Overarching Statement on Curriculum for Excellence

Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions are positive about the changes that Curriculum for Excellence will bring to the senior phase. The changes have implications for universities’ admissions requirements and for how teaching and learning is delivered at university. Universities Scotland has been closely involved in the development of Curriculum for Excellence and institutions are well placed to respond flexibly to the changes. Universities are used to admitting students with different qualifications from around the world as a result of the large international student population we have in Scotland.

Every university in Scotland has produced a statement on Curriculum for Excellence and what it means for their admissions. These can be found on institutions’ own websites. Every university sets slightly different admissions requirements and this can also vary from subject to subject. However, there are some common themes amongst the requirements as a result of the new senior phase.

  • Universities will give equal consideration to all learners in the senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence whatever route through learning they have taken.
  • Universities will continue to express minimum requirements in terms of Highers.
  • The majority of institutions will consider a diet of Highers sat across S4 and S5 as equivalent to Highers sat only in S5.
  • Advanced Highers and Baccalaureates will continue to be recognised as a signal of progression.
  • Universities do not intend to count the total number of National 5s towards entry but some may need demonstration of ability in Maths, English or other specific subject at this level. Highers would be accepted in place of National 5s.

Prospective students, their parents, carers and teachers are strongly encouraged to visit university websites for their individual CfE statements and check entry requirements shown in prospectuses for the institutions at which they hope to study. This will be the best indicator of what choices to make.

Key Points:

  • Every Scottish university has produced a statement on Curriculum for Excellence.
  • Universities commit to give equal consideration to candidates with required qualifications whatever route taken through S4-S6 to achieve them.


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