Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum for Excellence

Abertay University recognises the importance of Curriculum for Excellence (CFE) in ensuring that young people in Scotland can develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they will need to adapt, think critically and flourish in life, learning and work, now and in the future.

We recognise Curriculum for Excellence will lead to applicants applying to university with a greater variety of qualifications, which will have been undertaken at different stages of learning.

Our Entry Requirements

Entry to Abertay is based on qualifications taken in the senior phase after S3, either Scottish Highers or their acceptable equivalent.  Entry requirements for many accepted qualifications can be found on our course pages along with the details of any specific subjects/grades that will be required.

National 5s

We do not require a minimum number of National 5 qualifications for entry purposes, but we do require applicants to have National 5 English and Maths (or their acceptable equivalents).

The minimum grade requirement for English and Maths at National 5 is grade C. 

Some degree programmes may require specific subjects/grades at National 5. Where this is the case, our course pages and prospectus will provide information.  For example, our BSc (Hons) Forensic Science requires National 5 Biology in addition to English and Maths. Whereas BSc (Hons) Computer Game Applications Development requires National 5 Maths at grade B or better.

Higher Qualifications

Our entry criteria and offers are expressed in grades; we do not use the UCAS tariff in offer-making. Applicants are expected to achieve four Highers at specific grades unless they are eligible for an offer at the minimum entry.  Some programmes will also have specific subject requirements at Higher, and it is important to remember this when making subject choices. 

We offer a flexible approach to students who take Highers over more than one academic year and/or who achieve their qualifications in more than one sitting.  We also accept resit Highers.  We would consider applicants under both of these scenarios, as long as they have achieved four SQA Highers at the required grades and subjects.

Advanced Higher

We recognise the value of Advanced Highers as excellent preparation for university study, however they do not form part of our standard entry requirements for first year entry.  We do not ‘double-count’ subjects taken at both Higher and Advanced Higher.  In this case, we would count the highest achieved grade only. 

National Progression Awards (NPAs)

We recognise the flexibility offered by NPAs allowing learners to develop skills much sought after by employers in a variety of sectors, from Construction to Childcare.  NPAs do not form part of our standard entry requirements or offer-making.  However, we may take results into account as part of the overall assessment of an applicant’s performance when an applicant has narrowly missed the standard entry requirements and subject to place availability.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Foundation Apprenticeships provide work-based learning opportunities for learners in their senior phase of education.  We accept Foundation Apprenticeships where they are offered alongside SQA Highers.  We treat the Foundation Apprenticeship as the equivalent of two Highers at grades BB.  Only one Foundation Apprenticeship may be counted for entry.

College Pathways

Abertay is committed to providing a range of routes to degree study.  We work closely with our College partners to offer clear pathways from Higher National Certificate and Diploma programmes, allowing learners to progress to many of our degrees from year 2 with a relevant HNC or year 3 with a relevant HND. More information can be found on the Coming from College page.

Assessment of Applications

We provide our entry requirements for each course in two ways – our standard and our minimum entry requirements.  Unless you meet our criteria (see Not sure if you’re eligible for entry? on each course page), your grades will usually have to be as good as or better than the standard entry requirements.

However, achieving the standard or minimum entry requirements does not guarantee entry.  Abertay has many more applications than places available, and many applicants meet our entrance requirements.  Consequently, we may ask for more than the published grades, and this might be in the form of additional qualifications or better grades.  An applicant’s overall academic profile will usually be the most significant factor in our decision making.  Certain features of the personal statement such as a demonstration of motivation for their chosen subject area, and contextual data may help to strengthen an applicant’s profile.  More information on contextual factors can be found in entry information on the individual course pages.

Where a student is in S6 and receives an unconditional offer of admission, we expect full and continued participation in the subjects declared in the UCAS application as our offer will have been made on the basis of all of the information provided.  This is particularly important if the portfolio of study includes Advanced Highers, as the self-directed learning and project work has direct relevance to the University’s study environment.

Wider Achievements

The University pays special attention to the applicant’s personal statement when deciding whether to offer a place.  The wider achievements of applicants help to demonstrate their ability to benefit from university study and provide a fuller insight into their broader interests and achievements.  In many cases these wider achievements provide evidence of motivation for the chosen area of study.  Where applicants have detailed wider achievements in their application, we would expect that these achievements are referred to when demonstrating evidence of personal development and preparedness for university level study in the personal statement section of the application form.

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