Admissions Policy for Taught Courses
The purpose of this policy and its guides is to assist and inform all applicants, students and staff of the University of Westminster (“the University”) and its collaborative partner institutions in ensuring that the policies and procedures used to attract, recruit and admit students are transparent, fair, reliable, professional and consistently applied. This over-arching policy is ratified by the University’s Academic Council.
1. Basic Principles
The University will admit students to its courses on the basis of the following principles:
1.1 Fair, lawful and reasonable processes
Selection and admissions processes should be transparent, implemented fairly, courteously, consistently and expeditiously. Recruitment and admissions processes for courses should accord with the prevailing legal framework including the Race Relations (Amendment) Act, the Disability Discrimination Act, the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
1.2 Academic criteria and prerequisites
There is a reasonable expectation that the applicant will be able to meet and fulfil the objectives and demands of the course and achieve the standard required for the award.
1.3 Provision of Opportunity
Through admissions the University aims to provide opportunities for progression, personal and professional development and lifelong learning for all candidates who have the potential to benefit from university level study at a designated level and in a specified subject area;
1.4 Equal opportunities
The University will seek at all times to ensure diversity and equality of opportunity for all applicants and students. We are fully committed to creating a stimulating and supportive learning and working environment based on mutual respect and trust. This will allow staff and students to reach their full potential regardless of their race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, marital status, disability, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation or any other similarly irrelevant factor.
2. Course-specific admissions criteria
2.1 Each course and its named awards will have a specified set of admissions requirements, that are consistent with the University’s ethos and mission, and are fair, lawful and have regard to the legitimate interest of prospective students, and which are validated in accordance with the University’s Quality Assurance and Enhancement processes and Academic Regulations.
3. Fulfilment of admissions criteria
3.1 Qualifications, experience, skills and aptitudes
University staff should consider the abilities, aptitudes, skills, qualifications and experiences of students that may indicate their potential to succeed on the course they have applied for and keep under review the different ways by which the profile of characteristics for successful admission might be demonstrated.
3.2 Prior learning experience
Prior learning experience will be considered in fulfilment of the admissions criteria for the potential award of academic credit through the Accreditation of Prior and/or Experiential Learning (AP(E)L) both for admission to a course and/or for exemption from certain modules of a course.
3.3 International qualifications
International qualifications deemed to be the equivalent of those issued in the United Kingdom for the purposes of course admission will be considered in fulfilment of the validated admissions criteria.
4. Transfer between courses
4.1 Students may transfer from one course to another provided the timing of such transfer is acceptable and that they meet the admissions criteria for the course in question, in accordance with the regulations governing AP(E)L.
5. Publication requirements
Deadlines for submission of applications for courses which are not included in the UCAS scheme should be published each year to facilitate pre-entry support and induction for candidates, although applications will be considered at any time up to the start of the course while places remain available.
5.2 Course information
Information relating to course structure and the indicative teaching timetable, teaching, learning and assessment, indicative module content, and the Programme Specification should be published electronically for access by applicants well in advance of the course commencement date to ensure that applicants, candidates holding offers, their sponsors and other stakeholders, can make informed choices about admission to a University course.
6. Consideration of applications
6.1 Collaborative course staff
Consideration of applications and decisions relating to places on collaborative courses in the UK and overseas may be delegated to nominated postholder(s) in partner institutions in respect of collaborative courses which lead to academic awards of the University in accordance with the approved Memorandum of Collaboration.
6.2 Interested parties
Any individual who may be deemed to have an interest in the candidacy of any individual or group of applicants, whether personal or professional, shall have no involvement in the recruitment, admissions, enrolment, and assessment processes in that case.
7. Rejected applications and exclusions
In cases where an applicant is not offered a place on the course for which they have applied, the member of staff who rejects the application should record the reasons for their decision to provide feedback to the applicant.
7.2 Cognate course or pathway
Students who have been excluded on academic grounds may not normally be admitted to a cognate course or pathway.
8. Student numbers on courses
8.1 The determination of numbers of students to be admitted across the University is the responsibility of the Executive Directors Group in accordance with the University’s mission, strategic plan and annual planning cycle.
8.2 Where a course has reached capacity, qualified applicants may be offered an alternative course or be invited to defer to the next intake
9. Course cancellation or change
9.1 While an offer of a place on a course is made in good faith and the University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver all courses as set out in its promotional material, the University reserves the right in certain circumstances (including circumstances beyond its control or reasonable foresight) to vary the content and delivery of courses, to change the location of courses and modules, to discontinue or combine courses, or to discontinue services, if such action is considered reasonable and necessary by the University.
9.2 In the event that the University varies the content or delivery of a course, changes the location of a course or module, discontinues, combines or cancels a course, the University will, where practicable and reasonable to do so, use all reasonable endeavours to assist applicants and students to find a suitable alternative both within the University and elsewhere.
