Entry requirements and training (midwifery)
This page has information on the entry requirements and training for midwifery.
Training to be a midwife involves studying at degree standard in midwifery, through either an approved pre-registration degree in midwifery or an approved degree apprenticeship in midwifery.
There are no national minimum academic entry requirements for entry into pre-registration midwifery degrees as each university running courses sets its own criteria. However, they usually look for a minimum of:
- five GCSEs at grade 9-4/C or above - typically including English language or literature and a science subject
- and either two or three A-levels or equivalent.
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 9-4/C or above include:
- five CSEs grade 1
- five SCE Standard grade 1s (Scotland)
- GNVQ intermediate level plus one GCSE/GCE O level, grades 9-4/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 - Health and Social Care at level 3.
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 midwifery or equivalent. It is essential that you check with each university directly before applying to see if your qualifications meet their entry standard.
Financial support while studying at university
You'll be entitled to receive at least £5,000 a year towards your studies while at university. Your personal circumstances may mean you could receive more. And the good news? You'll never have to pay it back
A degree standard apprenticeship in midwifery has been approved for delivery. To get onto a degree apprenticeship, you will need to apply for an apprentice position with a health care provider. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and Find an apprenticeship website
Once you’ve successfully completed a programme approved by the NMC, you are then eligible to apply for registration. Once registered as a practitioner, you’ll be required to retain your name on the register by keeping your knowledge and skills up to date and paying an annual retention fee.
There are no nationally set entry requirements for midwifery degree apprenticeships - this will be down to the employer offering the apprenticeship - but you will typically need level 3 qualifications as you will be studying at degree level. There is no legal minimum age requirement or upper age limit for entry onto approved pre-registration midwifery programmes.
Want to learn more?
- Find out more about the midwifery degree and what it involves.
- Find midwifery degrees on our course finder
Numeracy and literacy
Successful applicants must also be able to demonstrate evidence of literacy and 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
- 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, reasonable adjustments will be made.
Other routes in
Some NHS organisations also run cadet schemes, which can lead to entry onto a pre-registration programme in midwifery. Cadet schemes are increasingly being replaced by apprenticeships, such as those leaving to vocational qualifications in health and social care. Staff working in more advanced support roles, such assistant practitioners, might be able to gain secondment from their employer onto a pre-registration programme.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requires all student midwives to have a criminal records check.The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) carry out these checks. You must confirm on your application that you agree to this. 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 first 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 for a midwifery degree
Universities and employers offering degree apprenticeships must be satisfied that you are in good health and character for safe and effective practice as a midwife. For more information, visit the NMC website. 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 universities or employers you are considering applying to.
You can find universities approved to run full-time degree courses on our course finder.