Admissions policies

It is our mission to pursue research, learning and teaching of international distinction and impact.

All of the University’s activities are directed to achieving the highest international standards in research, learning and teaching, pursued in a rich and varied research-led environment where all staff and students can achieve their full potential to the benefit of the wider community and society as a whole.

Our Admissions policy is intended to explain the University’s admissions process for applicants and their representatives, and to support the work of its admissions staff in achieving the University’s mission.

This policy has been written to ensure compliance with the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education. The good practice principles identified in the policy apply equally to all categories of applicants who submit applications to study at the University.

Responsibility for oversight of the University’s Admissions policy rests with the University’s Academic Standards and Quality Committee. The policy is subject to annual review by this Committee.

Applicants to Cardiff University can choose to have their correspondence in Welsh or in English. The preferred language can be amended at any point in the process at the applicant’s request.

The University’s admissions process is founded on the following principles:

  • fairness
  • transparency
  • professionalism
  • accessibility for applicants and their advisors
  • consistent application of policy and procedure.

Our committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its practices and activities, including those relating to student recruitment, selection and admission.

The University seeks to provide fair and equal access to all who have the potential to benefit from the University's research-led learning and teaching environment. All applicants must have achieved the appropriate qualifications to satisfy the University’s General Entrance Requirement. The University recognises a wide range of qualifications, and uses UK NARIC as a source of recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills.

In addition to the academic requirement, applicants will need to be able to demonstrate competency in either/both Welsh or English language skills, as detailed in the University’s Welsh Language Policy and English Language Policy. Further guidance on English language requirements are available for both undergraduate and postgraduate level applicants.

Programme specific entry requirements are published on the University’s coursefinder guide. Admission to the University is based upon an assessment of an applicant’s suitability and potential against the specific entry requirements, involving a broader assessment of skills, attributes and suitability for the relevant programme of study.  Entry requirements are reviewed annually to ensure their compliance with the University’s Admissions Framework, equality and legal constraints, and to ensure the accuracy of the entry requirements.

For programmes commencing in September and October each year the University guarantees not to change its entry requirements as published on programme’s coursefinder information pages after the 1 September in the preceding year (for example, information on our coursefinder pages  not be adjusted for that September 2018 entry post 1 September 2017).

Applicants with learning from prior qualifications at other higher education institutions may be able to gain credit towards their Cardiff University programme. For further information, please contact

The University offers a number of programmes which are subject to the requirements of professional, statutory and regulatory bodies, either because of necessary contact with patients, vulnerable adults or children during placements, the requirements of placement providers or because of eligibility for registration with a professional body upon completion of the programme.

These requirements may include: fitness to practise assessments, health checks, criminal records checks, Disclosure and Barring Services and/or police checks and limitations upon age on entry.  These additional non-academic will be included in the programme’s coursefinder information pages.

The University supports a range of activities and initiatives aimed at widening access and fostering the University’s inclusive culture, as identified in the University’s Widening Access and Retention Strategy.

The University is committed to the highest standards of ethics and conduct in its administration, organisational policy and behaviour, and also committed to open, effective and efficient communication, in compliance with consumer law.

It is the University’s aim to recruit and admit students who have the potential to and who are most able to benefit from the University’s learning, teaching and research environment, regardless of background.

The University has a widening access strategy which addresses the recruitment, retention and progression of students from a wide variety of groups traditionally under-represented in higher education.

Find out more about our widening access strategy.

The University operates a Contextual Admissions Model for undergraduate UK applicants to identify those who have experienced barriers to participation in higher education. The model uses three indicators of socioeconomic disadvantage in addition to adverse individual circumstance.

Find out more about our use of contextual data.

Undergraduate full-time applications to the University are submitted via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All other applications will be submitted directly to the University, except where another route is agreed, including Bar Student Application Service (BarSAS) and the LPC Central Applications Board (CAB) for the postgraduate Bar Vocational and Legal Practice programmes. Further information on applying is available on our coursefinder pages.

UCAS Applicants

Applicants who apply by the UCAS equal consideration deadline will receive full and equal consideration. Later applications will be considered on an individual basis if there are still places available on the relevant programme. All applications received by the published and agreed deadlines will receive equal consideration.

Direct Applicants

If there are places available on programmes you can apply up to the programme start date. In deciding when to submit your application you should take into account factors such as securing accommodation and, if appropriate, applying for funding.

