As the UK’s specialist health university, we select applicants based on their potential for success in their chosen course and, where relevant, profession. We are committed to ensuring people from all walks of life are represented as part of our university community and the future health workforce.
We know that not everyone starts life with the same opportunities and so we use additional information, including school performance data and socio-economic markers, to review the context within which the applicant achieved their qualification.
Our two Contextual Admissions Schemes; Contextual Offer and Contextual Consideration, are both open to undergraduate applicants. The information we review is drawn from your UCAS application form, so you do not need to make a separate application or provide any additional information to be considered. Depending on your background, you may be offered a Contextual Offer or have your application reviewed holistically as part of our Contextual Consideration scheme.
Under our Contextual Offer Scheme, eligible applicants could be made an offer two grades lower than our standard conditional offer (even if your predicted grades are higher).
The two-grade reduction for Contextual Offers applies to A Level grades only and is applied across two subjects, rather than the requirement for one subject being reduced by two grades. The reduction will apply to the highest-grade requirements. Below you will see two examples of how we might adjust a grade requirement through our Contextual Offer Scheme.
Example standard offer
Example contextual offer
A Level requirement
As an applicant, you will still need to meet all other course-specific academic and non-academic entry requirements. This may include:
- minimum GCSE requirements
- course-specific subject requirements
- minimum non-academic requirements
- course-specific interview or assessment requirements
- UCAT requirements (for our five-year Medicine degree only)
Who qualifies for a Contextual Offer?
For the 2021 application cycle, applicants will be eligible for a Contextual Offer if they meet one of the two markers below.
1. Go to an eligible school
Applicants who apply from a non-selective state school in England with an average A Level grade of D+ or below, or one that is in the bottom 20% in England for progression to Higher Education are automatically eligible for consideration.
Download our list of eligible schools for 2021 entry (PDF)
Please note, that eligibility is determined based on the school at which you take your A Levels. If you completed your GCSEs at an eligible school, but then undertook your A Levels at a school that is not on this list, you will not qualify for a Contextual Offer.
2. Live in an area where very few people go on to higher education
We measure this using the Government’s POLAR4 classifications. POLAR is a measure of how likely young people in different areas of the country are to go on to higher education. This measure is updated periodically, and we are now on the fourth version – hence ‘POLAR4’.
POLAR measures the proportion of young people in each area of the country that go on to higher education. It then sorts each area into five groups (‘quintiles’) based on this rate – quintile 1 areas have the fewest people going on to higher education, and quintile 5 the most.
To be eligible for a Contextual Offer, the applicant must be in a quintile 1 or 2 area. In other words, they must be in an area that is in the bottom 40% of the country in terms of young people going into higher education.
You can check your local area on the Office for Students website.
Which courses does the Contextual Offer scheme apply to?
Applicants may be eligible for a Contextual Offer if they apply to the following undergraduate courses:
For the 2021 application cycle, applicants who are care leavers (or have been in care) will be given extra consideration during the admissions process. Applications from care leavers will be reviewed by a course tutor who may be able to offer a range of adjustments depending on an applicant's circumstances.
Therefore, it is important that care leavers declare this on their UCAS application form. There is more information for applicants who are care leavers on the UCAS website.
The contextual admissions schemes are reviewed annually for each intake and may be updated in the future.