UK University Entry Requirements

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uk university entry

Degrees awarded by British Universities are recognised and respected around the world. This list of frequently asked questions provides background information about entry requirements for UK undergraduate and postgraduate courses. It also discusses the options open to international students who need to prepare for UK university entry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the entry requirements for UK universities?

For academic subjects, you will need a senior high school certificate equivalent to 2 or 3 British A Levels. For vocational (i.e. career based) subjects, professional qualifications and relevant work experience will also be considered. You will also need a minimum English level equivalent to IELTS 6.0 or a Cambridge Advanced Certificate (CAE).

Is my school leaver's certificate sufficient for UK University entry?

If you have completed at least 12 years of study at high school in your own country, your school leaver's certificate may be sufficient for entry to some courses. If you are unsure, you can contact your student advisor at click-courses.com, who will be able to advise you whether your qualifications are sufficient.

What if my qualifications are not sufficient?

If your qualifications from your own country are not sufficient for direct entry to university, you can bridge the gap by taking A levels or a University Foundation Course.

What are University Foundation Courses?

University Foundation Courses are also known as University Foundation Programmes or International Foundation Years. They take less than a year to complete and enable successful students to progress to a university degree course. Some programmes provide guaranteed entry on successful completion.

Students study a range of topics and skills related to the subject they want to take at university (e.g. computing, business, engineering etc.). Foundation courses are often assessed on course work rather than exams. However, you you will only be able to study at one of the universities that recognises the foundation course you take.

What are A Levels?

A Levels are UK public examinations taken at the end of year 12 by secondary school students. They are regarded as a 'gold standard' in the British education system and are recognised by all UK academic institutions, including top universities like Oxford and Cambridge.

The standard A level course takes two years. Students study 4 subjects in the first year, then take 3 of those forward into the second year. There are examinations at the end of the first year (AS levels) and second (A2 Level). Many colleges offer intensive courses of one year or 18 months for international students with a good secondary education from their own country.

Which option is best for me - University Foundation Course or A Levels?

University foundation courses provide a fast-track route to UK universities and are usually cheaper than the alternatives. But remember, you can only study at a university that recognises the foundation course you take. So, if you have a particular university in mind, make sure they recognise the course you plan to take!

A Levels are more academically demanding than University foundation courses, take longer to complete and are more expensive. However, they are recognised by all UK universities. If you want to study at any of the top universities in the UK, or if you want to study the most competitive subjects (e.g. medicine), you should take the A level route.

If you are still not sure which is best for you, please contact your student advisor at click-courses.com.

What about the International Baccalaureate (IB)?

Most UK institutions recognise the International Baccalaureate (IB) as equivalent to A Levels.

Where can I find more information?

This web site lists a range of A level courses and university foundation programmes for international students who need to prepare for entry to a UK university. We also list undergraduate courses and postgraduate degree courses. Finally, check out our section on IELTS classes if you need to improve your English to qualify for an undergraduate programme.