Course Types & Course Levels

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand what level of course you should be looking for, This table is designed to give you an overview and help you to understand the different levels of study


For further information and advice:

We have staff at each campus who can assist you with any queries you may have about applying for a course and about the financial help that you may be able to receive while you are at College.

Telephone: 030 300 38555
Opening Times: 9:00am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday


Foundation Learning

Foundation Learning is a programme of work at Entry Level and Level 1, designed to help learners progress to a Level 2 qualification.

Functional Skill

Functional Skills are practical skills in English, Maths and ICT that help learners gain the most out of work, education and everyday life.


General Certificate of Secondary Education: a public examination in specified subjects for 16-year-old schoolchildren. It replaced the GCE O-level and CSE. 5 GCSE’s are equivalent to Level 2.

AS Level

A public examination taken for the General Certificate of Education, with a smaller course content than an A level. This has been available since 2000 taken either as the first part of a full A level or as a qualification in its own right



An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with functional and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career.


A vocational qualification that teach the skills that are required for working life.

A2 Level

The second part/year of an A-level course, taken after the AS level examination.

A Level

The later of two standardized tests in a secondary school subject, used as a qualification for entrance to university. 2 A Levels are equivalent to level 3.



Vocationally Relevant Qualification. Usually containing the theory or underpinning knowledge related to a practical qualification.

Access Courses

An intensive course of study for people without academic qualifications that enables them to apply for higher education

Foundation Degree

Foundation degrees are intended to give a basic knowledge in a subject to enable the holder to go on to employment or further study in that field. They were designed in partnership with employers and further education colleges.


Degrees are an award conferred by a college or university signifying that the recipient has satisfactorily completed a course of study in Higher Education.

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