Our courses

We offer a wide range of GCSE and A Level subjects at Cherwell College and deciding which ones to choose can be tricky. This is why we offer free personal consultations to anyone interested in joining us. To arrange a meeting with our highly experienced academic team then complete the form opposite.

Below lists some of our most popular subjets, however it may be easier to view them by faculty:

Our Art Faculty

Our Science Faculty

Our Humanities Faculty

Is there a subject you want to study that's not listed here? Then please get in touch as it may well be something we can offer!

Academic Subjects

Art

Art

A Level

Art is a major subject at A Level and recognised by universities as both challenging and rewarding. There is significant coursework involved with emphasis on student creativity. They  produce their own work in one or more areas including drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, film with the final portfolio demonstrating the development of their ideas and exploration of artistic techniques.

We exhibit student portfolios in May each year as part of the county-wide celebration of Art in Oxfordshire.

Requirements

Students should ideally have studied Art at GCSE however where this is not the case then they should attend a Cherwell College pre-sessional course in Art which is available in August.

Good combinations with Art A Level

Art is a challenging subject with a lot of coursework. Students should consider whether this before taking up more coursework-heavy subjects. Good combinations are often based in English or the Humanities however it is also very common for brilliant artists to have a love of science (just think if Da Vinci!).

 
Biology

Biology

A Level & GCSE

Biology is the youngest of the three sciences and as a taught subject at GCSE and A Level has changed significantly as new advances are made in our understanding of DNA and genomics.  All the exam boards, including CIE, have largely the same content - for example they all cover the circulatory system, gas exchange, the nervous system and the kidney as well as: the cell, biochemistry, genetics, evolution and ecology.  There is a strong emphasis on lab-based practical work including some field work. With the exception of CIE, A Level students are assessed on their practical skills by the teacher observing on a range of 12 areas (called PAGs, practical assessment group) and invariably achieve a ‘pass’ that is shown on the final A level certificate.  For all exam boards the understanding and knowledge of practical work is also assessed on written papers.

Biology is a very popular subject that is often taken to provide variety alongside humanities and physical sciences.  As one of the Russell Group approved subjects it supports applications for any university course as well as for the large range of biological sciences, including neuroscience, psychology and biology.

Requirements for A Level

Science at GCSE or equivalent. Students without these subjects will require an internal evaluation. Contact us for more information.

Chemistry

Chemistry

A Level & GCSE

Chemistry is not merely a collection of facts that can be learned and memorised. There are fundamental concepts which underlie the subject and it is these concepts that students examine through both textbook theory and lab work. It is, at its heart, an experimental subject and therefore demands significant practical work throughout the course, both at GCSE and A Level.

Syllabuses tend to split the course into three broad themes: physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. Physical chemistry has topics ranging from atomic structures, thermodynamics (A Level only), bonding and processes such as oxidation.

Inorganic chemistry studies the periodic table of elements and their properties and uses whilst organic chemistry can be defined as the study of the millions of covalent compounds of the element carbon. It looks at DNA, naturally occurring petroleum fuels and molecules in living systems.

Chemistry A Level is an essential course for anyone looking to study medicine at university.

Requirements for A Level:

Science at GCSE or equivalent. Students without these subjects will require an internal evaluation. Contact us for more information.

Economics

Economics

A Level

Money makes the world go round....or so the saying goes. But contrary to popular belief, Economics is not all about money. Instead it is about decisions, scarcity and the problem of infinite wants and needs. Nearly every decision we take is an economic one. Consider for example going out for dinner. The options available to you are huge so how do you choose? There are many factors to consider: you only have so many hours in an evening so you cannot try all the restaurants, you have a budget, limited stomach capacity, a set number of guests each with their own tastes and preferences. Perhaps you don’t have transport so need to find somewhere within walking distance.

This is known as an economic problem - your options are many but your resources including time and money are limited. How do you choose? Economics therefore is the study of how to balance infinite want in a society with limited resources.

Economics is split into four broad areas: how markets work, economic policies in the UK, business behaviour and finally taking a global perspective. It is assessed entirely by exam. 

Requirements:

A good GCSE in Mathematics will be of an advantage but not essential.

English Literature

English Literature

A Level & GCSE

For many students, English Literature quickly becomes one of their favourite subjects. Examining a range of texts dating from the 12th century through to those published just a few years ago, this course is not just a study of literature but of history and culture.

