Admissions policy

The University of Stirling is committed to admitting students on the basis of their merit and potential to succeed and who will contribute to our welcoming, supportive, inclusive and culturally diverse community. This policy covers admission to both undergraduate and postgraduate study and information in this section is relevant to all applicants.

1 Admissions Principles

The University of Stirling is committed to the following Admissions Principles:

  • Selection of students based on academic and personal merit
  • Transparency
  • Consistency
  • Reliable and credible selection methods
  • Reducing barriers to admission
  • Professionalism

The University of Stirling’s Admissions Policy is directly aligned with the University Strategic Plan (2016-2021).  It complies with the Quality Assurance Agency UK Quality Code for Higher Education, Supporting Professionalism in Admissions good practice guidance on Admissions Policies and guidelines from Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).  In addition it complies with the Equality Act (2010) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The University Admissions Policy covers admission to all undergraduate and postgraduate study and is valid for admission to courses in academic year 2020/21 and thereafter.  

The policy is developed and monitored by Admissions and Access on behalf of the University and is approved by Academic Council.

2 Admissions Process

2.1 Roles and Responsibilities

Admissions and Access are responsible for all relevant policies and procedures and ensuring that they are applied in a consistent and fair manner, complying with legislation and good practice guidance. Admissions and Access staff have delegated authority on behalf of the University to make admissions decisions for undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses.

2.2 Applications Processing

Admissions and Access are responsible for processing all applications and notifying applicants of the admissions decision.

2.3 Applying for Deferred Entry

Applicants who have been offered a place and who wish to defer their offer to the next academic year can apply to do so by contacting Admissions and Access. If permission is granted to defer admission, it will only be granted for one academic year. Thereafter, applicants should re-apply.

2.4 Alternative offers

The University reserves the right to make an offer for an alternative course.

2.5 Withdrawal of Applications/Offers

The University reserves the right to withdraw an application or an offer at any point in the admissions process or to refer cases for further investigation. This includes if any part of the application is found to be falsified, plagiarised or the applicant fails to provide the required information or documentation within the requested timeframe. Where an offer is withdrawn due to falsified documentation or information, there will be no refund of any monies paid to the University.

2.6 Re-admission

Students who have previously withdrawn from, or have been withdrawn by the University can apply for re-admission. The University reserves the right to refuse re-admission including those who have been disciplined and/or expelled under Ordinance 2, Code of Student Discipline. Re-admission decisions will be taken in consultation with the Education and Student Experience Committee.

2.7 Extenuating Circumstances

The University will consider extenuating circumstances that occur before or after an offer has been made and where there is evidence of impact on the applicant’s ability to study.

2.8 International Equivalencies

Admissions and Access assess international qualifications and make decisions on appropriate international equivalencies. These equivalencies are based on market information provided by the UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC), the National Agency responsible for providing information on academic, vocational and professional qualifications. Equivalencies will be reviewed annually.

2.9 Previous Study in the UK

The University has a licence to sponsor international applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) are the UK government body which has responsibility for who has the right to study in the UK. The University as a licence holder can only sponsor students to study at the University who meet the conditions as set out in the relevant UKVI guidance. Applicants requiring a student visa must declare all previous periods of study in the UK.

2.10 Academic Technology Approval Scheme

Applicants from outside the UK, EEA or Switzerland who wish to study certain subjects may require to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate. The University will advise applicants whether they are required to apply for this certification.  If ATAS certification is denied and an applicant is in receipt of a conditional offer then the University will reject the applicant on failure to meet a condition of offer. Any applicant who has ATAS certification rejected will not be admitted by the University to an alternative programme of study.

2.11 English Language

The University teaches and assesses students in English. If English is not an applicants first language, the University will require evidence of their English language skills. Specific English Language requirements are listed on each course page on the University website.

The University adheres to guidance on English Language issued by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in order to sponsor students to enter the UK. This guidance is subject to revision.

The University accepts a wide range of evidence of English Language tests and evidence. Read further information on English Language.

