The Higher Education Statistics Agency 2016 Report

Research commissioned by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) compares students entering UK higher education who studied the International Baccalaureate (IB) with students who studied more traditional A Levels, and finds that:

  • IB Diploma Programme (DP) students have a 57% greater likelihood of attending one of the top twenty UK universities than students who study traditional A Levels
  • DP students have a larger probability of achieving both a first and second class degree compared to their A Level peers - 23% of DP students achieve a first-class degree compared with 19% of A Level students
  • DP students are considerably more likely to be engaged in further study, such as a Masters or PhD after leaving higher education, while A Level students are more likely to enter the world of work - 30% of DP students participate in postgraduate study compared to 15% of A Level students
  • IB students have greater post education prospects, on average earning more than their A Level counterparts
  • The highest median salary for a Diploma Programme leaver who holds a degree in Mathematical Sciences is £30,000, compared to £22,000 for A Level students who graduate with the same degree
  • 18% of DP alumni are employed in professional, scientific and technical activities, compared to 13% of A Level students. A Level students are more likely to be employed in wholesale and retail trades (16%) compared to 10% of IB students

The HESA research was conducted to compare students entering UK higher education from the IB Diploma Programme and students that have studied the more traditional route of A Levels. The report is based on 48,740 IB students and 1,200,930 A Level students who enrolled full time for a first degree at UK higher education institutions between 2007 and 2013. Sources used to compile the university lists include The Complete University Guide League Table, The Guardian University Guide 2015 and The Times University Guide 2015.

For more information on this study or other IB research please email


 Donwload a full copy of the HESA report