Guidance for applicants with criminal convictions

We believe an unspent criminal conviction should not automatically prevent an individual from studying at the University of Westminster. Disclosing a criminal conviction is not a requirement of an application to study at the University and applicants will only ever be assessed on their academic suitability. The exception to this are students who require a visa to study in the UK who are required to disclose this information as part of the visa application process.

Though there is no need to declare a conviction as part of your application, applicants currently on licence are expected to make us aware of any conditions which may prevent them from fully engaging with the course and broader University community. This is particularly pertinent when considering applying for a place in our student accommodation. Where possible the University will undertake to make reasonable adjustments and will suggest alternative programmes of study where available if an applicant’s licence conditions make their first choice of course impractical.

The University runs services to give specialist advice and support for students entering our student community from many different walks of life. Students coming to the University with a spent or unspent conviction may find it useful to connect with these services and gain additional support as part of their transition into higher education. Disclosing convictions in order to utilise a service (eg financial advice) is dealt with confidentially and you will only be asked for enough information required to provide the service you require.

If you would like further information on our range of services, or to confidentially discuss a licence condition which you believe may prevent you from fully engaging with a course/taking a place in our student accommodation, please contact course enquiries who will connect you with the relevant department: (0)20 7915 5511.

The following information is provided to assist applicants when making a decision to study.

Study abroad

Our students have the option to study or intern for the summer, semester or year, as part of our study abroad programmes. Applicants with criminal convictions planning to take advantage of this option should be aware of restrictions placed on visa applications depending on the country in which they would like to undertake their period of study abroad. Further guidance on overseas travel for those with convictions can be found here:

http://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/travelling-abroad/

Work placements

We encourage students to take up the opportunity of a work placement during their period of study. Work placements are a very useful way of gaining relevant, professional experience and knowledge of a particular industry, as well as potential references. Applicants with convictions should be aware that some employers may require DBS checks as part of their offer of a placement and may want to plan their placement choices in advance to avoid disappointment.

Further guidance on types of DBS check and sectors which often require them can be found here:

http://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/eligibility-criminal-record-checks/

Future work

Though your conviction should not prevent you from studying on your desired course (our policy is to assess you application on academic merit alone), it is important that applicants with criminal convictions are aware of possible issues with gaining employment in their desired field after graduation depending on the nature of the offence. Information on what offences may prevent a graduate from working in a particular role can be obtained from the relevant regulatory body (eg the Solicitors Regulation Authority if you wish to practice as a solicitor). If you need assistance in contacting the correct body the University can provide guidance.

Examples of areas of employment in which a criminal conviction may affect job opportunities after graduation include social work, education, healthcare and finance. However, there are many different roles within these sectors and where a previous conviction may have an impact on your ability to work in one role, it may not have any impact on another within the same sector.

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