Below is a guide to subject choices and considerations. These are suggestions only. Requirements vary for each provider. As such, we strongly advise that you check the UCAS website and speak to individual institutions for exact, and up-to-date, course requirements.
Humanities and Arts
A Levels: choose two humanities or essay-based subjects such as History, English Literature, Geography, Law, Politics, Economics or Classics.
BTECs: Health and Social Care, Business, Travel and Tourism and Law
Essay-based subjects typically help access the majority of Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences (e.g. economics, human geography, politics), Business, and Law courses.
Science and engineering
A Levels: choose at least two science subjects such as Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Psychology, Environmental Science, Maths, etc.
BTECs: Applied Science, Maths and Statistics, Sport Science, Forensic Science, Construction and the Built Environment.
If planning on pursuing Life/Human Sciences at HE then focus on Biology and Chemistry A Levels or Biology based BTECs.
If pursuing Physical Sciences/Engineering then focus on Physics and Maths A Levels and similar BTECs.
For Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science both Biology and Chemistry.
A Levels must be taken. BTECs will not be accepted in place of these qualifications.
A Levels: choose one or two arts-based subjects, e.g. Graphic Design, Design Technology; Art; Textiles; Photography.
BTECs: Art and Design, Creative Digital Media Production.
If pursuing Music at HE usually it must have been studied at A Level. For Acting and Drama, subject choice matters less because applications will be accepted based on an audition and/or portfolio (pieces of creative work to demonstrate your ability).
A Levels: many performing arts courses require the subject to have been studied at A Level, but not all.
BTECs: Performing Arts, Music, Music Technology, Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre.
Many institutions will offer places based on an audition and/or portfolio (pieces of creative work that demonstrate your ability).
A Levels: most foreign language courses require the subject to have been studied at A Level
There are some courses that do not require previous study of the language – make sure this is checked before application.
A Levels: choose one or more subjects like Graphic Design, Art, Computing, IT, etc.
BTECs: Interactive Media, Graphic Design, IT, etc.
This is a rapidly growing industry sector and new courses are being created every year to reflect the speed at which new skill sets are desired by employers.
A Levels: choose a broad range of subject disciplines to keep future options open, for example – Maths, English Literature, Biology, Art.
Choosing a broad range of subjects might prevent an application to a course like Medicine but it will lead to a broad range of HE options being available.