Admissions Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 Queen Margaret University Admissions Policy supports the University Strategic Plan 2020-2025 to build on our existing success in widening participation, to ensure that we fulfil people’s potential, whatever their background.

1.2  This policy applies to the admission of students to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study at Queen Margaret University.

2. Admissions Principles

2.1 The University seeks to provide access to its courses from as wide a range of entrants as possible, subject to the essential principle that entrants have a reasonable expectation of completing their course successfully within the normal duration of the course.

2.2 This principle is codified through:

  • University-wide general minimum entrance requirements specified by level of course.
  • Specific entrance requirements for each course framed to apply the University’s general entrance requirements to the particular needs of that course.
  • Clear provisions and procedures for the admission of students who do not meet these normal entrance requirements, but who fulfil the essential principle set out in point 2.1.

2.3 Queen Margaret University is committed to equality of opportunity. We seek to promote diversity amongst our students, staff, and applicants. We recognise the particular contributions that are made by individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, to the achievement of our vision and strategic objectives. We aim to promote entry to, and provide education at, undergraduate and postgraduate level to a diverse range of students, whatever their background. Information on the university embodies equality and diversity can be found here.

2.4 Each application received by the University is considered carefully on its own merits, taking into account educational, professional, and personal experience.

In assessing candidates for admittance to the University, we are committed to the following principles:

  • Fairness – the University strives to use admissions assessment methods that are reliable and valid.
  • Transparency – details of our entry requirements are published in our prospectus and on our website and are clear and transparent to applicants and their advisers.
  • Reflecting our community – we are committed to admitting as wide a range of applicants as possible to reflect our community.

Encouraging participation – we aim to minimise barriers to applicants and encourage progression and retention through our targeted pre-entry, transition, and post-entry support services.

3. Service delivery

3.1  The University is committed to continuous improvement in all it does. We take a professional approach to admissions.

3.2   The University ensures a wide range of pre-entry and outreach activities are available to applicants and stakeholders, along with individual advice and guidance. 

3.3   Admissions, student recruitment and outreach & community engagement staff receive regular training, support and guidance to ensure that they provide accurate, timely and consistent advice and guidance to applicants and other stakeholders.

3.4   A range of staff, including the Admissions team, Recruitment team, Widening Participation team including the Colleges Partnerships Manager, Student Funding Adviser and the Disability Team are available to ensure that potential students obtain all the relevant information required, so they are appropriately informed during their decision-making process to come to the University. 

3.5   Academic admissions tutors work closely with recruitment and admissions staff to ensure that entry requirements are fair and transparent.

3.6   Staff in admissions are trained and supported to ensure that they are able to make fair and equitable admissions decisions.

3.7   We aim to process applications as quickly as possible. However, where there is an application deadline, applications may not be processed until after the deadline in order to ensure equal consideration.

3.8   Offers of admission are communicated to applicants in clear and easy to understand language

3.9   We recognise the importance of providing feedback to unsuccessful applicants. Where an applicant is unsuccessful, we endeavour to give a reason for this via UCAS for undergraduate applicants or by email for postgraduate applicants. While the University aims to provide informative feedback that is helpful to applicants, it may not always be possible to provide highly specific or tailored advice.

3.10   If the University makes a change to a course, which is deemed to impact significantly on the student, or withdraws a course after an application has been received, we will email applicants to explain the reason for the change or withdrawal and offer advice and guidance about alternative courses, either at QMU or elsewhere. 

4. Terms and conditions

4.1   The University’s published terms and conditions apply to all applicants for undergraduate and postgraduate study. All applicants are referred to the University’s Terms and Conditions in their offer letter, to which all students must agree, when accepting the offer of a place to study at QMU. Terms and Conditions can be found on our website here.

5. Roles and responsibilities

5.1   The Admissions Policy is approved by the Student Experience Committee and any changes or updates will be approved by that committee. A full review of the policy in its entirety is undertaken every 5 years. The Head of Admissions is responsible for the operation of the policy and for its regular monitoring and review. The policy will be checked annually to ensure accuracy and to reflect any changes.

