Widening access 

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. We select our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer.

Put simply, we look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Can you benefit from this type of offer?

If you're ordinarily resident in Scotland and you're applying for undergraduate entry to Strathclyde (typically having undertaken SQA Highers or Advanced Highers), we'll use contextual information alongside your UCAS application to help us create a full and rounded view of your circumstances, achievement and potential. Find out what we mean by ordinarily resident in Scotland.

What is contextual information?

It's information that we use to help us make decisions about who studies at Strathclyde. No decisions are made on the basis of this information alone.

We use three pieces of contextual data. If you're in any one of these three categories, we'll consider you for a contextual offer. These offers are usually lower than our standard offers.

Our three categories 

1. Home postcode

We look at where you live using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). The index is divided into groups called 'Quintiles'.

If your postcode is in Quintile 1 or 2 (the bottom 20% and 20 to 40% most deprived areas in Scotland) and your application is considered suitable for an offer, you'll receive a contextual offer.

Please note that the SIMD look-up is provided by the Scottish Government. Refreshes of this look-up are outside the University of Strathclyde’s control and may take place during an application cycle. Applicants are, therefore, advised to check their eligibility again immediately prior to submitting their application.

2. Attendance at a school with low progression to higher education

If you apply from a school where few school leavers immediately progress to university, and your application is considered suitable for an offer, you'll receive a contextual offer. This is the list of schools which we considered to be low progression for those who applied to study with us for courses beginning in September 2020.

3. Time spent in care

Strathclyde is fully committed to supporting care experienced applicants. If you indicate on your UCAS application that you've spent time in local authority care and you have either met the contextual entry requirements, or are currently studying qualifications this year which could potentially allow you to meet the contextual entry requirements, we guarantee that we'll make you an offer to study at Strathclyde. Where we can't make you an offer, we will follow up with individual feedback and advice on alternative routes to study with us. 

What would your contextual offer be?

Find out more about the contextual entry requirements we'll be using for those looking to study with us for courses beginning in September 2020.

How do I let you know I'm eligible?

You don't need to contact us directly. We use the information you provide in the online UCAS application form to determine whether or not you're eligible.

If you are eligible, we'll consider the academic side of your application against the contextual entry requirements.

Related information


If you have any queries about your eligibility, please get in touch with the Widening Access Team. Our email is wideningaccess@strath.ac.uk.

Not everyone who meets the eligibility criteria for a contextual offer will be made an offer.

If an application, through information contained in sections including the personal statement and reference, provides evidence that the applicant is not suitable to be considered for admission to the particular degree programme, even with the flexibility that a contextual offer provides, an offer cannot be made.

In addition, offers from Strathclyde can only be made in line with any constraints placed by the Scottish Funding Council on numbers of funded places, and in the context of overall demand. 


Are you taking FOCUS West Top-Up as a qualification?

FOCUS West is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and is part of the national Schools for Higher Education Programme. It works in 37 schools in the West of Scotland and is delivered by staff and students from universities and colleges in the region. The Top-Up programme is the element of FOCUS West delivered to senior pupils who intend to progress directly to university.

We support the aims of FOCUS West and encourage pupils to participate in the FOCUS West Top-Up Programme.

If an applicant notes their participation on their UCAS application, and they're deemed eligible for an offer, this will be reduced by one grade in a non-named subject, conditional on their gaining a FOCUS West Top-Up profile of BBB or above.

If the applicant is also eligible for a contextual offer, the reduction will be one further grade on the published contextual offer for that course. Find out more about FOCUS West here.

About SIMD

SIMD is a Scottish Government measure of deprivation calculated on an area-by-area basis combining seven different domains (aspects) of deprivation.

Since 2013/14, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has provided additional undergraduate places for students whose home address is in an SIMD40 (40% most deprived) Data Zone.

The current version of SIMD is available on the Scottish Government's website.

It was published by the Scottish Government in late 2016, with previous versions published in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2012.

The Scottish Government provides a postcode lookup file to enable SIMD analysis of data containing postcodes. We have taken the data from that lookup file and used it to power our postcode lookup tool above on this webpage (under point “1. Home postcode”).

The look-up tool is applicable for entry in 2020.