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Natural Sciences Tripos


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 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 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Part IB Biology of Disease
  • Part IB Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Part IB Chemistry A
  • Part IB Chemistry B
  • Part IB Earth Sciences A
  • Part IB Earth Sciences B
  • Part IB Ecology, Evolution & Conservation
  • Part IB Evolution & Animal Diversity
  • Part IB Experimental Psychology
  • Part IB History and Philosophy of Science
  • Part IB Materials Science
  • Part IB Mathematics
  • Part IB Mathematical and Computational Biology
  • Part IB Neurobiology
  • Part IB Pharmacology
  • Part IB Physics A
  • Part IB Physics B
  • Part IB Physiology
  • Part IB Plant and Microbial Sciences
  • Part IB Quantitative Environmental Science


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.

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.