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Course Levels

Course Levels

Entry level

Each entry level qualification is available at three sub-levels - 1, 2 and 3.

Entry level 3 is the most difficult.

Entry level qualifications are:

entry level award entry level certificate (ELC)

entry level diploma

entry level English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)

entry level essential skills

entry level functional skills

Skills for Life

Level 1

first certificate

GCSE - grades 3, 2, 1 or grades D, E, F, G

level 1 award

level 1 certificate

level 1 diploma

level 1 ESOL

level 1 essential skills

level 1 functional skills

level 1 national vocational qualification (NVQ)

Level 2

GCSE - grade 1

GCSE - grades 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 or grades A*, A, B, C

intermediate apprenticeship level 2 award

level 2 certificate

level 2 diploma

level 2 ESOL

level 2 essential skills

level 2 functional skills

level 2 national certificate

level 2 national diploma

level 2 NVQ music grades 4 and 5

O level - grade A, B or C

Level 3

A level

access to higher education

diploma advanced apprenticeship

applied general AS level

international Baccalaureate diploma level 3

award level 3 certificate

level 3 diploma 

level 3 ESOL

level 3 national certificate

level 3 national diploma

level 3 NVQ music grades 6, 7 and 8 tech level

Level 4

certificate of higher education (CertHE)

higher apprenticeship

higher national certificate (HNC) level 4 award

level 4 certificate

level 4 diploma level 4 NVQ

Level 5

diploma of higher education (DipHE)

foundation degree

higher national diploma (HND) level 5 award

level 5 certificate

level 5 diploma

level 5 NVQ

Level 6


apprenticeship degree with honours - for example bachelor of the arts (BA) hons, bachelor of science (BSc) hons graduate certificate

graduate diploma level 6

award level 6 certificate

level 6 diploma level 6 NVQ

ordinary degree without honours

Level 7

integrated master’s degree, for example master of engineering (MEng) level 7

award level 7 certificate

level 7 diploma

level 7 NVQ master’s degree, for example master of arts (MA), master of science (MSc)

postgraduate certificate postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE)

postgraduate diploma

Level 8

doctorate, for example doctor of philosophy (PhD or DPhil)

level 8 award

level 8 certificate

level 8 diploma