Understanding chemistry enables us to explain why materials behave as they do - relating properties of the material to the interaction of particles at the atomic level. Chemists across a wide range of disciplines are charged with meeting the material needs of the world’s ever-growing population while considering the impact of their use on the environment at every life cycle stage – considering sustainability, manufacturing processes and appropriate disposal.

It is exciting to teach such important theoretical concepts, whilst also developing mathematical technique and logical problem-solving skills.

Chemistry is also a hands-on subject and we proudly chart the practical skills development of our students in our well-resourced labs, as well as taking advantage of links with Newcastle University and local industry, to give our students every opportunity to excel.

On concluding their studies, many of our students go on to join the NHS as doctors, dentists, lab scientists, nurses and midwives. They often also contribute to developing new energy technologies with the petrochemical industry, to developing new drugs with the pharmaceutical industry and to joining the education sector. Chemistry matters a great deal, to us, to our students and society.

Why study chemistry?

A level chemistry attempts to answer the big question ‘what is the world made of’ and it is the search for this answer that makes this subject so fascinating. From investigating how one substance can be changed drastically into another, to researching a new wonder drug to save millions of lives, the opportunities that chemistry provides are endless.

Chemistry is of particular value to those hoping to pursue careers in analytical chemistry, chemical engineering, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, pharmacology, clinical biochemistry, toxicology, environmental science, scientific patent law, science writing and teaching.


A level Chemistry

Awarding body


Entry requirements

Grade 5 or above in English. Grade 6 or above in Maths or Chemistry triple award or Science Dual Award

Year 12

A level chemistry lasts two years, with exams at the end of the second year. The information below shows what you will learn in each year.

Physical chemistry – atomic structure, amount of substance, bonding, energetics, kinetics, chemical equilibria and Le Chatelier’s principle.

Inorganic chemistry – periodicity, Group 2 the alkaline earth metals, Group 7 the halogens.

Organic chemistry – introduction to organic chemistry, alkanes, halogenoalkanes, alkenes, alcohols, organic analysis.

Year 13

Physical chemistry – thermodynamics, rate equations, the equilibrium constant Kp, electrode potentials and electrochemical cells.

Inorganic chemistry – properties of Period 3 elements and their oxides, transition metals, reactions of ions in aqueous solution.

Organic chemistry – optical isomerism, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, aromatic chemistry, amines, polymers, amino acids, proteins and DNA, organic synthesis, NMR spectroscopy, chromatography.

Required practical (throughout year 1 and 2) – volumetric preparation, titrimetric analysis, measuring energy changes in chemical reactions, tests for identifying different types of compound, different methods for measuring rates of reaction, studying electrochemical cells, preparation of organic solids and liquids, an advanced form of chromatography for more accurate results.


Three written examinations – at the end of Year 13. At least 15% of the written papers will assess knowledge and understanding of practical skills. 20% of the papers will assess mathematical skills.

Practical endorsement – students will complete a minimum of 12 practical activities to demonstrate practical competence.

Chemistry interests me, I enjoy learning about how chemistry is used in the world and the numerous types of reactions that take place. It will help in my application to university to study forensic science and criminology.
Chemistry student, Erin
I like being mentally challenged and chemistry is relevant to my plans to study cellular and molecular biology at university. Chemistry is a facilitating subject; it can open a lot of doors. I love it when I have been struggling to get my head around something then have a moment of realisation!
Chemistry student, Sophie
The lessons are interesting and I’m constantly learning something new. I’ve been helped and guided with plenty of patience and helpful advice. I’ve noticed is that I’m much better at problem-solving now. The skills I have gained will stand me in good stead for the future.
Chemistry student, Ethan
I love organic chemistry and the mechanism work has really helped me understand how reactions proceed. Studying A level chemistry has helped me gain more independence in the lab. I am much more confident with the maths in chemistry than I was at GCSE level.
Chemistry student, Kayla