Understanding our entry requirements

Our admissions policies recognise that many factors outside of your control can affect your academic performance, and that we know that doesn’t mean you’re not up to the challenge of university.

We review applications individually and use your academic grades (achieved and predicted), personal statement and academic reference to make a decision.  We ask that you demonstrate on your UCAS application your interest in and commitment to your chosen subject of study.  This is particularly important for those subject areas which involve an interview, audition or portfolio review as part of the admissions process.

Entry Requirements

On our course information pages, we list our Scottish Higher entry requirements in two ways. We list our typical entry requirements and our adjusted entry requirements.

Our typical entry requirements are the grades you will need to achieve by the time you enter the University (unless you are eligible for an offer via our contextual admissions policy – see below). If you have already achieved these grades you may receive an unconditional offer from the University. Alternatively, if you will need to achieve further qualifications to meet these entry requirements you may receive a conditional offer from the University.

  • You should remember that only Higher Grade C passes or above are counted towards your Higher tally.  For Advanced Highers only Grade D or above are counted.
  • Where you have achieved an Advanced Higher at Grade D this equates to a B-pass at Higher. An Advanced Higher Grade C or above equates to an A-Pass at Higher.
  • Normally, where an applicant applies with both a Higher and Advanced Higher in the same subject, we will only count the subject once, and will use the highest grade (or equivalent grade) achieved when reaching our decision.

Our adjusted entry requirements are the grades that applicants need to achieve by the time they enter the University where they meet one of the criteria within our contextual admissions policy.

  • These entry requirements will, in most cases be two grades below the typical entry requirements published. 
  • Only Higher Grade C passes or above are counted towards your Higher tally.  For Advanced Highers only Grade D or above are counted.
  • For contextual applicants we will ‘double count’ Highers and Advanced Highers when calculating a student’s achievement. By the point of entry applicants must have achieved the required grades in a minimum of three different subjects at Higher (or equivalent) in order to qualify for entry.

Check if you are eligible for an offer via our contextual admissions policy

You are eligible for contextual admissions if you:

  • have been in care
  • are a young carer yourself
  • are eligible via the Lothian Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS)
  • are applying via a SWAP route
  • have attended a high school which has a lower number of students who go on to Higher Education - these schools are part of the nationwide Schools for Higher Education Programme (SHEP)
  • live in an area of high deprivation (MD20) - you can check your postcode here
  • have government-recognised refugee or asylum status

Clear as mud? Here are some example scenarios to help you work through the requirements. 

And remember, you can always contact us to talk about your specific circumstances at ugadmissions@napier.ac.uk.

Example 1

You meet one of our contextual eligibility factors and want to apply for International Hospitality Management. You’ve already achieved BCCC at Higher in S5 and have a National 5 C in Maths and English.

You will now typically receive an Unconditional Offer. The published entry requirement is BBBC. As a contextual applicant you are eligible for an offer two grades below this published requirement (BCCC). You have met the subject specific requirements, therefore you can be made an unconditional offer.

Example 2

You meet one of our contextual eligibility factors and want to apply for Criminology. You’ve already achieved BB at Higher in S5 including a Higher in English. You’re taking two further Highers in S6 plus Advanced Higher English.

You will now typically receive a Conditional Offer of achieving BC in your S6 (two grades below our published typical entry requirements). You’ve met the subject-specific requirements. You could achieve the BC from achieving a D or better in your Advanced Higher (double counting) and one further C in one of the Highers you’re studying. However, we would initially make the offer on the basis of the Highers being taken.

Example 3

You meet one of our contextual eligibility factors and want to apply for MEng Mechanical Engineering. You’ve already achieved BBC at Higher in S5 including Higher Maths at B and Higher Physics at C. You’re taking one further Higher in Modern Studies and Advanced Higher Physics.

You’ll now typically receive a Conditional Offer of achieving a Grade D or better in your Advanced Higher Physics (applicants must have a Science subject at least to Higher Grade B in their Highers), as if you already have BBC including Maths at B, you only need Physics AH at D to meet the criteria as we can double-count the Physics.

Example 4

You meet one of our contextual eligibility factors and want to apply for BA Business Management. You’ve already achieved BB in Higher English and History. You achieved Grades D in Higher Biology and Higher Psychology S5 and have a National 5 C in Maths and English. You are doing Advanced Highers in English and History but no further Highers.

You would not be made an offer as you only have two different subjects at Higher, and therefore your Advanced Highers cannot be double counted.

Frequently Asked Questions from prospective students

I am not eligible for a contextual offer – why am I being asked to achieve higher grades than my classmate who is eligible for a contextual offer?

Edinburgh Napier University is committed to widening access and welcomes applications from students with diverse backgrounds. We recognise that not everyone has an equal opportunity to demonstrate their full academic potential from their school or college qualifications alone. For this reason, we aim to identify applicants who could benefit from additional consideration in the admissions process.

Academic qualifications are rarely the only factor universities take into account when they determine who they are able to make offers to. We use a range of information to determine students’ potential to succeed on our degree programmes. Our differing offer thresholds reflect our commitment to addressing the current under-representation of certain groups within the University. This means that for these groups of students we seek to look beyond purely the academic grades achieved so far in their education career.  Students still need to achieve academic grades which enable their success on their chosen programme of study.


I am eligible for a contextual offer, however I am concerned that by being admitted to the University with less than the published entry requirements I may not be equipped to successfully complete my studies.

The adjusted offer threshold is set at a level which still requires significant academic achievement. Over a number of years we have admitted students who met certain criteria with grades below the published entry criteria at the point at which we confirm their offer (upon receipt of examination results). Our student retention data suggests there is little evidence to suggest students progression prospects are hampered where they are admitted in these circumstances. 

In making adjusted offers the University is trying to be more transparent in the way it seeks to widen access to higher education for under-represented groups. The University has a wide range of support services that seek to support all our students through their student journey successfully and you can find out more about our support services at www.napier.ac.uk/study-with-us/undergraduate/student-support

Some other useful information