Postgraduate Admissions Policy and Procedures

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1 Postgraduate Admissions Policy and Procedures SCOPE OF POLICY This policy applies to all applications to postgraduate programmes at the University of York. The policy is intended to give guidance to both staff and applicants on the University s procedures for admitting postgraduate students. RESPONSIBILITY FOR POLICY This policy is the responsibility of the Director, Student Recruitment and Admissions. MONITORING OF POLICY This policy is monitored by the Director, Student Recruitment and Admissions, and is reviewed and updated annually. February

2 Contents Page 1 ADMISSIONS STATEMENT 4 2 LEGISLATION AND REGULATION National legislation National guidelines Institutional regulation 4 3 ADMISSIONS PROCEDURES Making an application Application deadlines Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) Re-admission of students Applicants disclosing a criminal conviction Applicants with disabilities Equal Opportunities monitoring 6 4 ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS Conditions Academic requirements English language requirements References Finances Verification of documentation Application documents 9 5 SELECTION Selection principles Selection of research applicants Interviews Progression and Collaboration agreements Applicants requesting deferred entry Fraudulent and/or plagiarised applications Applicants under eighteen years of age 10 2

3 6 OFFER PROCEDURES Applicants offered a place Assessment of tuition fees Applicants made an offer for an alternative programme Accepting offers Retrospective offers Changes to programmes Enrolment Applicant contact details Student Immigration Entry Clearance Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Applicants not offered a place Feedback Appeals Re-applications 13 7 MONITORING AND REVIEW OF PROCEDURES 13 8 TRAINING OF ADMISSIONS STAFF 13 9 APPLICANT DATA COMPLAINTS PROCEDURES ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Relevant websites Relevant publications Contact details 14 3

4 1. ADMISSIONS STATEMENT The University is committed to maintaining high standards through its policies and procedures and through the quality of students it admits. Our admissions policy aims to select students who have the ability and motivation to benefit from the academic opportunities offered and to contribute towards the research-led environment of the University. In applying its policies and procedures the University undertakes to ensure that no prospective or existing student is treated less favourably on the grounds of age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, creed, disability, HIV status, sexual orientation, gender, marital or parental status, political belief or social or economic class. The University policies on equality and diversity are available at: Admissions criteria and selection processes for particular postgraduate programmes are established at departmental level, but take into account University requirements and regulations, national guidelines and relevant legislation. 2. LEGISLATION AND REGULATION 2.1 This policy takes account of the following relevant legislation: Age Discrimination Act 2006 Data Protection Act 1998 Disability Discrimination Act 2005 Equality Act 2010 Freedom of Information Act 2000 Human Rights Act 1998 Race Relations Act 1976 Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 Sex Discrimination Act 1975 Special Educational Needs and Disability Act This policy observes the Quality Assurance Agency Code of Practice on Admissions to Higher Education (September 2006). 2.3 This policy takes account of Regulations 2 and 3 of the University Ordinances and Regulations. 2.4 This policy takes account of the Code of Good Practice for Research. The full code is available at:

5 3. ADMISSIONS PROCEDURES Postgraduate application details are available at: Making an application Postgraduate applications are made directly to the University via Select, its online application service. Applicants who are unable to use the online application service may apply using a paper application form. Further information about using Select or a paper application is available at: The policies and procedures detailed throughout this document apply to both online and paper applications. Applications are processed by the Postgraduate Admissions team within Student Recruitment and Admissions. A full list of programmes is available via the postgraduate course directory at: Application deadlines In most cases there is no official deadline for applications to postgraduate programmes, although applicants are advised to apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment and to allow sufficient time for processing, particularly those applicants requiring a Tier 4 student visa and/or Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certification in order to enter the UK.. If application deadlines do apply, they will be shown in the postgraduate course directory and relevant programme information. Applicants planning to apply for funded places should refer to the deadline of the funding body and ensure their application to study is received in sufficient time. Further information about funding is available at: Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) The University considers applications for accreditation of prior certified learning (APCL) or for accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) on an individual basis. While applicants may make initial enquiries to the relevant Department, no formal consideration will be made of APL applications until the applicant has been offered a place to study at the University. Further information about APL is available at: Re admission of students Applications from the following will require the approval of the University s Special Cases Committee before the applicant can be offered a place: students who have previously been sent down by the University of York; students who have already been admitted to a postgraduate programme and failed to complete it whether or not the subject(s) studied previously are the same. 3.5 Applicants disclosing a criminal conviction It is University policy to require all applicants who disclose a relevant criminal conviction to provide further information as part of its duty of care. Where appropriate and with the 5