3.0 Recognition of Prior Learning

The University recognises prior learning and this may be used in the following ways:

  • enables applicants to meet entry requirements for a programme of study
  • enables applicants to be considered for advanced entry, having previously achieved learning outcomes for a programme of study
  • allows exemption from particular modules on a programme of study

4.0 Tuition Fees

4.1 Fees

Funding arrangements vary according to country of residence. Applicants who are liable to pay fees will be required to pay for each year of study. Fees are payable at the point of enrolment and may be subject to revision.

Further information on fees.

4.2 Fee Status

Fee status is determined using the regulations approved by the Scottish Parliament, the Education (Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2011. The University determines fee status according to nationality and (where you are ordinarily resident) based on information provided in the application. Additional information may be requested in order to make an assessment.  The University makes offers on the basis of fee status and may withdraw the offer if the fee status changes.  If you are unclear about your fee status, please complete this form and return it to admissionschecks@stir.ac.uk.

4.3 International Tuition Fee Deposit

International applicants who need a student visa will be required to pay a tuition fee deposit in advance of receiving the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

The tuition fee deposit is non-refundable unless there are mitigating circumstances which are detailed in the Tuition Fee Deposit Refund Guidance and Form.

5.0 Accessibility and Inclusion

The University welcomes applications from those with different circumstances and seeks to ensure appropriate support arrangements and reasonable adjustments are made prior to students commencing their studies.

Applicants are encouraged to declare a disability on the application, which will be used to identify support requirements and will not be part of the academic decision to make an offer of admission (Equality Act 2010).

Further information on accessibility and inclusion

6.0 Equal Opportunities

All applications are assessed in accordance with the University’s equality and diversity commitments and obligations as set out in its Equality and Diversity Policy and in line with the latest professional guidance.

Further information on equality and diversity

7.0 Criminal Convictions

The University strives to create a safe and welcoming community for our students, staff and visitors. We are committed to the rehabilitation of offenders and understand the role of higher education in supporting that process.

In order to facilitate a safe environment and protect the University community, the University will collect and record information from our applicants or offer holders on any relevant, criminal convictions that they may have.

Applicants who declare a criminal conviction will be required to provide full details of the conviction(s) which will be anonymised and passed to the Fitness to Practice Panel or relevant Academic Panel to consider a full risk assessment before confirming the admissions decision. The academic admissions decision is taken separately however if the decision is not to admit the applicant on the basis of the criminal conviction, the University reserves the right to withdraw the offer.

The University also has a requirement to know if an applicant or offer holder or is under investigation by the Police or where Criminal proceedings are underway. It is the responsibility of the offer holder or applicant to report this to the University by emailing admissionschecks@stir.ac.uk.

Further information: Guidance and advice on criminal convictions and Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme membership for applicants.

8.0 Fitness to Practice

Applicants for Nursing must be passed fit to practice by Occupational Health. This will require submission of a questionnaire and an interview. A Fitness to Practice panel may be convened to determine the applicant’s fitness for accessing practice placements.

9.0 Data Protection

The University is a data controller in terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). All personal data will be treated strictly in accordance with the terms of the GDPR, respecting confidentiality and ensuring appropriate security measures are taken to prevent unauthorised disclosure.

The University is only able to share information to a third party (e.g. a parent, guardian, advisor or agent) with the written consent of the applicant. Further information is available in the Privacy Notice for Applicants to Study.

10.0 Feedback, Appeals and Complaints

10.1 Feedback on Unsuccessful Applications

The University is committed to fairness and transparency in its admissions process and will respond to requests for feedback on unsuccessful applications. All feedback will be given in writing and in accordance with Data Protection legislation, will be directly with the applicant.  No information will be released to a third party without the prior written consent of the applicant.

All requests should be made in writing, providing full name, student number or UCAS Personal ID and the programme of study applied for and sent to admissions@stir.ac.uk

10.2 Appeals

Appeals against an admissions decision will only be considered where there is significant additional information, which for good reason was not made available during the application or selection process and is directly relevant to the admissions decision.

