Admissions Policy - Glasgow Caledonian University

University Admissions Policy
Approved by: Senate, 3rd December 2012
Updated: 28 January 2013
Review Date: December 2013
Responsibility: Admissions Committee
Admissions Policy Statement
Glasgow Caledonian University is committed to providing a rewarding Higher Education opportunity
and experience to applicants with the potential to benefit from, and contribute to the GCU
experience, mission and values. Our vision is to be a successful international university delivering
access and excellence, with a strong commitment to the common good.
The university is committed to delivering a high quality service to all applicants to our undergraduate
and postgraduate programmes that is welcoming, efficient and fair.
This policy encompasses all aspects of undergraduate and postgraduate admissions and is
underpinned by Glasgow Caledonian University’s strategies, codes of practice and policies on;
Articulation, Data Protection, Disability, Equality and Diversity, Widening Participation, Recognition
of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy.
This policy follows the principles of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), Quality Code: Information
for Prospective Students, Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA) and those outlined in the
Schwartz Report on Fair Admissions (2004).
Glasgow Caledonian University aims to offer equality of opportunity for all applicants.
Students are selected on the basis of their individual merit, abilities and aptitudes and we
recognise that not all students will have had equal opportunity to demonstrate their full
academic potential. We aim to operate an admissions system that ensures fairness,
transparency and equal opportunities to all applicants.
Glasgow Caledonian University leads the way in widening access to higher education. As part
of the University’s mission to promote the common good, we work with schools, children
and families in the local community to raise educational aspirations in young people and
their families. We will continue to actively encourage applications from groups currently
under-represented in higher education, including applicants who are first in their family to
attend university, applicants from areas of social deprivation, applicants from schools and
colleges which record low progression rates to university, and mature students.
The University aims to increase the diversity of the student population. We believe that
diversity is academically and socially desirable in a modern society, and contributes to our
mission to create successful global graduates. Therefore we will seek to attract a wide range
of applicants from different social, cultural and educational backgrounds, and to offer
opportunities to those with the potential to succeed in their chosen area of study.
The University will endeavour to offer clear advice and guidance to all applicants and their
support stakeholders to enable them to make informed choices, and to apply to programmes
appropriate to their interests, academic qualifications, prior learning, and potential.
Admission to all programmes is subject to the availability of places. Where there are restrictions on
the number of places the University can make available, due to Scottish Government funding
availability, teaching or placement capacity, competition for such places can often be high. The
University therefore reserves the right to amend selection procedures to support the principles
outlined above dependent on the subject area.
Glasgow Caledonian University
University Admissions Policy, December 2012
1. Roles and Responsibilities
The University’s Admissions policies and practices are overseen by the Admissions Committee, which
reports to the Executive Board and the Academic Policy Committee, and provides co-ordination,
oversight and analysis of student admissions. Membership of this committee includes the Vice
Principal and PVC (Learning &Teaching), Head of Global Admissions, Director of Marketing, Director
of Policy and Planning, Director of Student Experience, Director of the Graduate School, Students
Association Vice-President ‘Education’, Greater Glasgow Articulation Partnership Manager, and
academic representatives from each Academic School (one each for undergraduate and
postgraduate study areas).
The Admissions and Enquiry Service is responsible for ensuring that policies and procedures in
relation to student recruitment and admissions are operated fairly, consistently, and in line with the
University’s strategic aims and objectives, incorporating all relevant legislation.
The University’s Academic Schools are responsible for setting entry requirements for their
programmes, with advice and assistance offered by staff in the Admissions Office, with full oversight,
and annual review by the Admissions Committee.
Admissions decisions, for all undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes, are made by a
central team of appropriately qualified and fully trained Admissions Officers, who base decisions on
agreed criteria as set by the University’s Academic Schools. Specific advice may be sought from the
relevant programme leader in exceptional or borderline cases.
Admissions decisions, for all research programmes, are made by academic staff in the relevant
Academic School, using a range of methods, including panel selections and interviews.
