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St Helens College offers a huge range of courses at varying levels. The level that you study at will depend on your previous achievements and qualifications.

Qualifications in the UK and Northern Ireland are grouped into levels, from entry level to level 7 to show how they compare and what other qualifications they can lead to. Qualifications at the same level are a similar level of difficulty, but the size and content of the qualifications can vary.

If you're unsure of what level to study at or what the equivalent grade is, our Student Services team will be able to help you upon application.


Qualification Type

Entry Level

If you don't have any qualifications this is the place to start.

Equivalent to:

  • Foundation learning
Level 1

This is a good place to start if you are new to a subject and would like to improve your basic knowledge.

Equivalent to:

  • GCSE (grades D - G)
  • Key skills level 1
  • NVQ level 1
  • Skills for life level 1
  • Foundation diploma
  • BTEC award, certificate and diploma level 1
  • Foundation learning level 1
  • Functional skills level 1
  • Cambridge National level 1
Level 2

This level will help you in improving your subject knowledge.

Equivalent to:

  • GCSE (grades A* - C)
  • Key skills level 2
  • NVQ level 2
  • Skills for life level 2
  • Higher diploma
  • BTEC award, certificate and diploma level 2
  • Functional skills level 2
  • Cambridge National level 2
  • Cambridge Technical level 2
  • Intermediate apprenticeship
Level 3

With this level of qualification you can then go onto university/degree-level qualifications or a good job with more detailed study.

Equivalent to: 

  • A levels
  • International Baccalaureate
  • BTEC awards, certificates and diplomas at level 3
  • BTEC nationals
  • OCR nationals
  • NVQs at level 3
  • Advanced apprenticeship
Level 4

In-depth study which will help you become a specialist in your area.

Equivalent to:

  • Certificates of higher education
  • BTEC professional diplomas certificates and awards
  • HNCs
  • NVQs at level 4
  • Year 1 of a Foundation degree
  • Higher apprenticeship
Level 5

More in-depth knowledge and an understanding of your subject means you'll be able to find solutions and respond to complex problems and situations.

Equivalent to:

  • HNDs
  • Other higher diplomas
  • BTEC professional diplomas, certificates and awards
  • Year 2 of a Foundation degree
Level 6

Study your subject to a very high level and learn to use your own ideas and research.

Equivalent to:

  • BTEC advanced professional diplomas, certificates and awards
  • Bachelor's degree e.g BA (Hons)
Level 7


Equivalent to:

  • BTEC advanced professional diplomas, certificates and awards
  • Postgraduate certificate
  • Masters degree