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Entrance requirements

Girl student at desk

In addition to the entrance requirements for each course, there are also General Entrance Requirements for studying at university level.

General Entrance Requirements

The General Entrance Requirements are the minimum qualifications needed for acceptance onto a course at Ulster University.  To be eligible to apply you must;

  1. Provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE English Language grades A-C or equivalent); and
  2. Provide evidence of passes in five subjects, two of which must be at A level (grades A-E) and three at GCSE level* (grades A-C); or
  3. Provide evidence of passes in four subjects, three of which must be at A level** (grades A-E) and one at GCSE level* (grades A- C); or
  4. Provide evidence of an approved qualification at an equivalent level such as an Access to Higher Education qualification; or
  5. Provide evidence of your ability to study at university through the accreditation of your experience or learning

* GCSE English Language (grades A-C) may be used as part of the GCSE requirement.
** Where you hold two Advanced Subsidiary (AS) level subjects, in addition to at least two A level subjects, these are counted as equivalent to one A level subject.

Undergraduate courses

To be eligible to apply for an undergraduate degree or honours degree course, you must;

  • meet the General Entrance Requirements, and
  • meet any additional requirements described in the prospectus entry for your chosen course

Alternative qualifications for undergraduate programmes

Acceptable alternative qualifications for entry to an undergraduate degree or honours degree course:

  • two A levels (grades A-E) and three passes at GCSE (grades A-C) or an Intermediate GNVQ or two Double Award Vocational GCSEs;
  • BTEC National qualifications awarded by the Edexcel Foundation;
  • OCR National qualifications;
  • Highers or Advanced Highers of the Scottish Qualifications Authority;
  • The European, International or Welsh Baccalaureate; 
  • an Irish Leaving Certificate with passes in four approved subjects at grade D Higher level;
  • satisfactory completion of an approved Access programme;
  • For entry to Art and Design degree programmes, satisfactory completion of a full-time foundation programme in Art and Design, of not less than one academic year in duration. 

No subject may be counted at more than one level except in the case of the A level or Applied A level combined with the Intermediate GNVQ. Qualifications not listed will be considered on merit. 

You must also meet the additional requirements described in the prospectus entry for your chosen course.

Postgraduate courses

To be eligible to apply for a postgraduate degree course, you must;

  • provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grades A-C or equivalent); and
  • hold an Honours or degree from a UK or Republic of Ireland or from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from another institution which has been recognised by the Senate for this purpose; or
  • hold an equivalent standard in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate or Postgraduate Certificate or an approved alternative qualification; and
  • satisfy additional requirements as described in the prospectus entry for your chosen course; or
  • provide evidence of your ability to study at postgraduate level through the accreditation of your experience or learning.

International applicants

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. These are assessed individually for their content and level, and against relevant guidelines such as the British Council and the National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (NARIC UK).

You must also satisfy the English language requirements for admission. A number of examinations are accepted including IELTS.

For specific advice on the acceptability and equivalence of international qualifications please go to the international site.

English and mathematics qualifications

Competence in written and spoken English is a General Entrance Requirement for entry to all courses, whereas competence in mathematics is not and is only required for entry to some courses.

The following English and mathematics language qualifications are accepted as evidence of competence.

  English Maths
UK Boards
  • GCSE/GCE O level in English, English Language (grades A-C)
  • CSE in English, English Language or English Studies grade I
  • CEE grades I, II, III
  • Pass in Use of English examination
  • AS Level English Language (grades A-C)
  • A level in English Literature (but not a GCSE/GCE O level pass)
  • Essential Skill in Communication at level 2 or above
  • GCSE/ GCE O level mathematics (grades A- C)*
  • CSE in mathematics grade I
  • CEE grades I, II and III
  • AS level mathematics (grades A-C)
  • A level (or O or N level achieved at an A level sitting) in mathematics origin any A level subject with a substantial mathematics component
Scottish Certfificate of Education Standard Grade 1, 2 or 3 in English

Standard Grade 1, 2 or 3 in mathematics

Access courses Any approved Access course See Access Courses (mathematics) below
Edexcel Foundation Any BTEC National Award, Certificate or Diploma awarded by Edexcel Foundation Mathematics Level N
International Baccalaureate Higher or Subsidiary level in English Language (grade 4 or above) Higher or Subsidiary level in mathematics (grade 4 or above)
Irish Republic Awards Irish Leaving Certificate at Ordinary level (grade A, B or C) achieved in or after 1977. In the Irish Leaving Certificate at Higher level, a grade D pass or above is acceptable Irish Leaving Certificate at Ordinary Level (grades A-C) achieved during or after 1977. A grade D pass or above is acceptable in Irish Leaving Certificate at Higher level
Open University Relevant level 1/2 courses n/a
Royal Society or Arts Stage III (Advanced) n/a
Institute of Mathematics and its Applications n/a Polymaths Diploma
Important

* Level 2 Essential Skills in Application of Number is normally accepted as an alternative to GCSE mathematics but not for all courses. 

Check the prospectus entry for your chosen course(s) to find out more.

This list is not exhaustive. Qualifications not listed will be considered on merit.  Contact us for advice about the acceptability of English or mathematics qualifications.

Access courses (mathematics) 

We will consider approved Access courses with mathematics modules.  This may also include those Access courses which were previously approved, but which are no longer running. 

The following Ulster University approved courses are recognised as incorporating mathematics to the required standard;

  • Access Diploma in Combined Studies
(if optional Level 3 mathematics module is undertaken)
    North West Regional College 
  • Access Diploma in Social Sciences
    Northern Regional College, South West College 
  • Access Diploma in Adult Learning
    Southern Regional College 
  • Access Diploma in Humanities
    Northern Regional College 
  • Access Diploma in Science and Technology
    Belfast Metropolitan College 
  • Access Diploma in Science
    North West Regional College 
  • Access Diploma in Computing with Business and Multimedia
    Belfast Metropolitan College


From 2017 Entry:

any Degree taught in the English language will be taken as satisfying the English language requirement.

any Foundation Degree will be taken as satisfying the English language requirement.

any HNC will be taken as satisfying the English language requirement.

any HND will be taken as satisfying the English language requirement.

From 2018 Entry:

any BTEC National Award, Certificate or Diploma will NOT be taken as satisfying the English language requirement.

Prior Experiential Learning

As an alternative to the above qualifications, you may provide evidence of your ability to study at university though the accreditation of your prior experiential learning. 

HPAT Ulster

An entry requirement for some health-related courses is the completion of the Health Professions Admissions Test-Ulster selection test.

AccessNI Checks

An entry requirement for courses involving 'regulated activity' with children or vulnerable adults, is the completing of an Enhanced Disclosure from AccessNI. 

There is a cost for this service.  Get more information: 

Medical Screening

An entry requirement for some courses is the successful outcome of medical screening.