Admissions Policy


The University of Exeter believes that a diverse community is an essential part of its core values, and that diversity amongst our student body enriches learning, teaching, and research.

The University’s Admissions Policy sets out the means by which we will encourage and welcome applicants with different educational and social backgrounds.

The policy relates to all Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes offered by the University of Exeter. Applicants interested in our Initial Teacher Education (ITE)BMBS Medicine, BSc Medical Imaging or MSci Nursing programmes are advised to review the additional Admissions Policies which are specific to these programmes.

The policy is intended to give guidance to staff and prospective students on the University’s procedures for recruiting, selecting and admitting undergraduate, postgraduate and visiting students to all campuses and online programmes.

The University is committed to ensuring that no student with potential to meet our entry requirements is deterred from applying. All applications are considered and evaluated on the basis of individual potential.

This policy is consistent with good admissions practice in higher education, as defined in the Quality Assurance Agency’s UK Quality Code for Higher Education* and the Schwartz Recommendations for Good Practice**, and complies with current legislation affecting the admission of students.

*The Quality Assurance Agency's UK Quality Code for Higher Education (2013) Chapter B2: Recruitment, selection and admission to higher education - October 2013
**Admissions to Higher Education Steering Group (2004) Fair admissions to higher education: Recommendations for good practice

Responsibility for oversight of and changes to our Admissions policy rests with the University of Exeter’s Admissions Policy Group.

General academic entry requirements

The University welcomes applications from appropriately qualified students offering a wide range of qualifications. Further details can be found on our entry requirements pages. International and European qualifications will be considered and evaluated by referring to independently published guides recognised within the United Kingdom higher education sector such as UK NARIC.

Undergraduate study only

We will treat applicants with achieved or predicted grades in the same way. All applicants retaking a qualification will be considered for all programmes.

Where predictions are not available for those applicants who are re-taking part or all of a qualification, we will normally base our assessment on the assumption that they are likely to achieve one grade higher than their original result.

The University does not discriminate against applicants who have re-taken part or all of a qualification.

In addition to any programme-specific requirements, the University would normally expect evidence of some recognised systematic course of study within the three years prior to the start of a programme. Where an applicant meets our entrance requirements but qualifications were achieved more than three years ago, the application may be referred to the Admissions Tutor for consideration.

Competence in English Language (All)

Teaching and assessment will normally take place in English. Therefore, applicants must be competent in the English language and most courses require at least GCSE English at grade 4 or C or an equivalent qualification.

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country or have not completed your education in a UKVI defined majority English-speaking country you will need to demonstrate evidence of through submission of a formal qualification approved for either undergraduate or postgraduate study at the University. Our website contains further information about our English language requirements.

Specific requirements at GCSE or equivalent (UG only)

In addition to the above, individual Colleges and programmes within the University may set minimum entry requirements for levels of attainment at GCSE or equivalent, particularly in English Language and/or Mathematics. This information will be clearly stated within entry requirements for specific programmes.

Suitability of subjects and subject combinations required

Whilst we will normally consider a wide range of subjects as appropriate for entry to our programmes, applicants are advised to check individual programme requirements, where we will in some cases advise on preferences in respect of particular subjects or subject combinations that we believe provide the best preparation for study on that programme.

Other criteria

In addition to academic qualifications, when selecting candidates we may also take into account information provided within the personal statement and reference, particularly where this reveals extenuating or mitigating circumstances which may have affected academic performance.

Acceptance of Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

We recognise that applicants may have gained experience which in some cases may be deemed equivalent to formal qualifications and may take this into account when considering applications. Applicants should supply full details of any such relevant experience as part of their application.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) allows students who enrol on award bearing taught programmes of study to claim ‘credit' for previous learning. The previous learning must be relevant to the programme for which you are applying and if successful, the credit will count towards your programme of study.

APL applications can be for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. To be considered you will need to send information on your APL to the Admissions Office (along with information on the programme you are interested in studying). You can do this by completing either the APCL application form (for certified learning) or the APEL application form (for experiential learning) and send to the Admissions Team who will liaise with the Academic College to confirm whether any of your prior learning can be accredited to your new programme of study.

A number of our postgraduate programmes also have compulsory nonacademic requirements such as evidence of work experience as part of the application being submitted. These will be detailed in the programme entry requirements.

