IB Subjects and Applying to University


IB subjects required for different degree courses

Please note that the entrance requirements for individual universities and course will vary and this list covers only the most popular courses. You are therefore advised to use this guide in conjunction with the more detailed information on the UCAS and university websites of the university (in your country of choice), and also to contact the universities you are interested in, to confirm their entry requirements, regarding both subjects and grades.


Standard and Higher Level IB = Advanced Level Qualification.

However please check as some universities will specify and require higher level of IB Diploma subject for entry.

EALQ=Essential Advanced Level Qualification

UALQ=Useful Advanced Level Qualification

Information from www.russellgroup.ac.uk


  • Essential Advanced Level Qualifications (EALQ): usually none although a few universities require mathematics.
  • Useful Advanced Level Qualifications (UALQ): Maths, Business Studies and Economics.

Actuarial Science/Studies

  • EALQ: Maths
  • UALQ: Further Maths, Economics, Business Studies

Aeronautical Engineering

  • EALQ: Maths and Physics
  • UALQ: Further Maths and Design Technology


  • EALQ: Some courses want an arts/science mix, some may require Art.
  • UALQ: Art, Maths, DT and Physics. A portfolio of drawing and ideas is generally required.

Art and Design

  • EALQ: Art and DT.
  • UALQ: DT, Art and Design. Most entrants onto Art and Design degrees will have done a one year Art Foundation diploma after completing year 13.


  • EALQ: Always Chemistry and some universities will say you must have Biology as well, while some say Chemistry plus one from Mathematics/Physics/Biology. Doing Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics or Physics will keep all Biochemistry courses open to you.
  • UALQ: Biology, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics.


  • EALQ: Biology, Chemistry.
  • UALQ: Mathematics or Physics.

Biomedical Sciences (including Medical Science)

  • EALQ: Normally two from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Chemistry is essential for some courses.
  • UALQ: Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics.

Business Studies

  • EALQ: None.
  • UALQ: Mathematics, Business Studies and Economics.

Chemical Engineering

  • EALQ: Chemistry and Maths and sometimes Physics as well.
  • UALQ: Physics, Biology and Further Maths.


  • EALQ: Chemistry and occasionally Maths. Most courses require Chemistry and would like Maths and one other science subject (e.g. Physics or Biology).
  • UALQ: Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Biology.


  • EALQ: For some courses Maths.
  • UALQ: Maths, Further Maths, Physics, ICT, Philosophy.


  • EALQ: Chemistry and Biology for most courses but some require Maths and Physics as well.
  • UALQ: Maths, Physics, Further Maths.


  • EALQ: Some courses require English Literature and for a few courses English and/or Theatre Studies.
  • UALQ: English Literature, English Literature and Language and English Language, Theatre Studies.


  • EALQ: Usually Maths.
  • UALQ: Economics.

Electrical/Electronic Engineering

  • EALQ: Maths and Physics.
  • UALQ: Further Maths, ICT, DT.

Engineering (General)

  • EALQ: Maths and Physics.
  • UALQ: Further Maths, DT.


  • EALQ: English Literature, English Language & Literature (some courses will accept English language on its own).
  • UALQ: History, Foreign Language.


  • EALQ: French.
  • UALQ: Another modern foreign language, English Literature, History, Politics.


  • EALQ: Most degrees require Geography.
  • UALQ: Some geography BSc (science) degrees prefer one from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics.

Geology/Earth Sciences

  • EALQ: Usually two from Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
  • UALQ: Geography and Geology.


  • EALQ: Most degrees require History.
  • UALQ: Economics, English Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, a modern or classical language.


  • EALQ: Usually none although a few universities require English.
  • UALQ: History, subjects which involve essay/report writing.

Management Studies

  • EALQ: Sometimes Maths.
  • UALQ: Maths, Economics, Business Studies.


  • EALQ: Maths and increasingly Further Maths.
  • UALQ: Further Maths, Physics.

Mechanical Engineering

  • EALQ: Maths and Physics.
  • UALQ: Further Maths, Design Technology (Maths with strong mechanics component may be preferable).

Media Studies (including Communication Studies)

  • EALQ: Maths and Physics.
  • UALQ: English, Media Studies, Sociology, Psychology.


  • EALQ: If you do Chemistry, Biology and one from Maths or Physics you will keep all the medical schools open to you. If you do Chemistry and Biology you will keep the vast majority. If you do Chemistry and one from Maths and Physics you will limit your range of choices much more.
  • UALQ: Further Maths or a contrasting (non-science) subject.


  • EALQ: For most traditional courses music and grade 7/8.
  • UALQ: Some universities have a preference for at least one essay based subject.


  • EALQ: Chemistry and one from Biology, Maths and Physics keeps the vast majority of courses open to you. Some courses like to see Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. Doing Chemistry and Biology keeps most courses open.
  • UALQ: Maths, Physics.


  • EALQ: Maths, Physics.
  • UALQ: Further Maths, Chemistry.


  • EALQ: Most courses will consider you with just Biology. However, some also require a second science from Chemistry, Maths or Physics.
  • UALQ: Chemistry, Maths, Physics, Psychology.


  • EALQ: None.
  • UALQ: Politics, History, Philosophy, Law, Sociology.


  • EALQ: A few courses ask for one from Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics.
  • UALQ: Biology, Maths, Psychology, Sociology.


  • EALQ: None.
  • UALQ: Sociology, Psychology, Geography.

Sports Science/ Physical Education

  • EALQ: Some degrees want science such as Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics (some courses will treat Physical Education as a science equivalent).
  • UALQ: PE, Psychology.


  • EALQ: None.
  • UALQ: For some types of surveying i.e. Building Surveying, Maths and Physics could be helpful. For Estate Management (General Practice Surveying) most common IB subject combinations will be considered.

Teacher Training

  • EALQ: Those best for Primary Teaching shown in italics. At least one from Art, Biology, Chemistry, DT, Drama, Design and Technology, Drama (Theatre Studies), English, French, Geography, History, ICT, Maths, Music, Physics, Physical Education, Spanish.
  • UALQ: Any of the subjects listed above.

Veterinary Science

  • EALQ: You should do Chemistry and biology and one from Maths/Physics so that you have all universities open to you.
  • UALQ: Further Maths.