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 by downloading our full criminal convictions policy (PDF).

What type of convictions will you need to declare?

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.

This also applies to criminal convictions received outside of the UK. 

You also 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 Declaration Queries via

How to tell if a conviction is unspent

If you’ve been convicted of an offence within the categories listed previously, you’ll only need to declare it if it meets the government definition of an unspent conviction.

How to declare a criminal conviction

You'll need to email Declaration Queries via within 14 days of accepting an offer. You will need to make a declaration for each course you accept an offer for. 

To make a declaration you should provide:

  • your name
  • your 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 are 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.

More about applying and criminal convictions 

Additional considerations for certain courses

For some of our courses we might ask you to declare a criminal conviction while you are applying. You might also need to declare spent convictions. Where this is the case, we will send you further information during your application process.

If your offer requires a Disclosure and Barring Service (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.

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

Study or placement 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.

What impact will a declaration have on you?

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 will carry out a risk assessment. We will 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 (withdrawing an offer happens very rarely).

Making an appeal

You have the right to appeal a decision by emailing Student Cases via Grounds for appeal are outlined in the policy.

Why 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 are 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 will decide whether a conviction gives reasonable grounds for thinking that a student's 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 to the requirements or guidance of any relevant Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body. 

What will the University do with the declaration?

We treat all declarations confidentially and access is restricted to any relevant members of staff. Information is only used to carry out the risk assessment and carry out any risk management steps identified. All information is stored in an encrypted area.

How long does the University keep information about criminal convictions?

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

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

  • If you are admitted to the University, the information will be kept until your conviction is spent or until six months after you leave the University.
  • If you are not admitted to the University 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 can register for a course. 
  • If you are not admitted to the University because of your criminal conviction, the information will be kept for six months after the last date that you could have registered for your course if you had been admitted. 

If you receive a relevant conviction between accepting your offer and starting your course

You must notify the University immediately by emailing Declaration Queries via in order for a risk assessment to be carried out before your admission.

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

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

If you have any questions about declaring a criminal conviction, email Declaration Queries via