5.2   This policy is underpinned by several other University policies which are available on our website:

5.3   The University has a centralised admissions service. All applications are dealt with by a team of professionally trained officers and administrators. Decisions on applications may be made by Admissions Officers or by Academic Admissions Tutors. 

5.4    Admissions Tutors are responsible for setting entry criteria, subject to advice from programme teams, validation and review panels, School Academic Boards and the Head of Admissions.

5.5    Entry requirements are set when a new course is approved, or validated, and are reviewed on a regular basis. Any changes to entry requirements will be agreed by the School Academic Board.

6. Admissions process

6.1  All full time applications for undergraduate courses must be made through UCAS. All part time applications and applications for postgraduate courses should be made directly to the University using our on-line application form, accessible through each course page.

6.2  All UCAS applications received by the published UCAS deadline are given equal consideration. Postgraduate applicants are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible. Where a programme has a specific deadline, this will be clearly published in the prospectus and on the course pages of our website. Postgraduate programmes which have limited numbers of places may become full before a published deadline has been reached. In such cases, the programme will be closed and any applicants waiting for a decision will be informed as quickly as possible.

6.3  A number of courses require interviews or auditions as part of the application procedure. Where an interview or audition forms part of the selection criteria, we stipulate this in our prospectus and on our website. Arrangements are made to interview applicants by telephone or Skype where travel to the UK is not possible.

We explain to applicants the nature and purpose of the interview and ensure that interviews are conducted fairly by appropriately qualified staff.

6.4  A number of courses require the inspection of a portfolio of work. Full details of these requirements are published in our prospectus and on our website.

6.5  Where applicants have made more than one application to study, decisions will be made separately.

6.6   Applicants may be offered an alternative programme of study if they do not meet the minimum entry requirements for their chosen programme.

6.7  Where applicants are required to provide photocopies of their qualifications with their application, we may require sight of the original documentation at matriculation. Applicants will be notified in advance of matriculation if this is required.

6.8   We allow applicants to defer entry to most of our programmes for one year, however for our more selective programmes, deferrals may be limited or not possible. UCAS applicants wishing to defer are required to meet all the conditions for entry in the year that they apply. UCAS applicants who apply in Clearing cannot defer their offer of admission.  Postgraduate applicants can defer a conditional offer. An applicant can only defer the offer of a place once, and after that they will be asked to reapply unless in exceptional circumstances – these circumstances would only be considered for postgraduate courses. Where it is not possible to defer an offer of study, an applicant can reapply the following academic year.

6.9 Where an applicant has extenuating circumstances, we take this into consideration. However, where these circumstances have affected the grade achieved in a qualification required for entry, we would expect that this is dealt with by the examining body.

7. Entry requirements

7.1 General entry requirements

7.1 General entry requirements

7.1.1   All courses have prescribed entry requirements relating to previous academic attainment. Both the minimum and standard entry requirements for each course are published each year in our prospectus and on our website.

7.1.2    Achieving the minimum or standard entry standards does not guarantee an offer of a place on a course as there can be considerable competition for places.

7.1.3   For all courses we look for evidence of motivation, suitability, skills and attitudes. For programmes which lead to eligibility for professional registration we also expect applicants to demonstrate an exploration of the profession within their personal statement.

7.1.4 If an applicant does not meet the entry requirements, but has relevant experience and can demonstrate that there is a reasonable expectation that they will complete the course, then it may still be possible to consider them.  

We recommend that applicants who have no formal qualifications, or have been out of formal education for some time, contact admissions to discuss appropriate pathways to study. 

7.2 Undergraduate entry requirements

7.2.1 The University accepts a wide range of qualifications for entry.  We set our entry standards for Scottish Highers, A Levels and Irish Leaving Certificate using the UCAS Tariff as a metric to ensure equity.  We also consider a range of other equivalent qualifications using established bodies such as UCAS, as well as ECCTIS who provide comparisons for International qualifications.

7.2.2 Our entry criteria and offers are typically expressed in grades. When making a grade based offer, we will make it clear when we expect those grades to be achieved by. Applicants are expected to achieve the required number of qualifications at specific grades, dependent on the degree programme applied for. We only use UCAS Tariff points to calculate equivalencies for non-standard entry qualifications. Should we refer to UCAS Tariff points to consider qualifications we do not have set grades for, we would still require certain grades to have been achieved using the grading scale for the specific qualification.

