University entry requirements a selection


In order to meet the general entry requirements students must meet one of the following:

  • 2 x Grade C at GCE A-Level plus 4 x Grade C at GCSE Level which must include the subjects Mathematics and English (or Irish)
  • 2 x Grade C at GCE A-Level plus 2 x Grade C at GCE AS-Level plus 2 x Grade C at GCSE-Level which must include the subjects Mathematics and English (or Irish)
  • 2 x Grade C at GCE A-Level plus 1 x Grade C at GCE AS-Level plus 3 x Grade C at GCSE Level which must include the subjects Mathematics and English (or Irish)


Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) (DC002, DC003 and DC004)

Six subjects must be presented, at least 3 at GCE A Level with the remaining subjects at GCE AS or GCSE Level.  The six subjects must include Irish, English and Mathematics. A subject may be counted from only one of the examinations GCSE, GCE AS Level or GCE A Level.

The minimum general entry requirement grades are as follows: GCE A Level C in Irish: GCSE C in both English and English Literature or GCSE B in either English or English Literature; GCSE D in Additional Mathematics or GCSE C in Mathematics; GCE A Level C in two further subjects; GCSE C in one other subject.

Note: A-Level GCSE Applicant, for list of recognised subjects click here. Please note that Applied A Levels are not accepted by DCU.

University Entry Requirements UK

Each course in the UK sets it own entry, so they vary considerably. Most degree programs in the UK will require that the student have passed either A-levels and attained certain grades, for example 4 B grades, or equivalent grades in a BTEC or GNVQ. So within a university different courses will have different requirements and universities as a whole may have certain requirements that all students will have to meet. For example, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge generally require all students to attend an interview, other universities will not require this.

Also, as an international student coming to the UK you can still attend University even though you may not have taken A-levels and have not been educated in the UK system, but you will need to contact the administrator of that program to find out what credentials from your home country you will need to provide.

So, how do you keep track of what is required for a course and how do you apply? In the UK, this is done through the University and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) which processes and takes all applications for university admission in the UK. However, if you would like to first explore and compare universities in the UK you can start in our UK School Search.

You will need to apply through UCAS and work with their program which is as follows:

  • September 1st Applications open for the next year
  • January 15th EU Nationals Application Deadline
  • June 30th Main application deadline
  • June 30th to September 30th Clearing Process

The Uniguide.


Universities will primarily look at your post-16 qualifications, as these will be the most recent evidence of your academic performance before starting university.

It’s not just grades that matter. Depending on the course and university, there may be qualification preferences (e.g. A-levels vs Btecs), and subject requirements (perhaps with minimum grades in these) to consider. Some unis expect these to have been achieved in one sitting.

The most common qualifications students apply with (and therefore, the ones which universities often publicise in entry requirements) are:

Advanced level qualifications (known as A Levels) are accepted by many universities globally; they are well respected and offer greater freedom to students when considering future career moves.

A Levels are subject based qualifications and serve several purposes, such as training for a specific career, general study or university placement.

Many would argue that academic qualifications are not the be all and end all but for students considering university placements, they are certainly high on the agenda.

For the purpose of this discussion, Learn Now will be looking at the awarding bodies AQA and Cambridge Assessment International Education (previously CIE) whilst exploring the purpose of each.

UK A Levels (AQA)

In 2015, UK A Levels changed dramatically and the transitional phase started, whereby a number of subjects transferred to the new linear structure of examinations, with final subjects transferring in 2018.

Ofqual have stated: “The content for the new A levels has been reviewed and updated. Universities played a greater role in this for the new qualifications than they did previously”. That’s all well and good but how did this affect students?

What did the changes mean to UK A Level students?

AS Levels became decoupled from A Levels, which meant that they both become entirely separate qualifications.  Students were no longer able to carry forward the AS to the A Level qualification and would have the option of sitting either AS or A Level examinations.

Further changes to impact UK A Levels were to the examination series available each year. No longer could you sit your exams twice a year and students now only have the opportunity to sit them annually in June.

When these new A Level reforms were implemented, concerns were expressed by UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), who thought that students could be disadvantaged by the confusing changes taking place. Now, five years down the line, all subjects are using the linear structure and teachers and students alike appear to have accepted the new module. That being said, NEU (National Education Union) have recently published a report, indicating that A Level reforms have caused a damaging impact on students’ mental health, with questions being raised about the effectiveness of these A Levels and whether they actually engage and encourage learners. 

