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Understanding contextual admissions for undergraduate applicants

Find out about contextual offers, our dedicated Admissions Progression Team and how we use contextual data

Having a diverse student population is very important to us and we aim to select students with the greatest potential to succeed in our degree courses, regardless of background and circumstances.

How we approach contextual admissions

We use a range of contextual information, alongside the information provided on your UCAS application, to gain a better understanding of both your educational and individual background. This helps to give us a better indication of your potential to excel on your chosen degree and makes sure that all applicants have fair opportunities throughout our admissions process.

We use contextual information to decide whether or not you are eligible for a contextual offer. If you are eligible for a contextual offer your application will also receive additional consideration as part of our admissions process.

What is a contextual offer

A contextual offer is a lower offer made to some applicants based on their circumstances. It includes a reduction of one grade below our typical entry requirements.

Contextual offers help to promote fairness and are available to those who meet our widening access criteria across our undergraduate courses.

Contextual offers are automatic - if you receive an offer and meet our eligibility criteria, you will receive the contextual offer instead of our typical or alternative offers.

Contextual offer (2024 applications)

If you are an A level or IB student and meet our contextual criteria, you may qualify for a contextual offer. The contextual offer will be a one-grade drop in the standard offer for the course.

Find out about the contextual offer for your chosen course on our course pages.

If you are not eligible for a contextual offer we do offer a range of alternative offers which recognise additional study over and above the typical entry requirements.

You may be eligible for these offers if you apply on or after 1 September 2023. If you are applying for deferred entry before this date you will instead be considered for a contextual alternative offer.

Contextual alternative offer (2023 applications)

If you are an A level or Cambridge Pre U student and meet our contextual criteria, you may qualify for a contextual alternative offer. If you receive an offer, you will receive both the typical offer and a contextual alternative offer dependent upon you completing and passing Access to Bath. Access to Bath is an online programme to help students from under-represented groups’ transition into higher education.

Find out about alternative offers for your chosen course on our course pages.

Guaranteed Offers for Care Leavers

For 2023 entry, the University has pledged to make guaranteed offers to Care Leavers who meet our criteria and terms and conditions. Please visit our Care Leavers webpage for details.

Am I eligible for a contextual offer?

2023 applications

You will be eligible for a contextual (alternative) offer if you are a student eligible for UK fees and you meet any one the following criteria:

  • your home postcode is in an area of high socio-economic disadvantage (IMD quintiles 1 or 2)*;

  • your home postcode is in an area of low progression to higher education (Polar 4 quintiles 1 or 2)*;

  • your home postcode is in an area of medium socio-economic disadvantage and medium participation in higher education (IMD quintile 3 and Polar4 quintile 3)*;

  • you are a care leaver,* young carer,** or estranged student;**

  • you are a refugee, asylum seeker or have been granted humanitarian protection.**

*This information is automatically linked to your application when you apply through UCAS.

** Not all information you may have disclosed to UCAS is directly accessible to us and therefore regardless of you ticking the relevant box on your UCAS application we would like to know if you are an estranged student or young adult carer. If you identify as being in either of these groups, please send an email to with a short paragraph to give us an overview of your circumstances.

Find out more about the contextual data we use including POLAR and IMD.

2024 applications

We are currently reviewing our criteria for 2024 applications. This is so that we can ensure that we are identifying those that may be most disadvantaged.

We will confirm and publish the measures that we will be using very soon.

Care leavers, young carers, estranged students and students who are refugees, asylum seekers or have been granted humanitarian protection will remain included in our future criteria.

How your UCAS application will be considered

Your application will first be considered against our selection criteria, using aspects such as your GCSEs, the subjects you are studying, your personal statement and predicted grades. If your application is strong enough you will receive an offer on that basis, regardless of your circumstances.

Otherwise, if you meet our criteria for contextual offers*, we have a dedicated Admissions Progression Team who aim to make sure that we carefully consider information about your background and circumstances before deciding whether or not we can make you an offer. They will make sure we consider each aspect of your UCAS form carefully in context.

This process doesn’t stop if you receive an offer: if you choose Bath as one of your final choices but miss your offer, our Admissions Progression Team will assess your application thoroughly again and strongly prioritise you for a place at Bath.

*You will receive this additional consideration if you meet our criteria based on your personal circumstances, even if contextual offers are not available for your particular qualifications.

How we consider mitigating circumstances

We understand that difficult circumstances outside your control, such as illness or bereavement, may have a negative impact on your studies and grades. These would be described as ‘mitigating circumstances’.

Separate to our contextual admissions process, our Admissions Progression Team also consider any mitigating circumstances that are declared to us. If your studies (past or current) are affected, we would encourage you to read our guidance about mitigating circumstances and return a copy of our form.


We want to support you if you become a student at Bath. If you are a Home UK student, then your contextual data will be considered alongside any household income data we receive from your UK student loans provider. You may be eligible for one of our bursaries or scholarships.

Also, remember to look out for our travel bursary if you are travelling to an interview or applicant visit day.

Student Experience webpages and E-mentoring

If you are a care leaver, young carer or from a forced migration background we have some newly created Student Experience webpages which have been created by our students to share with you their lived experiences, journeys, and resources they’ve found helpful. The pages also include the option to access E-Mentoring through online direct messaging with a current Bath undergraduate with lived experience. Please click on the links below to access the page:

Student Experience webpages for care leavers

Student Experience webpages for students from forced migration backgrounds

Student Experience webpages for young carers

Widening Participation and Outreach

The university offer a range of activities, events, and programmes for students from under-represented groups. Please click here for further information about the support we can offer.

Student profile

Watch Sam's video about his experiences


If you have any questions, please contact us.