Natural Sciences is the framework within which most science ‘subjects’ are taught at Cambridge.

Natural Sciences offers both physical and biological scientists a unique and demanding course that combines a broad first year with increasing specialisation in the second year and total specialisation in the third and, in some disciplines, fourth years.

The breadth and flexibility of the Natural Sciences Tripos reflect the blurring of boundaries between the different sciences: biological problems are increasingly being solved using techniques which require an understanding of physics and chemistry, whilst many of the most pressing problems being addressed by physicists, chemists and materials scientists require a knowledge of biology. You are not admitted to Cambridge to read a single subject but select three subject options plus maths in the first year. After this, you go on to specialize during the last year or two of your three or four degree course.

Full course details are provided on the Natural Sciences Prospective Undergraduates webpage and the University’s Undergraduate Study webpage.

Natural Sciences at Churchill

Churchill has a mission in science and technology. As such, we have a large community of natural scientists. The College has a very large Fellowship across the Natural Sciences and our Library is extremely well resourced. Teaching arrangements at Churchill follow the University-wide supervision system, to make sure you receive expert guidance and encouragement throughout your time here.

At Churchill, we emphasise the diverse range of options available to natural scientists from the outset. In the first week of your first term, you’ll hear presentations from our Directors of Studies about the range of subjects available to you, before you select your preferences. You might come to this meeting with a very clear idea about the subjects you want to take, but you might equally have not fully made up your mind (although it’s fair to say that most natural scientists think of themselves as being predominantly physical scientists or biological scientists).


To find out about admissions, go to undergraduate applications.


Entry Requirements

Course-specific information, including the University’s minimum offer level, can be found by selecting your course from the University’s Course List then looking at the “Entry Requirements” tab. The University’s Entrance Requirements and International Entry Requirements webpages may contain guidance relevant to you too.

At Churchill, we want to admit undergraduates who will thrive during their time here, so – in their interests – we tend to set conditional offers in line with the typical attainment of Cambridge entrants, by course. On average, this allows us to make a relatively generous number of offers per place, but it also means that our requirements are usually a little more rigorous than the University’s minimum offer level.

You can learn more about the academic profiles of Churchill entrants and our approach to setting conditional offers on our undergraduate applications page.

Admissions Assessment

All Natural Sciences applicants are required to take the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT).

You must register for this in advance.

There’s more information on and linked from the University’s Admissions Assessments webpage and the University Admissions Tests UK webpage, including an overview, format, and practice materials.



The role of academic interviews in Churchill’s admissions process is explained on our interviews page. Our interviewers will be looking for evidence of enthusiasm for and a potential for aptitude in the subjects covered by the Natural Sciences course.

Directors of Studies

Dr Adrian Barbrook

Find out more

Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright

Lisa Jardine-Wright studied for her MA, MSci in Physics at Trinity College, Cambridge and gained her PhD in Theoretical Cosmology under the supervision of Professor George… Find out more

Dr Katherine Stott

Katherine Stott attended Churchill College as an undergraduate in Natural Sciences, matriculating in 1990. Following a PhD in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopic techniques with James… Find out more
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