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Natural Sciences Tripos


Thinking about the fourth year

If you are thinking about a career in research, you should consider taking the optional fourth year (Part III) which is currently offered in the following subjects:

  • Astrophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Sciences
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Materials Science
  • Physics
  • Systems Biology
  • Quantitative Climate and Environmental Science (new for 2024-25)

Part III leads to the degree of MSci, the academic equivalent of integrated Masters degrees in other major UK university departments in these fields.

At this level you will be studying your subject at the edge of what is known. You will be reading research papers published by experts in the field from all over the world and attending lectures given by members of staff actively researching the topics covered. The emphasis on self-directed learning increases. You will be given the opportunity to gain highly specialised knowledge and considerable research experience, with support and guidance. A wide choice is offered so that you can follow up lines of work in which you are particularly interested.

Further information on each subject is available on the course websites.

Please click the links for details of entry requirements and the entry process.

Special cases 

A student who has not met the required standard or who has not offered the required subjects as specified above, or who has not complied with the published deadline for receipt of applications, may request consideration as a special case. A request for special consideration should be forwarded by the student’s Director of Studies or Tutor to the Secretary of the relevant Faculty Board using the pro forma provided, at the earliest opportunity and, at the latest, within two weeks of the results being announced. The Director of Studies or Tutor should state the reasons for requesting dispensation, confirm that the College supports the request and is able to support the student, and believes that the student will be capable of undertaking the Part III course successfully. The application must be accompanied by copies of supervision reports, and a detailed breakdown of the student’s marks, year by year and subject by subject. The Committee nominated by the Faculty Board to consider special cases is not expected to consider circumstances of a nature on which the Examinations Access and Mitigation Committee would normally make a judgement.

Representations regarding progression decisions are allowed for under the Procedure for the Review of Decisions of University Bodies.