University of Plymouth campus buildings in spring

What is a contextual offer?

A contextual offer is an offer to study at university that takes into account individual circumstances that are beyond your control, and that can potentially impact your learning and your exam results, or your confidence in applying to university. We recognise that not everyone has had access to an equal standard of education for a variety of reasons, and contextual offers help to make education more accessible for all.
At the University of Plymouth, we believe in building a welcoming and inclusive community that supports every student to achieve their full potential. We include this in our admissions process so that we can be as fair as possible to all of our applicants. When reviewing your application, contextual offers enable us to consider factors such as your socioeconomic status, family background, and the quality of the schools you attended, rather than focusing solely on your academic achievements.   
This means we are able to offer some places that require a lower set of grades, or tariff points, than you may see advertised in our standard entry requirements. This personalised offer will be tailored to your individual circumstances to help you on your way to University, giving you equal opportunity from the start.   

Why do universities make contextual offers?  

Universities do this to help more people feel confident and encouraged to study at university. At Plymouth we want every student to achieve their full potential and the goal of our contextual offers is to help overcome any barriers to higher education, create a more diverse student body and provide opportunities for students who may have faced additional challenges during their academic journey.  

What information is used to decide on a contextual offer?

Your eligibility for a contextual offer is based upon whether you live in an area that has low progression into Higher Education. We are using the Indices of Multiple Deprivation Quintile 1 as our indicator as these are areas that measure a number of factors and have been designated by the government as areas where individuals may have experienced barriers that could have impeded their academic progress. 

How can I check my eligibility?  

Contextual offers are available to UK-based, fee-paying students applying for undergraduate courses through UCAS. Contextual offers are available on the majority of our courses, but there are some exceptions. The postcode checker below can assess your eligibility.

How do I apply for a contextual offer?

  1. Apply through UCAS: Please apply in the usual way through UCAS. You will be asked information about you and your background, so it is important to be as honest and transparent as possible.  
  2. We’ll review your application: Once we receive your application, we will automatically check to see whether you are eligible for a contextual offer. Please note that meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee that a contextual offer will be made as some programmes that you may want to apply for are exempt from contextual offers.  
  3. Your contextual offer will be applied: That’s it, you don’t need to do anything else – if you are eligible, your contextual offer will be applied.   
If you have specific questions about the contextual offer policy or your eligibility, contact the university's admissions team (
Read the full Undergraduate Home Contextual Offer Policy (PDF)
Please note: this policy is subject to review, and we reserve the right to make adjustments.
A student walks down the aisle towards the stage on her graduation day