All requests should be made in writing, providing full name, student number or UCAS Personal ID and the programme of study applied for and sent to admissions@stir.ac.uk

10.3 Complaints

Applicants or their representatives who are dissatisfied with the service provided by Admissions and Access should refer to the University Complaints Procedure.  This procedure cannot be used to change an admissions decision.

Further information about complaints

11.0 Cancellation and Changes to Programmes

University courses, services and procedures are continually reviewed, enhanced and revised and this may result in changes to or cancellation of courses.  Where any changes or cancellations occur, the University will inform the applicant.

12.0 Terms and Conditions

The University student terms and conditions apply to all applicants and prospective students, both undergraduate and postgraduate.

Further information on the student terms and conditions

13.0 Undergraduate Admissions

Information in this section is relevant to applicants for all undergraduate study.

13.1 Admissions Process

Applications for undergraduate study should be submitted to the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS).

Applicants who are regarded as International for Tuition Fee purposes and who only want to apply to the University of Stirling, can apply directly through course pages on the University website.

13.2 Entry Requirements and Selection Process

The University believes in a diverse student population and welcomes applications from those with non-standard qualifications, with prior experiential learning, and from access routes into higher education.

Typical entry requirements are published in the university prospectuses, website and a range of third party sites, including UCAS. To study at the University, each applicant needs to meet the general entrance requirements.  Some courses may have subject and/or grade specific requirements.

Admissions and Access work with faculties to evaluate entry requirements and selection criteria as part of the programme approval process. Undergraduate entry requirements are approved by the University Strategy and Policy Group.

The University considers the applicants predicted and actual academic achievements, taking into account the subjects studied and the grades.  It will also check for competence in any specific subject(s) required for particular courses and some course will have a secondary selection process, for example an interview. The University will also consider the context in which these qualifications have been achieved.          

The University is under no obligation to make an offer of admission even if the applicant has met the entry requirements. The following information will be given consideration when making an admissions decision:

  • Educational qualifications achieved or in progress
  • Personal statement
  • Reference
  • Written work (if applicable)
  • Interview (if applicable)
  • English language (if applicable)
  • Work experience (if applicable)
  • Professional requirements (if applicable)
  • Contextual information (if applicable)

13.3 Application Deadlines

The University adheres to the 15 January UCAS deadline for equal consideration for Home/EU undergraduate applicants. Rest of UK (RUK), international and those using the Common Application can apply up until the 30 June.

Applications for Clearing and Adjustment open on 30 June and if places are available, they will be advertised on the University website.

13.4 Gathered Field Admissions

The University operates a ‘gathered field’ admissions process which means applications are considered after the application deadline. It is used for specific programmes of study which are high demand and also where places for Scottish and EU undergraduates are capped by the Scottish Funding Council.

13.5 Rolling Admissions

The University will use a rolling admissions process where there is no specific cap on the number of students who can be admitted to a programme or where there are no restrictions on the number of places available for international or Rest of UK (RUK) undergraduate applicants (except for courses with a secondary selection process). This means that applications will be processed on an ongoing basis.

13.6 Point of Entry

UCAS applicants have an option to enter a point of entry against each of their five course choices. The University will consider applicants for the point of entry that is entered on the application form and is under no obligation to consider the application for different point of entry.

13.7 Evidence of Academic Attainment

Applicants applying through UCAS and undertaking the International Baccalaureate, Scottish Highers, Advanced Highers and A-Levels who are undertaking those exams in the same year of entry as their University course may not require to provide copies, as they are verified by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Applicants with other qualifications are required to produce scanned copies of original documents for qualifications obtained either as part of the application process or at the request of Admissions and Access after an offer has been made. Applicants who require a student visa must take original documentation to their UK Visa Immigration interview.

