Declaring criminal convictions

If you have an unspent criminal conviction, you may need to declare it to us when we make you an offer that you wish to accept.

Having a criminal conviction will only rarely stop you from studying at Leeds. 

More information is available in our Applicants and students with a criminal record policy

What is an unspent conviction? 

When you get a conviction or caution, it’s usually ‘unspent’ for a particular amount of time. The amount of time is determined by the type of punishment or sentence you received. For more information, you can check the government definition of an unspent conviction.

What types of conviction need to be declared?

You need to tell us if you have an unspent conviction of the following:

  • violent or threatening behaviour 
  • causing physical or mental harm to others (whether the harm was intended or actually caused)
  • sexual offences, including those listed on the Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • the unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances, including dealing or trafficking offences
  • harassment, stalking or malicious communications
  • firearms offences
  • any hate crime as defined by the Crown Prosecution Service
  • arson
  • terrorism offences

Considerations when declaring an unspent conviction

You also need to be aware of the following: 

  • Some courses may have additional considerations, such as a requirement to declare any previous criminal activity while you’re applying. See the ‘Declaring criminal convictions FAQs’ for more details.
  • The unspent convictions list also applies to criminal convictions received outside of the UK. 
  • You need to inform us of any legal restrictions placed on you as a result of a criminal conviction that could affect your ability to complete your course - for example, if you have restrictions on your use of the internet.

If you're not sure whether your conviction is relevant, email the declaration inbox at

How to declare a criminal conviction

You'll need to email the declaration inbox at within 14 days of accepting an offer to declare a criminal conviction. You must make a declaration for each course you accept an offer for. 

To make a declaration you should provide:

  • your name
  • your student/UCAS/application ID number
  • the course you've applied for
  • the offence you were convicted of
  • the sentence you received
  • the date of your sentence

You can also voluntarily declare a conviction at any time before accepting an offer if you want to know whether it's likely to affect your admission. If you’re voluntarily declaring a conviction, please state this in your email.

You can access independent advice on applying for university with a criminal conviction from Unlock and Nacro.

How can declaring a criminal conviction impact an offer?

If we don’t consider your conviction to be relevant, we’ll let you know and no record will be kept of the declaration.

If we consider that it may be relevant, we’ll ask for more information. This may include a request for permission to contact relevant people, such as your probation officer, social worker or referees. We may also request to meet you to understand details of your conviction. 

Once we have the information we need, we’ll carry out a risk assessment. We’ll then either:

  • Confirm your offer with no changes or additional restrictions.
  • Propose additional conditions on your admission. These could include restricting your module choices or rejecting your application to stay in University accommodation, or restricting it to certain locations. You can then choose whether to accept this changed offer.
  • Withdraw your offer.

Declaring criminal convictions FAQs

Are there any additional considerations for my course? 

Declaring a conviction when applying 

For some courses we might ask you to declare any previous criminal activity while you’re applying. You might also need to declare spent convictions. This extra information is typically needed for clinical programmes, or courses where you will be working with young or vulnerable people and require Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. If this applies to your course, we’ll send you further information during the application process. 

Disclosure and Barring Service checks

For some courses, you may need to pass a DBS check (or international equivalent) in order to comply with the requirements of the government and relevant professional bodies. Where this applies, we’ll send you information as part of the admissions process.

If your offer requires a DBS check, you won't need to disclose anything other than the category of conviction when you receive an offer. If the DBS check reveals any convictions that would prevent you from completing your studies, your offer will be withdrawn.

Additional criminal convictions policy for dentistry, medicine and healthcare courses

If you’re planning to study in the School of Dentistry, School of Healthcare or School of Medicine, you'll also need to meet their policy on criminal convictions. You'll be given more information about this during the application process. 

Confirming your undergraduate course if you’re applying for a foundation year 

If your offer includes a foundation year, as part of the declaration process we’ll ask you to confirm the course that you’ll be progressing on to after completing your foundation year.

Visa requirements to study or work abroad

Visa requirements may prevent you from entering certain countries. If your course requires you to complete a module or placement abroad, you should check whether any criminal convictions you have could prevent you from entering that country.

Why do we ask you to declare your conviction?

We aim to admit a wide range of students to study at Leeds and we don't want to exclude students with criminal records. However, we have a duty of care to protect our community and provide a safe and secure environment for our students, staff and members of the public. This can include children under the age of 18 and other vulnerable people in line with our safeguarding policy (PDF).

We ask for information about convictions so that we’re able to identify and minimise any potential risks. We also use the information to assess your suitability for your course or to stay in University accommodation and to make any reasonable adjustments where appropriate. 

We’ll decide whether a conviction gives reasonable grounds for thinking that your admission would:

  • Pose a threat to the safety of staff, students, visitors, those coming into contact with them during their studies or others involved in University business.
  • Be contrary to the law or the requirements or guidance of any relevant professional, statutory or regulatory body.

Where third parties are involved in the delivery of a programme, applicants/students may also have to meet the requirements of such third parties. 

What will the University do with the declaration?

We treat all declarations confidentially. Information is only used to carry out the risk assessment and any risk management steps identified. All information is stored in an encrypted format and only accessible by the relevant members of staff as detailed in our criminal conviction policy.

How long does the University keep information about criminal convictions?

If your conviction isn’t considered relevant, we won't keep any information declared to us.

If your conviction is considered relevant, the amount of time we'll keep the information will depend on the outcome of the risk assessment process:

  • If you’re admitted to the University, the information will be kept until your conviction is spent or until six months after you leave the University, whichever comes first.
  • If you’re not admitted to the University, whether because of your criminal conviction or for another reason, such as not achieving the grades of your offer, the information will be kept until six months after the last date on which you could have registered for your course if you’d been admitted.

What do I do if I receive a relevant conviction between accepting my offer and starting my course?

You must notify the University as soon as possible. Email the declaration inbox at in order for a risk assessment to be carried out before your admission. Please note that you won’t be able to register for your course until a risk assessment has been completed and the outcome communicated with you, with any restrictions (if applicable) accepted.

What happens if I don’t declare a relevant unspent criminal conviction?

If you don't declare a relevant unspent conviction, your offer could be withdrawn. If you’ve already registered, you may be asked to leave the University.

How do I appeal a decision? 

You have the right to appeal a decision. To do this, email the student cases team at Grounds for appeal are outlined on our criminal convictions policy page.

For further information