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Durham University


Contextual offers

Durham University seeks to recruit the most able and motivated students who can best benefit from a Durham University education. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our student population through widening participation, and welcome applications from individuals of all backgrounds to join an open and inclusive environment where all members of our community can reach their full potential.

Extensive research shows that factors such as your socio-economic background, where you live, type of school you attend, and subject choice, can all impact on your attainment and, therefore, whether you progress to higher education. We use contextual information and data from your UCAS application to consider your prior achievement and potential to succeed, in the context of your individual background and experience. From this assessment, you may be eligible for a guaranteed offer with a reduced entry requirement, of up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below the typical entry requirements for the programme, under the contextual offer scheme.

To be eligible for an offer under this scheme you must meet at least two of the three following criteria:

  • Your home address postcode is classified as Quintile 1 of POLAR4 LPN*
  • Your home address postcode is classified as ACORN 4 or 5
  • Your current or most recently attended school is classified as a UK state school

You must also submit a complete and satisfactory UCAS application before 15th January**, which includes a suitable personal statement and reference. If an interview, admissions test or other requirements are stated for a particular programme, these must also be met to a satisfactory level.

You must be predicted to meet or exceed the grade level of offer we would make under the contextual offer scheme.

You must be classified as home/EU for fee status purposes.

Making your replies:

If you receive a guaranteed contextual offer, you may be eligible for a further reduction in your offer if you accept Durham as your firm choice. If you are eligible for such an offer, we will contact you before you make your replies to let you know and to provide further details.

Not all courses are eligible for this scheme and the level of the reduction will depend on the course and its specific requirements. This offer is not open for students who decline their offer, choose Durham as their insurance choice or change their replies during the application cycle.

* Where only a school address is provided, your application will not be considered under this scheme. It is therefore important that you do not quote your school address as your home address on your UCAS application. Further information on ACORN and LPN classification can be found on the following websites:

** We may consider applications received after this date under the contextual offer scheme if the programme is still open for applications.

Please note: Applicants in receipt of an offer under this scheme must meet all Durham University and UCAS set deadlines to retain their offer. Programme changes after the point of offer will not be guaranteed and will follow the standard deadlines and processes for such changes.