2. Transparency and Consistency
The University aims to administer its admissions process in a fair, consistent and transparent
manner, and is committed to providing clear and accurate information which is accessible for all
The University will therefore aim to:
Publish minimum entry criteria for all programmes on the University’s website: (,
and in its prospectuses. For undergraduate programmes we will also publish on the UCAS website,
(, and on the UNISTATS website:
Assess each application on an individual basis, acknowledging the context in which qualifications
have been achieved, and fully considering a range of alternative equivalent qualifications and
achievements as part of selection process.
Ensure all applications are treated equally, and in line with the University’s equal opportunities
values and policies.
Ensure that all staff involved in the admissions process are qualified, and trained to ensure they
undertake their duties in a clear, consistent and appropriate manner.
Ensure that information about the admissions policies and criteria, are accessible to both internal
and external stakeholders, which will be subject to annual review by the Admissions Committee.
Glasgow Caledonian University
University Admissions Policy, December 2012
3. Selection
For all programmes the selection process will take into account:
Achieved and pending academic qualifications
The academic context in which qualifications have been achieved
Relevance, depth & breadth of previous study and evidence of progression
Stated interest, commitment and motivation for study
Where relevant prior informal learning through work or other non-formal learning
Academic and /or professional references
Where required, an applicant’s performance at interview
Where required, an applicant’s research proposal, or sample of written work
An applicant’s English Language proficiency
In addition, for undergraduate applicants progressing from Scottish Schools, we will also consider the
four stated “capacities” and the evolving learner journeys as outlined in, Curriculum for Excellence
(CfE) “Beyond the senior phase”:
Successful learners
Confident individuals
Responsible citizens and
Effective contributors.
Admissions decisions will be made as quickly possible. Expected timescales will be made known to
applicants on receipt of their application, and applicants will be notified if any unexpected delay in
our decision response is anticipated. Due to the large volume of applications received, and in
particular during the undergraduate UCAS admissions cycle, in some cases it may take longer for
decisions to be reached.
For admission to some programmes, a full or partial ‘gathered field*’ approach will operate. All
potential students whose applications are part of a gathered field approach will be notified by the
University on receipt of their application to explain the process, and confirm the expected date of
decision notification.
Admissions decisions will be communicated to applicants in an appropriate and timely manner. Any
conditions attached to an offer of a place will be clear and specific. In some cases where the
University is unable to make an offer for an applicant’s programme choice, an offer for an alternative
programme may be made.
*A full or partial ‘gathered field’ approach is where decisions about individual applications may be delayed until some time after the UCAS
closing date for undergraduate applicants, or at a set date for postgraduate applicants whereby interviews or assessment testing may take
Glasgow Caledonian University
University Admissions Policy, December 2012
place. Applications will then be reviewed together within a full or partial group, by a relevant academic selection panel, decisions will then
be communicated to applicants.
4. Application Procedures
Undergraduate full-time applications are processed through the Universities and Colleges
Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are made online at:
Undergraduate part-time applications should be made directly to the university using our online
application system or by downloading an application form via our website;
Postgraduate applications, full-time or part-time, including research, should be made directly to the
university using our online application system or by downloading an application form via our
International applications, international applicants can choose to receive advice and support with
direct application submission services offered by our overseas representatives. Details can be found
on our International webpage:
5. International Applicants
If an applicant has previously studied outside the UK, we would normally accept the equivalent
qualification/level of qualification from a recognised school or university. If applicants are uncertain
about their qualification equivalency then they should contact the relevant Admissions Team who
will provide advice on specific country equivalences.
Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed by the UK Border Agency, (UKBA) to sponsor successful
international applicants who wish to enter the UK for the purposes of full time higher education
study. Any student, who wishes to come to the UK to study on a full-time programme, must
therefore apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa under the UKBA Points Based System. International
applicants will be required to submit additional documentation, including valid passport details,
during the admissions process to ensure that GCU complies with the appropriate Tier 4 regulations.
