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Part II Physical Sciences

It may be that, in your third year of studies, you do not want to specialise in a single scientific subject. By reading Part II Physical Sciences, you can continue to develop a broader knowledge of the sciences than a Part II single subject may provide. The Part II Physical Sciences course is designed for:

  • students who would prefer to follow a broader curriculum in physical sciences than that offered in other Part II courses; or
  • students who have decided on a career more suited to a broad scientific background and have concluded that a more research-oriented single subject Part II would not meet their needs.

You will offer TWO separate subjects, ONE subject from Group A and ONE subject from Group B (subject to the Restrictions listed below).

Group A

  • Half Subject Chemistry
  • Half Subject Earth Sciences
  • Half Subject Materials Science (from 2017)
  • Half Subject Physics

Half Subjects typically consist of half of the lectures courses and practical work of the corresponding Part II subject.
Further details are given below.

Group B

  • Part IB Animal Biology
  • Part IB Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Part IB Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Part IB Chemistry A
  • Part IB Chemistry B
  • Part IB Ecology
  • Part IB Experimental Psychology
  • Part IB Earth Sciences A
  • Part IB Earth Sciences B
  • Part IB History and Philosophy of Science
  • Part IB Materials Science
  • Part IB Mathematics
  • Part IB Neurobiology
  • Part IB Pathology
  • Part IB Pharmacology
  • Part IB Physics A
  • Part IB Physics B
  • Part IB Physiology
  • Part IB Plant and Microbial Sciences


In addition you will offer a dissertation of 5,000 words on a topic approved by the Head of the Department in which you are offering the Half Subject.


In the final examination, maximum marks are as follows:
Half Subject 60, Part IB Subject 25, Dissertation 15.


  1. Some combinations may be difficult to timetable; you are advised to discuss permissable combinations that have timetable clashes with your Director of Studies.
  2. You may NOT read any subject in Group B that you have previously read in Part IB of the Natural Sciences Tripos.
  3. Half Subject Chemistry may not be offered unless you have previously offered either Chemistry A or Chemistry B in Part IB of the Tripos.
  4. Half Subject Physics may not be offered unless you have previously offered Physics A or B in Part IB of the Tripos.
  5. Half Subject Earth Sciences may not be offered unless you have previously offered either Earth Sciences A or Earth Sciences B in Part IB of the Tripos.
  6. Half Subject Materials Science may not be offered unless you have previously offered Materials Science in Part IB of the Tripos.

Further Information on Courses

Details of the Part II subjects and Part IB subjects can be found from the course websites and in programme specifications.