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Academic and background criteria

Greater Manchester pupils wishing to join the Manchester Access Programme must meet all of the essential criteria and one of the priority criteria.

Applications for MAP 2018 are now closed.

If you have any queries, please contact

The Manchester Access Programme (MAP) welcomes applications from students with experience in local authority care, young carers, students with disabilities, asylum seekers and refugees.

If you're not eligible for MAP there may be other schemes available to you. Please visit our Access Manchester website to find out more.

Essential criteria

  • In a state-maintained post-16 institution and are studying a two-year Level 3 qualification (eg A-levels, a BTEC qualification, etc). Applicants need to be in Year 12 (lower sixth) at the point of application;
  • Have achieved at least five grade A*–B (9–6) at GCSE (or equivalent, eg GNVQ, BTEC certificate); if this does not include English Language and Mathematics you must have achieved at least a grade C (4) in these subjects;
  • Live in Greater Manchester or study at an institution in Greater Manchester;
  • Have attended a state-maintained secondary school (ie you did not have to pay for your education);
  • Come from a home where neither parent attended university in the UK or abroad. (If one or more parent is currently studying their first degree, or graduated from their first degree within the last five years, an application will still be considered);
  • Be a Home registered student or expect to be by the time you apply for higher education.

Medicine, Dentistry or Pharmacy

For the Medicine, Dentistry or Pharmacy strands the eligibility criteria also include: 

MAP Medicine

  • At least three GCSEs at a minimum of Grade A (7) or A* (8);
  • Grade B (6) or above in GCSE English Language and Mathematics and at least two science subjects are required at GCSE minimum grade B (6). If Dual Award Science or Core and Additional Science are offered, the minimum required is BB (6,6);
  • Level 2 BTEC qualifications are acceptable (at distinction grade or above) in lieu of one GCSE;
  • You also need to be taking three A-levels, including: Chemistry or Biology/Human Biology and one of the following subjects from: Chemistry; Biology/Human Biology; Physics; Mathematics or Further Mathematics.

MAP Dentistry

  • Achieved at least four GCSEs at a minimum of Grade A (7) including either Dual Award Science or Core, Additional and Further Additional Science or Biology, Chemistry and Physics;
  • Grade B (6) or above in GCSE English Language and Mathematics;
  • You also need to be taking three A-levels, including Chemistry and Biology. Two AS-levels in place of one A-level will not be accepted.

MAP Pharmacy

  • Have achieved at least five grade A*–B (9–6) at GCSE (or equivalent, eg GNVQ, BTEC certificate) (as per essential criteria);
  • Grade B (6) or above in GCSE English Language and Mathematics;
  • At A-level you must be studying Chemistry and either Mathematics or Biology and one further rigorous academic subject.

We will also look at the type and number of priority criteria at the point of application. 

Applicants will need to need at least one of the following:

Priority criteria

  • Lives in a neighbourhood which has a low progression rate to higher education or an area which has a high level of financial, social or economic deprivation. This is defined by home postcode.

If you would like to check whether a postcode is in a neighbourhood which has a low progression rate to higher education or an area which has a high level of financial, social or economic deprivation, then please enter your postcode in the checker available here.

  • Is living in, or have lived in, local authority care (have experienced a period of three months in the care of the local authority within the last ten years);
  • Is a young carer (under the age of 18 who helps look after someone in their family who is ill or disabled above and beyond what is normally expected);
  • Is in receipt of, or entitled to, discretionary payments/16–19 bursary/free school meals (FSM) at your current college;
  • Received free school meals (FSM) at secondary school;
  • Attended a high school where the average Key Stage 4 performance is lower than the national average;
  • Attend an institution where Key Stage 5 performance is lower than the national average.

When we assess your application, we will look at your performance in your GCSE and/or equivalent level qualifications, your post-16 Level 3 subject(s) of study and the number of priority criteria you meet.

You only need to meet one of the priority criteria, as well as the essential criteria, to apply to MAP. However, during the selection process we will give preference to those criteria that relate directly to the applicant, such as experience of local authority care, being in receipt of a 16–19 bursary or having received free school meals.

If you are invited to the next stage in the selection process (the selection and introduction day), you will need to bring evidence of your 16–19 bursary entitlement and/or your free school meal entitlement with you on the day.

Extenuating circumstances

If students do not meet the prior attainment outlined above but have experienced difficult family or individual circumstances that may affect their performance in exams or the likelihood of them going to university, their application may still be considered on an individual basis. Circumstances considered include, but are not limited to, students who live independently from their families, those experiencing significant family issues or those students who have a disability/health condition which may have affected their educational achievements.

Please discuss your extenuating circumstances with your MAP Link Coordinator (the teacher who coordinates MAP at your school or college) and ensure that you include some brief details on the application form.