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Durham University is accountable for all admissions decisions leading to its awards. The University sets standard entry requirements, but permits TEIs some flexibility within its own Admissions Policies to set its own specific entry requirements.  

Standard Entry requirements  

The University’s Quality and Standards Committee (QSC) approves the generic entry requirements for the Common Awards programmes, upon the recommendation of the Common Awards Management Board. TEI Management Committees also play a key role in recommending to the Common Awards Management Board the specific entry requirements for the programmes for which the Management Committee is responsible.  

See our Entry Requirements page for full details of the entry requirements for Common Awards programmes, including English language requirements.  

TEI Admissions Policy  

TEIs are responsible for creating and reviewing their own admissions policy, but all admissions policies (and any proposed changes) must be approved by the University before they are publicised to potential applicants. This is particularly important if a TEI wishes to specify any additional entry requirements.  

There should normally be one admissions policy for Common Awards programmes for each TEI; however, it is recognised that there may be a small number of circumstances where it is necessary for the TEI’s admissions policy to include a certain degree of differentiation. For example, where admissions processes within a TEI need to reflect the different selection processes of more than one sponsoring church, or where a TEI may partner with more than one validating university. However, even in such cases, we expect each TEI policy to demonstrate commonality and parity with respect to Common Awards programmes and applicants.  

TEI admissions policies must include: 

  • the specific entry requirements for each Common Awards programme, in line with the standard entry requirements;  
  • whether, and under which circumstances, applicants who do not meet the specific entry requirements might be admitted to the programmes 
  • the processes and/or criteria that the TEI will use to judge whether applicants are capable of studying at the appropriate level;  
  • who in the TEI is responsible for making admissions decisions 
  • information about the admissions complaints processes (see our page on Complaints and Appeals).  

TEI admissions policies might also include information on the TEI’s Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) policy (or this may be publicised to applicants in a standalone policy). See our guidance on the Accreditation of Prior Learning for more information.  

TEIs should clarify within their admissions policy whether, and under which circumstances, applicants who do not meet the standard entry requirements might be admitted to their programmes. TEIs should state how it would determine whether a student is capable of completing academic study at the specified Level. Examples of this might include:  

  • the completion of a taster module; (see our page on Taster Modules for further guidance) 
  • the submission of recently completed and assessed work;  
  • the completion of an assigned task that would be marked by the TEI;  
  • admitting the student to a lower level award in the first instance (e.g. a Certificate instead of a BA; a PGCert instead of an MA).  

If TEIs choose this as an option, they should state this within their admissions policy – for approval by the University 

TEIs are responsible for making admissions decisions in cases where applicants meet the entry requirements, as specified in the TEI's approved Admissions Policy. For all admissions decisions, TEIs should create and maintain a clear record of their decision and the rationale. 

Applications from individuals who do not meet the entry requirements outlined in a TEI’s admissions policy, but the TEI is nonetheless supportive of the application, then the admissions application must also be processed as a ‘non-standard admission’ concession request and considered for approval by the University, via the Common Awards Management Board. See our Concessions page for more information.  

Monitoring and review  

TEI Management Committees are required to monitor the management, operation, and review of its admissions, recruitment and selection processes – including the information, support, and advice to applicants and potential applicants – in relation to the quality and standards of the academic provision for Common Awards programmes.  

TEIs are asked to reflect on matters relating to admissions - including the recruitment, admissions and induction processes for students, and the selection and training of admissions selectors – as part of Annual Self-Evaluation and Periodic External Review (where relevant TEI policies are also reviewed by Durham).  

TEIs will need to have clear processes for monitoring and making decisions about progression for all students. This is especially important for students who have been admitted with non-standard qualifications. The track record of successful progression and achievement will be important evidence to confirm the appropriateness of the TEI’s admissions policies and practices. See our page on TEI Management Committees for more information.  

Publicity materials  

TEIs are responsible for producing their own publicity materials and publishing accurate information about their recruitment and admissions policies and processes. TEIs should seek approval for any publicity materials in advance of their use, in line with our guidance on our Published Information page.  


TEIs must ensure that all members of staff involved in the admissions process (including the consideration of APL) are appropriately inducted, trained, and supported, and that they are fully aware of the relevant TEI and Common Awards policies and procedures.   

Record keeping  

TEIs must keep clear records of all the admissions decisions they make, the rationale for those decisions, and the evidence they use. These records may be requested by Durham. Following the completion of admissions processes, TEIs are required to formally register students with the University via the Programme Registration process, and in line with the deadlines outlined in the Common Awards Calendar 

Overseas qualifications 

The Common Awards Team is able to use the University’s NARIC license on behalf of the TEIs to answer queries relating to overseas qualifications. TEIs should contact the Common Awards Team if you have questions relating to EU qualification equivalencies.