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Contextual Offers

Why are contextual offers made?

At Durham we welcome talented students from all backgrounds.  We understand not everyone has the same opportunities in life, and that where you live, the school you attend and your social and economic background might have an impact on your educational achievement.

That’s why we consider information from your application like your individual background and experiences, and the impact these might have on your qualifications when we make a decision on your application. 


What is a contextual offer?

A ‘contextual offer’ is an offer made to applicants who meet certain requirements at the University. You might find the requirements vary between different universities.

Contextual offers are available across all of our undergraduate courses.  If you meet the eligibility criteria for a contextual offer, the grades you will need to achieve will be lower than our standard entry requirements. 

You can find out what the offer is for the course you're interested in by using UCAS course search or our courses database

To be eligible for a contextual offer you must meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • Your home address postcode is classified as Quintile 1 or 2 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 are in receipt of free school meals
  • You are care experienced
  • You are an estranged student

*please note, if you use your school address on your UCAS application, you may not be considered for a contextual offer, so we always recommend you include your home address on your application.

**The ACORN dataset has recently changed. For the 2023-24 admissions cycle, we'll be using the previous dataset. For 2024-25 onwards we'll be reviewing our contextual offers and how this data is used.

Your personal statement and reference are also important, and you’ll still need to meet any other admissions requirements needed by the course to be considered.

These offers are also only available if you are classified as home for the purposes of tuition fees. 


How do I make sure I’m considered? 

You’ll need to submit your UCAS application by the ‘UCAS equal consideration deadline’ which is 18:00 (GMT) on 31 January 2024.

If your course is open after this date, we may still be able to make a contextual offer, however to give you the best chance of receiving an offer we recommend that you apply by our deadline.

Applications are automatically assessed for eligibility, however if you are in receipt of free school meals or are an estranged student, your referee should either include this in your reference or by emailing to confirm this.


Will you still take my context into account if I’m not eligible?

Even if you’re not eligible for one of our ‘contextual offers’ we will still take your individual context into account when we’re considering your application, however this will be in competition with other applications we receive.