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Routes into HE – Useful information and links

Depending on the course, UK students may be able to enter higher education with a range of qualifications which include, but are not limited to:

  • A level
  • Key skill qualifications
  • International Baccalaureate
  • National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)
  • Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs)
  • BTECs, OCR Nationals and other vocational qualifications

The table below shows some examples of qualifications at each level under the various frameworks. The list is not exhaustive.

Qualification level

Examples of qualifications

What they give you

Entry

  • Entry level awards, certificates and diplomas
  • Essential skills at entry level
  • basic knowledge and skills
  • ability to apply learning in everyday situations
  • not geared towards specific occupations

One

  • GCSE grades D-G (and grades 3 to 1 in England)
  • level one awards, diplomas and certificates
  • Key Skills level 1
  • NVQs
  • Essential Skills
  • Music grades 1 to 3
  • basic knowledge and skills
  • ability to apply learning with guidance or supervision
  • may be linked to job competence

Two

  • GCSE grades A*- C (and grades 4 to 9 in England)
  • intermediate apprenticeships
  • Level 2 awards, diplomas and certificates
  • OCR Nationals
  • NVQs
  • Essential Skills
  • Music grades 4 and 5
  • O level - grades A-C
  • good knowledge and understanding of a subject
  • ability to do a variety of tasks with some guidance or supervision
  • suitable for many job roles

Three

  • AS and A levels
  • Access to Higher Education diploma
  • advanced apprenticeship
  • International Baccalaureate
  • NVQs
  • BTEC diplomas, certificates and awards
  • BTEC Nationals
  • OCR Nationals
  • Music grades 6 to 8
  • ability to gain or apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding at a detailed level
  • appropriate if you plan to go to university, work independently or (in some cases) supervise and train others in their field of work

Four

  • NVQs
  • BTEC Professional diplomas, certificates and awards
  • HNCs
  • Certificaties of Higher Education (CertHE)
  • Higher apprenticeship
  • specialist learning, involving detailed analysis of a high level of information and knowledge in an area of work or study
  • ​suitable for people working in technical and professional jobs, and/or managing and developing others

Five

  • HNDs
  • NVQs
  • BTEC Professional diplomas, certificates and awards
  • Foundation degrees
  • Diploma of higher education (DipHE)
  • ability to increase the depth of knowledge and understanding of an area of work or study, so you can respond to complex problems and situations
  • involves high level of work expertise and competence in managing and training others
  • suitable for people working as higher grade technicians, professionals or managers

Six

  • Bachelor's degrees
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Graduate diplomas
  • BTEC Advanced Professional diplomas, certificates and awards
  • degree apprenticeship
  • a specialist, high-level knowledge of an area of work or study, to allow you to use your own ideas and research in response to complex problems and situations
  • suitable for people working as knowledge-based professionals or in professional management positions

Seven

  • Master's degrees
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • BTEC Advanced Professional diplomas, certificates and awards
  • highly developed and complex levels of knowledge, enabling you to develop original responses to complicated and unpredictable problems and situations
  • suitable for senior professionals and managers

Eight

  • Doctoral degrees
  • specialist awards, certificates and diplomas
  • opportunity to develop new and creative approaches that extend or redefine existing knowledge or professional practice
  • suitable for leading experts or practitioners in a particular field
 
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Useful Links for Pathways into HE:

This Article Also Answers the Following Questions :

  • What qualifications do I need to enter HE?
  • What do the different qualifications mean?
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