Student Recruitment & Admissions

Curriculum for Excellence

Information for SQA candidates who have studied under Curriculum for Excellence.

The University of Edinburgh provides a broad-based education in the Scottish tradition. As such it is essential that your previous studies demonstrate that you will have the ability to cope with both the breadth and depth of study that will be expected of you in your first and subsequent years.

National 5 qualifications

We recognise that some students, particularly stronger students, may progress directly from the broad general education to Higher in some, or all, of their subjects and will therefore not achieve any National 5 qualifications. Our selection criteria and processes will 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 an SQA Higher or SQA 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.

Early presentation for examinations

We know that there will be many different opportunities available to you as you go through the senior phase. One of these may be the option to take qualifications early.

However, early presentation for exams 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.

Minimum entry requirements

We express our minimum requirements in terms of achievement at Higher during the senior phase, either by the end of S5, or from S4-S6.

For Medicine (MBChB) and Veterinary Medicine (BVM&S), you must have achieved at least 5 Highers at the required grades by the end of S5.

In other subject areas, where you have not met the minimum entry requirement by the end of S5, Highers in S6 may be used to meet the minimum entry requirement, but the grade requirement will increase, e.g. where the minimum requirement is ABBB by the end of S5, the requirement will increase to AABB or ABBBB by the end of S6.

Minimum number of examinations

In order to evidence rigour and challenge, we will expect you to take a minimum number of exams in at least one year of the senior phase.

To meet our entry requirements, you must achieve, or be predicted to achieve, three or more Highers/Advanced Highers at grade B or better (C or better at Advanced Higher) in the same year (S4-S6).

For example, if you sit one Higher in S4 and achieve a B, and you sit three new Highers in S5 achieving BBB, you will be eligible to enter the selection process (providing you also meet any specific programme requirements in terms of grades and subject of study). However, if you achieve BB at Higher in S4, BB in two new Highers in S5 and BB in a new Higher and an Advanced Higher in S6, you will not be considered for entry to any of our degree programmes.

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 section of the programme information on the degree finder. 

Degree finder

Regardless of the number of Highers taken in each year of the senior phase, we expect you to have followed a coherent, rigorous and challenging curriculum that builds on prior learning, demonstrated by SQA qualifications or a combination of SQA qualifications or other achievements.

Further information

Admissions office contact details