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University of Bath

Applying for undergraduate study in 2021

Find out how our admissions processes have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Changes and cancellations of exams

Governments have already announced a number of changes to exam and award arrangements in Summer 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. While the approach taken may be different this year, at Bath we expect that in most cases these changes (including the cancellation of exams) will not harm any application you make to us. Where possible, we will make adjustments to ensure you are not disadvantaged by any changes to your exams this year.

A levels in England

The UK Government has announced a later timetable for A level exams in Summer 2021. While the timescales for releasing results will be different, our approach to making offers and processing results will be the same.

If you are affected we will update you on any changes to the process in August closer to the time.

A levels in Wales

The Welsh Government has announced that A level exams will be cancelled in Summer 2021. We understand students will instead be assessed through classroom-based activities which will be externally assessed.

We will be accepting any A levels awarded in Summer 2021 as normal, and these changes will not affect how we consider your application.

A levels in Northern Ireland

The Northern Irish Government has confirmed A level exams will go ahead in Summer 2021.

If there are any changes to the timetable for results, we will update you on any changes to the process in August closer to the time.

Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers

The Scottish Government has confirmed Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers exams will go ahead in Summer 2021. While the timetable for these exams will be later than usual, results are expected at the same time.

We will update you if there are any further changes.

GCSEs and National 5s

There have been a number of announcements regarding exams in these qualifications, including the replacement of exams with coursework or teacher assessments in many cases.

If you are applying for 2021 with a re-sit in a GCSE we will contact you directly if needed to discuss the implications of these changes.

If you are finishing your GCSEs or National 5s this year, you do not need to worry about the impact of these changes on any future application. We will make adjustments to our approach for affected cohorts of students to ensure you are not disadvantaged.

Other qualifications

We will continue to monitor the situation for students studying other qualifications both in the UK and across the world. Where possible, we will make adjustments to ensure you are not disadvantaged by any changes to your exams this year.

Competition for places

We know that applying for university is a big step, and students are often anxious about their chances of securing an offer at their top choices. The popularity of each degree varies from year to year, and in any year it is impossible for us to predict with certainty how many students may choose to apply until all the applications are in.

With suggestions that more students would choose to postpone their studies in 2020, you may be concerned about how this will affect you if you apply this year.

At Bath we have 550 students holding deferred places to join in 2021 from last year. While this is a higher number than we have seen before (we had 380 in 2020), it represents a small proportion of the 3,600 places we have available each year.

There are other big events, such as Brexit, which may also impact how many students apply this year.

We are not expecting competition for most of our degrees to be significantly different from previous years and want to reassure you that we give individually consider each and every application which we receive.

Typical requirements

We are not increasing our entry requirements for any degrees due to the pandemic.

There are a few changes to our typical requirements this year for other reasons, including revised English language requirements for some degrees and new typical offers for qualifications with major revisions (such as the French Baccalaureate and Mathematics subjects in the International Baccalaureate).

We will be continuously assessing the impact of the pandemic on study across the world, and where appropriate we may change our typical requirements to ensure they remain fair for all applicants this year. Any changes for this reason will be to your advantage – we may remove or lower academic requirements, but we will not add or increase requirements. Changes we have already made in response to Covid-19 this year:

  • If you are studying a GCE A level in a science or Geology, we will not require a pass in any separate Science Practical Endorsement. This applies to all degrees.
  • As some students may have difficulty accessing them this year, we have removed additional mathematics tests from typical offers for many of our degrees in Mathematics. We have also reduced A level requirements for students who study Further Mathematics so that they do not miss out on a reduced offer through the removal of these tests. Additional mathematics tests will remain a requirement for some students where they are essential to ensuring you are suitably prepared to study one of these degrees. Details are on our relevant course pages.

Personal statements and work experience

You might be concerned about how Covid-19 has affected your opportunities and the impact on your personal statement. The first thing to remember is everyone is in the same position as you, and we will understand that some opportunities may have been more limited for you.

If you are concerned that you are missing relevant experiences you might want to consider alternatives you can do from the comfort of your own home. Short online MOOCs, engaging with online lectures, academically-orientated podcasts or relevant reading are all options to give you insights about your course that you can share in your statement.

We also know work experience opportunities have been more limited. Work experience is not essential for almost all our degrees, and in a normal year, most applicants will not have relevant work or voluntary experience. This is especially true in fields such as engineering, science and social sciences. If you do not have work experience you do not need to worry - focus on the positive experiences you do have for your statement.

You might have individual circumstances arising from the pandemic that you want universities to know about, such as greater disruption in your home or school life. Our advice is to not include too much about these in your personal statement. Our approach to school disruption, and when and how you should let us know is covered in the following section.

Disruption for schools, colleges and examinations

Most students applying in 2021 will have experienced considerable disruption to their education through the closure of schools and colleges last year. We know the impact of this disruption will have varied between students (and their schools), but we also recognise the continuing challenges faced by all students across the world.

We welcome adjustments being considered to A levels and other qualifications to reduce the impact of school disruption on students. As in any year, we will also be mindful of these challenges when assessing final results this year should overall performance be lower than normal. We are continually monitoring the situation in other countries for our international applicants.

While we consider general disruption to schools as part of our normal consideration, we appreciate you may experience specific circumstances (related or unrelated to Covid-19) which may affect your ability to perform academically. If you do have mitigating circumstances, we encourage you to read our published guidance and fill in our mitigating circumstances form so we can consider them carefully alongside your application.

Accepting results from 2020

If you achieved your final qualifications last year and meet our typical offer for your chosen degree then we will be able to consider and accept those results as normal. Please be aware that we can only accept results that have been formally awarded by the relevant organisation – we cannot consider other measures (such as predicted grades) instead of final awards.

Resitting qualifications from 2020

We can consider you if you are resitting some or all of their qualifications from 2020. We know that the circumstances for any awards in 2020 may not reflect your true ability, and as such, you will not be penalised for any lower results last year.

We will accept the results of any resit exams taken this year, providing you receive the results by the end of the 2021 cycle (currently August 2021). Where you can resit exams in multiple sittings in 2021 (for example, in an October or June sitting for A levels), we will accept your highest result even if you sit the exams more than once this year.

Offer guarantee for students who received offers in 2020

If you received an offer from Bath last year (for 2020 or 2021 entry) and choose to reapply for the same degree, you will already have a guarantee that we will make you a new offer this year. The conditions of this offer will match those you received last year. You do not need to do anything other than reapply through UCAS to claim this offer; we will automatically make sure you receive it.

If you are applying for the first time with results from last year or resits, or if you choose to apply for a different degree having received an offer last year, your application will be considered as normal alongside all other applicants and whether you receive an offer will depend on the strength of your application.