If you require a visa to study it is a particularly important that you allow sufficient time for both the application and visa process. We strongly recommend that applicants who require a visa apply a minimum of 12 weeks before the start date of their chosen programme.For all other applicants we recommend a minimum of 8 weeks.

It is recommended that applicants apply as soon as possible to avoid the disappointment of their chosen programme being full.

Please note, the University reserves the right to offer a deferred entry place for applicants who apply for a programme which has reached capacity  (operating waiting lists as appropriate) and for applicants who apply after the recommended deadline (12 weeks before the start date of a programme for applicants who require a visa, 8 weeks for all other applicants) if there is not sufficient time to process all the requirements for an applicant to start their programme by the last date of enrolment.

It is the responsibility of applicants to provide full an accurate information in their application, and to ensure that the University is informed of any changes to their contact details or personal circumstances, or respond to any additional requests for information required that are relevant to their application.

At application stage where false or misleading information has been provided, the application will not be considered further and an unsuccessful decision will be processed.

An offer of admission may be withdrawn or changed if information comes to the notice of the University which could have influenced the decision or outcome of an application. This includes the submission of false or misleading information in support of an application.

Where an applicant or third party acting on behalf of an applicant has knowingly misled the University by providing false or incorrect information, the University will notify relevant parties. These include UCAS in relation to the undergraduate applications, UK Visas and Immigration where information declared may be used to falsely obtain entry into the UK, and the relevant UK police force in relation to matters of serious fraud and deception.

The University may offer a place on alternative programmes where appropriate at initial offer and confirmation stages.

Where an applicant does not meet the entry requirements for their selected programme of study but where an applicant meets the requirement for a related programme of entry the University will write to an applicant to offer the alternative choice. If an applicant accepts the alternative offer this will be processed and confirmation sent to the applicant accordingly. If the alternative offer is declined an unsuccessful decision will be processed on the original programme choice. This practice will also be applied at when we receive your results (confirmation) if the conditions of offer have not been met.

Where an alternative offer is made at the point of receiving results through UCAS, the applicant will have the right to decline this offer and proceed to their insurance choice or into UCAS clearing dependent on their circumstances. Applicants are under no obligation to accept an alternative offer at any point in the process and should consider all options before doing so.

The University collects a range of data from applicants during the application process, including:

  • contact and personal information required in order to administer the application process (including information to determine immigration and fee status)
  • information required to inform decision-making about the applicant’s suitability for their chosen programme of study
  • equality and diversity monitoring and contextual information to enable the University to monitor the impact of its admissions policies and procedures on particular groups.

The University does not use sensitive personal data to inform its decision-making process. This information will only be used for monitoring purposes and in cases where an applicant has declared a disability, to allow Student Support and Well Being to contact an applicant to assess any support needs the applicant may have.

The University will store documents and data in accordance with the University’s Records Retention Schedule.

At the scheduled dates, redundant application data will be destroyed.

Find out more about how you can request a copy of your personal data held by the University.

The University is bound by the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 in terms of safeguarding personal information. We are not able to discuss your application unless you confirm in writing the details of a third party who is authorised to respond on your behalf.

Unsuccessful applicants can request feedback about their applications. Requests for feedback must be submitted by the applicant to Admissions in writing within 28 days of the decision being made. Data protection legislation means that we are unable to respond to requests for feedback submitted by third parties. To receive feedback, you must provide your application reference number, full name and the programme applied for in the request.

If an applicant wishes to appeal against a decision, or make a complaint regarding the University’s admissions process or its outcome with an opportunity to seek redress, subject to the scope of the procedure, applicants should refer to the University’s Applicant Complaints and Appeals procedure for Applicants.


The Admissions Tutor's role is to determine entry criteria and to make selection decisions for the programmes for which they are responsible. Admissions Tutors are also responsible for the timely provision of selection decisions about applications for admission to the University’s programmes which are not managed by Professional Services or which fall outside the published entry criteria.

It is the role of Professional Services staff to providing expert guidance and support for the University’s admissions process; to undertake and process decisions based upon the pre-determined entry criteria and to communicate these decisions to applicants.

All staff involved in Admissions will receive the necessary training and support to ensure that an efficient, professional and competent service is provided to applicants.  Training will address legal and external constraints, including equality and diversity legislation. Consultation with admissions staff will be undertaken to identify emerging training needs and to ensure that the training and support programme continues to meet needs.

