2020 entry UCAS Undergraduate reports by sex, area background, and ethnic group

These data cover applications, offers, and placed applicants by sex, area background, and ethnic group, at 132 larger universities.

Key technical points

Offer rates – Whether an application gets an offer depends on both the predicted grades held and the course applied to. The statistic ‘difference between offer rate and average offer rate’ accounts for differences between groups in predicted grades and courses applied to. You can check whether any difference is likely to be solely the result of random variation or not with our  average offer rate lookup table (234.18 KB).

Placed applicants – Some groups in the population are more numerous than others. The statistic ‘Placed applicants per 10,000 population’ takes account of UK population and allows the relative chances of different groups to enter the university to be compared.

Ethnic group – The population of different ethnic groups is not even across the UK. For example, over 20% of the young population in London is in the  Black ethnic group (9.74 KB), compared to 1% in the South West. This can be reflected in the statistics for a university.

POLAR and SIMD – The POLAR3 grouping is used to classify young people from across the UK into five equal-sized groups, according to how many young people participate in higher education. However, these groups are not of equal sizes across different parts of the UK. There are lower proportions of the population in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London living in  low participation (quinitle 1) areas (9.95 KB), compared to elsewhere in the UK. This can be reflected in the statistics for a university and comparisons between countries. For universities in Scotland, an additional classification (SIMD16) is provided in the statistics. This covers only applicants from Scotland, and is appropriate for comparisons based on equal-sized groups of the population in Scotland (where it is widely used).

Sex – There are some large differences in the subjects studied at university by men and women. Different profiles of subjects at different universities can be reflected in the statistics for men and women. Statistics on subjects studied by men and women, and subjects at different universities, can be found in our data resources.

Scotland – The resources cover applicants and applications to courses in the UK recruited through UCAS. In Scotland, there is a substantial section of provision, representing around a third of young full-time undergraduate study in Scotland, that is not included in UCAS’ figures. For people living in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, UCAS covers the overwhelming majority of full-time undergraduate provision.

In 2015, around 120 courses at providers in Scotland that were previously part of the UCAS Teacher Training scheme, moved into the UCAS Undergraduate scheme. The numbers for providers in Scotland in 2015 recorded through the UCAS Undergraduate scheme will include those which were previously part of UCAS Teacher Training – estimated to be around 2,000 acceptances, mostly aged 21 or over.


University of East London (E28) – The 2017 statistics for University of East London (E28) were adversely affected by a UCAS technical issue, which meant that around 800 records were not processed as RPA (Record of Prior Acceptance). This will not affect statistics related to applicants at the 30 June deadline.

Harper Adams University (H12) -  From internal analysis, Harper Adams University has determined the following:

  • Offer rate gap for gender (female negative) is a consequence of one course area which is over-subscribed and so has a very low offer rate and to which 96% of applicants were female. 
  • Offer rate gap for area background (Q1 negative) is a consequence of (a) a disproportionate number of Q1 applicants applying to one course area which is over-subscribed and so has a very low offer rate and (b) weaker entry qualifications (actual and predicted) being presented by Q1 applicants.
  • Offer rate gap for ethnic group (BAME negative) is a consequence of (a) a disproportionate number of BAME applicants applying to one course area which is over-subscribed and so has a very low offer rate and (b) weaker entry qualifications (actual and predicted) being presented by BAME applicants.

Queen's University Belfast (Q75) – The scope of the statistics for this university changed in 2013 when nursing and midwifery applications were included for the first time. These courses have a higher ratio of applications to places, and a different profile of applicants (by sex especially). This change affects the time series for all statistics for this university.

Aston University (A80) – In 2019, Aston University (A80) opened an MBChB Medicine which was available to all UK and EU applicants; it had previously only been available to UK/EU students who had attended an Aston Pathway Programme.  This resulted in an increase in Home/EU applications from 174 for 2018 entry to 979 in 2019 entry.  Medicine is over-subscribed and so has a lower offer rate than other courses at the University.

University of Nottingham (N84) – The University of Nottingham has a flexible admissions policy to support applicants who are from backgrounds that are underrepresented in HE. We strive to make our student population more representative of the overall population in terms of socioeconomic background. We select students based on their potential to succeed on our courses and we recognise that some educational and personal circumstances affect achievement. In these instances, we may make a flexible offer to recognise the challenges that some students may have faced.

There is an overall difference in the percentage of acceptances by gender. Further analysis shows that a significantly greater proportion of female applicants apply to highly selective courses such as Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Science and Pharmacy where the proportion of applicants receiving an offer is lower than the average.

The ethnicity of an applicant is not available or visible to staff when a decision is made on an application. There is also a tendency for BAME students to apply for more competitive subjects such as Medicine which can affect the overall likelihood of success.


More data on providers and definitions can be found in our UCAS Undergraduate end of cycle data resources.

Download the CSV file of all data (2.26 MB)


Our guidance document (166.51 KB) explains what the statistics in the data measure, how they are defined, and how to use them.