A level

Course Level

Level 3


2 years full-time




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Unique learning opportunities with our School of Health, Sport and Food 

Gain invaluable experience in our food chemistry labs

Chemistry is in everything you taste, smell, touch and see and as our world undergoes rapid changes, we need chemists more than ever. It will help us in the race for new antibiotics, find ways to conserve coral reefs and manufacture environmentally-friendly alternatives to current plastics. 

There are three core strands to A-level Chemistry course. Physical chemistry explores the science behind chemical reactions and applies them to the real world, reducing the acidification of our oceans, for example. Inorganic chemistry applies the properties of compounds to industrial processes, such as finding more sustainable batteries to combat the skyrocketing demand from mobile phones and electric vehicles. Organic chemistry looks at the carbon-based molecules of life and applying knowledge to produce more complex molecules such as pharmaceuticals to improve human health.  

Studying A-level Chemistry with us gives you the unique opportunity to experience chemistry applications in action in our Food Science and Innovation suite, featuring analytical equipment used in the dietetic and nutrition industries. You will explore chemistry beyond the syllabus, with full access to our university library, satisfying your intellectual curiosity and making your applications to universities, apprenticeships and employment more competitive. To help students achieve their potential, we also provide one-to-one tutorials from dedicated learning and careers teams. 

Why choose A-levels at our sixth form centre?

  • PREPARE FOR UNIVERSITY AT A UNIVERSITY – We can provide you with relevant work placements, masterclasses, guest speakers, trips and more
  • AWARD-WINNING SUPPORT – We have won national awards for our student support, which our sixth form students can tap into, from tailored academic support to financial assistance and health and wellbeing services
  • OUTSTANDING LEARNING FACILITIES - We have invested £5.5 million into our brand-new sixth form centre, which includes lecture theatres, classrooms, science and computer labs, practical training facilities and open study spaces
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Want to keep studying at a higher level? This A-level will support your progression to degree level
Find out more about our sixth form centre and our vision for our A-level students. View video.

Course breakdown

To achieve your Chemistry A-level, you must study the following topics:

Physical chemistry

  • Atoms, compounds and molecules
  • Periodic table 
  • Bonding and structure 
  • Reactions 
  • Equations  

Organic chemistry

  • Alkanes and alkenes 
  • Alcohols 
  • Spectrometry 
  • Aromatic compounds 
  • Polymers 

Inorganic chemistry

  • Periodicity 
  • Alkaline metals 
  • Halogens 
  • Transition elements 

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • You will need 4 GCSE at grade 5 or above, including a grade 5 in GCSE Science and Maths to study this A-level.

Supporting documents required

  • School applicants will be required to provide a school report, which must include attendance. This will be assessed in conjunction with your qualifications and application during the confirmation of your place at University College Birmingham.

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve 56 UCAS points or more from this qualification will automatically be guaranteed a place on a degree course at University College Birmingham. Some undergraduate courses require additional entry requirements, so applicants are advised to check entry requirements before applying.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

There is strong emphasis on experiments and developing practical skills with class discussion, independent learning and research. To help you flourish into a confident, independent learner, we develop your thinking and research skills with notetaking and revision strategies embedded into lessons. 

You will be assessed through three written examination papers (Summer of Year 2) plus a practical endorsement for chemistry. 

Exam papers contain questions that will also test your understanding of experimental work and mathematical skills.  

Over the two-year course, you are expected to complete a mandatory set of experiments and you will gain a certificate as evidence of your competency, the Practical Endorsement.  

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

Enhanced Learning Opportunity - Core Maths

To support and extend your learning experience at the sixth form centre, we are offering students on this particular A-level course the additional opportunity to study Core Maths. 

Level 3 Mathematical Studies (Core Maths)  

Core Maths, a one-year course equivalent to an AS-level (half an A-level), is an engaging and diverse course that gives you an excellent preparation for your future. It is about using maths to solve meaningful, real-life problems, as well as developing your data handling and critical analysis skills, equipping you with the essential quantitative skills you need for many careers and degrees. 

We are creating something unique and special for Birmingham and I am delighted you are considering us for your next steps. Studying A-levels requires discipline and determination, but it is also incredibly rewarding, offering you a deep insight into the subjects you choose to study. Sixth form is also an opportunity for you to discover what’s important to you and how you want to make your mark on the world. Our aim is to support and challenge you through this, while developing your character and widening your horizons so you flourish, professionally and personally. 

Rebecca Tigue Sixth Form Centre Principal

What will this course prepare you for? 

A-level Chemistry is essential for most science degrees, including chemical engineering, pharmacy, pharmacology, medicine, veterinary, dentistry, biochemistry and inorganic chemistry. It is often required for degrees such as biology, geology, marine biology, geography, environmental science, oceanography and forensics. 

Chemists work in almost any field you can think of, including pharmaceuticals, food technology, cosmetics, toxicology, manufacturing, petrochemicals, journalism, criminal forensics, teaching and research in academia or industry.  

The example roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.


Average Salary: £48,000


Average Salary: £33,000

Forensic Scientist

Average Salary: £30,000


Average Salary: £36,000


Average Salary: £74,000


Average Salary: £63,000


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


Find out more

Our new sixth form centre

University College Birmingham is to begin offering a range of A-level courses as part of a major multi-million-pound investment in a brand-new sixth form centre.

Read Story

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