Background: I was born and raised in the United Kingdom and have a number of GCSEs and A-Levels. I am now living in the United States (by marriage/green card), and am looking to apply for jobs. Some of the jobs that have just caught my eye was Tutoring either Writing or Study Skills, at a community college. One job has the following requirement:

Documented two-year degree from a regionally accredited institution or its equivalent (junior level status at a college or university)

So, I am wondering, could my A-levels could be considered the equivalent of a US Associates degree?. I realise this is somewhat ambitious (especially as I only have two A-levels and a one-year BTEC roughly equivalent to an AS; but I do have other educational work experience)

I am aware there is no official rulebook for equivalency, the US Department of Education states it (source), but I am hoping there may be some unofficial but persuasive equivalency out there - like an agreement made by all the Russell Group universities or their US equivalent, or a court case, or something else quite decisive.

A summary of my reasoning and research so far is as follows:

Arguments For A-Level = Associates

  • The University of Michigan will accept Freshmen who only have 5 GCSE's (source), putting the beginning of A-levels on par with beginning a Bachelor's as a Freshman. (However they add that "IF A-levels are being taken", give predicted grades...)

Arguments For A-Level = High School

  • A-Levels are completed at 18 years old, the same as the US High School Diploma

Arguments For A-Level = Something In Between High School and Associate's

  • UCAS in 2013 listed the US High School Diploma as being equivalent to GCSEs, but gives UCAS points for US Advanced Placement Tests anywhere between 20 and 120 points (on the old UCAs system, 120 was one A-level at A grade, source), without giving points for Associate Degrees (presumably because they are too high?) (source from University of the Arts, London)

  • Various students have stated that their institutes have treated A-Levels as being equivalent to US Advanced Placement courses (anecdotal sources)

  • Chavagnes Private School (UK) states without source that UCAS treat AP as A-level; and also mention that a student with A-levels could expect to find themselves discounted for some of the first year's work of a 'university'. (source)

  • A US Associate's Degree is listed as being equivalent to a UK HNC, that is, equivalent to the first year of a UK Bachelor's Degree. (source from an e-learning provider) That is, above A-levels, but not by much.

I have asked my American wife, who completed two AP's while in high school, what the different grades and groups for the Advanced Placements, given in the UCAS document, actually mean, and she doesn't know.

If there is any more evidence I can use in addition to the above fragments, especially statements by a university like my one from Michigan, I would be very grateful for them to be provided.

  • 1
    I don't know why you cite the UMich policy as "Arguments For A-Level = Associates" - the page you linked to says: "Students who are pursuing or who have completed A-Level exams will generally be awarded advanced standing ranging between six and ten credit hours for certain advanced level examinations completed with a grade of “D” or better." That's far from an associates degree (it's similar to what they would award for APs). Everything you cited basically says "A-levels are treated like APs, which are not equivalent to an associates degree".
    – ff524
    Sep 19 '17 at 5:23
  • Ah, I see. I cited it due to it's section on GCSE's as I mentioned. As I didn't understand the points stuff, I ignored it. (As I didn't understand, that's why I came here looking for more expertise). EDIT: am unable to edit the main post, the "save" button does not work. Sep 19 '17 at 14:50

The short answer is no, you cannot use A-levels to establish equivalency to a junior college degree.

A junior college degree, or having junior status at a four-year university, is equivalent to two full years of study at the college level (typically about twenty classes). Three A-level courses, if they're treated as the equivalent of AP courses, would likely equate to less than two semesters of study.

  • Just need to check: you are (A) considering United Kingdom GCE Advanced Levels; and (B) that 3-4 of them (nobody does 5 - even 4 is discouraged) do take two years to complete? Sep 19 '17 at 3:12
  • 1
    @RobStening: I've edited my answer. If the A-levels are treated as the equivalent of AP's, and you take three, then the most you're likely to get is 16 to 24 credit hours, which is far less than two semesters of study (typically 30) let alone two years (typically 60 credits).
    – aeismail
    Sep 19 '17 at 3:27
  • 1
    The problem is, they seem to be the equivalent of AP's in difficulty, not in size: the UCAS points table lists only the highest grade of one group as being equal to an A-level; all other variants of the AP are worth less. Some AP Tests are only worth one-sixth of an A-level in UCAS Points. So, really, I need a source which is able to give more detail on this. Sep 19 '17 at 15:04
  • 1
    @RobStening, I did five. Well, four A and two A/S. Although there's at least an A/S worth of overlap between physics and the mechanics components of maths/further maths, so it wasn't as much material as five unrelated A-levels. Sep 19 '17 at 20:43
  • 1
    Here's Cornell's take on placement. No single A-level gets more than 8 credits. I suspect most universities will be similar.
    – aeismail
    Sep 23 '17 at 18:52

A-level is always considered as a 12th class completion degree. In any university, in the USA, you can find references regarding this equivalency.

The example you have given regarding the University of Michigan is a special case which is, of course, the university's internal policy.

  • 1
    If Michigan's case is the exception, not the norm, please provide evidence (links) for the norm. Sep 19 '17 at 14:56

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