Trinity College Dublin

To be considered for admission to the University you must:

  1. Present six subjects at grade C or above on GCSE or Advanced Subsidiary GCE (AS) papers. Two of these subjects must be at grade C or above on Advanced GCE (A-Level) papers.
  • The six subjects above must include:

A pass in English


A pass in mathematics and a pass in a language other than English


a pass in Latin and a pass in a subject other than a language

Additional Notes and Restrictions

  1. A pass means grade C or above on GCSE or Advanced Subsidiary GCE (AS) papers.
  • Students may combine grades achieved in different sittings of their Advanced GCE (A-Level) examinations for the purpose of satisfying minimum entry and/or course requirements, but not for the purposes of scoring. This is not permitted for Medicine.
  • Acceptable subjects:
    • Applied A-Level, Vocational Advanced Subsidiary, Vocational A-Level, National Vocational and Key Skills qualifications are not accepted for matriculation or scoring purposes.
    • GCSE/Advanced GCE (A-Level) subjects set by recognised examination boards are, in principle, acceptable for consideration with the following exceptions:
      • Physical education, General studies and Media studies are not acceptable.
    • Applicants who require advice about subject eligibility should contact the Academic Registry.
  • Combinations of A-Level subjects not permitted (for matriculation or scoring purposes, unless otherwise stated):
    • Art may not be presented with History of art.
    • Biology may not be presented with Botany or Zoology.
    • English literature may not be presented with English language.
    • Environmental science may not be presented with Biology or Geography.
    • Science may not be presented with Chemistry, Physics or Biology.
    • Not more than one specialised endorsed programme in art may be presented.
  • Art and music may not be offered as the two Advanced GCE (A-Level) grades for minimum entry requirements but both may be used for scoring purposes.

Advanced GCE (A-Level) scoring system

Grade First 3 A Level subjects 4th A Level or AS
A* 185 45 31*
A 156 38 26
B 131 32 22
C 106 26 18
D 84 20 14
E 63 15 11


*Extended Project (EQP) is scored as an AS level and an A* is available in this

Bonus points for Mathematics:
All students presenting Grade E or above in one of A-Level Mathematics, Further Mathematics or Pure Mathematics will have 25 points added to their score for that subject. The bonus points will only be relevant where that subject is scored as one of a student’s four best subjects for points purposes.

An applicant’s score will be calculated on the basis of either of the following:

  1. their best 4 GCE Advanced level (A2) subjects from one academic year
  2. their best 3 GCE Advanced level (A2) subjects from one academic year plus one Advanced Subsidiary level (AS) in a different subject from the same or the preceding academic year only.

Students may not combine grades achieved in different sittings of their GCE Advanced level (A2) examinations for the purpose of scoring. However, examinations taken in January and June of the same year are counted as a single sitting.

University options Spain

There are more than seventy universities in Spain. The majority of these are public universities, funded and run by the Spanish state and the other thirty-one are private universities or run by the Catholic Church. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Private and Public Universities in Spain.

First off, it is important to be clear that all Private and Public Universities in Spain are obliged to maintain the same high standards of education. The most common reasons for choosing a private university over a public university in Spain are smaller class sizes and wider choices of subjects and extra-curricular activities. The main reason for choosing a Spanish public university is that it will be state-funded and therefore free.

Class sizes

Everything comes down to personal preference. Smaller class size is not necessarily preferable. Some people like the idea of bigger classes because they see them as more interesting and you have the opportunity to get to know more people. Other people place greater value on increased teacher attention and a quieter environment and find it easier to get to know people in smaller groups.

Choice of subjects and higher quality teaching

Private universities compete with public universities to attract students to pay their fees. One of the best strategies for achieving this is by offering better quality teaching and a wider range of subjects than the public universities. If you are hoping to study something more specialist, it is most likely that you will find your course in a private university.

Extracurricular activities

Private Spanish universities, in general, offer much more extensive extracurricular activities such as sports, art, drama, and music. Of course, this is not always the case. Some public universities have lots of clubs and activities and some private universities have less. But in general, you tend to find private universities almost always offer a great range of activities. 


To attend a private university in Spain you will have to pay significant tuition fees. For some courses, these can be as much as 30,000 EUR per year but usually, they do not exceed from 4,000 to 14,000 EUR per year.

Learning in English

Be careful not to assume that a private university will automatically be a safer bet for learning in English. Most Spanish private universities teach in Spanish, so you will need to check which courses are available in English in which universities if you wish to study in your mother tongue.