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Criminal Convictions Policy, Procedure and Guidance

We welcome applications from people from all backgrounds with the potential and determination to succeed on our programmes of study. Cardiff University understands that, for applicants with a criminal conviction, accessing education can be an important part of moving on and gaining the skills, knowledge and qualifications necessary to tackle the challenges of employment. Having a criminal conviction is not an automatic bar to enrolling on a programme of study at the University.

There are different requirements for disclosure of information based on whether you wish to study a regulated or non-regulated programme (this includes Lifelong Learning and Continuing Professional Development/Education modules, which are considered as programmes for the purpose of this policy).

We aim to make information on our requirements regarding disclosure as accessible as possible. As requirements to disclose will differ depending on the programme of study (based on the nature of the course and the content), information on requirements will be available to view on our course information pages (please select the programme that you are interested in studying).

If you are considering applying, we welcome getting in touch to confidentially discuss the nature of your conviction. Making contact early in the application process is advisable to allow sufficient time to discuss any potential requirements we can put in place to support taking forward your studies.

If you would like advice and guidance on the options and support available to you, please do not hesitate to contact us at We can discuss your circumstances via email or arrange a suitable time to call.

1. Policy

1.1. This policy covers admissions and applicants only.

1.2. Separate policies will be in place for other aspects of life and study at Cardiff University such as (but not limited to) residences/accommodation, volunteering, representing and working for the University.

1.3. Cardiff University accepts that there is a robust, evidence-based criminal justice system and that it is the role and responsibility of the Criminal Justice Service to determine an individual’s suitability for integration within wider society.

1.4. As part of the admissions process, Cardiff University will only require information on criminal convictions as follows:

a) Regulated programmes

Regulated programmes are those leading to professions or occupations exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. These include, but are not limited to, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Radiography, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Optometry, Teaching and Social Work, and, a number of Law programmes also come under this category. These programmes require an applicant to self-disclose all convictions at the point of application through a mandatory question on the application form and require an applicant to undertake a fitness to practice assessment and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check prior to enrolment, as detailed in the the University's Policy for Determining Applicants’ Fitness to Practise and Eligibility to Pursue Regulated Programmes of Study.

Applicants who are on the barred list should be aware that applying to a regulated programme is likely to be considered a criminal offence.

b) Non-regulated programmes

Non–regulated programmes are those programmes that do not lead directly to an exempt profession.

Applicants to unregulated programmes will only be required to disclose their criminal record if they are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect their ability to successfully complete their studies . In all cases where information is disclosed a risk assessment will be undertaken.

In the majority of cases, applicants with a criminal record will not be subject to any restrictions and in those circumstances, applicants do not need to disclose. For example, restrictions on computer use or internet access would prevent a student from being able to successfully complete a computer science degree (for restrictions relating to computer or internet access please see additional information at the end of this policy), or a restriction which would not allow a student to enter a laboratory would prevent an applicant from taking our Biological Science and Chemistry degree programmes.

The types of licence conditions and/or monitoring restrictions that require disclosure will be outlined on each of the course information pages as they will be individual to a specific programme of study.

Applicants are only required to declare this information if they choose to study at Cardiff University. For undergraduate programmes where application is made via UCAS, this will be at the point of selecting Cardiff University as your firm choice; for all other programmes this is when you accept your offer of a place. Details of information you are required to declare and how to do this will be sent to all applicants at the relevant point in the admissions cycle. Further information/advice can be requested from the Admissions Support Team at

Where the Criminal Justice Service has put in place safeguards and/or restrictions and/or licence conditions that will in practice prevent study at Cardiff University, offers already made will be withdrawn or places will be terminated as appropriate following consideration at an Admissions Review Panel.

1.5. In the event that an applicant fails to declare information as required, Cardiff University reserves the right to withdraw an offer or terminate the place, as appropriate. If an applicant has already registered on a programme of study this will be dealt with under the terms outlined in the Academic Regulations.

1.6. Whilst an overall programme may not require disclosure of a conviction, there may be optional modules or placements which, if chosen, require an applicant to disclose relevant criminal convictions. This is where the optional module involves a regulated activity and/or where an applicant is subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect their ability to successfully complete that module.

Where an applicant is prohibited from taking an optional module or placement, they will be required to select from the other options available to ensure that a programme of study can be successfully completed. In some cases, this may result in a lesser award outcome, such as a DipHE in place of a BA.

1.7. Cardiff University reserves the right to offer deferred entry to applicants where appropriate adjustments can be made to support study, but where there is not sufficient time to put in place agreed adjustments for the chosen programme intake.

1.8. Information on criminal convictions will be disclosed only to those members of staff who need to know in order to make the relevant admissions decision and will be held in line with the University’s Data Protection and Data Retention Policy. Where possible, details that could identify the applicant, such as name, will be excluded unless it is necessary to know the identity of the applicant in order to make the admissions decision.

2. Procedure

2.1. Regulated Programmes

Applicants who fail to declare or present required information (such as the enhanced DBS check) will not be permitted register on their programme of study at the University.

Any issues raised by the self-declaration and/or DBS report, will be dealt with according to the University's Policy for Determining Applicants’ Fitness to Practise and Eligibility to Pursue Regulated Programmes of Study.

