Undergraduate admissions policy

Undergraduate admissions policy

1. Principles

The Admissions Policy provides the basis for the admissions practice across the University and sets out a framework for how the University selects and admits students.

The University of Surrey offers a high quality learning environment, which supports students to achieve their full potential in the academic discipline and prepares them for professional life. It is University policy that all applicants are considered primarily on merit and their academic potential.

The University’s Admissions Policy is committed to:

  • Providing transparent, consistent and efficient information
  • Selecting applicants who are able to complete the programme as judged by their achievements and potential
  • Using reliable assessment methods, including consideration of evidence provided, and where appropriate, auditions and interviews
  • Minimising barriers in line with the University’s Access Agreement with the Office of Fair Access

Initially, applicants will be considered for entry based on the following criteria:

  • Review of prior academic achievement of the applicant
  • Review of predicted examination results where results are not yet known
  • Review of the personal statement in support of the application
  • Review of the referee’s assessment of an applicant’s ability

See Sections 3 and 4 for full details of admissions and selection criteria

2. Roles and responsibilities

The role of the University of Surrey Admissions Office is to ensure that policies and procedures are implemented in a fair and consistent way in line with relevant legislation and University strategy.

3. Admissions Criteria

The Vice-President and Vice-Chancellor, together with the University Executive Board, have responsibility for setting the entry criteria for the admission of students and will annually confirm the minimum entry requirements for all levels of provision.  General entrance requirements, including the required minimum level of English Language proficiency, are set and reviewed by the University Marketing, Recruitment, Admissions & Communications Committee. Applicants should consider the following points:

  • Details of programme specific entry criteria can be found on the programme pages of the University website and on the UCAS website.
  • Prior to entry, minimum levels must be obtained in GCSE (or equivalent) qualifications in English Language, Mathematics and in some cases Science. The details of these requirements are published on the programme pages of the University website.
  • Applicants must provide evidence that they possess at least the minimum level of English Language proficiency as set by the University Marketing, Recruitment, Admissions & Communications Committee.  Details of the English Language requirements are published on the programme pages of the university website. For further details, please refer to the English Language Policy https://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/policies
  • Applicants who have non-standard qualifications or have work experience they wish to have assessed may be considered on an individual basis in line with the general aims and principles of the Admissions and RPL/RPC policies (Recognition of prior learning or credit)
  • Entry onto some programmes of study requires applicants to meet additional non-academic conditions. These conditions usually apply to programmes that have professional requirements and may include Disclosure & Barring and Fitness to Study clearance. Where such clearance is required, information will be provided in programme literature and advice given to applicants.

4. Selection

The University’s aim is to select those applicants who are likely to succeed academically and benefit from its programmes. Aptitude for an individual programme is the primary criterion for selection and an academic decision will always be reached on an application before other factors such as additional needs or criminal convictions are taken in to account.

Our selection criteria and process ensure the following:

  • Decisions are fair and consistent in relation to the published entry criteria.
  • Evidence of a candidate’s potential to succeed on the programme is taken into account. Where appropriate, admission staff may consider contextual factors in relation to an application.
  • We operate a transparent selection process. Selection may be on the basis of an application form (with or without additional required written work or a portfolio) or on application form plus audition/interview. Where interviews or auditions form part of the selection process, candidates will be informed of the process in advance.
  • We communicate outcomes to the applicant in a timely way. The University will communicate via email and Surrey Self-Service and, where applicable, via UCAS.

5. UCAS Similarity Detection Service (SDS)

UCAS carries out an automated Similarity Detection Service which checks each Personal Statement against those that have previously been submitted to detect plagiarism. The University reserves the right to reject applicants who are identified through this process.

6. Age

There is no minimum age for entry to the University, but offers for undergraduate programmes are normally made on the basis of national qualifications which will be obtained by the age of 17/18. There is no upper age limit.

The University does not accept an in loco parentis responsibility for children (i.e. those under 18 years of age at entry). The University does, however, recognise that it has special duties of care towards children and is committed to practice that protects children, young people and vulnerable adults from harm. The University seeks to take every reasonable step to safeguard children by adopting child protection guidelines through a code of behavior and following appropriate procedures for the vetting and training of people who work directly with children and young people.

7. Mature students

The University encourages applications from mature students, believing that mature students make an important contribution to University life through their range of experience and qualifications. Anyone beginning an undergraduate programme who is aged 21 or over is classified as a mature student. Mature applicants may satisfy the entry requirements through standard academic qualifications. However, the University gives careful consideration to those who can provide evidence of their commitment to academic study through a range of other awards and experience.

8. Applicants who require a Tier 4 (General) visa to study in the UK

To apply for a Tier 4 Visa, students must have a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) for the University they wish to study at. This is a unique number which will enable students to apply for their visa.  The University is under no legal obligation to sponsor any individual and exercises caution with respect to issuing a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to not risk its status as a Tier 4 sponsor.

Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) will issued in accordance with the Tier 4 Sponsorship and CAS Issuing Policy, available at: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/policies


It is mandatory for some applicants who need entry clearance to study in the United Kingdom and who are applying to certain programmes, to have an ATAS Certificate. We will not be able to issue a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) or register applicants on to the programme until their clearance has been received. For further details, please visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme

10. Applicants who have been in care

The University is able to offer specific support to care leavers. Further details can be found on the University website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/schoolsandcolleges/disability/

11. Exceptional Circumstances

Exceptional circumstances, which may include illness, family circumstances, personal responsibility or instability affecting the school or the college. It is expected that applicants will have taken appropriate action to ensure that examining bodies have allowed for mitigating circumstances prior to the announcement of any results. Applicants should also advise the Admissions Department as soon as possible so that further consideration can be given.

12. Applicants with disabilities

The University of Surrey is committed to equality of opportunity for all of its students and encourages applications from students with disabilities or specific learning difficulties. The University’s policy of equal opportunity ensures that all applicants are considered on the same academic grounds. It is important, however, that applicants with a disability make this known to the University so that appropriate arrangements for reasonable adjustments to support their education and learning can be made. A procedure for exploring all possible reasonable adjustments with the participation of the applicant will be followed.  In exceptional cases, the University may require further advice from health professionals.

Occasionally, other criteria may need to be considered, such as the requirements of professional bodies. For example, applicants to nursing programmes must undergo an occupational health check.

13. Disclosure of Criminal Convictions

Having a criminal conviction will not necessarily prevent an applicant from gaining admission to the University but it is important that applicants disclose all unspent convictions. It may be necessary for specific programmes that all convictions, including spent, cautions and warnings are declared. In reaching decisions on those with criminal convictions, the University will consider not only its own responsibilities and duties to the academic community at large but also the safety and well-being of the individual and its ability to provide any appropriate support arrangements.
The test the University will use is whether any criminal conviction disclosed by an applicant gives reasonable grounds for considering that the admission of the individual: (a) poses a real threat to the safety or property of staff, students, visitors, those coming into contact with the applicant during their studies or others involved in University business; or (b) would be contrary to the law or to the requirements of any relevant professional or other regulatory body.

Failure to declare this information at the point of application could result in the place being withdrawn.

14. Disclosure of Information

Failure to disclose relevant information or providing false information may result in the offer of a place being withdrawn.

15. Feedback

The University may provide feedback if requested. Applicants must be aware that feedback will only be given directly to them unless the University has received written permission that the applicant is willing for the matter to be discussed with another individual.  The applicant should also be aware that there may be cases where highly specific or tailored feedback may not be possible.

16. Complaints

The University of Surrey is committed to delivering a high quality, efficient and fair admissions service in line with its selection criteria and policy. In the event that an applicant wishes to make a formal complaint, the University will follow a procedure  which ensures that all complaints are dealt with fairly, promptly, consistently and with due regard to the Equalities Act. If a complaint is upheld, the University will take appropriate action. If a complaint is not upheld, the reasons for the decision will be communicated clearly to the applicant.

An applicant does not have the right to appeal against an academic decision not to offer them a place at the University, as long as the decision can be shown to have been reached fairly and in accordance with the University’s published entry requirement and selection criteria.

The University will only correspond with the applicant, unless the applicant has provided written permission for the University to discuss the application with another person.

17. Disclaimer

Information on this site should be treated as a guide only and fee information is indicative only. You should seek up-to-date information from the University directly before applying and during the admissions process.

Whilst the University endeavors to ensure the information on this site is accurate and up to date, it is presented without any guarantees, conditions or warranties as to its accuracy. The University disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the information contained on this site.

The University undertakes a continuous review of its programmes, services and facilities to ensure quality enhancement. The University is also largely funded through public and charitable means and is required to manage these funds in an efficient and cost-effective way for the benefit of the whole of the University community.

The University, therefore, reserves the right if it considers it to be necessary:

  • to make reasonable variations to the content and syllabus of programmes of study (including in relation to placements)
  • to suspend or discontinue programmes of study or to combine or merge them with others
  • to make changes to its statutes, ordinances, regulations, policies and procedures which the University reasonably considers necessary. Such changes if significant will normally come into force at the beginning of the following academic year and depending on the nature of the change will normally be applied to all students regardless of the date of their enrolment
  • to make reasonable alterations to  the timetable, location, number of classes, content or method of delivery of programmes of study and/or examination processes

To the extent permitted by law, the University hereby expressly excludes:

  • All conditions, warranties and other terms which might otherwise be implied by statute, common law or the law of equity
  • Any liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage incurred by any user in connection with our site or in connection with the use, inability to use, or results of the use of our site, any websites linked to it and any materials posted on it
  • Any liability for direct or indirect financial or other losses arising from  any discontinuations, changes to or mergers of any programme of study, service or facility

18. Related Policies

19. Monitoring and review

The Admissions Policy is reviewed annually by the Recruitment, Admissions and Marketing Sub-Committee for approval by the University’s Marketing, Recruitment, Admissions & Communications Committee.