We are often asked by prospective university students which A level subjects they need to choose in order to pursue a particular career. 

In this post, we aim to clear up any confusion or uncertainty over the subjects you need to study, and make sure you’re on the right track for the university degree that will open doors to your profession.

1. Vet

If you’re looking to apply for a Veterinary Medicine course, you will usually be asked for the following A-level subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Maths OR Physics (preferably both)

There are currently 7 universities in England and two in Scotland where you can study Veterinary Science, and all of them will also look for good passes at GCSE in Mathematics, Science and English.

2. Doctor

Each medical school in the UK sets their own entry requirements for their degree programme, but many will ask for A-levels in Chemistry and Biology as an absolute minimum. 

Some universities may also ask for either Maths or Physics, though it’s a good idea to take one of these anyway.

Taking an essay-based subject such as History as a fourth subject will show you can write well and make clear, structured arguments.

3. Nurse

Again, each university will have their own entry requirements, but many of them will ask for at least one A-level in a Science subject. 

Biology would certainly be useful here, as might Chemistry. However,  if you find Chemistry difficult or don’t enjoy it, and the universities you’re applying to don’t ask for it, then take another subject instead. 

Other popular subjects taken by those wanting to go into Nursing include:

  • Psychology
  • Health and Social Care
  • History
  • English Literature

4. Teacher

A level requirements for this profession can depend on whether you want to become a Primary or Secondary teacher. 

For either one, you will generally be required to hold a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above (including English, Mathematics and Science), and 2 A levels to get on to a university teaching course.

A wide range of A level subjects are accepted by universities, though if you know what you would like to teach, e.g. History, it’s obviously a good idea to take that subject, along with another similar one that might be useful, e.g. English Literature.

You will also need to think about the route you want to take into teaching - are you going to apply for a 4 year Bachelor of Education? or study a degree in a specific subject, and follow up with a 1 year PGCE course

Take the time to research each path carefully before making your final A level subject choices, as it’s likely the entry requirements will vary. 

5. Physiotherapist

Many universities require applicants to have A-level Biology as a minimum, although some may accept Physical Education as an alternative. 

Other useful subjects applicants take for this course include:

  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Physical Education
  • Psychology

While different career paths demand different A level subjects, it’s important to remember that whatever you’re interested in doing in the future, you check the minimum requirements at each of the universities you are considering applying to.

Don’t assume all universities only require one particular A level to get onto the course, and end up cutting yourself off from your dream career.

Further information

For more tips and advice on A levels, please see:

Got any questions about which A level subjects you should pick for certain careers? Or any general comments on my post? Please pop them below!