The University reserves the right not to consider an applicant for entry if the entrant has previously been withdrawn from the University on Academic grounds, due to submission of fraudulent documentation or any other behaviour which is contrary to the Regulations, Disciplinary and other Procedures for Students.

If you are currently or have previously studied for a degree at the University of Exeter or any other Institution you will need to share details of modules studied and grades achieved to date. This information will be used to consider your suitability and propensity to succeed at Exeter. Where there is no evidence of this, we may not be in a position to offer you a place to study here.

Applicants who have previously failed any part of a medical programme at the University of Exeter or any other institution will not be considered for the BMBS Medicine programme unless extenuating circumstances have been declared. Any declaration of extenuating circumstance should be referred to the University of Exeter Medical School for initial consideration. A final decision shall lie with the Admissions Selection and Advisory Group (ASAG). All students accepted on to the programme will be required to start from the first year.

To ensure a fair and consistent admissions process, the University of Exeter will ensure that the following principles are adhered to:

  • All programmes will clearly state their entry criteria, including academic qualifications, along with appropriate experience and skills required for entry
  • Entry criteria will be easily accessible through our web site and prospectus
  • Applicants will be informed in general terms how they can demonstrate their achievements (both academic and experiential) and motivation to study
  • We will provide clear information on required entry requirements. No changes will be made to these after the 1 September in any given application cycle, unless it is to lower requirements or widen the subjects deemed acceptable.
  • Offers will normally be made within the publicised grade range.
  • When assessing the merit and potential of applicants, all information provided as part of the application may be taken into account to take into account context.
  • An offer below the normal grade range may be made in exceptional cases where there is evidence that the applicant’s grades may have been affected by individual extenuating circumstances.

Where programmes include interviews or tests as part of their selection criteria we will make this explicit to candidates, and provide details on how the interviews will be conducted and the criteria used to select successful candidates. Further information is available in our Interview Policy.

The University does not normally require candidates to provide additional written work to supplement an application, although in individual cases the University may request this and will explain the reasons for such a request.

Arrangements for interviews and submitting additional written work should include ensuring that applicants are invited to provide details of any medical, special or cultural needs that should be taken into consideration to allow any reasonable adjustments to be made.

Entry to the University is competitive and for many programmes the University receives more applications than there are places so not every applicant will receive an offer of a place. Where candidates are unsuccessful, feedback will be available upon request.

In order to support our transparent admissions system we recognise an applicant’s request to know why their application was deemed unsuccessful. We will provide feedback on an individual basis in response to receiving a formal request via the online form from the applicant within 10 working days of the decision being communicated. The request must include:

  • UCAS Personal Identification Number or Exeter Reference Number
  • Full Name
  • Date of birth
  • Course name applied for

Feedback will only be given in written format (not over the telephone or in person) within 10 working days of receipt of the request. The Admissions Team will not consider an application that has been re-submitted in the same cycle in light of the feedback provided for the same programme, however we would consider for an alternative programme.

In line with our Data Protection policies we will not be able to provide feedback to anyone other than the applicant unless Admissions have been advised to do so (see Discussing your application with others).  The feedback will be sent to the email address the applicant has provided on their application form. Therefore please be sure to inform the Admissions Office of any changes.

If an applicant wishes to appeal against a decision in light of their feedback they will need to refer to the complaints procedures.

If you have applied directly to the University or if you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Admissions Office
The Innovation Centre
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive
Exeter, UK


  • UK callers: 0844 6200012 - Calls to this number are charged at 3p per minute from a standard BT line. Calls from a mobile may vary.
  • EU/International callers: +44(0)1392 723044

Web: Enquire online
Fax: +44(0)1392 722479

Late applications: Undergraduate study 

Applicants who apply by the UCAS equal consideration date of 15 October for medicine and 15 January for all other programmes, will receive full and equal consideration. Later applications will be considered on an individual basis if places are still available on the relevant programme.

Late applications: Postgraduate study

If there are spaces available you can apply up to the start of your programme. In deciding when to submit your application you should take into account factors such as securing accommodation and, if appropriate, applying for funding.

If you require a visa to study it is a particularly important that allow at least 4 weeks for both the visa process once you have secured a firm unconditional offer.

