If you have a criminal record, you may want to access certain facilities like educational if you want to continue in life. You can so this by getting qualifications, so you can apply to the field of work for your future. It may seem important for the university or employer to know whether you have a criminal record. However, can you even go to university with a criminal record?
For the most part, yes you can attend university with a criminal record. For most courses, you won’t even be asked if you have a criminal record or need to disclose it out of pure choice. However. If you are applying to a course which involves working with children and/or vulnerable adults, you will have to declare your criminal record. This could be in fields like medicine, nursing, teaching or as social workers.
In the rest of this article, we will be discussing this topic more, along with which courses and how/when to declare your record. We will also be discussing exclusion from university, and whether that is a possibility. If you would like to find out more, you can read on.
Table of Contents
Can you study in the UK with a criminal record?
In the UK, you can study in universities with a criminal record. For most of these courses, there is no obligation to disclose your criminal history.
However, for a few courses, some universities may say it is advisable to declare it. Some universities may say it is mandatory to declare it, but this doesn’t always mean you cannot study there, and it is a very few universities which do so. To learn more about this, you can click here for a guide from the UCAS website.
When do you need to declare your criminal record when applying to university?
Figuring out when you need to declare your criminal record in your application for university can be difficult. In the UK, there are two main points in your university application, where you may need to do so.
The following subheadings will give you more information about these 2 checkpoints for when you may be asked for your criminal record.
Do you need to declare your criminal record on your UCAS Application?
Your first point of declaration is in the UCAS application. If you are applying to a course which involves working with children and/or vulnerable adults, like in courses such as nursing, medicine, teaching or being a social worker, you will need to declare it.
When applying to these courses, a new section of UCAS will open about your convictions. If you have any spent or unspent convictions, you should read the declaration and when you have understood it, tick the box.
If you are applying for a course, and this section does not appear, then you do not need to declare your criminal record. Also, if you do not have any spent or unspent convictions, do not tick the box.
After submitting your application, the university will contact you for additional information, and advice. To learn more about this, check out this link to the UCAS website. If you would like some advice outside of this, you can click here to go to Unlock, which provide help for people with past convictions.
If you have made a mistake, you must contact the university to let them know.
Do you need to declare your criminal record to the university?
If you didn’t have to declare it in the UCAS, the university may still ask it in the later stages of the application. They may only need to know about some very specific convictions, and some may not ask at all. An example of this could be if you do not have access to the internet.
You could be asked for your record when making your firm and insurance choices, applying for accommodation, enrolling at the university or as part of their terms of services.
For example, Oxford with only ask about past and unspent convictions, while Cambridge will not deny you only for your criminal record.
All of this information, and more can be found at this link to the UCAS criminal convictions page. Or, if you want more in-depth information on how UCAS and Unlock are helping those with past convictions, you can click here to a UCAS article.
Can you apply to university from prison?
If you have limited access to the internet, you can print the application to do the form offline. There are also many prison-university partnerships that are trying to help and “raise aspirations” of prison learners.
On this UCAS page, they recommend that you speak with your prison education officer, contact your chosen university, or to contact the Prisoners’ Education Trust, which you can find the website for here
Can you get expelled from university for getting a criminal record?
Depending on the severity level of the crime, the university may expel you for getting a criminal record while enrolled in their school. This is usually because the convictions show up on their reputation, which they believe will spoil it.
If it is a low level crime, there is a lower chance of you being expelled. There is usually a confidential counsellor in universities, which you can refer to for help.
If the crime is similar to that of a petty crime, they are usually more lenient, but you may face repercussions through a disciplinary process. Another thing they may do, is a risk assessment on the student to consider whether it is safe for them to study there or not.
For example, Imperial College London said, “The aim of disciplinary action would be to assist with rehabilitation of the student and to minimise the risk of a re-occurrence of any misconduct.”
Other things taken into account would be the course being studied. For example, if you are training to be a teacher, solicitor or doctor, the crime committed may appear more serious. You can find out more about this, by clicking here to a news article by Wales247.
In this article, we have discussed criminal record, and studying in the UK. It is not very likely that a criminal record that is spent will be asked about, but you should take more caution on an unspent conviction.