course image

Entry requirements

Entry requirements to study higher education

South Essex College offers a diverse range of degrees, Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes, and teacher training opportunities. To see what is available please explore our website.

General entry requirements

The College has general entrance requirements for all our BA (Hons) and BSc (Hons) degree programmes, and Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Diplomas (HND). UK applicants should possess the following:

  • 64 UCAS Tariff Points or above (programme specific)
  • GCSE English Language at Grade C/4 or above or a pass at an equivalent Level 2 qualification such as functional skills/Learn Direct (mandatory for all higher education programmes of study)
  • GCSE Maths Grade C/4 or above or a pass at an equivalent Level 2 qualification such as functional skills/Learn Direct (selected programmes of study)

If English is not your first language, we will accept English Language tests scores such as IELTS or TOEFL. To find out more please see the English Language Requirement section below.

Some of our programmes require applicants to attend an interview and/or submit examples of their work in the form of a portfolio, or produce a written submission.

Mature Entry Portfolio

Some of our programmes offer a Mature Entry Portfolio (MEP) option an alternate entry route into higher education. This means that relevant industry/life experience is considered alongside an applications formal qualifications, where those qualifications may not meet all entry requirements.

UCAS provides useful tailored information about university study and funding advice is available.

If you are not applying directly from a school or college you will be expected to be able to show recent evidence of your ability to undertake degree-level work and that you have the necessary study skills. You will be asked to demonstrate an equivalent knowledge of the subject and if you have not had any formal education for a period of time you may need to undertake some sort of preparatory programme before studying with us.

If you would like to discuss the content of any of our programmes or the eligibility criteria, please contact our HE Admissions Team at [email protected]. If you leave a mobile or phone number they will arrange for a tutor from any specific programme to contact you to discuss your individual situation to before you go ahead and submit a formal application.

UCAS Tariff Points

The majority of our degree programmes require a minimum of 64 UCAS Tariff Points, gained from one or more of the following:

  • A-levels
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/Diploma/Subsidiary Diploma/Certificate [QCF]
  • BTEC National Award/Certificate/Diploma [NQF]
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • International Baccalaureate
  • AQA Baccalaureate
  • Progression Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma

This list is by no means exhaustive and the college will assess other qualifications that we regard as equivalents. Please refer to the programme pages in this prospectus for more detailed description of the specific entry requirements for each programme.

If you are unsure how many UCAS Tariff Points your qualifications equate to, or understand what grades you need to achieve from pending exams in order to be eligible to apply to study with us, please use the UCAS Tariff Calculator on the UCAS website.

Applicants from the European Union and overseas

South Essex College welcomes applications from foreign nationals based in other European Union (EU) countries and from elsewhere in the world. We are happy to make offers of admission based on overseas qualifications such as the International or European Baccalaureate or on other qualifications that are considered equivalent to our general entrance requirements.

If you are an overseas student, living within the EU, and are not sure how the qualifications you possess from your home country equate to UK qualifications, please contact [email protected] stating which programme it is you are interested in and providing details of your qualifications and experience.

Please note that we refer to UK NARIC (National Academic Recognition Information Centre) guidelines to make international comparisons. If the HE Admissions Team need to verify the status or level of a qualification with NARIC, they will request permission from the applicant/enquirer before they do so.

English Language Requirement

If English is not your first language you will be expected to meet our English language requirements as part of any offer of admission to the College. These are described as follows:

  • IELTS (Academic Version)
    Please see individual entry profiles as this may differ between programmes
  • TOEFL (paper-based test)
    540, 76 on IBT for first year entry to all programmes

The College will consider results from other tests including:

  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
    Overall Cambridge English Scale score of B2 with 52+ (Prior to January 2015)
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
    Overall Cambridge English Scale score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill (From January 2015)
  • Test in English for Educational Purposes (TEEP)
    Test score of 3 (minimum)
  • GCE O-level or GCSE English Language or Use of English
    Grade C/4 or above (minimum)
  • Hong Kong Certificate of English Education
    Test score of 3 (minimum)
  • International Baccalaureate English B Syllabus (Standard Level)
    Test score of 4 (minimum)

Mature Applicants

Some of our programmes accept applications via a Mature Entry Portfolio (MEP) route. This means that relevant industry/life experience is considered alongside related formal qualifications, as an alternate entry onto a programme.

The process for considering MEP applications involves an interview and applicants are expected to demonstrate their suitability for their chosen programme. This may include submitting a portfolio of evidence of (paid or unpaid) work experience and/or a written piece of work.

If the MEP route is one you would like to consider we recommend you contact our HE Admissions Team at [email protected] where someone will be able to discuss your application and advise you on the next steps.

We also recommend you visit the UCAS website which has a section for mature undergraduate students and funding advice.

Transferring to South Essex College

If you have started a higher education programme at another academic institution already and wish to continue your studies at South Essex College, we are happy to consider your application. The College works within the guidelines of the structures of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and will assess your application on the basis of qualifications obtained elsewhere. More information about Transferring can be found on our website. If you would prefer to speak to the HE Admissions Team please contact [email protected] with a phone number and a member of the Team will call you.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Some of our faculties are happy to consider applications for entry to the second year or third year of study on the basis of qualifications achieved already from another higher education institution. For direct entry to the second year we would normally expect you to meet the standard entry requirements for admission to the first year and be able to demonstrate relevant additional academic achievement. We will expect to see formal transcripts as evidence of prior learning.

South Essex College operates within the structures of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Policy and Procedure for the accreditation of prior (experiential) learning (APE)L.