Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP)


A Scottish Wider Access Programme is a course of study which prepares adults, with few or no formal qualifications, for study at university.


All units are assessed on a pass / fail basis in accordance with SQA processes.

Students need to pass 18 units to achieve the qualification.

In addition, access students are graded on a scale AAA – CCC by partnership colleges against an agreed set of grade descriptors.

These criteria relate to learning skills highly valued for HE progression, although in science subjects these include subject-specific skills and knowledge.

Partnership colleges submit the grade profile to SWAP at the end of the programme, and these are provided by SWAP to UCAS.


Units are assessed by the appropriate SQA processes and procedures.

Students are assessed during and on the completion of individual units.

Access students often take units from SQA Highers but are not required to undertake the external assessment.

Modes of assessment must be appropriate to the academic discipline and the progression route, but particular assignment details are locally determined.

Further information

SWAP programmes courses are widely accepted for progression to higher education across Scotland.

SWAP website includes further information and advice for HE admissions staff about making offers to Access students.

SWAPEast: 0131 650 6861 (Edinburgh and the East of Scotland) email: [email protected]

SWAPWest: 0141 564 7206 (Glasgow and the West of Scotland) email: [email protected]