For further information on our advisory deadlines for postgraduate taught study please view our apply webpage and for Postgraduate Research study please view our How to apply pages.

Undergraduate study

The UCAS application form includes a number of questions which give us details about the context in which applicants have achieved their academic qualifications (see below).

Evidence of contextual factors will not necessarily mean that preference will be given to a candidate, as each case will be considered on its individual merits. However, in cases where there is clear evidence that contextual factors have affected performance and achievement, and where the applicant is able to demonstrate motivation and potential to achieve, the University will consider this as part of its holistic assessment of the application and take it into account when deciding whether to make an offer and the level of offer to be made.

There are three main elements of contextual information that we will consider where it is available from your UCAS application form. This information will be used together with publicly available datasets to provide the following information:

  1. Your home address will be assessed using the HEFCE POLAR4 Low Participation Neighbourhood (LPN) data.
  2. Whether you have been looked after or in care during your schooling.
  3. The performance of the school or college where you took or are taking your qualifications.

We recognise that non-academic excellence adds value to the University and that students who excel in non-academic areas (such as sport or music) can make a specific additional contribution to the University. We may therefore take into account non-academic excellence in our offer-making process. 

Postgraduate study

We consider applications holistically to inform our decision making but there may be occasions where the applicant and/or their referee asks us to take account of specific factors which may have affected performance, and to consider this in making an offer.

Evidence of contextual factors will not necessarily mean that preference will be given to candidates, as each case will be considered on its individual merits. However, in cases where there is clear evidence that contextual factors have affected performance and achievement, and where the applicant is able to demonstrate motivation and potential to achieve, the University will consider this as part of its holistic assessment of the application.

We encourage all applicants to complete the declaration of disability and indicate any special requirements (in particular to your health) on the application form if appropriate. This will not affect your chances of being offered a place but will help us plan for your support.

We would usually expect reasonable adjustments to have been made to assessments to allow us to consider academic achievement against the same criteria used for applicants not declaring a disability.

However, if an applicant or referee feels that reasonable adjustments made during assessments were not sufficient to allow fair consideration of an applicant declaring a disability, this should be made clear as part of the application with supporting evidence provided if appropriate. We will then consider this information when making a decision on the application.

Information about the support that the University provides for students declaring a disability is available from our AccessaAbility team.

Responsibility of applicants in the application process

It is the responsibility of applicants to:

  • provide full and accurate information in an application to the University;
  • disclose to the University any circumstances or relevant unspent convictions which would:
    • prevent you from participating or completing your chosen programme of study;
    • or restrict you from engaging in University life;
  • notify the University of any changes or corrections to the original application.

By accepting an offer of admission, the applicant agrees to abide by the rules and regulations of the University. If the University becomes aware that an applicant, prior to registering as a student, has failed to abide by these rules and regulations, an offer to study may be withdrawn.

In the light of additional information which was not available at the time of selection, an offer may be amended or, in exceptional circumstances, withdrawn. The University also reserves the right to correct errors where they have been made in the communication of decisions and offers. 

The University reserves the right to exclude a candidate who is considered on justifiable grounds to be unsuitable for a place on a particular programme according to individual circumstances.

Rejection or withdrawal of an offer resulting from applicant behaviour

The University reserves the right to reject or withdraw an offer based on an applicant’s behaviour. This is from the point of making an application and not prior, and can include, but is not limited to, behaviour during a visit to the University (such as attending an interview or general visit to the university and University organised offsite events for applicants), behaviour in correspondence with the University or behaviour on social media. An applicant is expected to display behaviour/s that are in line with the University’s Equality and Diversity and Dignity and Respect policies (which all students and staff of the University are required to adhere to).

It is important to recognise that the use of social media can pose risks which impact on the wellbeing of others and the reputation of the University. Therefore we expect applicants to apply the same standards of conduct online as they are expected to apply offline.

The University is committed to a policy of equality of opportunity and aims to provide a working, learning and social environment that is free from unfair discrimination, bullying or harassment. It aims to ensure that staff, students, visitors and all others associated with the University are treated with dignity, respect, and equity, regardless of inappropriate distinctions, such as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation (as identified under the Equality Act 2010 as 'protected characteristics').