The course is split into four broad areas: poetry, prose, drama and coursework with a focus on comparisons between texts. Students can expect to make comparisons between a Shakespeare play and a dama by another chosen playwright, between two novels on a similar theme for example A Handmaid’s Tale and Frankenstein, and between a range of poetry.

The difference at Cherwell College is that you have a say in the texts you study. Our tutors will discuss with you which exam boards and texts are best for you. We do not operate a one-size-fits-all policy here but rather work in small groups and one-to-one to make sure that you not only succeed but thrive.

Requirements for A Level

GCSE English Literature or equivalent. Students without these subjects will require an internal evaluation and IELTS preparation. Contact us for more information.

Further Maths

Further Maths

A Level

Further Mathematics is designed for those who are studying or have already studied Mathematics A Level and builds on the Pure, Stats and Mechanics modules.

Students looking to study maths or a related subject such as physics at degree level then Further Maths is essential alongside Maths and usually Physics.

Geography

Geography

A Level & GCSE

At times Geography could sit quite comfortably in a science faculty. Afterall it involves primary research, data analysis, the testing of hypotheses and drawing conclusions about the physical world.

What makes it a social science is that it is fundamentally about the human world. It questions how we can best manage scarce resources in planet of increasing human population, how we can mitigate against - or even work with - the forces of nature to keep humans safe, and how we can manage our towns and cities for the benefit of both human society and the natural world. It is perhaps not hard to see why this subject is so popular and forms a great combination with a host of other subjects such as Economics, Politics, Sociology, Chemistry etc.

Most syllabuses cover the same broad themes, split into two categories: Human and Physical Geography - both are studied at A Level though at degree level students typically specialise in one or the other.

Human Geography is about global systems and government, populations and their environment. Physical Geography looks at areas such as the the carbon and water cycles, climate change, hazards and coastal landscapes.

Students will conduct some primary research as part of their coursework which involves a field study, either in areas of either human or physical Geography.

Requirements for A Level:

Geography GCSE or equivalent. Students without must go through the internal assessment process to establish their suitability for the course.

Government & Politics

Government & Politics

A Level

On the 11th April 1992 something remarkable happened. Neil Kinnock and the UK Labour party were set to win the general election by a narrow majority. On election day and following relentless negative stories on the Labour Party, The Sun newspaper ran a headline that said “will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights”. That day, against all the odds, the Conservatives won and The Sun ran a headline that has gone down in media history: “IT’S THE SUN WOT WON IT” highlighting perhaps for the first time the sheer power that the press has over politics.

Government & Politics is the study of how nation states are run and the various systems of power that operate within them. It is the study of how laws are made, how governments are held accountable, how and why citizens vote and how the media shapes political power.

It is assessed entirely by exam with Edexcel and AQA being the main exam boards. In the first year students cover the workings of the UK government and wider political issues such as voting behaviour, pressure groups and the media. In the second year students cover a choice of topics ranging from Political Philosophy to the US Government.

Requirements:

There are no prerequisites for studying this course however a GCSE in History or English Literature may be of an advantage.

History

History

A Level & GCSE

History is more than just studying the past. It is about critical thinking, analysis and evaluation. It is about comparing sources of information, weighing up bias and facts and comparing the importance of different factors in influencing historical events.

But why do we care about it? Just imagine a society that didn’t examine it’s past. Firstly there’s every chance it would make the same mistakes time and time again. But secondly it would be a society that gives no thought to truth or reason. This is why students of history often go on to work in government, development, diplomacy and even business. The skill of a historian is to weigh up opinions and facts and make a reasoned judgement on what is right.

At Cherwell College we teach all exam boards. This means that we can select the right exam board for you depending on your interests, skills and whether you prefer coursework or exams.

Requirements for A Level:

GCSE History or equivalent. Those without will need to undergo an internal assessment before enrolling on the A Level course.

Mathematics

Mathematics

A Level & GCSE

Maths is a broad subject both at GCSE and A Level and the various options and curriculums available can seem quite complex.

Mathematics AS level comprises two papers - Pure Mathematics and combined Statistics & Mathematics, both of which are studied over two years. Pure Maths replaces the old C1 & C2 syllabus with some new topics including mathematical proof, set notation, the exponential function and its In(x) inverse, and exponential growth and decay.

Statistics and Mechanics replaces the old S1 & M1 syllabuses and includes new topics on binomial distribution, and hypothesis testing.