2.2. Non-regulated Programmes

All offers for non-regulated programmes are conditional upon disclosure of all relevant unspent convictions as outlined in our policy (see point 1.4). Where a conviction is declared, this will subject to the Admissions Review Panel (see below) approving an applicant as suitable for study.

To declare an unspent criminal conviction, information as detailed below should be sent to the Admissions Support Team at In this correspondence you will need to provide the following:

  • Your full name
  • Your programme of study
  • Your UCAS Personal I.D. or Cardiff University Student number (this will be contained in your offer letter)
  • Details of all relevant unspent conviction as appropriate (in accordance with the requirements of the programme applied for), including copies of any restrictions and/or licence conditions.
  • Probation officer or police contact, where relevant, with your permission to contact them to discuss the restrictions.
  • Any other information the applicant wishes to provide (see below in relation to information the Admissions Review Panel will take into consideration).

The information provided will be shared with the Admissions Review Panel (hereon known as the Panel).

This information will be dealt with confidentially but should you wish to speak to someone at the University before providing it, you can do so by contacting the Admissions Support Team via to arrange a call.

Information declared will be reviewed by the Panel. The role of the Panel is to determine whether the applicant would (on the basis of information provided) be able to successfully complete their studies at Cardiff University and/or to determine whether the University can satisfactorily discharge its duties in offering the applicant admission to the University. It may also consider and make recommendation in relation to other aspects of joining the University, such as whether an applicant would be permitted to reside in University accommodation (where appropriate).

An application will only be referred to the Panel if an applicant meets the academic requirements (including Welsh or English Language standards) to be offered a place on a programme (i.e. has taken or is currently taking the appropriate qualifications).

2.3. Where an application is being referred to the Panel, the following procedures will take place:

2.3.1. The applicant will be notified in writing (normally by email) that their case is being referred to the Panel, inviting them to the meeting and to submit any further information. Attendance at this meeting is not compulsory for the applicant, but their attendance is strongly encouraged. If the applicant declines to attend, the meeting will take place in their absence.

2.3.2. The Panel will comprise of the following (see also point 2.3.4):

  • Pro Vice Chancellor (Student Experience & Academic Standards)- Chair
  • Member/s of the Academic School/s and/or College responsible for the programme of study
  • Head of Admissions
  • Member of Student Support and Welfare Services
  • Member of Student Cases
  • Head of University Residences, where appropriate
  • Placement coordinators and/or providers, where appropriate

2.3.3. The Panel will have the discretion to invite other members of the University to join the Panel in an advisory capacity, where appropriate.

2.3.4 The Panel will have the discretion to nominate an appropriate deputy to represent them at the Panel, where a panel member is unable to attend.

2.3.5. The Panel may request additional legal or specialist advice.

2.3.6. The Panel will be serviced by the Admissions Support Team.

2.3.7. Factors which the Panel may take into account include the following:

a) Information on study to date

b) The nature of the offence(s) and the relevance to the programme

c) The date of the offence(s)

d) Any pattern of re-offending

e) Whether the applicant’s circumstances have changed since the offence(s)

f) Recommendations and advice provided by the Criminal Justice Service (normally the Probation Service).

g) The ability for the applicant to be able to be able successfully complete the proposed programme of study based on any restrictions and/or requirements (based on information provided by the Criminal Justice Service). As part of this consideration, the Panel will take into account any adjustments that can be made to facilitate study.

h) Where appropriate, the ability for any adjustments to be made in time for the proposed start date of the programme.

i) Where appropriate, the ability for the applicant to be permitted to reside in University residences based on any restrictions or requirements.

2.3.8. The outcome of the meeting of the Panel will be:

a) to confirm the offer stands as made to the applicant

b) to confirm an amendment to an offer of a place to the applicant. This may include further conditions and/or adjustments to a programme of study (including the opportunity to offer an alternative programme or a deferred start date)

c) to request further information/advice from the applicant and/or appropriate services

d) to confirm withdrawal of an offer or termination of the place including details of why this decision has been made.

2.3.9. Applicants will be informed in writing within 5 workings days of the Admissions Review Panel of the outcome of the meeting unless further information/advice is required. In the circumstance that further information/advice is required, the applicant will be notified and will be given about the likely date of an outcome where possible.

2.3.10 The decision of the Panel is final. There is no right of appeal against the decision of the Panel except in the circumstance that new advice or information is provided by a relevant party which was not available at the time of the decision or if there was evidence that the procedure as outlined in the document was not correctly followed.

3. Additional Information

Applicants should be aware that some professions will carry out criminal records checks on entry, for example law and accountancy, which would not prevent you from undertaking the degree but may impact on your professional options upon completing the programme of study. We recommend that applicants wishing to study courses with a view to a particular profession undertake research into professional requirements and take this into account when considering your degree options and choices.

Applicants who have restrictions in relation to use of computers or the internet are strongly advised to make contact with the University before submitting an application. All students are expected to engage with the University via online platforms such as (but not limited to) enrolment, learning central, access to library material, course submissions and general communication.

This policy focuses solely on the application and admissions process and recognises that other areas of the University may require information on criminal convictions for different services and facilities, and that the policy and process for students currently studying at the University will differ. Policies which may be of relevance are:

Academic Regulations

Policy for Determining Applicants’ Fitness to Practise and Eligibility to Pursue Regulated Programmes of Study

Policy for Safeguarding

For further advice and guidance on the options and support available to you, please do not hesitate to contact the Admissions Support Team at