Declaration of criminal convictions

Queen Mary is a diverse and inclusive community of staff and students. We welcome students from a wide range of backgrounds, with strong representation from our local communities in London and a large international community of students from over 160 countries world-wide.

If you have a criminal conviction you will only have to declare this at the point of application when making an application to certain courses. In these cases you must declare a criminal conviction regardless of whether it is spent or unspent. For the majority of courses we will only ask you to declare a relevant unspent criminal conviction once you have received an offer of admission. If you require a Tier 4 visa to study at Queen Mary you will be required to declare any criminal conviction when you request a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

What does 'spent' mean?

If a person does not re-offend during their rehabilitation period, their conviction becomes 'spent' and is no longer deemed relevant to their participation in higher education or employment. This is defined by The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. In some cases, a conviction may never become spent.

What is a relevant criminal conviction?

Relevant criminal offences include convictions, cautions, admonitions, reprimands, final warnings, bind over orders or similar involving one or more of the following:

  • Any kind of violence including (but not limited to) threatening behaviour, offences concerning the intention to harm or offences which resulted in actual bodily harm
  • Offences listed in the Sex Offences Act 2003
  • The unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking
  • Offences involving firearms
  • Offences involving arson
  • Offences listed in the Terrorism Act 2006
  • Offences involving human trafficking, slavery and forced labour.

Warnings, penalty notices for disorder (PNDs), anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) or violent offender orders (VOOs) are not classed as convictions, unless you have contested a PND or breached the terms of an ASBO or VOO and this has resulted in a criminal conviction.

Which courses require a criminal convictions declaration?

If you apply for an undergraduate or graduate entry course in Medicine or Dentistry, including BSc Oral Health, you must declare any criminal conviction regardless of whether it is spent or unspent. The same requirement applies to a number of postgraduate courses offered by The Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Where required, you will be prompted to declare that you have a criminal conviction in the application process. All students joining these courses will be required to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before they are permitted to enrol.

If the DBS check reveals any offences, the university will assess whether this is compatible with the course or programme of research you wish to undertake. Offences revealed by a DBS check may be deemed irrelevant and will not prevent you from enrolling. Where necessary we will consider offences revealed by DBS checks under our Procedure for evaluating declarations of criminal convictions by applicants (see below), and we may decide that you will not be permitted to enrol for courses in Medicine or Dentistry. 

For more information on our DBS policy, courses that require a DBS check and how to apply for one please click here.

Declaring an unspent criminal conviction when accepting an offer

When we make you an offer on a course that does not require a DBS check we will ask you to inform us of any relevant criminal conviction that is unspent. You will be asked to complete a short form to provide details, where appropriate including the name and contact details of your Probation Officer or other responsible officer. You will only need to declare relevant, unspent criminal convictions if you decide to accept our offer.

How will the university handle a declaration of criminal convictions?

If you declare a criminal conviction, either at the point of application for courses where this is required or after you have received an offer, the Head of Admissions or their nominee will undertake an initial evaluation of the information you provide. We may ask you to provide additional information or documentary evidence. We may also ask for a report from your Probation Officer or other responsible officer. The Head of Admissions or their nominee will decide either (i) that the criminal conviction you have declared is not relevant and no further action is required; or (ii) that the criminal conviction you have declared may be relevant to your enrolment at the university. A criminal conviction may be relevant to the programme of study or research you have applied for or it may be relevant to a non-academic aspect of your joining the university. For example, it may be relevant only to your application to live in university accommodation.

Where the Head of Admissions decides that your criminal conviction may be relevant to your enrolment at the university, the information you have supplied will be considered by a panel in line with our published procedure.

For courses where a DBS check is required, specific consideration will be given to the legal and regulatory frameworks governing the medical or dental profession. Your declaration of criminal convictions will be considered in line with The Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry Policy on Applicants with Criminal Records.

What if I receive a relevant criminal conviction after I have applied?

If you are convicted of a relevant criminal offence after you have received and accepted an offer to study at Queen Mary, you must notify Admissions during the admissions process. You should provide brief details and we will contact you to request further information, if required.

I am an overseas student. Does this apply to me?

