University Entrance Diploma

University Entrance Diploma

Looking at options for sixth form?

The University Entrance Diploma is a full-time course designed to meet the needs of young people who are looking for an alternative to traditional A levels or BTECs.

Whether you are preparing to study at sixth form level for the first time or hoping for a second chance to qualify for a degree, this course could be the right option for you.

Students gain an Access to Higher Education Diploma which is an established and well-respected route into Higher Education.

Delivered at the University of Kent's Medway campus, this innovative programme qualifies successful students for entry to a wide range of degrees including: Criminology, Psychology, Biomedical Science, Creative Writing and Law.

A variety of options

The course can be completed in two years or 18 months with the ability to start in either September or January.

We also offer an intensive version of the programme which can be completed in one academic year. 

An exceptional and exemplary centre, whose commitment both to standards and to students is unquestionable

Pete Smith, External Moderator for the course

What are the entry requirements?

You need to have five GCSEs at grade 9-4 (or their equivalent), including English and Maths in order to apply for the programme.  In addition to our standard entry requirements you will also need to have GCSE Science at grade 4 if you want to study Biology with us.  

Due to its intensive nature, the one-year route is only open to those who have some prior experience of A level study or its equivalent, such as level 3 BTEC. 

Whilst we expect everyone to have GCSEs in English and Maths in order to gain a place on our course, this condition may be waived for students with appropriate experience or in exceptional circumstances. All applicants will be considered on an individual basis and will be invited to attend an interview and information session.

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Student talking to camera

Alternative to A levels with less focus on exams

Students and staff talk about the University Entrance Diploma

Is the course right for me?

The course is open to 16 year olds who have only just completed their GCSEs, as well as older students looking for a fresh start. We offer the opportunity to explore a range of subjects in a strongly supportive and encouraging environment and classes are taught by a highly skilled team with decades of experience of working with diverse groups of young people.

This means the course could be the right option for you if:

  1. You are looking for an alternative to A level resits or retakes
  2. You have not achieved the high GCSE grades needed for entry to some school sixth forms, but still want to go to university
  3. You are anxious about exams or other aspects of learning
  4. You have found sixth form study particularly challenging
  5. You are keen to find a new way to learn
  6. You want to explore your independence and autonomy in a non-school environment

How will I be assessed?

The course is portfolio-based and assessments take place throughout the academic year. A variety of assessment methods will be used to fully prepare you for the next level of study and ensure you are given the opportunity to perform at your best:

  • Discussions
  • Practical experiments
  • Debates
  • Vlogs
  • Film analyses
  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Timed assessments
  • A research project


Before joining the course I didn't know I would grow as a person and learn how to become more mature and take control of my own life

Grace Walker Former student
Without the course and the tutors on it, I honestly have no idea where I would have ended up

Student feedback, External Moderation Report (2021)

What makes the course different?

Support on the course is exemplary meaning students have the best possible chance for success at this level.

Our programme will enable you to study your chosen subjects to A-level standard but via mostly coursework-style assessments. As a result, teaching and learning focuses on helping you to develop the academic skills, autonomy and confidence you need to excel in assignments and research, with less emphasis on exams. These valuable study skills help students go on to thrive in the university environment.

The modular nature of the course means you complete assessments on material you have just covered without the stress of needing to revise large amounts of information. You also receive grades for units as you complete them, giving you the opportunity to see how much you are progressing throughout your time with us. Students find it reassuring to check they are on target to meet the entry criteria for their first choice degree without the worry of having to wait until the August results day.

Our students work closely with student ambassadors (current university students, some of whom are former University Entrance Diploma students) as well as our subject tutors to ensure they receive the right kind of support to help them achieve their best. Online learning materials are also used to enhance the student experience and provide opportunities for learners to improve their understanding.

Being based at the University's Medway campus allows for close links with the University of Kent’s wider provision and as registered students of the University, our students have access to the library and the other facilities the University has to offer.

How do I apply?

Applications for September 2023 and January 2024 are not currently open. Please look here for updates.

Get in touch


Telephone: 07718476786

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about the course, you can email us, call us or complete our 'Ask us a question' form. 

We also hold Information Sessions in November, March, June and August. Please complete the below form if you would like to register for one of these events, stating which month you would like to attend.