6 candidate s permission information may be sought from a probation officer or other relevant official. This information will be assessed for the potential risk of harm to others prior to the University making an offer of admission. The Postgraduate Admissions Manager will make this assessment initially and consult with the Director, Student Recruitment and Admissions if required. Further consultation may be made as appropriate with the University s Academic Registrar and/or the Secretary and Registrar. After the assessment the University will keep the relevant information confidentially against the applicant s centrally held record. Applicants for postgraduate degrees in some subjects e.g. social work, teacher training, subjects allied to medicine, are required to obtain a satisfactory disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The relevant forms and notes will be sent to the applicant by the University. 3.6 Applicants with disabilities The University of York has an explicit policy of providing support for students with disabilities and wishes to support students with disabilities in accessing the full range of academic, cultural, and social activities the University offers. We welcome applications from students with disabilities, and are committed to providing an accessible environment for students with additional requirements. Further information concerning the University s Disability Equality Scheme is available at: Educational institutions have a duty under the Equality Act (2010) to make reasonable adjustments to enable people with disabilities to study effectively. Any disability disclosure will be dealt with confidentially and sensitively. Disability awareness training is offered to all staff. Applicants are encouraged to declare their disability when they apply as this enables the staff assessing the application to engage in further discussion with the applicant and identify appropriate solutions where applicable. Applicants who choose not to disclose their disability at the point of application will be provided with other opportunities to provide such information later in the process (e.g. when an offer of a place is received). Certain disabilities may preclude entry to certain courses (e.g. those in subjects allied to medicine, and those leading to qualified teacher status). The information provided will only be taken into account in the admission process if it appears the University will be unable to make the adjustments required to enable the applicant to access their chosen course of study. The information provided is also used by the Higher Education Statistics Agency to monitor rates of participation in Higher Education by particular groups of people, which is a statutory requirement. All information will be handled in confidence and in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Further information concerning the support offered by Disability Services is available at: Equal Opportunities monitoring The University of York values the diversity of its members and is committed to the creation of a positive environment which is fair, welcoming and inclusive and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We welcome applicants with varied experiences and different backgrounds, and are committed to ensure that no student with potential is deterred from applying. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunities. To enable the University to monitor the effectiveness of this policy, applicants are asked to complete a series of Equal Opportunities Monitoring questions. Educational institutions also have a duty under the Equality Act (2010) to advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups. 6

7 Diversity awareness training is offered to all staff. Information provided is used solely for the purpose of monitoring application and admission rates and forms no part of the selection procedure (i.e. this information is not forwarded to assessors). All information will be handled in confidence and in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Further information concerning the University s Equality and Diversity policy is available at: 4. ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS In addition to the standard University requirements set out below, admission to some programmes requires additional evidence of academic or research ability applicants are advised to refer to specific programme entry requirements. This information is available within the postgraduate prospectus at: or via the Postgraduate Course Directory at: 4.1 Conditions For most programmes conditional offers may be made if one or more of the following requirements are missing at the time of application. However, for heavily subscribed programmes, decisions on offers may be delayed until evidence is provided against each requirement Academic requirements Postgraduate Taught Programmes: For MA / MSc taught programmes, candidates should normally possess at least a lower second class (2ii) honours degree (or equivalent alternative or overseas qualification), however some programmes require a higher academic entry requirement so candidates should always refer to the respective individual programme requirements*. Postgraduate Research Programmes: For MPhil, PhD or EngD research programmes, candidates will be expected to have a first degree, normally an upper second class 2(i) honours degree (or equivalent alternative or overseas qualification) in a relevant subject, or a relevant postgraduate master s qualification (or equivalent). For admission to an MA or MSc programme by research, candidates should normally possess at least a lower second class (2ii) honours degree (or equivalent alternative or overseas qualification)*. *Exceptions may be made to these guidelines, especially for candidates applying to take programmes as mid-career continuing professional development or those with extensive relevant work experience. Such exceptions will require the support of the Head of Department or Chair of Graduate School and approval of the Chair of the University s Teaching Committee (for both taught and research programmes). All applicants are required to provide a transcript (grade report) to support their applications and meet the relevant academic entry requirement. Conditional offers may be made on the basis of interim grades, but an official final transcript or degree certificate will be required in order for an unconditional offer to be made. The University considers a wide range of qualifications for entry to postgraduate programmes using the advice of the National Agency, UK NARIC ( on international qualifications to guide its decisions on comparable academic achievement and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) ( list to confirm UK institutions status. 7

8 A list of common international qualifications recognised by the University as equivalent to a UK second class honours degree is available at: English language requirements All applicants to the University whose first language is not English are required to show evidence of the level of their proficiency in the English language. The following scores in English language qualifications are required as a minimum by the University: English Language Qualification International English Language Testing System IELTS (with no less than 5.5 in each component) Overall Score 6.0 Test of English as a Foreign Language - TOEFL ibt (Listening 21, Reading 22, Speaking 23, Writing 21) 87 Pearson PTE Academic (with no less than 51 in each component) Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English CAE Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English - CPE GSCE English Language 55 A C C Only English language tests taken within the last two years are valid for entrance purposes. Most departments specify higher requirements than the University minimum. Further details are available at: Departments are asked to confirm their English language requirements on an annual basis. If departments wish to make changes to their English language requirements they must consult with the Postgraduate Admissions Manager, International Student Recruitment, and the Centre for English Language Teaching (CELT). Applicants achieving the equivalent of IELTS 6.0 but failing to meet the English language requirements set out in their offer may be able to improve their language skills by undertaking a pre-sessional programme with the Centre for English Language Teaching (CELT). These programmes provide a route into a Master's course without the need for an IELTS / TOEFL / Pearson exam retake, and upon successful completion will meet the English Language requirement. Further information about the programmes offered by CELT is available at: Applicants for whom English is not their first language but who have successfully followed or are currently following a full-time university degree level programme of a minimum of one year s duration in the UK or other majority English speaking country may be exempt from the English Language requirements References For the majority of programmes applicants are normally required to supply two academic references. References must always come directly from the referee; they will not be accepted from the applicant. References can be submitted online (via Select ), or ed / posted to Postgraduate Admissions (in relation to paper applications). If a referee s contact details are not included within the application, it is the applicant s responsibility to ensure that their 8

9 referees send their references to the University directly. Further information concerning content and format of references is available at: Finances All applicants are asked to indicate how they intend to meet the cost of tuition fees for the full duration of the programme. Alternatively, if the applicant is to be offered a scholarship this should also be confirmed. Details of funding and scholarships are available at: Where an organisation is financially sponsoring an applicant and wishes to be invoiced directly by the University for their tuition fees, an applicant can upload their sponsor s details for invoicing purposes, but they must also include written evidence that confirms the agreement between them and their sponsor (e.g. a letter from the organisation s authorised signatory). 4.2 Verification of documentation The University reserves the right to verify the validity of any supporting documentation provided. 4.3 Application documents All documents, including references, transcripts and copies of certificates, submitted as part of an application remain the property of the University. 5. SELECTION 5.1 Selection principles The University is committed to maintaining high standards through its policies and procedures and through the quality of students it admits. Admissions procedures aim to select students who have the ability and motivation to benefit from the academic opportunities offered and to contribute towards the research-led environment of the University. Selection decisions are made on the basis of past and ongoing academic achievements in addition to other evidence of the applicant s experience, ability, interests and potential. Where places are limited decisions may be delayed as applications are received and considered in competition (i.e. via a gathered field). Selection decisions are made by trained staff in both Academic Departments and Student Recruitment and Admissions. 5.2 Selection of research applicants Applications for research will only be considered where an appropriate supervisor(s) and resources are expected to be available for the duration of the normal period of study. A decision to admit a student will normally involve at least two members of academic staff, normally including the departmental graduate chair (or other departmental officer) and the prospective supervisor. 5.3 Interviews As part of the selection process for specific taught programmes and all research programmes, applicants may be invited for interview. These interviews will be organised by individual Departments and will be undertaken by staff trained in admissions procedures. Where an interview is the usual part of the selection process, applicants based overseas will not normally be required to travel to York for interview, but may be interviewed by telephone or videoconference as applicable. As an exception to this rule, all applicants to the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) are required to attend an interview at 9

