The term ‘Student visa’ refers to both the Tier 4 (General) visa and the new Student visa which replaced the Tier 4 (General) visa on 5 October 2020.
1. University commitment
The University will at all times seek to operate admissions regulations that are fair and are in accordance with the law of the United Kingdom, and the University's Charter, and Regulations. The University's Admissions Policy describes fully the aims of the University in respect of selecting applicants for admission, and the criteria and process for doing so. The University will ensure that all applicants are made aware of the Admissions Policy when they apply.
The qualifications for admission of a student to a programme of study leading to a degree, diploma or certificate of the University are prescribed in Sections 3-6 of these Regulations.
Candidates for admission to any programme of study leading to a degree, diploma or certificate awarded by the University must have the appropriate qualifications or have been exempted therefrom in accordance with these Regulations.
Upon admission to the University, students become entitled to the full privileges of membership of the University and are bound by the corresponding obligations to conform to the Charter, Ordinances and Regulations of the University and to comply with decisions of the Senate.
Possession of the appropriate qualifications for entry upon any programme of study shall not entitle any person to be admitted to the University, and the University reserves the right to accept or reject any applicant for admission.
3. Age of applicants
The University of Southampton admits students on individual merit and does not discriminate on the grounds of age. Some programmes of study are bound by external professional or placement requirements concerning age. The University is also bound by Home Office rules regarding Tier 4 (‘general student’) visas; this means that the University is unable to sponsor (for visa purposes) students under the age of sixteen years.
Where the age of an applicant would raise issues of safety, child protection, visa-sponsorship, personal support or issues of care, the Head of University Admissions should be notified in order to invoke appropriate measures to investigate and assess the situation prior to an offer being made.
4. Applicants with current UK qualifications
4.1 Undergraduate programme of study
Applicants to programmes of study who have achieved current UK qualifications must satisfy the relevant and specific programme requirements in addition to the general University requirements outlined below. Applicants will normally be expected to have passed three subjects of the General Certificate of Education Advanced level (GCE A level) or equivalent in other current UK qualifications.
Candidates will normally be expected to have passed General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSE) in English and Mathematics at grade 4 or C or above, or equivalent.
The University of Southampton Academic Quality and Standards Subcommittee will review periodically guidance on the equivalence of UK qualifications to be used when assessing applications.
The University of Southampton will normally be guided by qualification information provided by the University and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), the awarding organisations and senior academic and professional judgement of prior experience of qualifications when determining their equivalence.
Applicants must satisfy the University and the appropriate Programme Admissions Tutor that their academic qualifications are sufficient to enable them to successfully undertake the programme of study.
In addition to the general entry requirements, candidates for admission may be required to take an additional admissions test for some programmes. Additional examinations can also be required to qualify for Faculty or programme bursaries.
4.2 Higher degree
The Faculty concerned may declare eligible for admission to a programme leading to a higher degree:
- (a) a graduate of a University in the United Kingdom or any other appropriate institution of higher education;
- (b) a candidate not being a graduate whose qualifications have been specially approved for this purpose by the Faculty concerned.
5. Candidates with UK qualifications that are no longer offered
5.1 Applicants with achieved qualifications
Candidates with UK qualifications that are no longer offered must have achieved a qualification previously approved by Ofqual or prior statutory body or have otherwise satisfied the Faculty concerned. Examples are an Ordinary Level Certificate or Higher National Certificate or Diploma awarded before the establishment of BTEC, pre-GCE school-leaving examinations, AO-levels, Advanced Extension Awards (AEA) and Vocational GCE A levels.
5.2 Applicants not possessing formal qualifications
Candidates not possessing any of the qualifications outlined in section 3.1 may be admitted to a first degree programme provided they can submit evidence of previous serious study and attainments which indicate the capacity to pursue the proposed programme successfully.
Examples of such evidence include recent study with the Open University or another institution of higher education, successful completion of an approved Access course, or recent relevant work experience. In such cases, eligibility for admission is subject to the approval of the Faculty concerned.
6. Applicants with non-UK qualifications
Candidates with non-UK qualifications will normally be expected to have qualifications of an equivalent standard to those outlined in section three of these Regulations, and should also meet the programme specific requirements. (Academic entry requirements for international students are listed at https://www.southampton.ac.uk/international/).
Candidates for undergraduate programmes from countries whose education systems offer fewer than 13 years of formal education, or whose qualifications have not been judged by the University of Southampton to be equivalent, may be required to provide evidence of additional study, such as GCE A-levels or a recognised foundation programme.
The Academic Quality and Standards Subcommittee will review periodically guidance on the equivalence of non-UK qualifications to be used when assessing applications. The University of Southampton will normally be guided by international qualification information provided by the University and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), the UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC), the awarding organisations, evidenced guidance from the University’s international officers, and senior academic and professional judgement of prior experience of qualifications when determining their equivalence.
Candidates for admission must satisfy the University and the appropriate Programme Admissions Tutor that their academic qualifications are sufficient to enable them to undertake the programme of study.
7. English language requirements
All programmes at the University of Southampton are taught in the medium of English (other than in Modern Languages where instruction will be in both English and the language(s) being taught). Therefore, all applicants must demonstrate that they possess at least a minimum standard of English language proficiency in order to be admitted to a programme of study at the University.
The University's general entrance requirements stipulate that all applicants must possess at least a GCSE grade 4 or C (or equivalent) in English. Where a programme stipulates a higher standard, the programme requirement takes precedent.
In the case of applicants with English language qualifications other than GCSE, the University maintains a list of suitable equivalent examinations or English language tests which it is pleased to accept. These may be viewed online at www.southampton.ac.uk/admissions-language.
The University will normally also consider for admission applicants not in possession of a GCSE or equivalent qualification or test in English who have studied recently (typically no more than two years prior to the proposed date of admission) for a degree which was taught and assessed wholly in the medium of English. In the case of a degree taught by two or more partner institutions of which only one taught and assessed students in the medium of English, the University will normally only consider for admission those students with at least two years of English medium instruction (or who additionally satisfied the University's English language requirements by virtue of having passed an acceptable language test as set out above).
8. Students requiring a visa to study in the UK
In addition to the University's general or programme-specific requirements in relation to English language proficiency, the UK Home Office also sets its own minimum standards for English language in relation to those students requiring a visa to study in the UK. The University will comply with its obligations under the relevant immigration legislation which may be updated from time to time. The University cannot be held liable for any additional costs applicants may incur as a result of legislative changes. Information regarding the current English language requirements of the Home Office may also be found online at www.southampton.ac.uk/admissions-language.
Updated by the Academic Standards and Quality Committee in June 2018 and approved by Senate in July 2018.
Reviewed in May 2019; endorsed by AQSC Approved by Senate June 2019
Reviewed in August 2023; text previously in the University Ordinances now included; approved by Senate August 2023