What are contextual admissions?
As well as through offering foundation programs (see our post on these here), some (but not all) medical schools in the UK also offer contextual admissions for their standard medicine course. These often include contextual offers which are slightly lowered A-level requirements to help those from under-represented backgrounds enter medicine.
Which medical schools have contextual offers?
The medicals schools that offer contextual admissions are listed below along with what they can offer candidates who meet their widening participation criteria. The criteria are very similar to that for foundation courses and, likewise, the type and number of criteria that need to be met can vary depending on the medical school (check the individual links).
- University of Aberdeen: Lower contextual offer of AAB (or AAAB for SQA) + 10% increase in UCAT score and potentially a guaranteed interview.
- Anglia Ruskin: Lower contextual offer of ABB.
- Aston: Lower contextual offer of AAB.
- Birmingham: Lower contextual offer of ABB.
- Brighton And Sussex: Lower contextual offer of AAB and GCSE requirements of 5/C+ in English and Maths. Reserved 30% interviews for those meeting criteria.
- Bristol: Lower contextual offer of ABB.
- Dundee: Lower contextual offer (unspecified).
- Edinburgh: 10% uplift in UCAT, and guaranteed invitation to assessment day.
- Exeter: Lower contextual offer of AAC.
- Hull York: Lower contextual offer of AAB or ABB (if completed their WP programme).
- Imperial College: Lower contextual offer of AAA.
- Keele: Lower contextual offer of AAB (or ABB + A* in EPQ).
- Kent and Medway: Lower contextual offer ABB or ABB only if from partner school. Furthermore, predicted results are contextualised against the school’s average and used in interview selection.
- Lancaster: Lower contextual offer of ABB.
- Leeds: Lower contextual offer of ABB.
- Leicester: Candidates may be advantaged over similar candidates when selecting for interview and giving offers.
- Manchester: Situation taken into consideration for personal statement and interview as well as lower contextual offer of AAB (potentially ABB if in care or refugee status).
- University of Nottingham: Lower contextual offer of AAB.
- Oxford: Taken into consideration when chosen for interview (provided appropriate BMAT performance) and further in application process.
- Plymouth: Lower contextual offer of AAB (ABB if in UKWPMED).
- Queen Mary / Barts – Lower contextual offer (not specified) and taken in consideration if final grades are short of offer.
- Sheffield: Lower contextual offer of AAB.
- Southampton: Lower contextual offer of AAB.
- St Andrews: Lower minimum grades of AAB.
- St George’s: Lower contextual offer of ABB.
- Sunderland: Lower contextual offer (unspecified).
- UCL: Lower contextual offer of AAB.
For information on Foundation Year Courses (which usually have lower grade requirements) check out our article 'What Is A Medicine Foundation Course?'!
To give you an idea of the criteria used, here is a list collated from all medical schools:
- Having been in care.
- Being an unpaid carer for a family member.
- Having refugee status.
- Attending a state (sometimes non-selected) school.
- Living in an area where people are less likely to go to university.
- Living in a more deprived area.
- Attending a low scoring school.
- Being estranged from family.
- Neither parent/carer attended university.
- Being from a low-income household.
- Receiving a means-tested bursary.
- Received a UCAT bursary.
- Students from an underrepresented group (e.g. gypsy, roma, traveller, refugee, military family).
It’s important to remember that often to receive these contextual offers you may need to ‘firm choice’ the respective medical school when you receive the offer. Be sure to check with the medical school if this is the case so that you are not disadvantaged.
Note: Along with meeting these criteria, individual medical schools often have their own widening participation programmes that are usually for students local to the university. Check as early as possible if you are eligible for any of these as they can offer even more benefits to your application!
Author: Dhillon Hirani
Editor: Allegra Wisking