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Durham University

Natural Sciences

Chemistry on my list of subject choices

What are the implications of where I put Chemistry on my list of subject choices?

As background Natural Sciences has around 100 bench spaces for Chemistry, we make 400 offers and around 750 applicants apply to study Chemistry each year. There are four potential outcomes in this scenario:

  1. Your application is successful and you get an offer which guarantees the option of being able to take Chemistry - we are slightly pessimistic in the number of offers we make to just undershoot the target of 100;
  2. Your application is successful and you get a reserve Chemistry offer - this means applicants get the unfilled places left from applicants in group 1. above and this will be known by the end of September if not sooner;
  3. Your application is successful and your offer excludes the study of Chemistry - this means no Chemistry unless there is space after applicants from groups 1. and 2. have chosen their modules and this will not be known until October on entry
  4. Your application is not successful.

To order candidates in groups 1. and 2, above we use the predicted A-level grade in Chemistry followed by the A-level grade in Mathematics - candidate not taking A-levels do not fall into group 2.

In terms of the ordering of subject choices, if you only tell us about two subject choices which includes Chemistry or you put Chemistry first on your list of choices, then the only possible outcomes above are 1. and 4. Alternatively having at least three subjects that you are prepared to study and not putting Chemistry first will improve your chances of an offer, however you should not do this unless you are prepared to be left in the scenario of not being able to study Chemistry.

This system has been in operation since the 2011/12 cycle and every year candidates in groups 1., 2. and 3. have been able to take Chemistry, but there will be a year where group 3 candidates will be not be able to take Chemistry.

Note: In the all of the admissions cycles from September 2013, there were more candidate who were predicted A*A* in Chemistry and Mathematics in A-level than there were offers available. We did make some offers to candidates who did not meet this criteria, but they were very much the exception rather than the rule and had merit/potential associated with their application.