Our standard conditional offer for this subject is usually A*A*A at A level or 41 - 43 points overall and 7, 7, 6 at Higher Level in IB.  All Colleges may modify offers to take account of individual circumstances.  Further information can be found here.

Downing has always had a strong tradition in Natural Sciences. The College admits about 22–28 Natural Scientists each year, for a total of around 80 Natural Sciences undergraduates in the College at any time.

Places are split roughly 50:50 between the Physical and Biological sciences, but there is much overlap between the two. For example, physical natural scientists often choose one of the biological course options in their first year, and vice versa. Occasionally, students swap over during their time at Cambridge.

Almost one third of the Fellowship is concerned with the teaching of Natural Sciences. The Fellows directly involved, along with their subject areas are:

Professor Zoe Barber is Director of Studies for all first–year Physical Natural Scientists. Zoe is here to help new students choose their options, to guide them and ensure they are happy with their choices and are making good progress.

After the 1st year, people focus on their particular areas of interest, until deciding on their final subject for years 3 and, usually, 4. As they move on, they are assigned a Director of Studies closest to their own field.

Dr Amy Milton and Dr Marta Correia look after the Biological Natural Scientists. Amy, and Marta provide academic support for the biologists and arrange their supervisions during Part I, the first two years of the Natural Sciences degree, in addition to conducting some of the supervisions themselves.

They also meet regularly with students, in groups and individually, throughout the year to monitor progress, check that the students are happy with their chosen subjects, and to advise on what to do after the degree, whether that means graduate study or employment.

Supervisions are the small group teachings for which Cambridge is famous. At Downing you will generally find yourself being supervised weekly in groups of two or three students for each of the subjects you are taking.

Supervisions usually last for an hour, and your supervisor may be a fellow of the college, an academic staff member from the relevant department, a post–doctoral research worker, or a post graduate student.

Whilst it is a fantastic opportunity to be taught on this basis by an eminent professor, students often enjoy being supervised by graduate students who sometimes become good friends and, being closer in age and experience, can empathise and relate closely to specific issues.

Whoever your supervisors are, they will be in close contact with your director of studies, to ensure that things are going well, and to be able to make any required changes to your course choices or teaching requirements.

As with all subjects at Downing, there’s plenty of mixing between students in different years. So, those in later years can report on their own experiences and offer advice on subject choices to the newer students. And, of course, there’s plenty of advice on offer from fellows and others associated with the college.

Students run the Downing Science Society, The Danby Society. It holds regular meetings, and dinners, often with invited speakers from various walks of life. The club is run on very informal and friendly lines and anyone is welcome to join, at whatever level of involvement they prefer. Science thrives in Downing and the enthusiasm shown for the Danby Society reflects the excitement the subject generates in the College.

Our standard conditional offer for this subject is usually A*A*A at A level or 43 points overall and 7, 7, 6 at Higher Level in IB.  All students are required to take A level/IB Higher Level Mathematics and A level/IB Higher Level in two other science subjects. All Colleges may modify offers to take account of individual circumstance. 

AEA is not required, although a good performance might be taken into account when deciding whether to accept a candidate who has narrowly failed to satisfy an offer.

At present, Natural Sciences applicants receive two 25 minute interviews on the same day, each with two interviewers. All interviews are largely subject-based, although more general questions may also be asked.

The conduct of the interview itself is informal, and the types of topic covered are flexible. Background scientific knowledge will be useful, but questions may range outside the material covered in the A-Level syllabus

Applicants for Natural Sciences will be required to take a pre-interview assessment. Further information about this can be found here:  http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/admissions-assessments

Further advice about entry requirements and interviews for all subjects can be found in the Applying to Downing section of this site.

The reading list on the Faculty website is given as a guide to help applicants gain a better understanding of the subject matter. They are not intended as preparatory reading and interviewers will not expect candidates necessarily to have read any of these titles.

Further details about the Natural Sciences course can be found at the University of Cambridge site.

Resources to help you explore various scientific disciplines can be found at www.discoverdowning.com/resources