University Route


What’s it all about?

Going to university can make you more attractive to employers in many industries, and you'll have loads of new experiences. You'll get to study your favourite subjects in more depth, and if you study away from home you'll find out what independent adult life is like.

Doing any degree shows employers that you're smart and motivated - important skills for any job. The main thing is to study something you want to learn more about, which ideally gives you skills that will be transferrable to a job you want to do later on.

According to a report in The Guardian in April 2014, more students than ever have been accepted on to STEM degree courses. In 2013-14, 98,000 students were accepted on to STEM undergraduate courses, the highest level ever recorded. This shows that our students are taking seriously the messages about these high-value qualifications. Also the emphasis put on supporting STEM in schools by building links with local employers, charities such as W5 and government initiatives like the STEM Ambassador Programme, is having a real impact.

As schools, our challenge now is to sustain this upward trend and in particular to encourage more girls to pursue STEM qualifications and careers.

Entry Requirements?

For different STEM degrees within an individual university there can be significant differences between grades and UCAS points requirements. Many universities state specific requirements in terms of named subjects and required A Level grades, with some universities also taking into account grades achieved at GCSE level. The key is to do lots of research on the UCAS website, the sites of specific universities that you are interested in attending and crucially the Prospects website that will offer additional information and advice on possible career routes with your chosen STEM degree.

Qualification Earned?

The qualification achieved at university level varies depending on course content and duration. Most bachelor degree courses last 3-4 years, with some degrees including a year’s industrial based placement.

• Bachelor of Science (BSc)
• Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
• Masters of Science (MSc)
• Masters of Engineering (MEng)
• Bachelor of Medicine (MB)

How to apply?

UCAS is the organisation that processes applications to study full-time courses at universities and colleges in the UK. They don’t just process applications but aim is to help students make informed choices that are right for them by guiding them through the entire higher education application process. They provide a wide range of valuable information and supporting services for young learners, applicants and their parents.

By using their website,, your son or daughter will be able to find out more about how to get started, research course options, make their application and track the progress of their degree choices. Closing dates for applications is usually mid-January for any courses commencing in September of that year. Please check dates on the UCAS site and with Careers Teachers.

Some other websites offer information about university courses that can be searched in different ways, for example, by subjects of interest, courses that are linked to particular career routes, or by geographical location.

Schools in East Belfast involved in STEM projects and activities.

Ashfield Boys’ School | Ashfield Girls’ School | Bloomfield Collegiate | Campbell College | Grosvenor Grammar
Lagan College | Mitchell House | Our Lady & St Patrick’s College | Park School | Strathearn | Tor Bank School