A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) statement will be issued to international applicants,
once all conditions of offer have been met and necessary deposits received. An international
applicant will be unable to apply for a Tier 4 student visa without a valid CAS statement. Full details
of the UKBA Tier 4 PBS Scheme can be found here:
6. Widening Participation
The University is committed to increasing opportunities for widening access, social inclusion and
providing opportunities to students from disadvantaged backgrounds as measured by the HESA
Performance indicators*. The University will therefore employ a model of contextualised admissions,
which considers the educational and social context in which an applicant has studied by taking into
account the context in which qualifications have been achieved, and considering alternative
indicators of ability.
The full details can be found in the University’s Widening Participation Policy, which can be found at;
*The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the official agency for the collection, analysis and dissemination of quantitative
information about higher education. Performance Indicators provide comparative data on the performance of institutions in widening
Glasgow Caledonian University
University Admissions Policy, December 2012
participation, student retention, learning and teaching outcomes, research output and employment of graduates. They cover publiclyfunded higher education institutions in the UK.
7. Mature Applicants
The University is committed to, and encourages applications from mature students. Currently 47% of
students studying on undergraduate programmes at Glasgow Caledonian University are mature
students. The entry requirements for mature students (anyone over the age of 21) are not as fixed
as for school and college leavers. Each school or programme will publish entry requirements in
relation to mature students, and will take into account other factors, including but not exclusively:
Evidence of ability to study at university level
Evidence of experience and interest in chosen subject area.
(RPL) Recognition of Prior Learning in the workplace, or prior qualifications*
Mature students may also be invited for interview as part of the selection process. Further details
can be found on our website:
*Mature students seeking to gain entry to, or credit within programmes at GCU on the basis of prior informal
or formal learning should refer to the RPL Policy (Section 10 below).
8. Applicants with Disabilities
Applications from disabled students will be assessed on the basis of standard academic and nonacademic selection criteria. Information provided by applicants in regard to their disability, is not
used as part of the academic selection process, but purely to ensure support needs are identified.
On receipt of an offer of a place, a student with a declared disability will then be contacted by our
Disability Service to establish if the University can provide for their special educational needs.
Students may be advised at this stage if the nature of their disability means that they might be
unable to fulfil the academic or professional requirements of their chosen programme. Equally it may
not be possible for the University to make reasonable adaptations to enable an applicant to
undertake a particular programme. Should this be the case, the University will respond positively and
advise the applicant on alternative programmes.
9. Articulation
The University has a firm commitment to widening participation through articulation and the
strengthening of our college partnerships. Articulation represents an important pathway to degree
achievement for many learners, (both home/EU and overseas), and contributes to the University’s
mission to ‘provide a high quality, accessible, inclusive and flexible learning and teaching
Articulation is a form of credit transfer and is defined as direct entry/progression onto Years 2 and 3
of undergraduate degree programmes on the basis of agreed qualifications, such as Higher National
Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs). Articulation pathways can also offer direct
entry into postgraduate programmes from an agreed graduate diploma route or pre-masters
preparation route. Full details of our Articulation Policy can be found here:
Help for college students to find articulation progression routes to GCU programmes can be found
Glasgow Caledonian University
University Admissions Policy, December 2012
10. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
The University recognises that knowledge and skills can be acquired from a wide range of learning
experiences, both formal and informal. Students at Glasgow Caledonian University should enter a
programme at a level appropriate to their prior learning and qualifications. The University therefore
encourages the Recognition of Prior Certificated Learning, or Credit Transfer, and the Recognition of
Prior Informal Learning as a means to providing entry to, or credit within, all of its programmes at
both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Such recognition will take place within the context of
the Scottish Qualifications Framework (SCQF). Applicants seeking to apply for RPL consideration
should ensure, where possible this is noted in their initial application.
Full details of our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy can be found here:
11. Student Conduct, Terms and Conditions
All applicants are asked to note, that by accepting an offer of a place at Glasgow Caledonian
University, acceptance is made on the understanding that they undertake to observe the Charter,
Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations of the University and to comply with such other rules and
regulations which the University may make for its’ students, conduct, welfare and discipline.