7.2.3   Where an applicant has attempted a qualification more then once, we normally count the highest grade achieved, but we do not double count the qualification.

7.2.4 The general minimum entrance requirement for an Undergraduate Degree is usually one of the following:

  • At least three SQA Highers at grade C or above. Most degrees also a require a fourth Higher plus require passes in Maths and English at Standard Grade/Int2/ National 5 at grade C or above; We do not consider Higher’s achieved at grade D or below.
  • At least two full A Levels at grade D or above. Most degrees also require a third A Level plus passes in Maths and English at CGSE at grade C/ 4, or above; We do not consider A Level’s achieved at grade E or below.
  • The Irish Leaving Certificate with at least three passes in the Higher Level subjects at grade H3 or above; Most degrees also a require a fourth Higher Level pass plus require passes in Maths and English at Ordinary Level 4 or above; We do not consider Higher Level subjects achieved at grade H4 or below.
  • Pass in the International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Pass in the European Baccalaureate;
  • A BTEC national Diploma at level 3;
  • A relevant Access or Foundation course.

Where we have requested Higher English as an entry requirement, we will also accept Higher ESOL as meeting that requirement for all programmes except BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary).

7.2.6 Where National 5 Mathematics is required for entry to a course, National 5 Lifeskills Mathematics and National 5 Applications of Mathematics will be considered to meet this criteria, at the required grade.

7.2.7 The University welcomes the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. Our entry criteria are largely based on qualifications achieved ‘on entry’ rather than over a particular number of sittings. Published entry requirements for Scottish Highers may be achieved over two or more sittings.

7.2.8 The University acknowledges that the Curriculum for Excellence gives students the opportunity to take a broader range of qualifications, undertaken at different stages of learning. Some students may progress from general education to Highers, without achieving a National 5 qualification. If you do not hold a subject that is required at National 5, you must have achieved or be predicted to achieve that subject at SQA Higher.

7.2.9  QMU values the Advanced Higher qualification as an excellent preparation for University study, but will only count the highest level of qualification in any subject. This means that we would not count a SQA Higher and Advanced Higher in the same or very similar subject.
7.2.10  We do not accept A Level General Studies for entry to any of our courses.
7.2.11  We welcome applications from those studying the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), however we recognize that not all students have access to the qualification, so we do not include them within entry requirements, and they do not carry additional credit in the selection process, with the exception of where an applicant falls marginally short of the standard entry criteria.
7.2.12   The University welcomes applications from those studying Foundation Apprenticeships. The Foundation Apprenticeship will count as one subject within an applicant’s overall presentation of qualifications. Where specific subjects are required for entry to one of our degree programmes, a Foundation Apprenticeship will not replace that requirement, but will be counted as one of an applicant’s additional subjects.

7.2.13 The University welcomes and supports students seeking to apply for advanced or direct entry to our undergraduate programmes of study. Applicants must apply through UCAS, by the UCAS deadline in order to be considered for a place.

7.2.14   Advanced entry may be offered to applicants with evidence of accredited prior learning, such as HNC, HND, Advanced Higher or A Level qualifications. Applicants who wish to be considered for Advanced Entry should state this clearly on their UCAS application, using the Point of Entry box.

7.2.15 We have established articulation agreements with local colleges. Applicants must apply through UCAS by the UCAS deadline in order to be considered for a place. We aim to place applicants with a relevant HNC into the second year of our courses and those with an HND into the third year of our courses.

Generally, applicants applying for second year entry with an HNC will be required to get a B in their graded unit, while applicants applying for third year entry with an HND will be required to get C/B in their graded units.  Certain courses will require higher graded units to be achieved. 

Where advanced entry is not possible, then a relevant HN qualification may be considered for entry into the first year of a programme.

SQA are developing a new suite of HN qualifications known as NextGen HN’s.  During this period of development, we cannot guarantee that these new qualifications will receive advanced entry and students may be required to start in first year.

