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Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences division

Explore the courses Oxford has to offer below. Dig into the detail, and make sure it sounds right for you. A course with the same title may vary in its content and structure at universities so check you understand these differences.  


Biology is an exciting and rapidly developing subject area with great relevance to addressing global challenges from disease and poverty to biodiversity loss and climate change.

The study of living things has undergone tremendous expansion in recent years. Topics such as cell biology, developmental biology, evolutionary biology and ecology, all of which are covered in the course, are advancing at a great pace. This expansion has been accompanied by an integration of different biological disciplines. A biologist with an interest in tropical plants may well use many of the tools and techniques that are indispensable to a molecular geneticist.

Please visit the course page for further information 

Plants and flowers inside a greenhouse at the Botanic Garden


Chemists are a constant source of innovation: it is hard to imagine any product introduced in recent times that did not require the creative efforts of a chemist.

Chemistry underpins the conceptual framework and methodology of biochemistry and molecular medicine and is at the heart of many major industries. The MChem is a four-year course and is not modular, in the sense that the subject is taught and examined as a whole, enabling us to explore the links within the subject.

Please visit the course page for further information 

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We are looking for students with strong mathematical ability, which you will develop into skills that can be used both for reasoning rigorously about the behaviour of programs and computer systems, and for applications such as scientific computing.

You will also gain practical problem-solving and program design skills; the majority of subjects within the course are linked with practical work in our well-equipped laboratory.

Please visit the course page for further information

Myfyrwyr yng Ngholeg St Catherine's. Llun gan John Cairns Photography


Earth Sciences is the study of the planet we live upon. The broad scope and rapidly-advancing nature of the subject is reflected in the course at Oxford, which provides sound and broadly-based scientific training.

We combine physics, chemistry and biology with geology, geography and palaeontology to answer fundamental questions about the origin, development, and future of the Earth.

You will be trained in the skills required for the interpretation of rock materials and geological phenomena as well as applying theory and techniques from other disciplines to the study of the Earth and the environment.

Please visit the course page for further information 

Two students wearing backpacks collecting quadrat data in a wooded area


Engineering Science encompasses a vast range of subjects, from microelectronics to offshore oil platforms. The course involves the application of creative reasoning, science, mathematics (and, of course, experience and common sense) to real problems.

The Department of Engineering Science at Oxford has a top-level quality assessment rating for teaching and a world-class reputation for research.

The Engineering Science programme is a four-year course, leading to the degree of Master of Engineering. The first two years are devoted to topics that we believe all Engineering undergraduates should study.

Please visit the course page for further information 

Three students in lab coats conducting an experiment


Materials scientists study the relationships between the structure and properties of a material and how it is made. They also develop new materials and devise advanced processes for manufacturing them. Materials Science is vital for developments in nanotechnology, quantum computing, energy storage and nuclear energy, as well as medical technologies such as bone replacement materials and drug delivery.

Please visit the course page for further information 

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There are two Mathematics degrees, the three-year BA and the four-year MMath. Decisions regarding continuation to the fourth year do not have to be made until the third year.

The first year consists of core courses in pure and applied mathematics (including statistics). Options start in the second year, with the third and fourth years offering a large variety of courses, including options from outside mathematics.

Above all, mathematics is a logical subject, and you will need to think mathematically, arguing clearly and concisely as you solve problems. For some of you, this way of thinking or solving problems will be your goal. Others will want to see what else can be discovered. Either way, it is a subject to be enjoyed.

Please visit the course page for further information

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Physics is concerned with the study of the universe from the smallest to the largest scale: it is about unravelling its complexities to discover the way it is and how it works.

Discoveries in physics have formed the foundation of countless technological advances and play an important role in many scientific areas. Many techniques used in medical imaging, nanotechnology and quantum computing are derived from physics instrumentation. Even the World Wide Web was a spin-off from the information processing and communications requirements of high-energy particle physics.

Please visit the course page for further information 

Four students sitting on the steps outside the English Faculty library