Number of students per year
Typical offer

A*A*A at A-level, or 7 7 6 (42+ overall) in the IB. For other qualifications, please see the University entrance requirements page.


Essential subjects

A-level/IB Higher Level or equivalent in Mathematics and and two of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. If available, Further Mathematics is desirable for Physical Natural Sciences.

All applicants for Natural Sciences are also required to take the Natural Sciences Admission Assessment (NSAA).

Useful subjects

None beyond those listed as essential. 

Natural Sciences at Clare

The Natural Sciences (NST) course acts as a wide-ranging introduction to the majority of courses integrating biology, chemistry and physics taught at Cambridge. In principle, those applying are asked to nominate Biological NST (NSTB) or Physical (NSTP) preferences. In practice, the breadth of choice allows you to sample subjects and become inspired by interdisciplinary areas, such as materials, earth sciences or evolution and behaviour.

Many Clare Fellows contribute by lecturing on these courses, as well as providing support to the Clare cohort as Directors of Studies, Supervisors and through other College activities and engagements.

In the first year, you choose any three courses from Biology of Cells, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Evolution and Behaviour, Materials Science, Physics and Physiology of Organisms. In addition, everybody does a mathematics course. People who choose two or three biological options are usually assigned to Natural Sciences (Biological). Second and subsequent year courses offer an unparalleled combination of subjects and progressive specialisation. Some new subjects are introduced in the second year, including experimental psychology and the history and philosophy of science.

Amongst the biological sciences, Fellows of Clare represent molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, ecology, oncology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, plant sciences and zoology. The biological sciences IA Director of Studies at Clare, Dr Andrew Carter, captures this integrative biology with his work on molecular motors.

In the physical sciences, Clare has Fellows in Physics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Materials, Astrophysics and Chemical Engineering, with interests ranging from sustainable energy to life on other planets. The IA Director of Studies, Professor Cathie Clarke, is an award-winning expert on astrophysical fluid dynamics.

At Clare College, the Whiston Society organises events for natural scientists, and we maintain our association with Sir David Attenborough. We also organise summer placement schemes which help complement the lecture courses. Taught practical components make up a major part of each year and will ensure you are exposed to the latest theoretical and practical insights in your field.

Visit the University's subject page for more information.


Clare College

Plant productivity is the basis for life on earth, and my interests and enthusiasm for fundamental plant processes informs research and teaching: from providing food and sustainable bioenergy sources, to sequestering carbon, using water and maintaining diversity.

Having led several expeditions to Trinidad, Venezuela and Panama to study forest canopies and epiphytes, we continue to “put plants in their place” - sustaining diversity, responding to a changing climate and providing fascinating molecular and ecological insights.

Howard Griffiths
Director of Studies in Physiology and Plant Sciences
Professor Julija Krupic

Place cells, grid cells, border cells and head direction cells are the main spatial cells in the hippocampal formation and provide the basic units for the hippocampal cognitive map. However, their interrelationship and roles they play in navigation are still not well understood. We are interested in finding the causal relationship between the spatial cells in the hippocampus and parahippocampal formation and their role in navigation. 

Julija Krupic
Director of Studies in Neurobiology
Clare College

I became interested in structural biology as an undergraduate at the University of Oxford. This led me to start a PhD in 1999 with Venki Ramakrishnan at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

In 2008 I accepted a group leader position back at the MRC-LMB which I started in August 2010. My group initially focused on crystallography of the dynein motor domain, solving high resolution structures which revealed how ATP hydrolysis drives movement.  We subsequently moved to asking how dynein works together with its cofactor dynactin to transport cargos, taking advantage of advances in cryoEM technology.

Andrew Carter
Director of Studies in Biological Sciences