Preferred A-level Subject Combinations

In assessing applicants taking A-levels for all Cambridge courses, Trinity takes into consideration not only the individual A-level subjects offered but also the combination of subjects.  Applicants are adequately prepared for studying here if they have taken A-levels that both provide suitable preparation for university in general and are relevant to the subject matter of the degree programme to which they are applying.

The first list below is of subjects that we consider general ‘facilitating subjects’. This is drawn from ‘Informed Choices’ (, a useful booklet prepared by the Russell Group of leading UK universities, to help guide A-level choices. Ordinarily we would expect applicants to Trinity to have taken at least two facilitating subjects to A-level. The second list is of the required A-level choices for individual subjects.


  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Classical Languages
  • English Literature
  • Geography
  • History
  • Mathematics/Further Mathematics
  • Modern Languages
  • Physics

Each language taken to A-level counts as one facilitating subject.  For individual subjects, there are some additions to this list.  For Maths, A-level Mathematics and A-level Further Mathematics count as two separate facilitating subjects, but for other subjects they count as one facilitating subject.  Candidates for sciences are encouraged to take two science subjects to A-level, alongside Maths and, if applicable, Further Mathematics.  For Economics, A-level Economics counts as a facilitating subject.  For Music, A-level Music is a facilitating subject.


These are the requirements for individual subjects. If the subject is not listed, there are no specific requirements. Further information may be available in the pages about individual subjects (

  • Classics (three-year course): applicants must take Latin or Greek A-level. If not, the four-year course can be considered.
  • Computer Science: applicants should ideally offer Maths, Further Maths and Physics. Maths, Further Maths and Computing or Maths, Physics, Computing and AS Further Maths are acceptable alternatives.
  • Economics: applicants must take Maths A-level.
  • Engineering: applicants are expected to take Maths, Further Maths and Physics. Those unable to take Further Maths A-level may take Maths, Physics, an AS in Further Maths, and an A-level in any of Chemistry, Biology or Electronics.
  • English: applicants need to take either English Literature or combined English Language and Literature at A-level.
  • History: applicants must take History A-level.
  • History and Modern Languages: applicants must take an A-level in the relevant language, unless they are applying for Russian or Portuguese in which case another foreign language A-level is recommended.
  • Maths: applicants are normally expected to offer Maths, Further Maths and Physics, although if necessary another facilitating subject may be substituted for Physics.
  • Medicine: applicants must take Chemistry A-level, and two further A-levels out of Biology, Physics, Maths and Further Maths.
  • Modern Languages: applicants must take at least one of their selected languages at A-level.
  • Music: applicants must take Music A-level.
  • Natural Sciences: all applicants should take Maths A-level.  Those intending to take subjects in their first years that are primarily drawn from the Physical Sciences should ideally take Physics and Further Maths A-levels, but may if necessary take Physics and either Biology or Chemistry as well as AS Further Maths.  Those intending to study subjects in the first year that are primarily on the Biological Sciences side should ideally take two out of Chemistry, Biology and Physics, although applications from those with only one of these three are not discouraged.
  • Psychological & Behavioural Sciences: applicants must take Maths and Biology A-levels.

If you are unsure that your A-level combination is suitable, please consult the College’s Admissions Office.