Thinking about going to university or returning to education, especially after a long gap, can be daunting. It may take quite a while to think through your decisions and depending on your circumstances you may need to plan well in advance of actually starting your degree course. We can help.

QMU offers a large number of routes for students from college and mature students to access our degree courses.

We enjoy close links with colleges throughout Scotland and for many years have worked with college partners to create a wide variety of different routes of entry to our degree programmes for both college and mature students.

We realise that everyone's circumstances are different and that while some students have family responsibilities and strong ties to the local area others may not. We recognise that for all students, deciding to return to education is a big step and in order to plan for this change, you need access to information and advice.

Each year over 30% of our entrants are over the age of 21, whilst 25% have gained direct entry onto the second or third year of our courses after completing their studies at college.

Within this section you will find information on the different routes onto our degree courses , as well as useful information about student funding, childcare and other issues that may be relevant to you.

Entry Qualifications

For many students the question they most need answered is how (and if) they will be able to gain a place on a degree course. Students can be thrown by the 'typical entry' requirements listed in university prospectuses which often focus on Higher and A Level qualifications offered in schools.

Relevant experience and non academic achievements will be taken into account when considering an application. However, applicants are more likely to gain a place if they can provide evidence that they have studied successfully recently and that this study has included relevant subjects (e.g. evidence of science based study is usually required for entry to a healthcare based degree).


Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Diploma (HND)

Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) are vocational based courses which focus on ‘learning by doing’ and can lead straight to a career, or act as a stepping stone in order to gain entry into the degree of your choice. They are highly valued by employers both in the UK and overseas, and can also count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations.

HNC/Ds are available in a wide range of subject areas. In fact, whatever you are interested in, you will probably be able to find an HNC to cater for your needs.

HNCs take one year to complete studying full-time and HNDs two years and are, in the main, assessed through assignments, projects and practical tasks.

Entry requirements for HNC/Ds vary, however, as a rough guide you normally require one of the following:

  • 1 to 3 Highers and 2 or 3 Standard Grades
  • Successful completion of a relevant Access Course
  • Applicants who do not have these qualifications but have relevant experience or alternative qualifications will also be considered

For further information about using your college qualification as a stepping stone into one of our degree courses visit where you can also find out which college courses have articulation links.

Access Courses

Access courses are delivered in colleges and provide a route into higher education for adults with few or no qualifications or out of date qualifications.

Subjects which you can study include:

  • Access to Humanities and Social Science
  • Access to Science and Engineering
  • as well as a wide range of other more specialist subjects
  • Most access courses take one year to complete studying full-time and start in August each year. Progress is usually monitored by continuous assessment and support is available from your personal tutor which the college assigns you upon starting the course.

Upon successful completion of an access course you can use your qualification to gain entry into the first year of one of our degrees.

For more information about access courses contact your local college or visit the Scottish Wider Access Programme website where you can find information about access courses available throughout Scotland.

Other Qualifications

As well as access courses and HNC/HNDs Scotland’s colleges offer a wide range of alternative qualifications which can act as a first step into higher education.

From Scottish Highers to vocational qualifications, colleges are continually developing new programmes designed to help individuals discover their potential regardless of age, background or experience.

For more information about other qualifications contact your local college.

Other Support Available

Studying for a degree is exciting, stimulating, and a challenge. As a college or mature student, you bring with you a wide range of skills and strengths from your past experience, whether this includes study at college, employment or looking after a family. Whatever your previous background and experience, you will have valuable skills to draw on as you adapt to university study and develop ways of learning that suit you.

At QMU there are several important sources of help and advice for making the most of your time at the University and developing your study skills.

  • The Effective Learning Service offers individual advice as well as group workshops and resources.
  • The Learning Resource Centre has a useful website with full guidance on the full range of books and online resources available, as well as details of workshops on how to use the LRC effectively.

Your Personal Academic Tutor (assigned to all students during your induction week) is there for advice and guidance about any issue which may be affecting your studies.

Our College Articulation Officer can provide advice and guidance both pre and post application.

College Leavers and Mature Student Enquiries

Show Contacts

College Leavers and Mature Student Enquiries

Jackie Forsyth College Articulation Officer
0131 474 0000