The University will only make an offer of admission for a research degree when it can provide appropriate supervision and/or supervision arrangements in the applicant’s research area.  For some research degree programmes, the availability of sufficient research funds may also be a consideration; where this is the case, this will be stated in the relevant School’s admissions criteria.

Where the University is unable to make you an offer for your original choice of programme, you may receive an offer of admission for an alternative, related programme.

Selection tests and interviews

Where entry to a programme requires completion of a selection test or attendance at interview, this requirement will be published in Coursefinder, along with any specific criteria for selection at interview. Staff involved in these activities will receive training to ensure that they are conducted in compliance with legal requirements and the University’s equality and diversity policy.

Applicants who have been invited to attend interview will be invited by Schools to disclose any disability prior to interview; where a disability is disclosed in good time, Schools will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate an applicant’s requirements at interview.


Cardiff University has a policy of charging a deposit prior to admission to some programmes. Where you are required to pay a deposit this will be stated in your offer. For further information please see our information on deposits.

Significant changes to programmes

In exceptional circumstances, the University may be required to make changes to a programme during the course of an application cycle, meaning that the programme will differ from that advertised at the beginning of the application cycle. Such changes might include changes to core modules, a programme suspension or discontinuation, alteration to the status of a programme (e.g. successful professional accreditation of a programme), a change to the supervision arrangements for a postgraduate research programme, or a significant change to tuition costs and/or funding. In the event of such a change, we will write to any affected applicant(s) promptly to notify them of the change, and provide applicant(s) with details of the courses of action available to them.

Deferred entry

Applicants may be allowed deferred entry to a programme at the discretion of the relevant School. The maximum period of deferral granted will be no more than 12 months. Applicants wishing to defer admission for a longer period will be required to reapply.

In exceptional circumstances, an applicant wishes to seek an extension to the deferral period, the School must submit a case to the Pro Vice- Chancellor (Student Experience and Academic Standards).

Examination re-sits (undergraduate entry)

The acceptability of examination grades achieved through re-sits is determined at programme level. For programmes where re-sits cannot be taken into consideration this will be stated on the affected programmes webpage in Coursefinder Where extenuating or mitigating circumstances are thought to have affecting an applicant’s performance in examinations, applicants should refer to the University’s Statement on Mitigating Circumstances.

Determination of fee status

The University does not determine fee status for prospective applicants. Following assessment, fee status information will be included in your offer.

The University assesses fee status strictly in accordance with the guidance provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA); further information is available in our section on resolving fee queries.

Fees and study costs

Information on undergraduate tuition fees and postgraduate tuition fees is available on our website, along with information on living costs.

Applicant support

Further information about the support available to applicants to whom it has made an offer.

Further information about the University’s procedure for assessing the additional support needs and/or adjustments required to programmes of study for an applicant to who is aged under 18 on the date of admission is available in our Under 18's Policy.

Applicants are required to supply evidence of qualifications certificated or the attainment of other conditions of offer. Where an applicant has been made an unconditional offer of entry, the University will request proof of the qualifications stated.

Where an applicant has failed to achieve the conditions of their offer, the application will be referred to the relevant academic selector(s) for a decision about whether the offer can be confirmed on the basis of the qualifications achieved or attainment of non-academic conditions. This will be determined by the availability of places on the programme. The final confirmation decision will be notified to the applicant by the body to which the application was initially submitted, either UCAS or the University. Please also see section 8 for details of our alternative offer procedure.

Confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)

Once an unconditional offer of a place of study has been accepted, the University will issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to applicants who will require a tier 4 visa. The University’s International Office offers support and guidance to international applicants relocating to Cardiff.

Find out more about the International Office.


New entrants to Cardiff will receive a Welcome to Cardiff Leaflet and brief guide to online enrolment approximately three weeks prior to the start of their programme.  Before starting their studies with Cardiff University all applicants must register with the University using the online enrolment system.  Further information is available on the enrolment web pages.

Other policies for applicants

Our admissions policy is underpinned by the following related policies:

Name Type Last updated
Complaints and appeals procedure for applicants PDF 01/05/2016
Disability support guide PDF 02/06/2016
Extenuating Circumstances PDF 30/08/2017
Fitness to practise PDF 20/02/2013
Interim Safeguarding Policy PDF 01/06/2016
Under 18's Admissions Policy PDF 31/08/2017