Explained: College Course Levels and Course Types

College courses in the UK are grouped into levels and types, from Entry level to Level 7, to show how they compare and what other courses they can lead to.

Because there are many different course types and qualifications, levels simply help to group them together so that you can make comparisons more easily and see where to go next on your journey.

In this post, we’ve explained the different College course levels and course types:

Course Levels

Here at Hugh Baird College, we offer an extensive range of courses at varying levels. If you apply to join us, you will have an informal interview with a tutor. The tutor will recommend a course level that you are best suited to, based on your experience and predicted, or achieved, grades.

Entry Level

Entry level courses give you access to Level 1 qualifications. We offer several Entry level programmes designed for school leavers and young adults with individual learning needs and differences who want to develop their employability and softer skills in a safe learning environment.

Level 1

Level 1 courses give you access to Level 2 qualifications and apprenticeships, and employment. If you’re looking to build skills, increase your knowledge, get back into education and boost your confidence to take the next step, this course level can help you. There are no entry requirements for these courses.

Level 2

Achieving a Level 2 course will give you access to Level 3 qualifications, apprenticeships and employment. They will develop your skills and knowledge by building on what you have learnt at Level 1 or in your personal/work experience.

Level 3

If you’re planning on going to university, achieving a higher/degree level apprenticeship or securing skilled employment, getting your Level 3 qualification is essential. Level 3 qualifications enable you to gain or apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding at a detailed level.


Level 4 and above courses are university-level qualifications such as a Foundation Entry, Foundation Degree, Higher/Degree Apprenticeships or Honours Top Ups. You can choose to continue your journey with us by studying one of these courses at our University Centre.

Find out more about the Hugh Baird University Centre

Vocational courses

Course Types

As well as different course levels, there are different course types that you can study.


GCSEs are available in English, maths and science at Hugh Baird College. GCSEs now have a grading system from 9-1 (with 9 being the highest). A grade 4 is equivalent to the old grade C and is generally the grade that employers and education establishments ask for.

Vocational / Technical Qualifications

These courses are offered at a range of levels, which have different entry requirements, from a number of different awarding bodies (eg BTEC, City and Guilds). They have a vocational focus, and once you have completed the course you will get a certificate from College and this will allow you to seek employment in this area or continue onto further study.

They are work-related qualifications that are available in a range of subjects and can also be a pathway into Higher Education. Assessment types vary and depending on which course you study, you may complete a range of assignments, practical activities, and also undertake examinations.


T-levels are an exciting alternative to A-levels and apprenticeships. They are a nationally recognised two-year technical qualification, endorsed by employers, and worth the same number of UCAS points as three A-levels. T-levels combine the career focus and practical elements of current technical and professional qualifications like BTECs and NVQs, with the theory and study of traditional A-levels. They will provide you with a clear route to skilled employment, as well as progression to higher or degree Apprenticeships or degree-level study at university.

Find out more about T-levels


A-levels are an academic qualification that are assessed mainly by examination. Taking A-levels allows you to choose to study a few different subjects and is a pathway into university, or employment. At Hugh Baird College, we offer A-levels via a campus in Litherland we call Sefton Sixth Form College.

Find out more about the Sefton Sixth Form College

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