Mark as read
Customer Experience Centre closed: 29 May

Our offices will be closed on Monday 29 May 2017. We will open again as usual at 08:30 (UK time) on Tuesday 30 May.

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

What the entry requirements could be

Entry requirements are set by the course providers as a guideline of the recommended academic ability you’ll need.

You’ll be able to see exactly what they are when you search for courses, but here’s the general idea.
  • Qualifications, subjects and exam grades – usually A levels or similar, and sometimes converted into UCAS Tariff points, which we’ll explain below.
  • Your suitability – course descriptions often mention skills, interests or experience it’s good to have, so look out for these details because applications can be quite competitive.
  • An admissions test – less common, but check course requirements to see if you’ll need one, as some tests are held in autumn the year before the course start date.
  • An interview – if so 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 required.
  • Further requirements – it’s possible there may be health, financial or DBS checks.
  • International and EU students
    You’ll also need to demonstrate your English language skills, so check with universities and colleges how they want you to do this.
    • You might need to take a specific English language test to get a place on a course.
    • If you need a student visa – anyone living outside the UK and not an EEA or Swiss national – you might need to take an English language test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). If so, and if you get a place on a course, your university or college will let you know what to do, and will help with your visa application.
  • Mature students (over 21)

    Don’t worry if you don’t have the right qualifications – just ask universities and colleges 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.
    You could take an Access course – as 23,000 others did in 2013.
    • They’re 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.
    • 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.
  • Flexible and part-time students

    Many part-time courses have entry requirements like full-time courses – certain qualifications or experience you need to have to take the course. However, some have no entry requirements, and others have ways to prepare you for higher education. When you get in touch with course providers you can discuss with them whether there’s anything you need to do to get started.

    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, training or other higher education courses you’ve already started.
    • Accreditation prior experiential learning (APEL) is an extension of APL that includes assessed learning gained from life and work experience.
    You could take an Access course – as 23,000 others did in 2013.
    • They’re 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.
    • 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.
  • Trainee teachers in Scotland
    Protecting Vulnerable Groups PVG Scheme in Scotland

    If you’re training to be a teacher in Scotland, you’ll need to join the PVG Scheme.

    • This helps training providers in Scotland to identify potential trainee teachers who are barred from working with children, young people or vulnerable adults.
    • For more information, go to the Scottish Government website and enter ‘PVG scheme’ in the search facility.

Working towards entry requirements

If you’re studying for the required qualifications when you apply, you’ll be given conditions to meet.

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

  • International and EU students

    The qualifications required are often stated in UK terms, such as A levels.

    Don’t worry though – you can also use equivalent international qualifications that you’ve completed already or you’re working towards now.
    • This is different to how some countries manage applications for higher education. In the UK your school or college can provide predicted grades for qualifications you’re studying now that lead to higher education. That way you can apply earlier in the year to increase your chances of getting a place.
    • When you search for courses, don’t worry if the entry requirements don’t specify your qualifications – many course providers accept alternative equivalent qualifications. Check on the course provider’s website or contact them to find out.
    • You can get a statement about how your qualifications compare to UK equivalents from UK NARIC (the UK’s National Recognition Information Centre), or contact the UCAS Qualifications Hotline on +044 371 468 0472 (or 0371 468 0472 if you’re calling from inside the UK) or qualsenquiries@ucas.ac.uk.

Understanding qualification, subject and grade requirements

Many course providers set a combination of entry requirements. 

This could be a specific qualification, subject or high grade, or a high grade in a certain subject (or subjects) relevant to the course you’re applying for.

  • Some course providers use UCAS Tariff points in their entry requirements too. This is a points total achieved by converting qualifications such as A levels (and many others) into points, making it simpler for course providers to compare applicants.
  • 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, so contact course providers to check.