10 York. For PGCE the selection process includes input from school teachers in addition to University staff. 5.4 Progression and Collaboration Agreements The University has a number of progression and collaboration agreements which come under the auspices of Higher York ( or the University s Academic Support Office. These agreements enable applicants studying at specific institutions to get an indication of whether they would receive an offer of entry to the University of York should they satisfactorily complete a specified qualification. Departments wishing to set-up progression agreements must contact the Academic Support Office before entering into formal discussions. 5.5 Applicants requesting deferred entry Applicants who wish to defer their application prior to enrolment will be considered on an individual basis by the relevant Department, and must normally have already met any academic entry requirements. Departments will take into account the future availability of programmes. These requests must be made in the first instance to the Postgraduate Admissions team. The normal maximum length of deferral that will be considered is two years; after this period an applicant would be required to re-apply. 5.6 Fraudulent and/or plagiarised applications The University will check qualifications, personal statements, written work, and research proposals provided as part of an application for potential fraud, plagiarism or collusion (that the application submitted is not the work of the applicant). The University will also want to ensure that candidates have provided complete information (e.g. concerning details of previous periods of study). The University reserves the right to reject an application on the basis of lack of integrity in an application or supporting documents, and to cancel or withdraw any offer made on the basis of an application that has been found to contain fraudulent or plagiarised information, or where it believes that relevant information may have been withheld. Any student subsequently found to have been admitted on the basis of misleading information may have their studies terminated. 5.7 Applicants under eighteen years of age. Applications for postgraduate study from persons who would be under the age of 18 at the point of entry will be considered under the same policy as undergraduate applicants (Regulation 6.1): Anyone who has not reached the age of 17 on the first day of the month in which their programme of study would commence will not be admitted without the express permission of the Registrar and Secretary or their nominee and the written authorisation of an appropriate adult, normally their parent or guardian. Anyone who has reached the age of 17 but not the age of 18 on the first day of the month in which their programme of study would commence will only be admitted with the written authorisation of an appropriate adult, normally their parent or guardian. 10

11 6. OFFER PROCEDURES Applicants will normally be advised of the selection decision within six weeks of receipt of application. 6.1 Applicants offered a place All applicants will be issued with a formal offer letter from the University containing details of the programme of study, month and year of entry, duration of the programme, tuition fees and any conditions applicable to the offer. Offer letters will be made available for viewing / downloading via the University s applicant portal. Applicants will also be sent an (where an address has been provided) advising them of the issuance of the formal offer. Departments may also contact applicants and extend an invitation to visit the Department, or to participate in other relevant events. As applicants given conditional offers meet the conditions of these offers they are advised by . When all conditions have been met an unconditional offer letter is issued. Overseas applicants (those requiring a Tier 4 student visa to enter the UK) will also be issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) at this time to assist them in applying for an entry visa. If applicants have met all entry criteria at the time of the initial offer this is acknowledged in the offer letter and a CAS issued no more than six months in advance of the intended entry point. 6.2 Assessment of tuition fees The offer letter will confirm the fees to be charged based on the programme of study and the applicant s fee status. Applicants are assessed as eligible to pay either home tuition fees or overseas tuition fees by Postgraduate Admissions. This decision is based on the information provided on the application regarding nationality and residence. Decisions are based on the guidance provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) ( Applicants who wish to have their fee status reconsidered are advised to refer to the categories listed in the UKCISA Fees, Funding and Student Support guidance available at: A Fee Status Information Form is available at: Please note: unless stated otherwise, applicants are required to meet ALL criteria in any category and to provide documentary evidence to support their request. Requests for reconsideration should be made to Postgraduate Admissions. The University reserves the right to identify an applicant as eligible to pay overseas tuition fees at any point in the admissions process up to the point of enrolment. 6.3 Applicants made an offer for an alternative programme The University may decide that it is unable to offer a place on the original programme to which an applicant has applied, but is able to make an offer for an alternative degree programme. In this situation the University will contact the applicant to advise that a provisional offer of a place is possible on a different programme. The offer for the alternative programme will not be progressed until the applicant confirms that they are happy for their application to be transferred as such. 6.4 Accepting offers Applicants are required to accept their offer, and where possible this should be done online (via the Application Tracker) and as soon as possible after receipt of offer. For heavily subscribed programmes a deadline may be applied for acceptance of an offer; and failure to meet this deadline may lead to the offer lapsing. 11

