Clifton College has a proud history in the sciences. When the College opened in 1862, it was distinct from other schools in that it gave equal weight to both scientific and religious study.

The first natural philosophy laboratory, designed by Charles Hansom, opened in 1867. By 1871, there were special classes in zoology, physiology and botany.

The Stone Library is situated on the ground floor of the Science School and contains more than 5,000 scientific books. Volumes date from the sixteenth century to the present day, including subscriptions to all of the main scientific periodicals and a first edition of Principia Mathematica by Isaac Newton (1687). The collection also features books recommended on reading lists for university applications.


Biology is a popular subject at Clifton College. All pupils study the subject up to GCSE, most as a separate GCSE subject alongside Chemistry and Physics, and some as part of Science and Additional Science. Nearly a quarter of all Sixth Form pupils study Biology at A Level.


Chemistry remains a very popular subject at Clifton. All pupils study the subject up to GCSE; most do chemistry as a separate subject and some take chemistry as part of “Dual Science”.


Clifton’s physicists develop highly marketable and transferable skills, such as the ability to model new situations, think in a disciplined but critically minded manner, and plan practical work. The department prides itself on the quality of practical work at all levels.


Psychology is a popular and successful Sixth Form option at Clifton College. Many pupils are drawn to psychology as an exciting science subject which seeks to address questions about human behaviour. Often pupils will choose the subject as a crossover between science and humanities subjects.