Entry requirements not only vary across different higher education courses, but also from institution to institution.
For example, if you want to study Civil Engineering at Leeds Metropolitan University you'll only need 200 UCAS points, however if you want to study the same subject at Imperial College London, you'll need 340 UCAS points.
In addition to UCAS points, some courses also require you to study a particular subject at a post-16 level (A-Level, BTEC, etc.), or even pre-16 level (GCSE). That's why it's never too early to start thinking about university!
What are UCAS Points?
UCAS is short for the University and Colleges Application Service, the organisation through which you'll need to apply to university. In order to make the application process easier, the UCAS tariff is used to allocate points to qualifications for use in entry to higher education. It allows students to use a range of different qualifications to help secure a place on an undergraduate course.
The tariff helps universities and colleges when deciding on course entry requirements and making conditional offers. All university courses will state how many UCAS points you'll need to get a place, you can find this information either on UCAS.com or the individual university prospectuses.
The table below shows a simplified version of the UCAS tariff for A Levels and BTEC National Qualifications, the full UCAS tariff can be found here.
Course Specific Requirements
In addition to UCAS points, some courses also make course specific requirements, such as requiring you to study a particular subject or qualification at a post-16 level.
Just like UCAS points the requirements can vary between different institutions, for example if you wanted to study Civil Engineering at Leeds Metropolitan University you'll need 200 UCAS points, but this must include two science or numerate subjects (including Maths) at A Level or equivalent. If however you wanted to study Civil Engineering at London Imperial College, the entry requirements are far more specific and require 340 UCAS points including A* in mathematics and A in physics at A level, plus another A grade in a third A level subject.
In addition some courses may require you to undertake a period of voluntary work prior to completing your application, courses such as Teaching, Dietetics and Nursing are just a few examples.
You can find the full details of individual course requirements in the various universities' prospectuses.
What GCSEs Do I Need?
In addition to UCAS points, most university courses require you to have a minimum of grade C in English and Maths at GCSE level, some courses also require Science.
What Do I Do Next?