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Levelling Up: Aspire Higher Chemistry Programme


How does the Chemistry Programme work? 

There are three main aspects of the programme:

  • Academic tuition and support to stretch and challenge you in chemistry
  • Mentoring and support to develop the skills required to successfully apply for and succeed in Higher Education
  • Becoming a part of the academic community at Durham University so you know what to expect when you begin post-A-level study.


Academic tuition and support

You will receive high quality materials and a structured study programme in three-week cycles. Each cycle will include a structured self-study and a one-hour tutorial.

The programme runs from March of Year 12, through Year 13 with a different topic discussed every cycle, designed to align with your A-level course.

You will also learn about real-life applications of the science and links to research.

Mentoring and support

You will attend small group mentor sessions. These provide opportunities to discuss university life, university applications and provide a consistent supportive environment where you can address any concerns about your studies.

There will also be the opportunity for an onsite/virtual visit (Covid-19 dependent), to include a tour of Durham University’s Chemistry department.

You will be invited to online guest lectures given by renowned academics in a range of STEM subjects. These will demonstrate how different aspects of the subjects are applied in a wide variety of STEM careers.

Becoming a part of the academic community

You will have the opportunity to get to know and work with members of the Durham University Community, including your tutors, mentors and guest lecturers.


What will I do on the programme?

Upon successful placement on the programme, you will be allocated:

  • A tutorial group (approximately five students per group);
  • A programme tutor;
  • A programme support mentor.

Following an online introductory session in March 2022, you will complete work on different subject specific topics in three-week cycles.

In a three-week cycle, it is expected that you will spend approximately:

  • 90 minutes in the first week to engage with the self-study materials to prepare for your tutorial;
  • Attend a one-hour online tutorial in the second week;
  • Attend a one-hour online mentoring session in the third week


It is desirable that you commit an average of 60 minutes per week to the programme.


diagram showing intended 3 week cycle for cohort 2 Levelling Up: Aspire Higher Chemistry programme


The usual timeline for the programme will follow three-week cycles, from March 2022 through much of the 2022/23 academic year, focussed around school term times.


Entry requirements for the Chemistry Programme

Please note, to participate in the Chemistry Programme, you must be studying the following A-level (or equivalent) subjects: A-level Chemistry and A-level Maths.

Further information about eligibility is on our Eligibility Criteria page.