7.4.16  We also accept a wide range of other qualifications, including diplomas and certificates that equate to SCQF level 7 or 8 for advanced entry. However, the content and level must match that of our courses sufficiently for us to be satisfied that the learning outcomes have been achieved.

7.2.17  We are able to consider accreditation of non-certified learning (APL) and we have a rigorous process in place for assessing APL. We are also able to identify, explore and claim academic credit for previous certificated and/or experiential learning through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. For learning to be awarded as credit towards your programme of study, it needs to match learning outcomes and to be evidenced.  

7.2.18  You may be able to gain RPL credit for previous certificated study, undertaken elsewhere. This is typically applied after matriculation.  You also may be able to gain academic credit for experience; for example experience gained through volunteering, or in your workplace. Please see our website for further details.

7.2.19  Students presenting with Advanced Highers or strong A Level grades in relevant subjects may be eligible for entry to the second year of some of our courses.

7.2.20  Applicants for the BSc Paramedic Science must be aged 18 by the 1st February following the September start date due to placement restrictions.  Applicants for the Master of Radiography: Diagnostic and Master of Radiography: Therapeutic courses are still welcome to matriculate if they will be aged under 18 by the 1st February but will be unable to attend the first year two week placement.

7.3   Postgraduate Taught Entry Requirements

7.3.1  All postgraduate applicants should have already achieved a first degree, normally at Honours level or equivalent, or a professional diploma which is recognised by the relevant professional body as the equivalent of an Honours degree.  We may also accept diploma level qualifications and considerable relevant experience. 

7.3.2   Exceptionally, we can accept applicants for postgraduate level study without a first degree for some courses if they have considerable relevant professional experience.  

7.3.3  Postgraduate applicants are usually required to provide one reference in support of their application. This will usually be an academic reference, but may be a professional reference where the applicant has been out of education for longer than 3 years. The reference must be presented in one of the following formats: 

  • On headed paper reflecting the referee's professional standing, signed and dated. This can be posted, scanned and emailed, or handed into the Admissions team.
  • In the form of an email sent to the Admissions team from an email address reflecting the referee's professional standing. Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, etc. email addresses are not acceptable. 

7.3.4  For certain postgraduate programmes students can be admitted as ‘associate students’ to allow them to take one or two modules, without registering for an award. 

Applicants will be required to complete an application via the relevant course page on the University’s website, including a short personal statement. 

Normally a student can study as an ‘associate student’ for a maximum period of 2 years, or for 2 modules.

If a student wishes to register on a named award in a similar area after studying as an ‘associate student’, any modules they have successfully completed may be given as credit towards their named award. 

The commencement date for the period of registration for the named award would be taken from the point when the student first registered as an ‘associate student’.

If a former ‘associate student’ requires a Student visa in order to study a full time, named award they will be required to complete an application and provide evidence of English language proficiency at the level required for the named award, before they can be issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

7.4   Postgraduate Research Entry Requirements

Applicants applying for a Professional Doctorate or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by research must provide a proposal. This allows us to check how well the applicant understands the research process and to make sure the topic is in an area we can supervise.

The research topic must be within the expertise of our staff. The topic must have academic merit and it must be capable of generating new knowledge. Research which is linked to the applicant's creative work may be considered. 

Applications to our PhD research degrees should be made via our Division of Governance and Quality Enhancement. Full details can be found on our website here

7.5   International Applicants

7.5.1   We welcome applications from international applicants around the world and accept a wide range of international qualifications.  We use ECCTIS and other reliable sources to establish equivalences of international qualifications with UK standards of entry, and make offers on a like for like basis. We publish equivalencies for popular overseas qualifications on our website and can offer advice on alternative routes for entry where they do not meet our requirements (such as foundation level courses).

7.5.2  We work with a number of agents who act as official representatives of the University and can assist with advice on applications and suitable course options.

7.5.3  The University has a number of partners overseas through whom students can study for a QMU degree.  Minimum entry requirements for such arrangements are the same as those that apply to the course delivered in Edinburgh.

