The English Baccalaureate: how it effects your university application

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) was introduced last year as a measure of success. The name, in sounding like a qualification of some sort, can often cause confusion among students, who interpret it to mean that they need to supplement their GCSEs and A-Levels, but this is not the case. There is some debate as to what this might mean for potential student application success.

For instance, Oxford University states that “…the English Baccalaureate is not expected to impact on a candidate’s ability to make a competitive application.  It is more important that a potential Oxford applicant has a GCSE profile which is strong overall (i.e. contains a large majority of A and A* grades).”

Although taking a similar stance to Oxford, the Russell group has added the subjects of Baccalaureate as something students should strive for if they want to maximise their application, the booklet is downloadable here.

The subjects included in the EBacc are English, Maths, The Sciences, History or Geography, and a language. The government have highlighted the above subjects as key student performance indicators and as a cluster of qualifications that are desirable in further learning and, eventually, a career.

There has already been some impact with 35% of 2013 GCSE students having taken subjects identified by the EBacc, compared to 22% in 2010.

If you are currently thinking of an application, then it is obviously too late, and you shouldn’t think that it’ll harm your application, especially if you have a GCSE or A-Level in the subject that you are applying for.

Anyone currently choosing their degrees should, however, consider the implications that the EBacc might have in the near future.


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