Course Levels and Qualifications Explained

Not sure what level of course to apply for? All the courses we offer are split into levels to help you find the right course and which course to progress to. Please note this is only a guide and may not apply to every course.


Level of course Entry Requirements
Entry Level No formal qualification, but can demonstrate commitment to your chosen course. 
Level 1 Signposts, E2E, Vocational Opportunities and other Entry Level programmes or relevant work experience. 
Level 2

Level 1 qualifications such as GCSEs at grades D to E, NVQ Level 1 Certificate, BTEC Introductory Diploma or relevant work experience.


You may be eligible for FREE* learning - click here for more details

Level 3

Level 2 qualifications such as GCSEs at grades A* to C, BTEC First Diploma, NVQ Level 2 or relevant work experience. 


You may be eligible for FREE* learning - click here for more details

Level 4/5/6 Level 3 qualifications (Advanced) such as A Level, Access courses, BTEC National Diploma/Certifcate, NVQ Level 3, Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) or relevant work experience. 
Level 7 An Undergraduate degree, High Level qualification of a high standard or relevant work experience.


*Conditions Apply


**Students who apply for Pre-Access and Access courses are usually considered for entry on the basis of their functional skills, life and work experience, rather than on formal qualifications held.

Qualification Guide

A Levels

A Levels are Level 3 courses and can be achieved in two parts; year one comprises the AS Level and this can be a freestanding qualification in its own right. However, to achieve a full A Level, students need to complete a further year of study at A2. Completing A Levels usually allows you to progress on to a degree course.


BTEC Certificates and Diplomas

First Diplomas are broadly equivalent to four/five GCSEs, at grades A to C. National Certificates and Diplomas are broadly equivalent to two or three A Levels and will enable students wishing to progress


NVQs (National Vocational Qualification)

These are qualifications that are based on the skills and knowledge needed for specific jobs. They usually have a level after the course such as NVQ Level 2 in Administration.


Access Course

This is a level 3 course that is usually considered to be equivalent to 2 A Levels. People generally do Access Courses to progress on to degree level courses.



These are Level 2 qualifications, which cover an NVQ, Key Skills and a Technical Certificate, which make up the Apprenticeships. Advanced Apprenticeships offer Level 3 qualifications and can lead to progression to Level 4 Foundation Degree or Degree level study.


HNC (Higher National Certificate)

A HNC is a Level 4 course which allows you to progress onto a HND course. This is equivilent to the first year of a degree.


HND (Higher National Diploma)

A HND is a Level 5 course which allows you to progress onto a degree top-up course. This is equivalent to the second year of a degree.


Foundation Degrees

A Foundation Degree allows you to be in employment and work for a Level 5 qualification. The Foundation Degree allows progression on to a full degree through a top-up course.


Degree or Undergraduate Courses (BA, BSc etc)

A Degree is a Level 6 course which allows you to progress on to postgraduate courses such as a Masters (MBA, MSc etc).


More Information

Entry requirements to each course change all the time and often involve an interview with the course tutor to make sure the course is right for you. If you want to talk to someone about this please contact Student Services.  

For Entry Level to Level 3 courses please ring 0800 358 75 75 or email us
For Level 4 and above please ring 0800 358 74 74 or email
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