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK you will be required to declare any criminal conviction as part of the visa application process. When you request a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), which you will need from the university in order to apply for a visa, we will ask you to declare any criminal convictions you have so that we can give you relevant advice. We may decide that it is not possible to sponsor you to study at Queen Mary and will refuse to issue a CAS.

Overseas (non-UK) students will be required to undertake and pass a UK DBS check for any course for which this is a requirement, including courses that are delivered on non-UK campuses.

If you have any concerns or questions about the declaration of criminal convictions, you can contact the Advice and Counselling Service once you have submitted your application to study at Queen Mary.

Are there restrictions for students or graduates with criminal convictions?

Your criminal conviction may not prevent you from enrolling to study at Queen Mary, but you should note that there may be restrictions on course-related options or on non-academic aspects of student life. For example, if you have a criminal conviction you may not be permitted to live in university accommodation, you may be unable to obtain a visa to study abroad or you may not be permitted to undertake certain work placements or internships. Similarly there may be restrictions on participation in certain voluntary or paid activities, such as working as a student ambassador or volunteering with the Legal Advice Centre.

If you have a criminal conviction you may find that some career or employment opportunities are not open to you. For example, there are specific legal or regulatory frameworks governing admission to particular professions, such as social work, teaching, law and accountancy.

You may find it helpful to access the resources provided by the Unlock charity: www.unlock.org.uk.

What is the procedure for evaluating declarations of criminal convictions by applicants?

Procedure for evaluating declarations of criminal convictions by applicants

Initial Assessment

1. The Head of Admissions or their nominee is responsible for initial review of declarations of criminal convictions by applicants during the admissions process. 

2. Where the Head of Admissions determines that the criminal conviction declared by an applicant may be relevant to their eligibility to enrol on the course they have applied for or to joining the university community, the Head of Admissions or their nominee will refer the case to a panel for consideration.

Criminal convictions assessment panel

3. The criminal convictions assessment panel will consist of at least three members of senior professional services staff whose roles involve individual student case work. 

4. The panel will normally be convened within two weeks of receipt of complete information from the applicant and relevant third parties.

Consideration by the criminal convictions assessment panel

5. The panel will evaluate the information provided by the applicant and relevant third parties and will normally make one of the following decisions:

a. the applicant is permitted to join the course applied for and enrol with no restrictions;

b. the applicant is permitted to join the course applied for and enrol, but specific restrictions may be placed on their choice of modules or other activity, such as options for a placement year or year abroad;

c. the applicant is permitted to join an alternative course and enrol with no further restrictions;

d. the applicant is permitted to join the course applied for and enrol with no restrictions on their academic activity, but the panel may recommend that independent scrutiny takes place if they apply to live in university accommodation;

e. the applicant is not permitted to join the university and their application is withdrawn.

6. In reaching a decision the panel will have regard to the following factors:

    a. The applicant’s age at the time of the offence;

      b. How long ago the offence took place;

        c. Whether it was an isolated incident or a pattern of offending;

          d. What else is known about the applicant’s conduct before and since the offence;

            e. Mitigating factors cited by the applicant;

              f. Any requirements placed on the applicant, including but not limited to:

              i. A requirement that they reside at a certain place:

                ii. A requirement to their making or maintaining contact with a person;

                  iii. A restriction on their participation in, or undertaking of, an activity, which may include use of computers or other electronic devices or attendance at non-approved places of worship;

                    iv. A requirement that they participate in, or co-operate, with a programme or set of activities, including such that address addiction or behavioural issues;

                      v. A requirement that they comply with curfew arrangements;

                        vi. A restriction on their freedom of movement, which is not a curfew;

                          vii. A requirement relating to their supervision in the community by a responsible offers.

                          How will Queen Mary handle my personal data?

                          If you declare a criminal conviction we will keep any information you or relevant third parties supply to us confidential and will give access only to members of staff who need this in order to make a decision about your application. Once evaluation of the information supplied is complete a summary will be produced and supporting documents will be disposed of confidentially as far as possible. The summary will be retained for a period of six years for applicants who are not permitted to enrol and for a period of six years from the date of leaving the university for students who are permitted to enrol.