In addition, applicants who require a student visa must provide:

  • a copy of the personal details page of a valid passport
  • a copy of the current student visa, if the applicant is currently studying in the UK
  • declare all previous periods of study in the UK

14.0 Widening Access

The University recognises that not all applicants have the same opportunities and is committed to admitting students from a wide range of backgrounds.

14.1 Contextual Admissions

The University will use contextual information alongside the UCAS application to assess the applicant, taking into account their personal and educational circumstances. Applicants from the following categories will be considered for an offer at the minimum entry requirement:

  • Applicant’s home postcode is within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20%
  • Applicant's home postcode is within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 40%
  • Applicant part of the Schools for Higher Education Programme (SHEP)
  • Applicant has experience of being in care
  • Applicant is a carer
  • Applicant has participated in the University of Stirling Access to Degree Studies Programme
  • Applicant has participated in the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP)

For SQA Higher qualifications, the minimum entry requirement is adjusted by two grades.

SQA Higher

Typical

Entry  Requirement

SQA Higher

Minimum

Entry Requirement

AAAB

ABBB

AABB

BBBB

Other qualifications from school and college will be considered as well as combinations of Highers and Advanced Highers.

14.2 Care Experienced Applicants

The term care experienced refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after. This care may have been provided in a one of many different settings such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care, or through being looked-after at home with a supervision requirement.

The University is committed to increasing the number of applications from those who are care experienced. If an applicant who is care experienced, meets the minimum entry requirement the University guarantees an offer of a place.

Further information for care experience applicants.

14.3 Mature Applicants

The University welcomes applications from a range of approved access courses which are specifically designed for mature applicants with few or no formal qualifications and who have been out of education for more than three years.

Further information: Advice and guidance for mature students

14.4 Young and Adult Carers

The University welcomes applications from those with caring commitments. Applicants who looks after a family member or friend who is ill, disabled, or suffering from an addiction are strongly advised to notify the University at the point of application.

Further information: Young and adult carers

15.0 Postgraduate Admissions

Information in this section is relevant to applicants for all postgraduate study.

15.1 Admissions Process

Applications for postgraduate study should be submitted directly to the University, and can be made up to two years in advance of the course start date.

15.2 Entry Requirements and Selection Process

The University believes in a diverse student population and welcomes applications from those with non-standard qualification and with prior experiential learning.

Admissions and Access work with faculties to evaluate entry requirements and selection criteria as part of the programme approval process. Postgraduate entry requirements are agreed and reviewed annually. Requirements are published in the university prospectuses, website and a range of third party sites.

The University considers the applicants predicted and actual academic achievements, taking into account the subjects studied and the grades. It will also check for competence in any specific subject(s) required for particular areas of study and some course will have a secondary selection process, for example a piece of written work.

The University is under no obligation to make an offer of admission even if the applicant has met the entry requirements. The following information will be given consideration when making an admissions decision:

  • Educational qualifications achieved or in progress
  • Personal statement
  • Reference
  • English language (if applicable)
  • Research proposal (if applicable)
  • Professional requirements (if applicable)
  • Work experience (if applicable)
  • Written work (if applicable)
  • Additionally some programmes may have specific entry requirements and these are listed on individual course web pages

15.3 Application Deadlines

There are no application deadlines for postgraduate study; applications will be considered throughout the year. International applicants requiring a student visa are advised to apply at least eight weeks in advance of the start date.

15.4 Evidence of Academic Attainment

Applicants are required to produce scanned copies of original documents for qualifications obtained as part of the application process or at the request of Admissions and Access.

In addition, applicants who require a student visa must provide:

  • a copy of the personal details page of a valid passport
  • a copy of the current student visa if the applicant is currently studying in the UK
  • declare all previous periods of study in the UK

15.5 Postgraduate Research Degrees

Applications for research degrees must be submitted directly to the University. There are no deadlines and applications can be submitted throughout the year. Submission of a research proposal is part of the application process and an offer of a place will be dependent on the availability of suitable supervisory and resource arrangements. Further information on how to apply for a postgraduate research degree.

Admissions and Access
October 2020

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