Full details of our Student Regulations can be found here:
12. Fraudulent Applications
Glasgow Caledonian University will not admit applicants where information included within an
application is considered to be fraudulent. Where an applicant is suspected of having provided
fraudulent or plagiarised information or documentation, no decision on the applicants’ suitability for
their chosen programme will be made until an investigation is carried out by experienced and trained
Admissions Officers.
The University reserves the right to withdraw an application at any point of the application process if
any part of the application is found to be falsified. The University may also terminate a student’s
registration if he/she is found at a later stage to have submitted a fraudulent application to the
13. Disclosure of Criminal Convictions
The University has a duty to ensure the safety of its students, staff and community it serves. The
application process requires applicants to declare if they have a relevant* unspent conviction. For
certain programmes involving interaction with children and/or vulnerable adults, applicants must
disclose all convictions, including cautions, reprimands, final warnings, bind-over orders and spend
The academic decision for the applicant will be made first and if we wish to make an offer of study to
an applicant who has declared a relevant criminal conviction on their application form, a Criminal
Convictions Declaration Form will be sent to request details of the conviction.
Glasgow Caledonian University
University Admissions Policy, December 2012
*Relevant criminal convictions are those convictions for offences against a person, whether of a violent or sexual nature, and convictions
for offences involving unlawfully supplying controlled drug dealing or trafficking. Convictions that are spent (as defined by the
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) are not considered to be relevant.
EU/International applicants to programmes which involve contact with vulnerable persons will be
required to undergo a criminal records check in their home country and supply the University with a
Certificate of Good Conduct or equivalent. If an applicant has applied for a programme where this is
a requirement, the will be included as a condition of offer.
14. Cancellation/Change of Programme
The University's programmes are subject to a continuous process of review. The University reserves
the right in every case at its discretion to vary the content of programmes or parts of programmes, to
offer new programmes, to discontinue existing programmes and to cancel programmes in the event
of low enrolments. Applicants should note that the University has the right to withdraw an offer of a
place after it has been made due to circumstances beyond its control.
The Admissions and Enquiry Service will communicate any such changes to all applicants as soon as
possible. Alternatives programme choices will be offered where possible.
15. Feedback
Unsuccessful applicants can reasonably expect to receive feedback on their application. For
undergraduate applications received via UCAS, feedback will be automatically included in the
application notification update. For direct applicants; undergraduate part-time, postgraduate full or
part-time, feedback will be provided on request.
Whilst the University aims to provide informative feedback that is helpful to applicants, it may not
always be possible to provide highly specific or tailored advice.
The University is only able to give feedback to a third party (e.g. parent, guardian, advisor or agent)
with the written consent of the applicant.
16. Complaints
It is the University’s policy to provide the highest possible standard of service to its applicants. Should
any applicant be dissatisfied with any aspect of how their application is dealt with, they can follow
the Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP). The CHP is designed to ensure that complaints are
properly investigated and are given careful and fair consideration.
17. Data Protection
Glasgow Caledonian University processes personal information under the auspices of the UK Data
Protection Act 1998. Further information on the University’s Data Protection Policy can be found
18. Monitoring and Review
This Policy will be reviewed annually by the Admissions Committee, and revised in light of changes in
legislation, University regulations and strategic objectives.
Glasgow Caledonian University
University Admissions Policy, December 2012
Appendix: Glossary of Related Codes of Practice/Policy Documents/Regulations:
GCU Strategy 2015:
GCU Articulations Policy:
GCU: Equality and Diversity Policy:
GCU: Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy:
GCU: Complaints Handling Procedure:
GCU: Student Conduct, Terms and Regulations:
Curriculum for Excellence, “Beyond the Senior Phase”:
Key Information Sets, Unistats
Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Code of Practice, Section: 10 Admissions to Higher Education;
Schwartz Report: Faire Admissions to Higher Education:
Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA):
Scottish Qualifications Framework:
United Kingdom Home Office Border Agency (UKBA):
UK NARIC, National Agency responsible for providing information, advice and expert opinion on
qualifications worldwide;
Glasgow Caledonian University
University Admissions Policy, December 2012