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Become a University Lecturer without A Levels

24th July 20

University lecturers are some of the most inspiring intellectuals of our society. Not only do they nurture the inquisitive minds of their students, but they also make impactful contributions to their area of study.

As a university lecturer you’ll be constantly researching and expanding your knowledge through your work. You’ll be required to publish academic books or scholarly articles to enhance your institutions profile.

As well as teach students through lectures, seminars, tutorials and even practical demonstrations depending on what you specialise in.

You’ll need to display a thirst for knowledge and a deep passion for your chosen subject to become a university lecturer. As well as have the qualifications to back you up.

University lecturers are quite the scholars and have worked their way through many stages of education.

Although the learning never really ends, there is a certain criterion you have to meet before becoming fully qualified.


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It comes as no surprise that the leading academic minds teaching in higher education institutes need to be highly qualified.

There are many steps to becoming a full university lecturer as you’ll need to be an expert in your subject area. Through your own education, you’ll learn valuable skills that you will pass on to the next generation of budding academics.

Undergraduate Degree

Your journey in higher education begins with an undergraduate degree. There are thousands of courses to choose from and many institutes to go to as well.

Undergraduate degrees on average are 3 to 4 years of full-time study. The entry requirements for these courses may vary as each university can set its own.

However, the majority ask for a minimum of 5 GCSEs grade C/4 or above to support your application. Two of those qualifications should be in English and Maths.

As well as at least two A Levels or equivalent. Again, grades vary from one university to another but obviously the higher the grade, the better.

Postgraduate Studies

After you complete your undergraduate degree, you’ll have to complete a Masters or a PhD before you’re fully qualified.

A Masters degree is usually between 1 – 2 years in length depending on your specialism. The degree deepens the knowledge you’ve developed on your undergraduate degree even further.

A PhD or doctorate degree is an extensive research-led course that lasts around 4 – 6 years. It’s not uncommon to be working as a lecturer whilst you complete your studies.

A PhD is where you’ll apply your knowledge gained throughout your education into an in-depth thesis. A thesis is an analytical and critical body of work that’ll contain significant and original research in your chosen area of study.

Getting into University

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Before you begin your quest for knowledge through higher education, you’ll need some qualifications to support your application.

Studying higher education at university requires you to have already developed some critical thinking and analytical skills. This proves you’re up for the challenge and capable of producing quality work.

Universities will be looking for 2/3 A Levels or equivalent as well as the GCSEs, as previously mentioned.

If you lack these qualifications then they will be the first step to becoming a university lecturer.

The most obvious way to get back into education would be to gain A Levels that relate to the degree you’re aiming for. That being said, it’s not the simplest way.

The average online student completes an A Level in 9/10 months. If you need to get 2/3 A Levels your looking from anywhere between 18 months to two and half years of study.

You could study them all together, but we wouldn’t recommend it. That’s a lot of studying to add into an already packed schedule and would be more like full-time study.

Access to HE Diploma

An Access to Higher Education Diploma does exactly what it says on the tin. They’re designed for anyone who lacks traditional qualifications, as an alternate route into university.

The Access to HE Diplomas cover many subjects from nursing and healthcare to engineering and humanities. So, you’re bound to find one that leads to the right undergraduate degree.

Online students complete these courses in the same time frame as an A Level. However, you only need to complete the one course.

That means you can enrol on a course and apply for university within the year. An Access to HE Diploma saves you time as well as money as you won’t have to finance multiple courses.

UCAS Points

UCAS translate your grades into a numerical value. The higher the grade, the higher the points.

Universities use this tariff system in their entry requirements to set the minimum amount of points they’ll accept. This makes it easier for universities to sift through the numerous hopeful applicants.

Assuming you perform well in all your modules your Access to HE Diploma could be worth up to 144 UCAS points. This is equivalent to 3 As at A Level which is a high enough grade for most undergraduate degrees.

It should be noted, however, that despite most universities accepting Access to HE Diplomas – some do not. Make sure to check the entry requirements before enrolling on Access courses so you can be sure it’s the right choice for you.


Whether you decide to take your A Levels or enrol on an Access to HE Diploma an exciting career awaits.

learndirect is the UK’s leading online learning provider. We offer a variety of A Levels and Access to HE Diplomas to suit your needs.

All our courses have an expert tutor to guide you through your studies and flexible payment options to help you spread the cost.

To learn more on how to prepare for your distance learning experience read our blog here.

If you’re ready to start learning, then get in touch with a member of sales team or enrol online today.

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