 7.5.4  We welcome applications from students who have achieved one of our awards overseas and who wish to continue with further studies at QMU Edinburgh.

7.5.5  Applicants who are non-native speakers of English must demonstrate English language proficiency in all four language competencies. We require a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5 or equivalent qualification. For many courses, the minimum score required is higher than this. Information about minimum scores is given in our prospectuses and on the course pages of our website.

7.5.6  International applicants aged under 18 when submitting their visa application will need to provide additional documentation included parental /guardian consent before a CAS will be issued that will allow the applicant to apply for a Student visa.

8. UKVI requirements

8 UKVI requirements

8.1. QMU is a licensed student sponsor. QMU can issue Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) allowing applicants to apply for immigration as a student. As part of its sponsorship duties, QMU has responsibilities to report on students studying on a Student route visa, to the Home Office and UKVI.

8.2. Staff at QMU can provide advice and guidance on applying for a Student visa, however we strongly advise students to check the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

8.3 It is the student’s responsibility to abide by immigration laws and to notify the Home Office of any changes to circumstances.

8.4 We require any students that require a Student visa in order to study at the University to pay a deposit or to provide proof of full financial sponsorship prior to issuing a CAS. Applicants will also be required to demonstrate they hold sufficient funds to meet UKVI requirements, prior to issuing a CAS. Please see the International student pages on our website for further details. 

9. PVG/Disclosure checks

9 PVG/Disclosure checks

Applicants for Health Sciences and certain other courses that involve interaction with children and/or vulnerable adults must declare all criminal convictions, and in these cases the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not apply.  

Candidates for healthcare courses will be asked to provide a satisfactory criminal record check from the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme. Full details about those courses that require full PVG/ Disclosure checks are given in our prospectus and on our website.

International and EU students are required to provide comparable information in English from their own country. We will offer guidance regarding how an applicant can obtain this information within the offer letter. Students will also be required to provide a satisfactory criminal record check from the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme, once they have arrived in the UK, as detailed above.

10. Criminal convictions

To safeguard the welfare of staff, students, visitors and the general public, Queen Margaret University will scrutinise any criminal convictions declared on the part of applicants for entry or by matriculating students. 

Continuing students will be required to declare, as part of on-line matriculation, whether they have had any criminal conviction in the last 12 months. In the event of a positive response, the below process will be followed. 

NOTE: Any student who is subsequently found to have falsified his/her self-declaration will be subject to disciplinary action. 

Where an applicant or a matriculating student has declared a criminal conviction, identified staff of the University Secretary’s Group will contact the applicant or student to ascertain the nature of the conviction, requesting further information, including the nature of the conviction, date of conviction, nature of sentence etc. The Head of Admissions (for incoming students) or the relevant School Manager (for continuing students) will review this information and carry out a risk assessment using an established classification taken from the Health and Care Professions Council. The risk assessment may be reviewed by the Head of Division or the Dean. The following criteria will be considered: 

  • Programme requirements 
  • Potential risk to other students and staff 
  • Responsibilities to employers and the public 
  • The rights of the individual and entitlement to rehabilitation 

11. Selection and offer making

11.1 For all programmes the selection process will take into account the following:

  • Achieved and predicted academic qualifications
  • Interest in the subject area and motivation for study, demonstrated in the Personal Statement
  • Work experience, or other relevant non-academic experience, demonstrated in the personal statement
  • Academic and/or professional reference(s)
  • Where required, performance at interview or audition
  • Where required, an applicant’s portfolio Where required, an applicant’s research proposal English language proficiency

11.2 In addition to the factors outlined above, we aim to take into account the context of an applicant’s academic achievement, giving consideration to a range of factors, which may impact on attainment. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Being eligible for the Lothian Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS)
  • Attendance at a school where few students progress to University
  • Living in an area of high deprivation, as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)
  • Being Care experienced
  • Undertaking an alternative study route to higher education

Please see our Contextual Admissions Policy for further information.

11.3 Each application is considered, and a decision made, on an individual basis. Admissions decisions will be communicated to applicants in a timely manner. Where an application requires an interview, portfolio submission or audition, the decision making process will take longer.

