Our policies


An undergraduate student being helped by a member of staff in one of our student service centres.

Applicants are considered solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential, regardless of gender, ethnic or national origin, age (subject to the University regulations on minimum age), disability, religion, sexual orientation or any other irrelevant distinction.

For more details of how we assess applications, please see the sections below:

Admissions policy | What do we look for on a UCAS form? | Post-16 qualification reform | GCSE grade changes | 

Flexible admissions policy | Equal opportunities policy | Support of Promising Athletes | Additional requirements |

Further information

Admissions policy

Your exam grades are very important to us. We use exam grades in prioritising applicants, but other things count as well.

  • We look at a range of other factors and aim to give everyone an equal opportunity to show their achievements
  • We treat everyone on an individual basis
  • We receive more applications than we have places. This means that even if you have the right grades for a course, you might not be offered a place
  • Admissions staff for a course may make one standard offer to all applicants or they may vary the offer. This means that some applicants may be made a higher offer and some may be made a lower offer for the same course, depending on their other achievements

What do we look for on a UCAS form?

Admissions staff at the University of Nottingham look for the following information on the UCAS form:

  • Academic ability and potential as shown by your GCSE (or equivalent) results and predicted or achieved examination results
  • The context of your achievements
  • Strong reasons for choosing the course and motivation to study a particular discipline
  • Extra-curricular activities, achievements and responsibilities
  • Other factors as appropriate to the discipline, such as employment or volunteer work in relevant fields showing commitment to a chosen career or area of work, and sustained critical engagement with relevant issues

A and AS levels

The University’s post-16 qualification reform statement includes information on our overall institutional approach following the post-16 qualification reforms, including our approach to the new A level and AS level qualifications.

GCSE grades

In keeping with the reform to GCSEs in England where subjects are to be graded from 9 to 1 instead of A* to G, and in accordance with Ofqual recommendation, we will treat GCSEs graded numerically as GCSE grade A*=9, A=7, B=5/6 (depending on the School - check individual course pages for details), C=4. GCSE qualifications taken outside of the UK will still be graded A* to G.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, we employ a flexible admissions policy. If we judge that your situation has adversely affected your achievement, then we will consider this when assessing your academic potential. If you wish to mention information about your experiences in your personal statement, then you should ask the teacher or tutor writing your reference to confirm what you have written. We may ask for further evidence and may consider a range of factors.

We may consider a range of circumstances, including, for example:

  • being from a less advantaged family environment in terms of income, education and experience. We normally use a postcode tool to assess this, but some courses may consider whether: 
      • your parents have been to university
      • you or your family are on a low income or receive a means-tested benefit or tax credit
  • being from a school or college where high academic achievement is not the norm
  • being in local authority care (‘looked after’), or having been in care, for at least three months
  • being responsible for the long-term care of a sick or disabled family member
  • having childcare responsibilities
  • being from a travelling background or having had a disrupted education
  • having refugee status

However, if you have been affected by illness, disability or bereavement, we will assume that you have already received special consideration from the examination board(s) awarding your grades, unless your referee tells us otherwise.

When we look at extracurricular activities, achievements and responsibilities, we are aware that applicants have different opportunities available to them. We are looking for applicants who have made the most of the opportunities available to them and are able to reflect intelligently on their experiences. These could include, for example, responsibilities at home, at school or in the community; sporting or musical achievements; or participation in schemes such as Duke of Edinburgh. You may wish to describe how you have faced difficult circumstances positively in terms of an achievement.

Equal opportunities policy

The University aims to create the conditions whereby students and staff are treated solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential, regardless of gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, age, socio-economic background, disability, religious or political beliefs, trade union membership, family circumstances, sexual orientation or other irrelevant distinction.

Support of Promising Athletes policy

As well as a reputation for academic excellence, the University of Nottingham has a history of sporting success and are passionate about supporting promising athletes during their time at Nottingham, in recognition of this we employ a flexible admissions policy to support promising athletes in their application.

If you are an athlete of sports scholarship potential that competes at regional, national or international level in your sport, or show strong evidence of future outstanding potential, then we will consider this when assessing your academic potential. This is subject to confirmation from the University sports department.

As a result we may consider a number of measures.


1. If your predicted grades meet our standard entry criteria we may make you an unconditional offer*


2. If your predicted grades do not meet our standard entry requirements we may make you a reduced grade offer*

*This policy may vary depending on which course you have applied for – this is because different courses have different requirements and some courses may have course specific requirements or have professional certification requirement.

For further details on this policy please use our enquiry form.

Additional requirements

Admissions staff at the University of Nottingham assess many applications using only the information available on the UCAS form. Some courses use additional methods of assessment for all or some applicants. This may be for a range of reasons, including to:

  • assess your suitability for the profession linked to the course (for example, nursing or veterinary medicine)
  • clarify the material covered by your qualifications, or as part of Recognition of Other Learning (previously APL)
  • assess your achievements, motivation and potential
  • distinguish between otherwise similar applicants.

Additional assessment may include interviews or tests; some courses may ask for examples of written work. Where courses use additional assessment, admissions staff send information to applicants, explaining the nature of the assessment, what admissions staff will be looking for and how applicants can prepare.

Further information

The University of Nottingham’s Quality Manual includes more information about our admissions procedures.  

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The University of Nottingham
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