Alternative entry routes to university

Applicants often have a wide range of qualifications and experience. Read more about access courses, preparation courses and alternative entry routes.

Abertay University applicants often have a wide range of qualifications and experience, but accepted qualifications needn't always mean just Highers or A levels.

Accepted Qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications, including: 

  • Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers.

  • Foundation Apprenticeships.

  • GCE A Levels.

  • T-Levels.

  • Scottish Baccalaureates.

  • The International Baccalaureate.

  • The ILC (H) (the Irish Leaving Cert).

  • The BTEC Extended Diplomas.

  • HNCs and HNDs.

  • SWAP access programmes.

  • Dundee and Angus College Access to Higher Education (OU Choices).

If you're not sure your qualifications are the right ones, or they aren't listed here, please email We're happy to check for you.

Some courses also need you to have studied specific topics called 'Essential Subjects'. Check out the Entry Requirements section on the course pages for full details.

Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs)

Many people join Abertay with an HNC or HND.

If you come in this way, you may start your degree in year two, three or four. The year you'd start depends on your college course and the degree you choose.

Visit coming from college qualifications for all the details.

What if my qualifications are quite old?

You may still be able to join us, please contact us if you need to talk about this. 

Remember: studying is a skill like any other, and if you don't do it for a while, these skills can slip. More importantly, study methods evolve and change. If this is you, we usually suggest you go on the AHEAD programme, designed to help you get back into studying, and learn about methods that have changed or arrived in the meantime.

Please contact us first of all to discuss your options. 


Tel: 01382 308080

Two female student chatting on campus

Access courses 

What is an access course?

Access courses are designed for anyone who has been out of education for a while and/or has few or no formal qualifications. This approach gives you the academic qualifications you need to get into a degree, along with specific study skills and support.

Access evening course: AHEAD

AHEAD is an access course that is free and part-time. It gives you a guaranteed place on a range of our degrees, no matter what qualifications you have. AHEAD runs on two evenings a week over two terms.

Find out more about AHEAD, including how to apply

Access course: SWAP

The Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) is for adults returning to education after a gap. SWAP courses run at local colleges and some offer remote learning. 

If you use the SWAP route, we will give you support to join one of our undergraduate degrees. 

Find out more on the SWAP website or contact us to talk about it.

Care experienced students

We understand that if you've been in local authority care you might face particular difficulties moving into university. Or, if you've been a carer, you may need extra support to get here. 

We can give you all kinds help such as liaising with social work departments to help you get financial support, or helping to arrange a year-round place in university accommodation. As the first university in Scotland to receive the Frank Buttle Trust's Quality Mark, a charity dedicated to helping children and young people, we're committed to supporting you. 

Contact us to get started.


Tel: 01382 308051

Two students chatting outside the Abertay library

Applying to Abertay 

First, choose the degree you want to apply for.

Don't forget to check out the Entry Requirements and any essential subjects as well. We recommend you do this before you start studying as it means you know exactly what you need to do to prepare.

Whatever your qualifications you apply to us through UCAS. Find all the details in our step-by-step How to Apply section.

If you need help with any of this, please get in touch.

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