commerce and employers recognise the key skills of numeracy, problem-solving and communication that are an integral part of all chemistry courses. Whether in accountancy or banking, a chemistry degree can open the door to a successful career in the financial world.