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A Level

Examination Board: CCEA

What is A Level Life and Health Sciences about?

This Single Award A Level subject delivers a robust understanding of Biology and Chemistry for students who want to study Science at A Level but do not want to commit two of their A Level choices to the two subjects separately.

It also allows a pathway into A Level Science for students who have achieved high grades in GCSE Single Award Science.

The content is delivered by experienced Biology and Chemistry teachers.

The 2015 MATRIX sector report identified a significant skills gap in the life and health sciences sector, which generates £800m turnover per year in Northern Ireland.

This engaging qualification, developed with local employers including Almac, Norbrook and Intelesens, will foster the essential skills required by this growing sector and provide learners with numerous pathways into a wide range of STEM careers.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The Biology modules covered have been selected with a focus on Human Biology, while the Chemistry modules will major on Physical Chemistry in industry and Organic Chemistry.

UnitContent% of
AS Level
% of A Level
AS Unit 1Experimental TechniquesPortfolio of evidence of Biology, Chemistry and Physics practical work.33.34%13.34%
AS Unit 2Human Body SystemsIncluding cardiovascular system, respiration and respiratory system, homeostatic mechanisms, and nutrition and physical exercise in maintaining good health.33.33%13.33%
AS Unit 3Aspects of Physical Chemistry in Industrial ProcessesIncluding  chemical calculations, volumetric analysis, energetics, kinetics, equilibrium and industrial processes.33.33%13.33%
A2 Unit 1Scientific Method, Investigation, Analysis and EvaluationPortfolio of evidence that includes an essay, plans, lab book, and a report with analysis and evaluation.N/A20%
A2 Unit 2Organic ChemistryIncluding nomenclature, structure and isomerism in organic compounds, alkanes, alkenes, alcohols, polymers, spectroscopic techniques, making and purifying organic compounds, and making nylon.N/A20%
A2 Unit 5Genetics, Stem Cell Research and CloningIncluding DNA and the genetic code, DNA replication, meiosis, the application of genetic engineering, gene therapy, treatment of genetic conditions, gene cloning, genetic fingerprinting, and stem cell technology.N/A20%

Are there any particular qualities or skills I should have to study this course and to what kind of careers can it lead?

If you are planning to apply for a very competitive Science course at university (e.g. Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Biomedical Science) it is recommended that you study Biology and Chemistry as separate A Level subjects.

Single Award Life & Health Sciences is accepted as the Science option in a range of courses (e.g. Nursing, Food Science and several Engineering disciplines – you

should check university websites and prospectuses to see if it is accepted for the courses that you are interested in applying for).

Entry requirements

Students seeking to study AS Single Award Life & Health Sciences must have:

1. At least a grade B in GCSE Chemistry and Biology, or at least a grade BB in GCSE Double Award Science, or at least a grade A in GCSE Single Award Science (please note that all units in the aforementioned subjects must be taken at Higher Tier). 2. At least a grade B in GCSE Mathematics.

Support Materials A detailed specification and past papers and mark schemes can be found here.

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