Monday, 21 April 2014


Last week, a student came to see me and asked why KYUEM didn't offer Philosophy as an A Level subject as this was something he was considering reading at University next year. I pointed out that we have many aspiring lawyers at the college but we don’t offer Law as an A level subject, either. In nearly all cases, we take our lead from the (mainly British) Universities to which most of our students apply. These institutions are usually quite choosy about subject combinations. The London School of Economics (LSE) for example, is very specific about choices: if you want to study Economics at LSE, you must offer Further Maths and Maths at A Level, as well as Economics itself.

For students wishing to take Law or Philosophy, we recommend that at least one of their A Level subjects should be something which involves extensive writing such as English Literature or History. Since much of the work of a lawyer or philosopher requires good analytical skills, Mathematics is always a good subject option, too. The truth is that Law and Philosophy at A level are not highly regarded by UK Universities. They prefer other disciplines as preparation for more in-depth study of the subject at degree level.

Subjects offered at A Level change over time. Some disappear from the curriculum altogether (or are only offered in specialised schools) while new ones emerge to challenge the more traditional courses. Many years ago, when I was taking my A Levels in the UK, foreign languages were very common and even Latin and Ancient Greek were not unknown. Colleagues in the UK these days tell me that Mandarin is an up-and-coming subject, whereas French and German are seriously in decline. Latin has all but disappeared, which means that the Classics departments of major Universities such as Cambridge have to work hard to recruit sufficient students every year.

At KYUEM next semester, we hope to offer Marine Science for the first time. We are fortunate in having a very keen teacher, Mr. Vroege, who wishes to promote it, while one of our Biology teachers, Dr. Saunders, has a Ph.D. in this very subject. Whether Marine Science will appeal to many students is not yet clear, but the course is ready and so are the teachers if the demand is there. It is likely to appeal to students who want a more general science course than the specialism of Chemistry, Physics or Biology. Indeed, I am reliably informed that Marine Science contains elements of all the so-called “hard” sciences and is therefore, a good, general alternative.

I’d like to close my blog post this week by reminding any potential applicants to KYUEM that the deadline for submissions is May 31, 2014, but that we are happy to receive applications for August at any time from now on.


  1. Thank you for your enlightening update, Sir. I'm wondering whether Psychology is a well accepted subject for British Universities for an Economics degree. Thanks, Adillah

  2. Psychology is a difficult subject to categorise. Certainly the major Universities will require Economics and Maths at A Level, and as I mentioned in the blog post, LSE will also require Further Maths (along with other top class UK institutions). My view of Psychology, which we offer at KYUEM, is that it is not a natural third subject for someone planning to study Economics at degree level. It might be considered as a fourth subject, or taken at AS Level, but it's not the most logical fit.

  3. I've been wondering sir, if I study Psychology for my A Level at kyuem, what is the best subject combination?

    Thank you,

  4. Hello, Annis. When you say you want to study Psychology at A level, do you really mean that you want to study it at university or are you just looking for a good combination for university application after KYUEM? Is this is the case, then I have to know what you intend doing when you leave us. Psychology as an A level subject goes well with both arts and science combinations. If you are intending to come here as a 24-month student, you would do 4 subjects to AS level, and then probably drop one of them to do 3 at A2. Please let me know what you think you would like to do professionally and then I can advise you better about Psychology as one of your chosen subjects.

  5. I'm hoping to study Business Psychology at university, sir. Is it okay if I combine English Lit and Psychology at A Level for a Psychology degree? Thank you so much for helping me, sir :)

  6. I'm hoping to study Business Psychology at university, sir. Is it okay if I combine English Lit and Psychology at A Level for a Psychology degree? Thank you so much for helping me, sir :)

  7. Hello sir. I've been wondering, if, I'm going to pursue Accounting and Finance, what kind of subject combination is the best for me at A-Level at KYUEM?

  8. It depends if you are an 18 or 24 month student. 24 month people do 4 subjects at AS level and usually 3 at A level. 18 month students do not take AS level examinations. A good basic set of 3 subjects would be Maths, Econs and Accounting. Your fourth subject could be pretty much anything you like. Psychology, History or Literature might be suitable. If your interests are more science orientated, the fourth subject could be Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Marine Science. If your Maths is very good, you could also try Further Maths.