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Fitness to Practise and Criminal Convictions

We welcome applications from people from all backgrounds with the potential and determination to succeed on our programmes of study. There are different requirements for disclosure of information based on whether you wish to study a regulated or non-regulated programme. Please note that the declaration of a criminal conviction does not mean an applicant is ineligible for a programme.

For full details please see our policy for Applicants declaring a criminal conviction‌.

In addition, applicants to programmes that include 'Fitness to Practise' considerations will need to undertake additional checks and may be required to declare criminal convictions that are 'spent' but excluding any convictions that would not appear on an Enhanced DBS Check (for further details please see the DBS web pages). For further details about our policy please see our policy regarding Fitness to Practise - admissions stage‌. ‌

For further information about consideration of applicants declaring criminal convictions or 'Fitness to Practise' considerations please email

Occupational Health Checks

Successful candidates for some programmes must have an occupational health check before they take up their post to ensure that they are physically and psychologically capable of doing the job, and that they do not present a risk to the vulnerable people that they will be working with.

The University has an obligation to ensure that our student’s health status is in compliance with the requirements of our placement providers. An occupational health screening process is required by the regulatory bodies of some programmes and is therefore an integral part of the application process with regard to Fitness to Practise.

Police Checks

Programmes that include ‘Fitness to Practise’ considerations may require applicants to undertake police checks prior to admission to the programme.

Self-disclosure form

As part of our procedures all students undertaking police checks are also asked to complete a self-disclosure form. The form will be emailed to you if you firmly accept an offer from us. A completed copy of this form must be returned to us which will ensure you receive an email with details for completing the online DBS application form. If you are applying to a PGCE programme this form will also be used to provisionally register you with the General Teaching Council for England.

Photographic identification

As part of our DBS Enhanced check application process, all applicants must undergo visual identity verification checks and provide photographic evidence as part of the visual identity process, eg a passport, driving licence, national identity card or a residence permit card. During the interviews held for PGCE, medicine and medical imaging programmes, a member of staff will be available to collect documents for your DBS application and verify visual identity.

If a visual identity verification cannot be carried out during an interview then applicants must provide a recent photograph along with a completed DBS Photograph Identification Form. Applicants can download the relevant form for their programme below. A copy of the photograph is held in the Admissions Office and checked against receipt of official DBS documentation.‌

Completing an Enhanced DBS Check

In some cases, including for all of our PGCE programmes and some of our Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes, applicants need to apply (via the University of Exeter) for an Enhanced Check from the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS).

We use a DBS online provider, i.e. First Advantage OnlineDisclosures, for the majority of our DBS police checks. Further details can be found below:

Following completion of a self-disclosure form, an email containing information about the online DBS application form will follow. You will need to register first with  First AdvantageOnlineDisclosures, then input the organisation pin and the secret word which the University will provide. You will need to complete the online form with all of your personal details. This must include all of your addresses for the past 5 years – to include any overseas or travelling addresses and any previous student addresses.

Your DBS certificate will be posted to the main address you use. This must be a secure address and will need to be supported by an addressed document such as a bank statement or utility bill. An address outside of the UK cannot be used as the main address on a DBS application and, in some circumstances, it will be possible to use the DBS University address. If you think this may apply to you please contact

A further verification meeting will not need to be arranged if we met you at your interview. Therefore please ignore any emails you receive from  First Advantage about a verification meeting. Once the University has verified your DBS online application form you will receive an email regarding payment options. You will pay First Advantage OnlineDisclosures direct.

If a DBS check is deemed necessary then any research-based activities or placements must not be carried out until the University has cleared the DBS check. You must allow at least 6 weeks for the DBS process to be finalised; the DBS certificate will be dispatched to the applicant only. The University will receive details of clear DBS certificates from our online provider. If the DBS certificate is not clear, i.e. it contains information about any previous criminal convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings, we will contact you as we will need to see the original DBS certificate.

It is the responsibility of the applicant or current student to forward the original certificate to us before the DBS process is deemed satisfactory and complete (for those deemed 'not clear' by our online provider). These conditions remain irrespective of whether you have enrolled or commenced studies. The University may withdraw the offer of a place, or terminate your studies, if information is received that may have a bearing on your suitability to work with children or vulnerable adults or you fail to meet the suitability requirements for admission.

Please note that we cannot accept Enhanced DBS checks you may have already received from other registered bodies unless you have joined the DBS update service and your previous DBS certificate matches exactly the DBS requirements of your course, e.g. the same workforce and level of DBS check.

Your DBS check will generally be deemed acceptable for the duration of the programme. If you already have a DBS check completed through the University of Exeter (excluding checks taken with partners including the Students Guild) you may not be required to undertake a new check. If there is no break in your studies at the University (excluding University vacations) and your recent University of Exeter DBS check is less than three years old at the point the new DBS check application is required, you may not need to complete a new check. However, these checks do not transfer between different programmes and by completing one programme and starting another will be deemed a break in your studies. A new suitability self-disclosure form will be required in all cases even when a new DBS check is not deemed necessary. Contact the DBS team to discuss further.

Please note that the University reserves the right to insist on a repeat DBS check being carried out, and some programmes will require a new DBS check for all those joining the programme irrespective of the existence of another recent DBS check. Please see Appendix 1 of the University Fitness to Practise (Admissions Stage) Policy for further details.

DBS Update Service

If you have applied for your current DBS certificate after 17 June 2013 and have registered with the ‘Update Service’, we may be able to carry out a ‘Status Check’ on your current DBS check, providing it is for the correct workforce (child and / or adult) and at the appropriate level (Enhanced). If your DBS check is not at the appropriate level or for the correct workforce, you will be required to apply for a new DBS check. 

For full information on the Update Service please view the DBS applicant guide.

Identity documents required for a DBS check

Please view the documents required on the DBS webpages which also explain the identification routes. To enable your identity to be verified using Route One, you will need to provide one of the six following documents.

  • Passport
  • Biometric residence permit for the UK
  • UK, Channel Isles or Isle of Man photo card driving licence
  • EU photo card driving licence
  • UK birth certificate issued within 12 months of birth
  • Adoption certificate UK & Channel Islands

PGCE, medicine and medical imaging applicants are required to bring along DBS supporting documents to their interview. If DBS documents are not provided at interview then applicants will be expected to post these to the DBS admissions office at a later date.

PLEASE NOTE that undergraduate applicants who have applied through UCAS must satisfy all non-academic conditions by 31 July of the year of entry. For UK applicants this means a satisfactory DBS check and any overseas police checks which are required. For overseas applicants this means a satisfactory police check from any countries you have resided in outside of the UK during the past 10 years.

Police checks for periods lived outside the UK

If you have never lived in the United Kingdom (UK) or have spent more than 12 months living outside the UK in the last 10 years, please read these additional notes.

Processing fee

For online DBS application forms – The current fee of £46.77 is made online via the  First Advantage Online Disclosure website. Payment options will be emailed to the applicant once their form has been verified by the University and deemed satisfactory to be countersigned.

Contact us

If you need to contact us regarding a DBS Enhanced check application please use the following details:

  • Email:
  • Telephone: 0300 555 6060 for UK callers, +44 (0)1392 723044for overseas callers
  • Address:
    DBS Admissions Office
    University of Exeter
    Innovation Centre
    Rennes Drive
    EX4 4RN

If you need to contact the DBS their telephone number is 03000 200 190 and their address is:

PO Box 3961
Wootton Bassett SN4 4HF

Further information

For further information about the DBS and the disclosure process, please visit the Disclosure & Barring Service website.

Further information relating to DBS filtering rules can be found at: