Contextual offers for medicine are made by universities that have slightly lower grade requirements to help those who have faced challenges or barriers throughout their time in education. 

What Are Contextual Admissions?

Contextual admissions are based on offers made by universities that are adjusted to take into account an individual’s personal circumstances or challenges. Many medical schools offer contextual admission to individuals who are from under-represented backgrounds.

This allows them to gauge each applicant’s academic potential and help them to progress to higher education.

Universities realise that grades do not always represent an individual’s true potential and will take into account all achievements to ensure a fair contextual offer is made. Contextual information may also be used in other ways by universities such as:

  • Helping them consider whether an applicant should be invited to interview for the standard medicine course
  • Helping them provide alternative pathways to medicine such as a foundation programme
  • Assisting with further consideration to lower predicted grades or even missed A level grades

The type of contextual offer made depends on the university; however, it is important to note that not all universities make contextual offers for medicine courses and may instead offer a foundation programme as an alternative route to the standard medicine course.

Which Medical Schools Make Contextual Offers?

Below is a list of the medical schools in the UK that make a lower contextual offer for entry into medicine and the lowered grade requirements. These may be subject to change from each application cycle.

Medical SchoolContextual Offer
AberdeenAAB for A-Level, AAAB for SQA, 10% score increase in UCA
Anglia RuskinABB
Aston UniversityAAB
BartsUnspecified lower contextual offer (doesn’t apply to the UCAT)
Brighton and SussexAAB for A-Level, Grade 5/C in GCSE English and Maths
CambridgeCambridge does not typically make contextual offers
DundeeABB for A-Level, AAABB for SQA
EdinburghAAA for A-Level, AAAAB for SQA
GlasgowAAABB by end of S5, then a conditional offer based on S6 results
Hull YorkAAB or ABB (if widening participation programme is completed)
KeeleAAB or ABB + A* in EPQ
Kent and MedwayABB – to be confirmed
King’s College LondonContextual offers may be up to two A-Level grades** (or equivalent) lower than the advertised entry requirements, which is A*AA for Medicine
LeedsABB (BBB-CCC may be accepted in exceptional circumstances with evidence)
LincolnAAB with at least one A in either Biology or Chemistry
LeicesterAAA (for RO programme participants), ABB (for UKWPMED/AccessLeicester participants)
NewcastleBBB – generally, two/three grades lower than the typical offer, dependent on UCAT and interview score
OxfordNo specified grades, but will be taken into consideration
PlymouthAAB (ABB if part of UKWPMED)
St AndrewsAAB
St George’sAAB
SunderlandNo specified grades, but will be taken into consideration
UCLanNo specified grades, but will be taken into consideration
WarwickNo specified grades, but will be taken into consideration

It is also important to take into consideration that in order to receive a conditional contextual offer, you may need to allocate that specific medical school as your ‘firm’ choice on UCAS. Ensure to check on each university’s website whether this would be part of their criteria before applying.

Eligibility for Contextual Admissions

The criteria to apply for contextual admissions will vary from one university to another and therefore it is important to check on the university’s website as to what criteria they would accept or consider. Here are a few examples of what circumstances may generally be considered for contextual admission to medicine. 

  1. Current school or college – if the school or college you are currently attending has a lower academic performance than the national average. This can also include whether your school is a state or non-selective school. 
  2. Household Income – if your household income is below the national average.
  3. Socio-economic background – if you live in an area of deprivation or an area with a small number of people who go on to higher education or go to university. This can also include students who are from an underrepresented group. 
  4. Estrangement – if you are estranged from your parents or have no contact or relationship with them. 
  5. Carer – if you are an unpaid carer for someone or have caring responsibilities.  
  6. Care-Experienced – if you are currently or have been in care or are care-experienced. 
  7. Disability – if you have any long-term health conditions or mental health conditions. 
  8. Refugee – If you have a refugee status. 

For a full list of accepted circumstances, ensure to either check on entry requirements for each medical school or to email the admissions team for additional information on specific eligibility criteria. You can also use our comparison tool to compare entry requirements across various medical schools.

Note that not all eligibility criteria may be listed, so it is important to enquire about your specific circumstances if you are unsure. 


Boost your CV with Medicine summer school

Get crucial experience via Medicine summer school

Book Now

How to Apply for Contextual Offers? 

To let universities know about any information you have regarding your circumstances, you can fill out all the necessary details on your UCAS application. The application page will have questions for you to fill out with regards to any extenuating circumstances and universities will take this into account considering your application.

This process is usually automatic, and you may not need to do anything further. If you are care-experienced, it is important to tick the care-experienced box specifically as part of your application. There are similar boxes to tick if you are estranged from your family, an unpaid carer, or a forced migrant. 

You may also wish for your UCAS referee to include details of your circumstances in your reference and highlight anything that may have affected your predicted or A-Level grades. Further information on how to fill out details on UCAS can be found here

If you have also attended any outreach programmes specific to certain universities, you can add these details to your UCAS application, which may qualify you for a contextual offer. 

However, some universities may require you to email in additional information or any evidence highlighting your circumstances. For university-specific details, ensure to check their entry requirements regarding contextual data.


Loading More Content