10. Misleading or fraudulent information + plagiarism of personal statements
10.1 If the University or any of its agents has reason to believe that an individual or any person acting on their behalf has provided false information, omitted relevant information, made any misrepresentation and/or provided forged or counterfeit documents, an investigation will be conducted and the application in question may be cancelled and any relating offer of a place on a course or funding award may be rescinded.
11. Legal contract between student and the University
11.1 If a candidate is offered a place on a course at the University a contract is formed on acceptance and a candidate agrees to abide by the University’s Memorandum and Articles, Statutes, Regulations, Rules, Procedures and Codes of Conduct as amended from time to time under the authority of the Court of Governors and/or the Academic Council.
12. Data Protection
12.1 All information about applicants and candidates offered places should be treated as personal and sensitive data, and stored in secure record systems to ensure that confidentiality can be maintained.
12.2 The collection of data relating to applications, offers on courses, acceptances, enrolments and progression, will be collected to facilitate analysis and ensure the data integrity of statutory reports, including monitoring reports which relate to the University’s Access Agreement.
13. Policy review and compliance
13.1 The effectiveness of this policy, and of admissions targets and their fulfilment, will be reviewed annually by an Admissions Review Group (Appendix 1) ensuring that the University admissions policy and guides comply with the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, Part B: Assuring and enhancing academic quality, Chapter B2: Admissions.
14. Additional Policy Guides
14.1 Disabled Applicants and those with Special Needs
The procedure for admission of disabled applicants should be in accord with the legislative requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and one in which the consideration of academic suitability is separated from the discussion centred on the applicant’s other needs.
The University will assess applicants for admission according to the Admissions Regulations for Courses and they will be considered for their academic suitability to study. Academic suitability is separate from any discussion centred on the applicant’s disability-related needs. These procedures will also apply to students who have suspended and wish to return to study.
The University commits to making reasonable adjustments to support and to achieving equality of opportunity for its students. However, the University has a duty of care to all staff and students and cannot guarantee to provide for the needs of every individual. The reasonableness and feasibility of any adjustments sought will be widely assessed.
The Act (2010) places a legal obligation on universities not to discriminate against disabled applicants for reasons relating to their disability. Only after reasonable adjustments have been seriously considered and dismissed as being unfeasible can the applicant’s disability be used as a reason to refuse entry to the course
14.2 Admissions Process and Decision Making
14.3 Applicants declaring a criminal conviction
The University does not wish to automatically debar individuals with criminal records from taking advantage of the opportunities provided by Higher Education. In general a criminal record should not be regarded as an obstacle to studying at the University of Westminster. Applicants will be assessed for admission according to the Admissions Regulations for Courses. However, the University has a duty of care to all staff and students and may refuse entry to any applicant who is regarded as a danger to the safety of others. The University also reserves the right to request verification of any information provided.
All students attending a course at the University must:
- Be able to demonstrate the ability to cope emotionally and practically with the workload of a higher education course;
- Be aware of the demands of the course;
- Not be a risk to themselves, other students, University staff or patients for clinical courses
14.4 Recruitment of younger students
Younger students are those who will not reach the age of 18 by December of their first year of study.
The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations state that age should not be a barrier to higher education. It is the University’s Admissions Policy that the University should offer places to students who can benefit from and complete their course of study. Therefore, if, for any reason, it was decided not to offer a place to a student under 18, this will be clearly justified.
14.5 Admission Complaints and Appeals
The University strives to ensure that its students and applicants have a good experience when enquiring about courses, attending Open Days or Applicant Days and through the application process itself. Where there is a shortcoming, the University’s complaints and appeals procedures are designed to enable the review of University processes where necessary as well as enabling the University to address any concerns and get it right in the future.
The complaints procedure and any decisions made under the procedure do not automatically give rise to any legal rights to the complainant, nor place obligations on the University to pay compensation either in respect of a decision made pursuant to the procedures or for a breach of the procedures.
14.6 Issue of Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) certificates for Tier 4 visas
In order to apply for a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, applicants need to obtain a CAS from the university at which they wish to study.
Appendix 1: University Admissions Review Group
Terms of reference
- The effectiveness of the Admissions Policy and Admissions Guides and delivery of admissions targets.
- The numbers of students to be admitted across the University in accordance with the University’s mission, strategic objectives, targets, and annual planning cycle.
- The admissions calendar and standard offers used by Faculties.
- Conversion rates for courses.
- Course performance: specifically offer/rejection ratios, dependence on clearing, level of entry qualifications.
The Review Group will report back to the Director of Recruitment Admissions and Marketing Services.
- Associate Director: Admissions (Chair)
- Associate Director: Recruitment and Marketing
- Senior Admissions Managers
- Admissions Managers
- Senior Admissions Adviser
- Market Insight Manager
- Director of Planning