University of Edinburgh Scottish Qualifications

university of edinburgh logo

University of Edinburgh Scottish Qualifications

Entry requirements for applicants with Scottish qualifications.

SQA Highers and Advanced Highers

Our admissions policy has been reviewed in response to Curriculum for Excellence to ensure that it is flexible. However, we have specific requirements of students who are undertaking the Senior Phase.

Entry requirements for most of our programmes are four Highers at specified grades to be achieved by the end of S5. Where entry requirements have not been achieved by the end of S5, Highers in S6 may be used to meet requirements but the minimum grade requirement will increase. For example, where the minimum requirement is ABBB by the end of S5, the requirement will increase to AABB or ABBBB by the end of S6.

For Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, applicants must have achieved at least five Highers at the required grades by the end of S5 and will typically be required to achieve two Advanced Highers and a further Higher in S6.

It is essential that applicants are able to demonstrate ability to cope with the depth and volume of study that will be expected of them at Edinburgh. Therefore, in at least one year of the senior phase (S4-S6), applicants are required to achieve three or more Highers/Advanced Highers.

For example, one Higher achieved in S4 and three Highers achieved in S5 at the required grades would enable an applicant to enter the selection process. Whereas taking two Highers/Advanced Highers in each year from S4-S6 would not.

Please note that to be considered for an offer of a place to a small number of highly selective programmes, applicants must have achieved a minimum of BBB by the end of S5. Where this is required, it is noted in the entry requirements for the programme on the undergraduate degree finder.

Applicants are also required to show breadth of study in achievement in their qualifications. Subjects that contain a high proportion of common material (such as Biology and Human Biology), are not normally accepted as two separate qualifications.

Minimum entry requirements

You must have achieved, or be predicted to achieve, our minimum entry requirements for the programme you have applied for, to be considered for an offer of a place. Use our degree finder to find programme entry requirements.

Degree finder

For detailed information for SQA candidates who have studied under Curriculum for Excellence please see our University admissions information.

Curriculum for Excellence

Advanced Highers

While Advanced Highers, with the exception of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, are not required for entry, we strongly recommend that you pursue your studies at a more advanced level by taking at least one subject at Advanced Higher.

This is because study at Advanced Higher level is excellent preparation for study at Edinburgh. Achievement in Advanced Highers can also contribute to entry requirements for Highers, with Grades B and C at Advanced Higher equating to Grades A and B at Higher respectively.

Please note however, that we do not count both the Higher and Advanced Higher in the same subject, for example History at Higher and History at Advanced Higher, in meeting the requirement to have qualifications in at least four subjects at the required grades.

Achievement in specific Advanced Highers may allow students to enter certain programmes within the College of Science and Engineering directly to the second year.

SQA National 5

The University requires some specific subjects to be achieved to at least National 5, or one of the other qualifications in the comparison table.

Comparison table: National 5, Standard Grades and Intermediate 1 and 2
National 5 Standard Grade Intermediate 1 Intermediate 2
A 1 A
B 2 B
C 3 A C

Comparison grades do not apply for teacher training programmes.

Unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at National 5 Grade C.

Mathematics and/or an approved science at a minimum of National 5 Grade C are required for entry to some programmes. Approved science subjects are Biology, Chemistry and Physics. National 5 Lifeskills Mathematics is also approved as meeting this requirement. Where Mathematics is specifically required for entry to a programme, National 5 Lifeskills Mathematics does not meet this requirement.

We recognise that some students, particularly the most able learners, may progress directly to Higher in some, or all, of their subjects without sitting any National 5 examinations. Our selection criteria and procedures ensure that if you follow this route, you will not be disadvantaged.

However, all applicants are expected to meet any stated subject requirements. If you do not hold a subject that is required at National 5, you must have achieved or be predicted to achieve a Higher or Advanced Higher pass in the subject. Depending on the grade required at National 5, this may equate to achieving a B or C grade at Higher or Advanced Higher.

We also recognise that some learners may have the option to take one or more Highers early in S4. However, this may not be the best decision for everyone, especially if it leads you to achieve lower grades than you might have achieved if you had taken the exams later. We do not make allowances for lower grades where exams are taken early.

Approved subjects

We accept most, but not all SQA Higher subjects for entry to the University. You can check which subjects we accept in our approved subjects information. Some programmes require specific subjects for entry.

Scottish Baccalaureate

We state entrance requirements in Highers and we encourage students to maintain breadth of study across at least four subjects at Higher in the senior phase (S4-S6).

However, like Advanced Highers, we welcome the opportunity the Scottish Baccalaureate provides for progression and specialisation in S6 as an excellent preparation for studying at Edinburgh.

Furthermore, if you have already achieved the requirements for entry to first year and are completing the Science Baccalaureate, we will consider your application for some related degree programmes in Science and Engineering for second year entry.

Higher National qualifications (HNC/HND)

Higher National (HN) qualifications provide good preparation for entry to some of our degree programmes, where the curriculum of the HN is relevant to the degree programme applied for.

The University does not have articulation routes with colleges, and each application is considered on a case-by-case basis.

The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will consider HN qualifications on a case-by-case basis for entry to the Medical Science and Oral Health Science degree programmes, but not for entry to Medicine or Veterinary Medicine.

The College of Science and Engineering will consider HN qualifications for entry to some degree programmes directly to Year 2 (from HNC or HND), or occasionally, Year 3 (from HND).

Edinburgh College of Art will consider HN qualifications for entry to some Art and Design programmes.

If you are a HN student considering applying to the University of Edinburgh, we encourage you to contact the appropriate admissions office for advice before submitting your application.

The Open University’s Young Applicants in Schools Scheme (YASS)

While YASS modules do not contribute towards entry requirements, they offer applicants the opportunity to further explore a topic of particular interest to them and to develop their independent study skills.

As such, successful completion of appropriate and relevant modules could help you to demonstrate your interest and commitment to a subject, as well as enthusiasm for academic study.