Should students wish to study the full A Level then the AS exams are omitted and instead three papers are taken at the end of the study period: two Pure Mathematics papers (Papers 1 and 2) and a combined Statistics & Mechanics paper (Paper 3). These cover the two years of work and include AS topics.

For more information on the AS and A Level curriculum please refer to this document produced by our tutor Barry Clarke.

Requirements for AS/A Level:

A good grade at GCSE Maths or equivalent. Students without will need to undergo an internal assessment, though it is likely that we will suggest GCSE Mathematics which can be taken alongside any other A Levels.

Philosophy

Philosophy

A Level

How can we be sure that what we know is true? What does it mean to ‘think scientifically?’ Why do our values of right and wrong change over time? These are just some fundamental questions of Philosophy and Ethics.To define Philosophy has been a challenge undertaken by philosophers themselves over the centuries. One way it is to say that it seeks to answer deeper questions across all faculties. Some say that philosophy underpins all academic study as it examines the assumptions and concepts that lie at the heart of every subject.

Students studying this course can expect to study topics such as the philosophies of mind, religion, science, mathematics as well as larger concepts such as ethics and epistemology (the theory of knowledge).

There are two broad A Levels under this category: stand alone Philosophy and Religious Studies which covers Philosophy & Ethics. To help decide which one is right for you then please get in touch too book a personal consultation.

Requirements:

There are no prerequisites for studying this course though students for whom English is a second language may need to undergo an internal assessment first.

Photography

Photography

A Level

We live in a remarkable age where everyone has a camera of exceptional quality just sitting in their pocket. Photography is no longer a hobby reserved only for those with specialist equipment but is practiced by everyone everywhere.

However photography as an art form still takes time and effort. Consider the difference between a photo that captures merely a moment and one that captures a feeling.

As a location, Oxford is blessed with some of the most photographed areas in the UK - a great location to master the art of photography!

This course covers techniques of photography including how cameras work, use of different lenses, digital manipulation, lighting and editing. Students produce their own portfolio focusing on their chosen theme. The end result demonstrates their learning process and aquiried photography skills.

Oxford is blessed with some of the most photographed areas in the UK - a great location to master the art of photography!

Requirements

Art at GCSE is an advantage however those without are encouraged to attend our pre-sessional course available in August.

Physics

Physics

A Level & GCSE

A rich and broad subject, Physics combines complex study of both science and mathematics. Each syllabus covers the same broad set of topics including forces and motion, waves, particles and radiation and medical physics.

Physics offers a lot of variety, from studying the nucleus of an atom to examining the structure of the universe. It looks at the journey of physics over time and considers new ways of imagining the world.

Requirements for A Level:

Science at GCSE or equivalent. Students without these subjects will require an internal evaluation. Most students will be studying maths alongside Physics. Though this is not essential, it is seen by universities as a useful combination.

Sociology

Sociology

A Level

Have you ever wondered about society and the individual's place within it? Have you ever thought about what makes a society function? Whether it's merely the sum of the individuals within or whether it has its own characteristics? If these questions interest you then Sociology could be the right course for you!

Sociology is the study of social life, groups and societies. Students examine the different theories that seek to explain human behaviour within social life and how society influences us. It is a subject that can be both thought-provoking and challenging - it will encourage you to re-examine some of your views and assumptions. 

Requirements:

5s (Cs) or above in the majority of your GCSEs including English.

Extended Project Qualification

Extended Project Qualification

EPQ

Imagine a course which allows you to study exactly what interests you, work at your own pace and provide a qualification that is held in high regard by all universities across the UK. The Extended Project Qualification - or EPQ - offers exactly these qualities.

Worth exactly half an A Level and marginally more than an AS, this is a research based qualification that develops skills in individual study, essay writing, extended reading and presentation. Referring to the skills that EPQ students gain, Oxford University states that,

"you will be a more convincing applicant if you can demonstrate breadth of reading and independent research into your chosen subject; if you have pursued study beyond that required by your school syllabus."*

Most students choose to produce a dissertation on a topic related to that which they’ll study at university in order to help with their UCAS application. Dissertations are discursive and analytical. Example research questions include:

  • What are the impacts of learning a foreign language on child development?
  • Would an elected House of Lords lead to a more democratic government?
  • Is the free press a force for good?
  • Should we be afraid of Artificial Intelligence?
  • To what extent is violence linked to computer games?

To find out more please contact us!

*From Oxford University website

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