UCAS Undergraduate entry requirements

Each course has different requirements – usually a mix of qualifications, subject, or exam grades. Learn more about them here.
Relevant to

Universities and colleges set their own entry requirements for higher education courses, and they vary widely depending on subject, the course, and the provider. They also represent the level of academic ability you will need to complete the course successfully. They could include:

  • qualifications, subjects, and exam grades – usually A levels or similar, and sometimes converted into UCAS Tariff points
  • your suitability – course descriptions often mention skills, interests, or experience it’s good to have, so look out for these details as applications can be competitive
  • an admissions test – less common, but check the course requirements to see if you’ll need to sit one. Some tests are held the year before the course start date
  • an interview – some universities and colleges will invite you to an interview. If you need to attend an interview, we'll let you know online after you’ve applied, but it might be worth doing some early preparation or putting together a portfolio if necessary
  • further requirements – it’s possible you may also be required to pass health, financial, or DBS checks

Working towards entry requirements

If you’re studying towards the required qualifications when you apply, you’ll be given conditions to meet as part of your offer, known as a conditional offer.

Depending on the course provider benchmarks, and applicant numbers, these requirements can occasionally change from the initial recommendations. It’s therefore a good idea to apply to courses with higher and lower requirements, so you have different options come results day.


Understanding qualification, subject, and grade requirements

Many course providers set a combination of entry requirements. These could include a specific qualification, subject, high grade, or a high grade in a specific subject (or subjects) relevant to the course you’re applying for. Remember:

  • some course providers use UCAS Tariff points in their entry requirements
  • don’t worry if you can’t meet the exact requirements, or if your qualification isn’t listed on the course description, or in the Tariff. If you have something similar, you’ll probably still be considered, but contact the universities and colleges you’re considering to check before adding them to your application

Check the UCAS Tariff points for different qualifications and grades


What if I don't have the right qualifications?

Don’t worry – if you don’t have the required qualifications but you can show you have relevant experience, skills, and aptitudes, you may still be considered. Just ask the universities or colleges you’re applying to whether you can meet the entry requirements in a different way.

You could get accreditation for life and work experience:

  • Accreditation of prior learning (APL) is essentially credit awarded for wider learning evidenced from self-directed study, work, or training.
  • Accreditation prior experiential learning (APEL) is an extension of APL that includes assessed learning gained from life and work experience.

Access to HE courses

Access to HE courses are for adults aged 19 and over without the necessary qualifications for entry to higher education. They prepare people for university-level study so they can go on to do a degree course.

  • They are available in many different subjects, and widely recognised as ideal preparation for higher education for students who have been outside of formal education for some time, or have few qualifications from school.
  • The courses offer the Access to HE Diploma, a Level 3 qualification (the same level as A levels and Scottish Highers). The course is designed to provide a good foundation in the knowledge and skills required for studying at university level, so students are confident and well prepared when they go on to higher education.
  • Access to HE courses are available across England and Wales. There is an Access to HE course in Northern Ireland (and universities in Northern Ireland have their own arrangements for access courses). A different scheme for access courses operates in Scotland, through the Scottish Wider Access Programme.
  • When you search for courses, you may see Access courses listed on the entry requirements, but if not, the university or college might still accept one for a mature student.

Find out more on the Access to HE website.