Undergraduate admissions statement

This statement should be read in conjunction with the University’s Admissions Principles and Procedures

Year of Admissions cycle: 2021

1. Course specific information:

1.1 Admissions process

Applications are scored and ranked based on their academic record, according to their achieved or predicted results with the following weightings:

GCSE 20% | A-Level 80%

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1.2 Academic criteria

Academic entry requirements for standard qualifications (A-level, SQA, IB, Access, BTEC, Welsh Bac, GCSEs) can be found in the undergraduate course finder.

Other qualifications will be considered on an individual basis. International applicants are subject to the criteria detailed on our international web page.

Where A-level Mathematics is not offered, applicants may be invited to undertake a maths test at the University. Please see our web page for further details. 

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1.3 Personal statement criteria

We may refer to the personal statement and reference to differentiate between applicants with similar academic profiles. In these cases, we use the following criteria:

  • Evidence of additional Mathematics qualifications
  • Evidence of participation in competitions and other related activity
  • Extra curricular activites

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1.4 Interviews

For these courses, applicants are not routinely interviewed. In the majority of cases, admissions decisions will be made on the basis of the application information alone.

In exceptional circumstances where an interview is deemed necessary, it will be conducted by at least two people, at least one of whom has been trained in fair and effective recruitment techniques, and undertaken in accordance with the University’s policy on equal opportunities.

The criteria for assessing interview performance may include, for example:

  • demonstrated interest in, suitability for, and commitment to the subject;
  • evidence of clear thinking and understanding, problem solving and analytical skills;
  • standard of spoken English;
  • appropriateness of the Bristol course in relation to the applicant’s declared interests and aspirations;
  • non-academic achievement and/or experience, or extra-curricular interests, that indicate the likely contribution an applicant will make to the life of the University;
  • positions of responsibility held; other relevant skills.

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1.5 Mature applicants

We welcome mature applicants, and assess such applications holistically, taking into account factors such as relevant work experience and personal circumstances that may have interrupted or prevented previous degree level study. Applicants are required to provide evidence of study and examinations within the last five years. In some cases mature applicants may be invited to interview. Please see 1.4 Interviews (above). Where applicants do not have recent educational qualifications to support their application, relevant experience may be taken into consideration. In some cases, mature applicants may be invited to sit a maths test. Please see 1.2 Academic Criteria (above). Further information can be found on our web pages here.

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1.6 Offers

We recognise that some applicants may achieve higher than their predicted grades, and so we may also consider applicants who are predicted to achieve slightly below the entry requirements (usually in a non-specified subject). Any offer made would be at the standard level.

If applicants are not qualified or have an unsuitable academic background for the course to which they originally applied, we may offer the opportunity to be considered for an alternative course in a related subject area. In such cases applicants will receive an email notification providing a list of the alternative options.

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1.7 Deferred applications

Deferred applications (i.e. applying in 2020/21 for 2022 entry) are accepted, and are treated in the same way as non-deferred applications.

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1.8 Resits

The department will consider applicants who resit their qualifications. Suitable applicants from other degree programmes within the University may request to transfer to our courses. Transfers into year two may be considered in some circumstances. Suitable applicants from other degree programmes within the University may request to transfer to our courses. We expect transferring students to begin their studies in the first year of their new course, but suitably qualified applicants who have completed the first year of an appropriate degree programme at another institution may seek entry to year two. Such applications must be submitted in the usual way through UCAS, indicating the year of entry as year two, and outlining clearly in the personal statement the reasons for requesting the transfer.

All transfers are at the department’s discretion and depend on spaces being available. Please refer to our web page for further information on transfers.

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2. General information

2.1 Admissions team

Applications are assessed by a centralised team in close co-operation with the School Recruitment and Admissions Officer(s). The team have received training in fair admissions and unconscious bias.

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2.2 Admissions process

Because we receive such a high number of applications, and to ensure that all those applying on time are treated fairly, we may hold some applications until May before making a decision. Applications received before 15 January deadline set by UCAS are guaranteed equal consideration. We do not discriminate against applicants on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnerships, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

The reference is considered alongside the personal statement, where applicable, taking into account the following:

  • predictions of examination results (including, if necessary, an explanation of any nonstandard qualifications);
  • an overall assessment of the applicant, in particular the suitability and academic potential of the applicant to study at degree level;
  • discussion of earlier exam results, especially those influenced by personal or medical circumstances (and therefore a poor guide to ability);
  • discussion of the applicant’s intellectual curiosity, interests and suitability for the subject.

Referees who believe the applicant’s performance does not reflect their ability, because of educational context and/or special circumstances, should advise the applicant to complete an extenuating circumstances form (see section 2.6 Extenuating Circumstances).

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2.3 Correspondence with applicants

All correspondence relating to an applicant’s status will be sent by email. We monitor the number of offers we make carefully and may hold some applications until later in the cycle. Applicants will be notified if their application has been successful or unsuccessful, or to inform them that their application has been assessed and put on ‘Hold’ pending a decision later in the cycle. For applications that are submitted by 15 January, the final deadline by which applicants will receive a decision is 6 May. Most decisions are made before this date.

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2.4 English language requirements

All applicants are required to demonstrate that they have sufficient ability to understand and express themselves in both spoken and written English in order to benefit fully from their degree course. English Language requirements for each course can be found in the undergraduate course finder and are explained on our English Language web page.

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2.5 Contextual information

As part of our commitment to the UK national agenda on widening participation, we consider the context in which grades have been achieved and make contextual offers. Contextual offers are usually two grades lower than the typical offer. Applicants may receive a contextual offer for the following reasons: attendance at an aspiring state school or college; residence in an area with low progression to higher education; completion of a University of Bristol outreach programme; having spent three months or more in care.

Full details of the contextual offer scheme can be found here and within the University’s Admissions Principles and Procedures for Undergraduate Courses.

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2.6 Extenuating circumstances

If an applicant’s education has been significantly disrupted through health or personal problems, disability or specific difficulties with schooling they will need to submit an extenuating circumstances form to Undergraduate Admissions. The information provided on the form will be treated confidentially, and will help us to assess fairly academic performance in light of the situation.

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2.7 Policies

All applications are considered in line with our Admissions principles and procedures. We are committed to the implementation of high quality, fair and transparent admissions procedures for all our applicants. We recognise, however, that there may be occasions when applicants believe that they have cause for complaint. At this point applicants should follow our Applicant feedback and complaints procedures.

Should an applicant believe that University Admissions principles and procedures have been inconsistently or incorrectly applied, these complaints procedures provide a mechanism for objective review.

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2.8 Results

The University can only guarantee places if the exact terms of the offer are met; however, offer holders will not automatically be unsuccessful if the terms of the offer are narrowly missed. If offer holders do not meet the terms of their offers when exam results are released they may be considered as ‘near miss candidates’. All near miss candidates are reviewed in August after publication of A-level results. International offer holders may be reconsidered earlier depending when their exam results are released. Please see our results web page for further information.

2.9 Contacts for enquiries

Any enquiries should be addressed to our Enquiries team: choosebristol-ug@bristol.ac.uk or +44 (0)117 394 1649

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