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Contextual Admissions

BA (Hons) Fine Art, London College of Communication. Photo by Ana Escobar

Our Contextual Admissions process helps us to identify students with the most creative potential, regardless of their personal background or educational experiences.

What is Contextual Admissions and how can it help you?

We know that external factors – such as the school or college you go to and the opportunities and support you’ve had – might make it harder for your creative potential to stand out when you apply to university.

Our Contextual Admissions process helps us gain a better understanding of your personal circumstances so that we can assess your application fairly. If your application is flagged as a Contextual Admissions application, our academics will be mindful and consider every aspect of your application in context.

This process ensures that your individual merit and creative potential can shine through, no matter your background or previous experiences.

Am I eligible?

Firstly, you need to be:

You also need to meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You have spent time in care.
  • You have come through UAL’s Outreach Insights programme.
  • You're from an area in England in deciles 1 to 4 of the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), which measures deprivation in England.
  • You're from an area in the UK with low rate of participation in higher education.

Check my eligibility

Just input your home and school/s postcodes to find out whether you’re eligible for Contextual Admissions based on where you live.

Please note, the Eligibility Checker can only assess whether you meet the last 2 criteria. If you’re a Home student applying for the Foundation Diploma or undergraduate degree and you have either spent time in care or have come through our Insights programme, you will automatically be eligible for Contextual Admissions.

UAL Contextual Admissions

How does it work?

You don’t actually have to do anything other than apply to UAL - either directly to us or through UCAS.

When we receive your application, our system will use the information that you’ve already provided to assess whether you qualify for Contextual Admissions. If you’re eligible, we’ll add a flag to your application.

This flag lets academics know that they need to consider every aspect of your application, and portfolio if you've submitted one, in context with your personal circumstances. If your application is successful, we'll notify you either by email or through UCAS Track.

  • BA (Hons) Fine Art, London College of Communication. Photo by Ana Escobar

    Foundation Diploma in Art and Design  

    Develop the knowledge and skills needed to confidently progress to undergraduate-level study.

  • Photo of two women working on a piece of brown material
    Emilia Harris with technician Sara Grundy, BA (Hons) Theatre & Screen: Costume Interpretation, Wimbledon College of Arts,

    Undergraduate courses  

    Choose from almost 100 undergraduate courses in 18 subject areas across art and design.

  • Photo of a woman sitting against a colourful background
    Peihang Huang, MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts. Photographer Ivan Jones,

    How to apply  

    Here’s an overview of the application process at UAL.

  • Photo of colourful pieces of art hanging on a white background
    Marlee King, Foundation Diploma Art & Design 2015,


    Find information and advice on student accommodation at UAL.