Performance Sport

Elite Athletes Policy

Our Elite Athletes Policy sets out the principles and procedures for the management of applications for admissions to the University of Edinburgh from elite athletes.


1.1 To set out principles and procedures for the management of applications for admission to the University of Edinburgh from elite athletes.



2.1 An Elite athlete is considered to be any athlete competing at a high level in their sport (for example selected to represent their country in their chosen sport at either senior or junior international level, playing in a professional academy or in a recognised international pathway).



3.1 The University of Edinburgh wishes to encourage applications from elite sports men and women.

3.2 The University recognises the dedication and effort required from any athlete who goes on to reach the top in their sport. This level of commitment is valued in academic study as well as in athletic performance.

3.3 The high-profile success of University staff, students and alumni in a wide range of sporting disciplines contributes positively to the life of the University, inspiring students and staff, and enhancing the University’s reputation.

3.4 The University will recognise this contribution by providing flexibility in the selection process for applications from elite athletes who meet, at least all of the minimum entry requirements for the programme they have applied to.



4.1 This policy applies to applications for undergraduate study only. Individuals looking to apply to postgraduate study should email

4.2 This policy applies to all undergraduate students regardless of fee status.

4.3 Only applications from elite athletes who have been identified by the procedure set out below will be considered under the terms of this policy.



5.1 Elite athletes are generally identified by Performance Sport Team staff who work closely with sports clubs and national teams across the UK. Potential applicants with queries regarding eligibility should contact the Performance Sport Coordinator -

5.2 The University’s Head of Sport will identify applications from elite athletes to the Head of Admissions, Student Recruitment and Admissions, during each admissions cycle. Athletes must currently be competing at top end of their sport and will compete for the University as their club of first choice and/or represent the University at agreed competitions. Athletes from all sports, including disability categories, will be considered on a case by case basis providing they bring value to the University of Edinburgh and its sport programme. In such cases, evidence will be considered by the Head of Sport in consultation with the Head of Admissions.

5.3 Applications will be identified as early as possible in the cycle each year, but no later than the standard UCAS deadline each year (note applications to Medicine and Veterinary Medicine have an earlier deadline).

5.4 Applications from elite athletes will be flagged on EUCLID, and the appropriate College Admissions Office will be informed.

5.5 Applications will be screened as normal.

5.6 Where an appropriately flagged application meets all the standard entry requirements for the programme applied to, including any specific subjects or grades, it will be entered into the selection process.

5.7 An ’Elite Athlete’ flag will ensure that the application is given credit in the scoring system in the form of additional points, to increase the likelihood of an offer being made. This recognises the dual commitment of applicants who are also elite athletes to their academic studies and to their sport.

5.8 Offers will be made at the typical level for the programme. The degree of flexibility will be decided by the Colleges and will be dependent on the grades the applicant has achieved in specific subjects relative to entry requirements, as well as on conversion rates and available places.

5.9 Wherever possible, an applicant who has an ‘Elite Athlete’ flag will be allowed to defer entry to the University for one year, if this is for reasons directly related to his or her sport. This includes deferral decisions made by the applicant following acceptance at Confirmation. Deferred entry may not be available for every degree programme.

5.10 If the decision has been taken to reject an application before the Head of Sport has identified it within the terms of this policy, reconsideration of the application will be at the discretion of the relevant admissions office.


Monitoring and Review

6.1 The Monitoring Student Numbers Group will track numbers of elite athletes entering the University of Edinburgh under the terms of this policy, and will report on an annual basis to the Recruitment and Admissions Strategy Group.

6.2 The policy will be reviewed one year after implementation, and then reviews will be scheduled every three years.

Approved: September 2016

Latest Review December 2022

Review date: December 2025