The University has carefully considered the information available so far on qualifications reform and on changes to A and AS levels, amongst other qualifications. Bath is aware that changes to AS and A levels in England, alongside different qualifications frameworks in Wales and Northern Ireland, may present challenges for schools, colleges and Higher Education providers over the coming years. Bath anticipates variation in the ways different English schools and colleges plan for the changes and different patterns of study across Years 12 and 13. The University also acknowledges that whilst English students will be assessed on a linear basis, pupils in Wales and Northern Ireland will retain access to modular AS and A level provision.

AS levels

We can reassure schools and colleges that we will continue to be able to identify and select highly academically able students even where AS grades are not available. Bath has always found AS grades helpful as part of an overall application, but we make our offers based on three A levels and do not ask for an additional AS.

Decisions are always based on a wide range of factors, including GCSE or equivalent attainment, predicted grades, the strength of the personal statement and the evidence of achievement and potential provided in the academic reference.

With this in mind the following additional admissions guidance may be helpful:

All students

When considering applicants’ qualifications, we will take into account the context in which they have been studying and the educational opportunities that have been available to them. We receive some of this information directly from UCAS, but it will help us if schools and colleges can include any additional relevant information in the reference. At the time of writing (December 2014) UCAS is currently collecting information on the intended post-16 study patterns in English schools for 2015 onwards, and we would encourage schools to respond to this survey, to help inform the thinking across the education sector.

Students offering A Level qualifications

  1. Typical offers at Bath will continue to be based on final performance in three A level subjects. We will continue to be mindful that students apply from a variety of school and college contexts, each offering their students access to a different range and number of subjects at varying levels.
  2. Those who do not have interim AS awards will not be at a disadvantage.
  3. Those without additional AS levels will not be at a specific disadvantage. Additional study, in a variety of forms, can help pupils prepare for the demands of university. Students who are able to extend their three A levels by undertaking additional study, such as an additional A level(s), AS level, or Extended Project Qualification, are encouraged to do so.
  4. Some departments have a positive preference for additional study, for example, Psychology, Architecture, and Mechanical Engineering. Where this is the case, it is stated in our entry requirements. We may build the additional study into the terms of an offer by giving a candidate alternative ways to meet Bath’s requirements. Offers in these cases come in two parts, one based on three A level subjects and one, as an alternative, including the additional qualification being undertaken (typically a 4th A level or EPQ). In these cases, the grade requirement in one of the three A levels may be reduced in recognition of the additional study.
  5. The University will also look to expand on the number of courses where candidates who have either an Extended Project Qualification or fourth subject at AS or A level receive an alternate offer.
  6. In all cases, the Admissions Office may use additional study as part of its final selection process during the summer, in the event that spaces are available for any candidates who have narrowly missed the terms of their offer.
  7. Student choices about whether to undertake additional study, what and how much, should rest primarily on their academic best interests. Our admissions and outreach teams welcome enquiries from schools, colleges and students who would like advice on how best to meet our entry requirements.
  8. Where candidates are taking an A level in a Science subject, the University will expect the student to be successfully assessed in any practical skills.

Students with other qualifications

  1. We welcome applications from BTec or Cambridge Technical students provided the content is suitable preparation for their chosen degree programme. For some programmes, BTec/CTec entry requirements will state additional A level requirements, e.g. Additional Maths A level at A grade for Mechanical Engineering programmes. We welcome enquiries about how any mix of qualifications may meet our more typical entry requirements if not already published on our Study pages.
  2. The Extended Project qualification is welcomed as additional study as it offers excellent preparation for higher education study. Students should tell us about it in their Personal Statement and we may well take it into account when deciding whether we are able to make an offer ( see A level advice on additional study above)
  3. The International Baccalaureate is also viewed very positively. Many courses require specific subjects and grades at Higher level.
  4. We welcome the Welsh Baccalaureate Core at Grade C or above, as evidence of valuable additional study such as the project, though not usually in place of one of the three required A levels. Candidates with the Welsh Baccalaureate Core may receive an alternate offer in some subjects, and the University is looking to expand this provision.
  5. We also welcome applications from students with Scottish qualifications. When new Advanced Highers are available, the University will continue to require two of these, in addition to five Highers. Schools, colleges and pupils are encouraged to consider a challenging and full load of studies for the final school year as this is the best preparation for a demanding university experience.
  6. We welcome applications from students with Access to HE Diplomas to almost all of our programmes. We are aware that there have been significant changes to the structure of these qualifications this year and, where necessary, our entry requirements have been updated to reflect this. It is particularly important that these students note the GCSE requirements of our programmes and contact us to discuss these if they have any queries.
  7. We are aware of the changes in the assessment of BTec/CTec qualifications this year and will continue to monitor changes to Level 3 vocational qualifications, such as BTec and Cambridge Technicals, as they are established.

Further advice

Please contact Mike Nicholson, Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions, or Sue Garrett, Admissions & Funding Adviser for further information:

Document control

Owner: Mike Nicholson, Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions
Version number: Not specified
Approval date: September 2014
Approved by: Mike Nicholson, Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions
Date of last review: September 2014