Changes or errors in predicted grades (UG)

For the BMBS (A100) programme, changes in predicted grades due to an error when the grades were entered will only be considered if received within 14 days of the equal consideration deadline (for example if the equal consideration deadline is 15 October, changes in predicted grades due to error will only be considered if received by 29 October). Where an error in predicted grades comes to light after this date, if it places an applicant in a tier where they would have been invited to interview they will be placed on a reserve list and invited if interview places become available. Please note that this policy applies to errors in predicted grades only – all other reasons for a change in predicted grades will not be considered.

For all other programmes, whilst we will endeavour to consider any changes or errors in predicted grades this will be subject to a programme still being open and places still available. Post the 15 January equal consideration deadline, and/or once a programme has been closed for entry, we cannot guarantee reconsideration.

The offer-making process

Where an applicant has applied through UCAS the University will communicate our decision through the official channels of UCAS and a detailed offer email will be sent by Admissions.

Where an applicant has applied directly to the University, a decision will be communicated directly to the applicant by email from Admissions, and will be visible on the ‘The Gateway’ for those applying for postgraduate study.

Where a candidate has applied for one programme and is not successful, an alternative programme may be offered on any of our campuses.

An offer, whether conditional or unconditional, will be made in good faith taking into account information as supplied by the applicant and/or referee at the time of the application. In some circumstances, an offer may be conditional upon non-academic requirements, e.g. Police checks which are deemed satisfactory, however we do not make unconditional offers to those who have not met our academic standards unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Accepting an offer for postgraduate study

If you have an offer for a full-time taught postgraduate programme you will need to pay a deposit to secure your place. You should pay your deposit by the deadline even if you have not yet met all the conditions of your offer.

If you have an offer for a part-time or research degree, you should contact us to confirm acceptance. Remember to include your full name, Exeter reference number and programme title in your reply.

Confirmation of results: undergraduate study

‘Confirmation’ refers to the period in August each year when the University receives examination results for applicants who have accepted Conditional offers. Applicants who achieve the grades required by their Conditional offer have their place confirmed. Applications from candidates who have not met the required grades exactly are reviewed and their places may be confirmed if space is available, although no guarantee is made that this will be possible.

All conditions of offers must be met in full by 12 noon on the 31 August to guarantee a place for entry in the year of application. If conditions are met after this point we may be able to confirm a deferred place.

The Confirmation procedure includes receiving and processing electronic data from UCAS which, in turn, receives and processes electronic results data from the examination boards. The University reserves the right to amend the offer in light of an electronic error.

Alternative offers

Upon receipt of your results (or non-academic information required as part of your offer) if you have either accepted your place as firm or insurance choice but you have not met the exact conditions of your offer (please note, that the University does not guarantee to confirm grade equivalencies unless otherwise stated) the University reserves the right to make you an offer on an alternative programme or the same programme on a different campus (we offer some programmes at our Exeter campuses which are Streatham and St Luke’s and also at our Penryn Campus in Cornwall). Please note, that offers for the Penryn Campus will be highlighted by the campus code C on UCAS Track.

If you are made an offer for an alternative programme at confirmation (when your results are received), you will be notified of this via email and/or text message and it will appear and be highlighted in your UCAS Track. When an alternative offer is made you are under no obligation to accept it and should you decline, you will either be released to your insurance choice or into UCAS clearing.

Should you wish to opt-out of the alternative offer service, once you have accepted your place (firm or insurance) please contact us online stating “Alternative Offer Opt-Out” in the subject of your email quoting your full name, UCAS Personal ID and programme of intended study with 14 days of accepting your offer. Please note that if you opt out of this service but subsequently change your mind, we cannot guarantee to consider you for alternative programmes and you may be required to apply for any vacancies via UCAS Clearing.

Meeting your conditions: Postgraduate study

Applicants who meet the requirements of their conditional offer and provide the required documentation to demonstrate this, will have their place confirmed. Applications from candidates who have not met the requirements, are reviewed and their places may be confirmed if space is available: no guarantee is made that this will be possible. For programmes that have the standard entry date in September all conditions of offers must be met in full by the 31 August to guarantee a place for entry in the year of application. For all other start dates, the conditions of offer must be met a minimum of 1 month before the official start date of the programme. If conditions are met after this point we may need to make an offer of a deferred place.