11.4 Postgraduate applicants applying to a programme that does not have an equal consideration deadline should receive a decision on their application, or notice of an interview, within four weeks of submitting a completed application with supporting documentation.

11.5 Any conditions attached to an offer will be clear and specific. The offer letter will contain details of any action the applicant needs to take in order to accept the offer. The offer letter will also give details on fee classification and fee levels for the programme.

11.6 The University also provides information about scholarships and bursaries available to applicants. Full details of eligibility and deadlines are available on the University website.

11.7 Applicants who accept their offer of admission will be sent further welcome information prior to the start of semester, to ensure they are ready to start their studies. Entrants should check the Induction website for details of matriculation. These may be tailored to different types of students such as direct entrants, international students etc.

11.8 Direct entry students benefit from Direct Entrant Induction which is a designated induction programme for direct entrants at the start of the academic year.

12. Applicants with Disabilities

The University welcomes a diverse learning community and aims to support all students to participate fully in their studies and in University life. Applicants are strongly advised to declare any disability on their application. This information does not form part of the admission selection process, but is used to identify support needs early on.

We encourage applicants who disclose a disability to contact our Disability team to have an early discussion about their support needs. This discussion will not form part of the admissions decision process, but would focus on preparation for any support needed by the applicant.

All applicants who have declared a disability and/or additional support needs and have accepted an offer of admission, will be contacted by a Disability Adviser to discuss their individual requirements and the support that may be available to them should they choose to study at QMU.

The University will make every effort to ensure that required support arrangements are put in place, however this is dependent on the student applying in sufficient time and identifying their disability clearly at the time of application. 

13. Care Leavers

The University recognises that care leavers who have spent time in local authority care, either in residential accommodation, foster care or under supervision orders at home, may require additional advice and support during both the pre-entry and post-entry transitional period. We offer all care leavers additional support guide.Please contact for information on the additional support available.

The University is committed to increasing the number of applications and entrants from applicants who have spent time in care. We therefore strongly encourage care leavers to declare this as part of their application. Please see the University’s Contextual Admissions Policy for further information.

14. Fraud and Plagiarism

14.1 All applicants are responsible for ensuring that the information they submit within their application is accurate and current.

14.2 Where it is discovered that an applicant has submitted incorrect or inaccurate information, the University will investigate to determine if there has been an error, fraud or plagiarism, and reserves the right to reject an application, or withdraw an offer of admission.

14.3 Qualifications submitted in support of an application, are subject to verification at matriculation. For certain qualifications, we may ask applicants to verify their academic qualifications via the agency Qualification Check.Applicants would be required to pay for the verification and would typically take place at application stage upon request of the Admissions Officer reviewing an application.

15. Complaints and appeals

15.1 Appeals

Stage 1 - If an applicant is not satisfied with the feedback on their application and wishes to appeal the decision, they can do so by contacting the admissions office by email in the first instance. An administrative review of the decision will be conducted and if an error has been made then the decision will be corrected straight away.

Stage 2 – If there has been no administrative error and the appeal is concerning the judgment of the decision, then the decision will be reconsidered by the academic admissions tutor and the Head of Admissions.

A decision will be communicated within 14 days of receipt of the appeal.

15.2 Complaints

Complaints about any aspect of our admissions policy or service should firstly be raised with the member of staff responsible. If the complaint cannot be resolved, then applicants may submit a formal complaint either by using our complaints form or by emailing All complaints will be answered within 20 working days. The University’s Complaints Procedure can be found within the Quality pages of the website.

16. Data Protection and GDPR

The University needs to keep certain personal data about students to fulfil its purpose and to meet its legal obligations to funding bodies and government. In processing and holding personal data, supplied as part of the Admissions process, the University will comply fully with the terms of GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. Please see our Data Protection Web Pages for further information.

17. Admissions Contact Details

The Admissions team can be contacted at:

Queen Margaret University
Queen Margaret University Drive
EH21 6UU

Tel: +44 (0)131 474 0000


Karen McGregor, Head of Admissions
Reviewed August 2023

Admissions Enquiries

Show Contacts

Admissions Enquiries

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught - Application Enquiries 0131 474 0000