NHS Careers > Explore by career > Midwifery > Entry requirements


Entry requirements


As there are no national minimum academic entry requirements for entry into pre-registration midwifery degrees, each higher education institution (HEI) running courses sets its own criteria. However, HEIs usually look for a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above - typically including English language or literature and a science subject - and either two or three A levels or an equivalent.

Successful applicants must also be able to demonstrate evidence of literacy and numeracy.

For numeracy, this will include demonstrating the ability to:

  • accurately manipulate numbers as applied to volume, weight, and length, (including, addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, use of decimals, fractions, and percentages) to include using a calculator.

For literacy, this will include demonstrating the ability to:

  • read and comprehend (in English or Welsh) and to communicate clearly and effectively in writing to include using a word processor.

If a student has a disability the above can be met through the use of reasonable adjustments.

It is essential that you check with each HEI directly before applying to see if your qualifications meet their entry standard. You can find all UK universities running midwifery degrees on our course finder.

Alternatives to GCSEs and A levels

The NHS and education sector encourages applications from people with a wide range of academic and vocational qualifications.

Examples of qualifications that may be considered broadly equivalent to five GCSEs at grade C or above include:

  • five CSE's grade 1
  • five SCE Standard grade 1's (Scotland)
  • GNVQ intermediate level plus one GCSE/GCE O level, grades A-C.

Examples of qualifications that may be considered broadly equivalent to two A levels include:

  • GNVQ advanced level or NVQ level 3
  • SVQ level 3
  • GSVQ level 3 (Scotland)
  • EDEXCEL Foundation (BTEC) National or higher national diploma
  • OCR Cambridge Technicals - level 3 Health and Social Care.

Applicants who left full-time education some time ago may be required to give evidence of successful recent academic study, such as a QAA accredited access to higher education course or equivalent.

Support Workers

Staff working in more advanced support roles, sch as those at assistant practitioner level, mght be able to gain secondment from their employer onto a pre-registration programme.

Cadet schemes and apprenticeships

Some trusts run cadet schemes, which can lead to entry onto a pre-registration programme in midwifery. However, cadet schemes are being increasingly being replaced by apprenticeships, such as those in health and social care.


There is no legal minimum age requirement or upper age limit for entry onto pre-registration midwifery programmes.

Criminal convictions

If you take up a place on a pre-registration midwifery programme, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requires you to have a criminal records check.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS formerly CRB) carries out these checks. You must confirm on your application that you agree to this, because the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act do not apply. If your programme 'involves regularly caring for or being in sole charge of children', you are also required to have a Protection of Children Act List check before you begin your clinical placement.

If you have a criminal conviction or a police caution, this will not automatically bar you from working in the NHS, as each conviction is considered in the light of all relevant circumstances.

Other criteria

All HEIs must satisfy themselves that applicants to pre-registration programmes are of good health and good character sufficient for safe and effective practice as a midwife. For more information, visit the NMC website.

All HEIs will require satisfactory health clearance for all applicants. If you have a particular problem that you think may affect your ability to work or study, or if you have any questions about health requirements, contact the HEI(s) to which you plan to apply. For guidance regarding communicable diseases, visit the Department of Health website or call the Public Enquiry Office on 0207 210 4850.