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On Applying and Decisions

University admissions questions

The University Recruitment and Admissions Team has also prepared answers to a general list of frequently asked questions.

Should I make multiple applications for MSci, BSc and subject combinations?

Should I apply for both the MSci and the BSc degree to increase my chances of an offer?

No, this is a waste of one of your UCAS choices as you can easily transfer between one degree and the other once you arrive in Durham - if you select modules sensibly up until the start of the third year.

Note that:

  • There is no separate quota for the two degrees;
  • The entry criteria used for both degrees are identical;
  • We do not prioritise applicants applying for one over the other. 

Should I apply multiple times for different subject combinations?

No. This is a waste of one of your five UCAS choices as we are flexible. You can change your mind about your subject choices when you get here (with the one exception that you cannot transfer into Chemistry). You also need to satisfy the subject-specific requirements in all cases.

The order in which you list the subjects does matter though so give it some thought. We take your first two preferences and look at this alongside the entry requirements for these subjects to construct the offer. These preferences do not tie an applicant to studying these subjects within Natural Sciences but we want to ensure that you can follow your preferences.

The only exception is Chemistry. Failing to specify it as one of the first two preferences will result in the applicant being unable to study Chemistry while at Durham.

If your application is successful and you end up reading Natural Sciences at Durham then you are able to switch your subjects around up until the end of the third teaching week, so long as the Department has space on the module and the choices meet the criteria of the Natural Science degree programme. This, unfortunately, does not apply to Chemistry, because of the strict limits on space for practical work.

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What is the Natural Sciences policy for students who resit a qualification and apply through UCAS?

Applicants who are resitting qualifications are treated the same as those sitting qualifications for the first time. As long as your new predicted grades (combined of resits and grades already achieved) meets or exceeds the standard offer (though there can be exceptions and we look at each application individually) we would welcome your application:

  • If your achieved grades narrowly missed the standard offer (at most two grades off) then no further action is necessary.

  • If your achieved grades were not a narrow miss of the standard offer then we would recommend that your referee comments on the improvement in the performance.

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What is the attitude of Natural Sciences towards students taking a gap year?

We encourage you to take a gap year, if this is what you would like to do. We do not mind if you apply for deferred entry or whether you apply when on your gap year.

Whatever you do in a gap year, you should make the most of your time. It will be different to what you have done previously, so you are certain to learn something from it. While we do not require you to do anything in particular with your gap year, but we would recommend that if you intend to take Chemistry/Mathematics/Physics at University you take measures to keep your Mathematics skills up to scratch.

The majority of our entrants (about 96%) do not take a gap year, so please do not feel you have to take one.

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What foundations degrees are suitable for a Natural Sciences degree?

One size does not fit all and whether your foundation degree is suitable for Natural Sciences entry depends on the pathways that you'd like to follow. Firstly, you'd need to satisfy the equivalency requirement of our typical offer as well the equivalency of the Requirements and Admissions part.

For example, if you want to read for the BSc in Computer Science and Mathematics within the Natural Sciences programme then taking a Foundation Computer Science degree would not be sufficient as it wouldn't prepare you for Mathematics, but a Foundation Mathematics programme might be good enough as long as it covers the content associated with AS-level Further Mathematics that is needed in the Requirements and Admissions for the Mathematics pathway within Natural Sciences.

As a general rule, if Requirements and Admissions need applicants to hold qualifications in two different A-levels or Higher Level IBs which are different then in all likelihood the Foundation course would not be suitable, e.g. if you wanted to read for a BSc in Biology and Physics within the Natural Sciences programme and was taking a Foundation Physics programme then no Foundation programme would be suitable unless there was a suitable prior qualification in either Biology/Chemistry.

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