12 6.5 Retrospective offers All offers must be made in advance of the applicant commencing study. Applicants may not participate in study until they have enrolled as students of the University. 6.6 Changes to programmes The University endeavours to inform applicants at the earliest opportunity of any significant changes to a programme made between the offer of a place and enrolment. 6.7 Enrolment Applicants who have accepted an unconditional offer will be invited to enrol online. Applicants for entry in September will be invited to enrol from August. Applicants starting at different times throughout the year will normally be invited to enrol from approximately one month prior to entry. Full information on enrolment procedures and start of academic session arrangements are available at: Applicant contact details The University will contact applicants throughout the application process to acknowledge receipt of evidence to meet offer conditions, to provide information on enrolment, and to advise of any further updates. It is therefore extremely important that applicants advise the University of any changes to their contact details provided on their application. Departmental staff who are made aware of changes are required to advise Postgraduate Admissions so that the applicant record is updated accordingly. 6.9 Student Immigration Entry Clearance Students wishing to enter the UK must comply with the UK Border Agency s (UKBA) Pointsbased Immigration System. Further information is available at: The University also provides additional information and support which is available at: Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Postgraduate students applying for certain science, engineering or technology courses may need to apply for an ATAS certificate before applying for a Visa, Entry Clearance or Extension of Stay. Further information about ATAS certificates is available at: Overseas applicants applying for taught programmes covered by ATAS requirements will be provided with the necessary information in their offer letter. Overseas applicants applying to research programmes in sciences will require a summary statement provided by the proposed supervisor, giving an overview of the research to be undertaken. This statement will be included in the offer letter. Supervisors will be notified of the need to provide such a statement either on the application assessment form in relation to paper applications or within the Select application summary in relation to online applications Applicants not offered a place Applicants who are not offered a place will be advised by or by letter if an address is not provided Feedback The University is committed to providing feedback on request to applicants who have not been offered a place. Applicants requesting feedback are asked to do so promptly and to 12

13 contact Postgraduate Admissions. Applicants are able to request feedback at any time during the admissions year in which they are applying. The University aims to respond to requests for feedback within twenty working days of receipt, however at peak times of the recruitment cycle this may be longer Appeals Applicants may raise a complaint about the application process, but do not have a right of appeal against a decision on whether or not they should be offered a place at the University Re applications The University will normally consider re applications on an individual basis and reserves the right to use information from a previous application in assessing a re application. 7. MONITORING AND REVIEW OF PROCEDURES The Postgraduate Admissions Manager monitors postgraduate admissions procedures within Student Recruitment and Admissions. All admissions procedures are reviewed annually and updated where necessary. Departmental admissions procedures are monitored by the Director, Student Recruitment and Admissions with advice from the Admissions Manager, the Postgraduate Admissions Manager and the Departmental Board of Studies. 8. TRAINING OF ADMISSIONS STAFF The University is committed to ensuring that all admissions staff are fully trained in procedures and are kept aware of any changes in policy made nationally or at an institutional level. Training in admissions is the responsibility of Student Recruitment and Admissions. Student Recruitment and Admissions runs an annual training session for all new admissions tutors. This training offers guidance in key areas and highlights the role of Departmental admissions staff. The University also holds an Annual Meeting and Update Session for Departmental admissions staff. This meeting is intended to inform Departmental staff of any changes in admissions practice and to share good practice in admissions. Department staff with responsibility for admissions are expected to attend the training and annual meetings. Other training or briefing sessions may be organised as required to discuss specific admissions issues. Staff with admissions responsibilities are required to follow the policies and procedures as set out in this policy document. 9. APPLICANT DATA The University collects and retains certain types of data, in various formats, about its applicants, current and past students in order that it can fulfill its functions as an education provider. The University complies with the Data Protection Act with regard to the treatment of applicant data. Further information with regards Records Management guidance is available at: 13

14 10. COMPLAINTS PROCEDURES Applicants who experience a problem with the postgraduate admissions process should normally first raise the matter with the person responsible for the part of the service which they are finding problematic. If informal discussion does not resolve the situation satisfactorily, complaints should be put in writing to: Postgraduate Admissions Manager, Student Recruitment and Admissions, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, or The University s Policy and Procedure for Dealing with Complaints from Students, Applicants and Student Placement Providers can be found at: The University aims to reply promptly to all complaints. 11. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 11.1 Relevant websites Specific information about postgraduate study is available at: Further general information about the University is available at: Relevant publications The University annually publishes a postgraduate prospectus which is either available at: or by calling the prospectus hotline on +44 (0) Contact details For further information regarding this policy or Postgraduate Admissions at the University of York please contact: Postgraduate Admissions Student Recruitment and Admissions University of York Heslington York, UK YO10 5DD Tel: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0)

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