Applicants who are studying a progression programme at the University of Exeter INTO Centre may have adjusted deadlines if their INTO programme finishes after 31 August.

Applicants who meet the requirements of their conditional offer and provide the required documentation to demonstrate this, will have their place confirmed. Applications from candidates who have not met the requirements, are reviewed and their places may be confirmed if space is available: no guarantee is made that this will be possible. For programmes that have the standard entry date in September all conditions of offers must be met in full by the 31 August to guarantee a place for entry in the year of application. For all other start dates, the conditions of offer must be met a minimum of 1 month before the official start date of the programme. If conditions are met after this point we may need to make an offer of a deferred place.

Applicants who are studying a progression programme at the University of Exeter INTO Centre may have adjusted deadlines if their INTO programme finishes after 31 August.

International students

The University of Exeter is required by UK Visas and Immigration t to check that all international students have the right to study and also to keep a copy of your passport and visa.  All international students are required to present these documents, as well as the qualifications documents which demonstrate that you have passed the qualification that your offer was based on.

Tier 4 Visa to study at the University

Checks during Admissions Process

Before issuing an offer of a place, the University will check to ensure that international applicants satisfy the requirements of UKVI’s Tier 4 guidance.  This includes assessing academic progression and ensuring that the offer of a place will not lead the applicant to be in breach of the Tier 4 study cap.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

A CAS is a unique reference number which is assigned and used by UKVI. Applicants are required to input their CAS number on their visa application to link it to details about them and their programme which the University has uploaded to UKVI’s online portal.

The University generates the CAS. Once your offer is unconditional and has been firmly accepted. (for full-time postgraduate taught programmes a deposit or evidence of official sponsorship or a professional career development loan will be required to meet this).

Visa applications can only be submitted in the 3 months prior to your planned start date. The University therefore starts to contact applicants starting programmes in September about their CAS in May.

You can find information on how to apply for your Tier 4 visa on our website

ATAS clearance

A number of our programmes fall within a list of subjects which require Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance.  If you require ATAS, it is important that you allow sufficient time for your application to be decided before applying for your Tier 4 visa. The university will not issue your CAS until we have received a copy of your ATAS certificate. 

The University will keep admissions documentation for all students who enrol/register at the University for the duration of their studies and for six years after.

Unless specifically requested, we ask that you do not send original documents in advance of your arrival at the University as we cannot guarantee the safe return via the postal system.

As part of the admissions process, if you are not successful in gaining a place at the University we will keep your documentation for a minimum of six months. Within 6-12 months of receiving an unsuccessful decision all documentation in relation to your application will be confidentially destroyed/deleted.

If you are offered a place at the University and decline, withdraw or fail to enrol, all your documentation will be held for a minimum of six months. Subsequently, all documentation will be confidentially destroyed/deleted within 12 months of an applicant declining, withdrawing or in the event of non-enrolment.

Further information regarding data rights can be found on our data protection webpages

In certain circumstances the University may need to share your data with a third party external organisation in order to reach a decision on, or progress your application. In such circumstances we are committed to protecting your data in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation.

Our Applicants Privacy Policy provides full information about how and why we process, use and, where necessary, share the personal data you provide to us as an applicant, and how we protect it.

The University is committed to providing a fair and accessible admissions system. To achieve this all staff involved in recruitment and selection must be appropriately trained for their roles.

Related policies 

The Admissions Policy is underpinned by a number of other policy statements offering specific guidance on aspects of the process or for specific kinds of applicant:


The University reserves the right to make variations to programme contents, entry requirements and methods of delivery, and to discontinue, merge or combine programmes, both before and after a student’s admission to the University, if such action is reasonably considered necessary by the University.

In the event that, prior to the student commencing the first term of study, the University discontinues the programme, the student may either:

  1. withdraw from the University without any liability for fees, or
  2. transfer to such other programme (if any) as may be offered by the University, for which the student is qualified subject to Dean’s approval.

If in these circumstances the student wishes to withdraw from the University and to enrol in a course at a different University, the University shall use its reasonable endeavours to assist the student.

Ratified by the Admissions Policy Group, May 2020