Study with us Applying with a criminal conviction

Take a look at our advice below on applying to study with a criminal conviction. If you can't find what you're looking for get in touch and we'll be happy to speak to you.

Can I apply if I have a criminal conviction or am awaiting a criminal trial?

Yes. You can apply to the University if you have a criminal conviction. The University is committed to the fair treatment of students as far as possible throughout the application process and during their University experience.

When will I be asked about any convictions by the University?

All students (new and existing) will be asked every year during the registration process whether they currently have any unspent or pending convictions for serious offences. This is to allow the University to provide the appropriate support to all of our students. This is not a PVG check and if one is required for your course your Department/School will guide you through the process (described below).

What type of convictions do I have to declare?

You will only be asked to declare serious offences that are unspent convictions and/or current/pending charges. The University defines a serious offence as one the following:

  • any violence (including but not limited to) threatening behaviours, offences concerning the intention to harm or which resulted in actual bodily harm
  • sexual offences, including those listed in Sexual Offences Act 2003 or Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009
  • unlawful supply of controlled drugs/substances, commercial drug dealing or trafficking (drug offences only involving possession and not leading to a custodial sentence are not relevant offences)
  • offences involving firearms, arson, stalking, hate crime, theft, computer misuse or fraud
  • offences involving terrorism, including those listed in Terrorism Act 2006

You should not declare any 'spent' convictions or any offence for which the penalty was a non-custodial sentence carrying a fine of less than £1,000.

You should not declare any speeding offences or an arrest(s) that did not lead to a conviction.

How do I know if a conviction is ‘unspent’?

An unspent conviction means that a conviction has not yet reached the specified amount of time after which it can be effectively ignored under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Find out more information about spent/unspent convictions.

When is a conviction spent?

A conviction is spent when it has reached the specified amount of time after which it can be effectively ignored under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, all convictions, except those which resulted in a prison sentence of more than 30 months, are regarded as 'spent' after a certain period of time and are not required to be declared. This period of time depends on the sentence imposed. Find out more information on when a conviction becomes spent.

What happens if I declare an unspent serious conviction?

If you declare an unspent serious conviction as part of the registration process you will be contacted by the University for more information. This may include asking you for details of the offence and contact details of any social worker, probation officer or other professional who may be able to provide further relevant information. The University is committed to providing the best support for all of our students and this allows us to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to give you the best chance of success. For example, some courses lead to professions where professional registration is required and certain convictions may be problematic should you wish to pursue this career. In rare circumstances, certain convictions may impact on your ability to successfully study for your chosen course. The University will discuss the available options with you, which may include withdrawal from the course.

If your unspent conviction is in one of the categories specified above and you wish to discuss your options to study at the University please contact cc.enquiries@strath.ac.uk

What is a PVG check?

The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) membership scheme is managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland. It helps ensure people whose behaviour makes them unsuitable to work with children and/or protected adults, can't do 'regulated work' with these vulnerable groups.

What if I want to apply for a course that requires a PVG check?

If you've applied via UCAS for a course that requires a PVG check, such as one that involves contact with vulnerable people, teaching, social work or medical related courses, you'll be asked to declare any spent or unspent convictions during the UCAS application process. If you have applied directly for a PGT/PGR course that requires a PVG check you will not be asked to declare anything during the application process but you will be required to undergo a detailed criminal record check as part of the PVG check process. If you are to be made an offer for a course that requires a PVG check and have declared a conviction during the admissions process, the University will get in touch to discuss this with you. If you require a PVG check for your course this will be arranged separately by your Department/School. There is a charge to complete your PVG check and register with the PVG Scheme (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) and your Department can advise on the process and how the fee is to be paid.

Please note: certain courses do not require a PVG to study but may lead to professions where professional registration to practise is required, such as law or accountancy. Past convictions may be taken in to account during the professional registration process. If you are in any doubt please contact the registration body for the profession that you are interested in for information regarding their requirements.

What if I am applying from outside the UK for a course that requires a PVG?

If you're applying from outside of the UK to a course that requires you to register with the PVG scheme you'll need to arrange a criminal record check in your home country and supply us with a Certificate of Good Conduct/Police Certification. This is in addition to becoming a member of the PVG scheme. The Department/School will contact you directly with more information if you have applied for a course where this is a requirement and will guide you through the PVG process should you require.

I have an offer/am a current student, do I need to tell you about new convictions?

If the conviction is in one of the categories listed above then you must inform the University. If you haven’t yet registered as a student please contact cc.enquiries@strath.ac.uk. If you are a registered student you can also update your information via the update details section in Pegasus at any time after registration. You will be contacted by the University for more information. This may include asking you for details of the offence and contact details of any social worker, probation officer or other professional who may be able to provide further relevant information. If you do not inform the University of a relevant unspent serious conviction that the University subsequently becomes aware of, you will be subject to the Student Disciplinary policy, which may result in expulsion from the University.  

Get in touch

If you have any other questions about applying with a criminal conviction that are not covered here please contact us at cc.enquiries@strath.ac.uk

You can call us on +44 (0) 141 548 3195 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Please always quote your UCAS/UTT Personal ID or Application Number.

You can also speak to a member of the team between 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Find us on level 1 of the McCance Building.