Facilitating Subjects: What Are They and Why Are They Important for Russell Group UCAS Applications?

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In this article, we’ll delve into:

  • What facilitating subjects are.
  • Their significance in the academic landscape.
  • The special emphasis placed on them by the Russell Group universities.
  • Strategies for making an informed decision on A-Level choices.

What Are Facilitating Subjects?

Facilitating subjects are specific A-Level subjects that are commonly required by universities to get onto a range of undergraduate courses. They are termed “facilitating” because choosing them can “facilitate” your entrance to a vast array of university courses.

The list of facilitating subjects includes:

  • Mathematics and Further Mathematics
  • English Literature
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geography
  • History
  • Languages (Classical and Modern)

The Academic Significance of Facilitating Subjects

Facilitating subjects are traditionally viewed as providing a solid academic foundation for students. Here’s why:

  • Broad Appeal: These subjects keep more doors open for university courses, especially if you are uncertain about what you want to study.
  • Skill Development: They cultivate a range of skills that are transferable to various degree courses. For instance, subjects like Mathematics nurture problem-solving abilities, while English Literature enhances critical thinking and analytical skills.

The Russell Group Perspective

The Russell Group, which represents 24 leading public research universities in the UK, emphasises the importance of facilitating subjects for several reasons:

  • Academic Rigour: These subjects are often considered rigorous and challenging, thus preparing students for the demands of top-tier university courses.
  • Versatility: For students uncertain about their specific degree choices, facilitating subjects provide a broad academic base, ensuring they meet the entry requirements for a wider range of courses at Russell Group universities.
  • Specialisation: If students already have a particular degree in mind, facilitating subjects often align with the prerequisites of many specialised courses.

Making the Right A-Level Choices: Tips for Prospective Students

  1. Research is Key: If you have a specific degree or career in mind, research the entry requirements for related courses at your target universities. This ensures you choose the right subjects. Informed Choices is an excellent website that can help you select relevant A-Level courses for your chosen degree.
  2. Seek Guidance: Discuss your A-Level choices with study coaches, teachers, or career advisors. They can offer valuable insights based on your strengths, interests, and aspirations.
  3. Balance: While facilitating subjects are beneficial, it’s also crucial to pick subjects you’re passionate about. A genuine interest can drive motivation and academic excellence.
  4. Look Beyond the Present: Think about where you want to be in 5 or 10 years. Do you see yourself in a particular profession? If so, are there facilitating subjects that would be especially beneficial for that path?


Facilitating subjects, while being an essential consideration, especially for prospective Russell Group university students, should be chosen after thorough reflection on one’s interests and career goals. They can undoubtedly provide an advantage in the competitive world of UCAS applications, but remember that passion, dedication, and hard work in any subject can lead to success.